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Walcheren
Walcheren
( listen) is a region and former island in the Dutch province of Zeeland
Zeeland
at the mouth of the Scheldt
Scheldt
estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde
Oosterschelde
in the north and the Westerschelde
Westerschelde
in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus. The two sides facing the North Sea consist of dunes; the rest of its coastline is made up of dykes. Middelburg
Middelburg
lies at its centre; this city is the provincial capital and Vlissingen
Vlissingen
9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the south is the main harbour. The third municipality is Veere. Originally, Walcheren
Walcheren
was an island, but polders and a dam across the Oosterschelde
Oosterschelde
have connected it to the (former) island of Zuid-Beveland, which in turn has been connected to the North Brabant mainland.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Early history 1.2 Treaty of Dover 1.3 Napoleonic Wars 1.4 World War II

2 Topography 3 See also 4 References

History[edit] Early history[edit] As early as Roman times, the island functioned as a point of departure for ships going to Britain; it had a temple of the goddess Nehalennia who was popular with those who braved the waters of the North Sea. The Romans called it "Wallacra", a term most likely associated with Walha, the name Germans used for Romans. Walcheren
Walcheren
became the seat of the Danish Viking
Viking
Harald (fl. 841-842), who conquered what would become the Netherlands
Netherlands
together with his brother Rorik (fl. 842-873) (or Rurik) in the ninth century. One fringe theory has it that Ibn Rustah (fl 10th century) described Walcheren
Walcheren
when reporting on the seat of the khagan of the Rus'.[1] Another fringe theory mentions Walcheren
Walcheren
as the seat of Hades, described by Homer.[2] Treaty of Dover[edit] Under the Secret Treaty of Dover, concluded in 1670 between Charles II of England and Louis XIV
Louis XIV
of France, England was supposed to get possession of Walcheren
Walcheren
as well as the isle of Cadzand, as the reward for helping France
France
in the then impending war against the Dutch Republic. In the event, the Dutch resistance - much stronger than anticipated - managed to repulse the French-English attack, and the treaty was not implemented. Napoleonic Wars[edit] Starting on 30 July 1809, a British armed force of 39,000 men landed on Walcheren, the Walcheren
Walcheren
Campaign, with a view to assisting the Austrians in their war against Napoleon, and attacking the French fleet moored at Flushing (Vlissingen). The expedition turned into a disaster – although Flushing surrendered the Austrians had already been decisively defeated at the Battle of Wagram
Battle of Wagram
in early July and were suing for peace. Meanwhile, the French fleet had moved to Antwerp, and the British lost over 4,000 men to a disease called " Walcheren
Walcheren
Fever", thought to be a combination of malaria and typhus, as well as to enemy action. The French suffered some 4000 dead, wounded and captured. With the strategic reasons for the campaign gone and the worsening conditions, the British force was withdrawn in December. World War II[edit] Strategically placed at the mouth of the River Scheldt, Walcheren
Walcheren
was the key that allowed use of the deep-water port of Antwerp, located further upstream on the right bank of the southern estuary of the river. It was fought over during World War II
World War II
in 1940 between Dutch and German troops in the Battle of the Netherlands, and again in 1944 in the Battle of Walcheren
Walcheren
Island, the fourth and final stage of the Battle of the Scheldt. On 3 October 1944 the RAF bombed the sea wall at Westkapelle causing flooding. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division cleared South Beveland
South Beveland
to the east and approached the island on 31 October 1944. The plan was to cross the Sloe Channel, but leading troops of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade
5th Canadian Infantry Brigade
found that assault boats were useless in the deep mud of the channel. The only route open was the 40 metre wide Walcheren
Walcheren
Causeway, a mile-long land bridge from South Beveland
South Beveland
to the island. The Canadian Black Watch sent a company across on the evening of 31 October, but were stopped. The Calgary Highlanders sent two companies over in succession, the second attack opening up a bridgehead on the island. The Highlanders were eventually thrown back, having lost 64 killed and wounded. Le Régiment de Maisonneuve relieved them on the causeway, followed by the 1st Battalion, Glasgow Highlanders
Glasgow Highlanders
of the British 52nd Infantry Division. Meanwhile, on 1 November 1944, the British Commandos
British Commandos
landed in the village of Westkapelle in order to silence the German coastal batteries looking out over the Scheldt. The amphibious assault (Operation Infatuate) proved a success and by 8 November, all German resistance on the island had ceased. Topography[edit]

Topographic map of Walcheren, 2010-2011. Click to enlarge. See also[edit]

Nehalennia

References[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Walcheren.

^ Aleksandrov, A. A. (1997). Остров руссов [The island of the Rus'] (in Russian). St. Petersburg-Kishinev. pp. 222–224.  ^ Geography of the Odyssey according to I. Wilkens

Coordinates: 51°31′17″N 3°34′56″E / 51.52139°N 3.58222°E / 51.52139; 3.58222

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 148925

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