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Ypres(ē`prə), Du. Ieper, commune (1991 pop. 35,235), West Flanders prov., SW Belgium, near the French border. It is an agricultural market and an industrial center. Manufactures include textiles, textile-making machinery, and processed food. During the Middle Ages, Ypres was one of the most powerful towns of Flanders, with a flourishing cloth industry that rivaled those of GhentGhent
, Du. Gent, Fr. Gand, city (1991 pop. 230,246), capital of East Flanders prov., W Belgium, at the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie rivers. Connected with the North Sea by the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and by a network of other canals, Ghent is a major port and
..... Click the link for more information. and BrugesBruges
, city (1991 pop. 117,063), capital of West Flanders prov., NW Belgium, connected by canal with Zeebrugge (on the North Sea), its outer port. It is a rail junction as well as a commercial, industrial, and tourist center.
..... Click the link for more information. . However, political and social unrest and foreign wars led to the decline of this industry. A center of resistance to Spanish rule, the town was taken (1584) and sacked by Alessandro FarneseFarnese, Alessandro
, 1545–92, duke of Parma and Piacenza (1586–92), general and diplomat in the service of Philip II of Spain. He was the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese and Margaret of Parma and thus a nephew of Philip II and of John of Austria, under whom he
..... Click the link for more information. . It was held by France from 1678 to 1716 and from 1792 to 1814. In World War I, Ypres was the scene of three great battles (see Ypres, battles ofYpres, battles of,
three major engagements of World War I fought in and around the town of Ypres in SW Belgium. The first battle of Ypres (Oct.–Nov., 1914) was the last of the series of engagements referred to as "the race for the sea.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The town was completely destroyed during the war and was later rebuilt. Among the city's restored buildings are the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin and the magnificent cloth-workers hall (both originally built in the 13th cent.). On the ramparts of the fortifications built (late 17th cent.) by Vauban is a British memorial gate designed by Reginald Blomfield. Outside the town's walls are some 40 military cemeteries.
(Flemish, leper), a city in northwestern Belgium, in the province of West Flanders. Population, 18,500 (1967). It is the site of textile and food industries. Machines used in the production of textiles are also manufactured. The city was first mentioned in chronicles in 1109. Between the 12th and 14th centuries, Ypres competed with Bruges and Ghent as the center of the production of cloth by guilds. Later the city went into a decline. Architectural landmarks in Ypres include the Cathedral of St. Martin (13th-15th centuries) and Cloth Hall (1200–1304), a masterpiece of secular Gothic architecture. Other monuments of medieval Lowlands architecture have also been preserved.
During World War I (1914–18) in the vicinity of Ypres, the German Fourth Army launched a counterattack against the Ypres salient (April 1915) and forestalled an offensive being prepared by the Anglo-French forces. The Germans occupied most of the salient. On April 22, the first day of fighting, the Germans used a weapon of chemical warfare (chlorine gas) and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. This was the first use of chemical warfare in the history of war. In 1917, from July 7 to November 6, the English Fifth and Second armies and the French First Army repeatedly launched offensives. Achieving minor successes, they suffered enormous losses. On July 12, 1917, the Germans used mustard gas, which is also known as yperite, for the first time.