Last modified: 2004-07-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: nord | fort-mardyck | fort-mardijk |
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by Olivier Touzeau
The municipality of Fort-Mardyk (Dutch, Fort-Mardijk; 3,800 inhabitants) is the smallest of the municipalities members of the Communauté Urbaine of Dunkirk. It stretches over 140 ha between the Western Port and the Eastern Port of Dunkirk.
The fort of Mardyck (or Mardic) was built in 1622 by architect Jean Gamel for the Spaniards, then rulers of Flanders. It was a big (700 x 900 m) fortress built on the sea shore in order to protect the Western Port, which was the main access to Dunkirk. Therefore, every seizure of Dunkirk required the seizure the fort, which was seized, lost and seized again several times by the French between 1644 and 1658 until the battle of the Dunes, won on 14 June 1658 by marshal Turenne over the Spanish troops commanded by the Great Condé.
After having purchased Dunkirk and the fort to the English in 1662,
Louis XIV ordered the destruction of the fort. His main minister Colbert
decided to establish a fishers' colony on the available land. The four
Benard, Evrard, Godin and Zoonekynd families were granted the piece of
land where the fort had been built. The beginning of the colony was
difficult because of very harsh conditions and the hostility of the
local Flemish population. In 1700, the fishers created a syndicate in
order to administrate the concession, which was nominally a part of
Mardyck, then Petite-Synthe and eventually Grande-Synthe. The village
developed thanks to the Grande Pêche in Iceland.
An imperial decree from 12 February 1867 established Fort-Mardyck as an independent municipality and confirmed the fishers' privilege. In 1930, the inhabitants of Fort-Mardyck asked for the suppression of the privilege, which restricted the economical development of the city (it was not possible to build new shops and buildings). The odd statutes of Fort-Mardyck were abolished only on 31 July 1962 by the National Assembly, and the municipality was eventually owner of its own territory.
There is a city named Mardyck west of Fort-Mardyck, mostly known for the
Flanders oil refinery owned by Solliac Total and classified "Seveso" on
the scale of industrial risks.
The village was called Mardika (1121, from Germanic maru, natural water course in clay region by the sea, and dika ditch. So, a canalized streamlet (J. van Overstraeten, De Nederlanden in Frankrijk. Beknopte encyclopedie. Vlaamse Toeristenbond, Antwerpen, 1969)
Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 1 April 2004
Fort-Mardyck flies a four-striped red and white flag) on thr city hall. I saw there one year ago a vertical flag, with the same horizontal stripes, and if I remember correctly 6 stripes with a red stripe on top.
Olivier Touzeau, 30 March 2004