French Flanders

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French Flanders (; ) is a part of the historical Dutch-speaking region in present-day France. The region today lies in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas de Calais, the department of Nord, and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.


French Flanders is mostly flat marshlands in the coal-rich area just south of the North Sea.French Flanders consists of two regions:
  1. French Westhoek to the northwest, lying between the Lys River and the North Sea, roughly the same area as the Arrondissement of Dunkirk
  2. Lille Flanders (French: La Flandre Lilloise; Dutch: Rijsels-Vlaanderen), the French parts of Romance Flanders (historically also Walloon Flanders) to the southeast, south of the Lys and now the arrondissements of Lille and Douai


Once a part of ancient Frankia since the inception of the Frankish kingdom under the Merovingian monarchs such as Clovis, who was crowned at Tournai, Flanders gradually fell under the control of the English and then Spanish. When French power returned under Louis XIV, a part of historically French Flanders was returned.

The region now called French Flanders was originally part of the feudal Countship of Flanders, then part of the Southern Netherlands, in present-day Belgium. It was separated from the countship (part of Habsburg's Burgundian inheritance) in 1659 due to the Peace of the Pyrenees, which ended the French-Spanish conflict in the Thirty Years War, and other parts of the...
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