The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Artevelde, Jacob van

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The American Cyclopædia
Artevelde, Jacob van
Edition of 1879. See also Jacob van Artevelde and Philip van Artevelde on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

ARTEVELDE. I. Jacob van, a citizen and popular leader of Ghent, and for a time almost ruler of Flanders, born about 1300, killed in a popular insurrection, July 17, 1345. He was of noble family, but caused himself to be enrolled in the guild of brewers as a means of gaining the favor of the people. By the generous use of his great wealth, and by his sympathy with the popular cause, he soon acquired a wide influence, was chosen leader of many other guilds besides his own, and won the universal confidence of the people. War was at this time raging between England and France. Count Louis I. of Flanders and nearly all the Flemish nobility were openly on the side of the latter, while the sympathies of the people of Ghent and the great Flemish commercial cities were entirely with the English. Count Louis had made himself most unpopular with his subjects by his tyrannous acts, while Artevelde had attained such power that he acted with entire independence of his sovereign. Thus, when a crisis was brought about by a message from Edward III. of England to the Flemings, asking their alliance, Artevelde took it upon himself to make a treaty with him, in which he was sustained by the citizens of Ghent. Aided by the English, the popular leader forced Bruges and Ypres to join in his treaty with Edward, compelled the count to retire into France, and was himself proclaimed leader or governor (ruwaert). He now assumed complete control of Flanders, removed the officials appointed by Count Louis, and when in 1338 the latter returned to Ghent to seek a reconciliation with the citizens, he made him prisoner, and forced him (December, 1339) to agree to the English alliance. Soon afterward Count Louis again returned to France. Artevelde retained almost absolute power in Flanders for nine years, until, by an injudicious project for proclaiming the prince of Wales (the Black Prince) governor of the country, he lost the popular confidence. Feuds followed between the different guilds, which he no longer controlled; the chief of the weavers, Gerard Denys, aspired to be his rival; and finally a battle was fought in the market place, between the weavers and other guilds, in which the former were victorious. Artevelde now thought himself in danger, and introduced a body of English troops into his house; this enraged the people, who rose against him and killed him in his own dwelling. II. Philip van, son of the preceding, and like him a popular leader and governor, born about 1340, died in battle, Nov. 27, 1382. During his youth he took no part in public affairs; but when the citizens of Ghent revolted against Louis II., the son and successor of his father's enemy, his name and associations brought him into immediate prominence, and he was chosen ruwaert in 1381. One of his first acts was to bring to execution twelve of those who had assisted in the murder of his father. Count Louis had in the mean time succeeded in so completely cutting off supplies from Ghent that he had reduced the city to great want. But the citizens endured the suffering bravely, two who proposed surrender being put to death, and Artevelde resolved upon a sally against the count, who had his headquarters at Bruges. With 6,000 troops he encountered Louis near that city, defeated him with great slaughter, and took and plundered the city; upon this victory, the other Flemish towns, except Oudenarde, which he unsuccessfully besieged, submitted. The French king, Charles VI., now sent an army to the assistance of Count Louis. It entered Flanders in November, 1382, and on the 27th met and routed the troops of Artevelde, killing an immense number. Artevelde's body was found among the dead, and hung by the victors to a tree.