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Walcheren

From Academic Kids

Missing image
RMSDeltaSouth.jpg
Satellite image of the Scheldt estuary
Walcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south and is roughly the shape of a (cards) diamond. The two sides on the side of the North Sea consist of dunes; the rest of its coastline is made up of dykes. Middelburg ("Middleborough") lies at its centre; this city is the provincial capital and Vlissingen 9 km to the south is the main harbour. The third municipality is Veere.

Originally, Walcheren was an island, but polders and a dam across the Sloe strait have connected it to the (former) island of Zuid-Beveland, which in turn has been connected to the North Brabant mainland.

History

Already in Roman days, the island was the point of departure for ships going to England and it had a temple of the goddess Nehalennia who was popular with those who wished to brave the waters of the North Sea.

Starting on July 30, 1809 a British armed force of 39,000 men landed on Walcheren, the Walcheren Expedition, with a view to assisting the Austrians in their war against Napoleon, and attacking the French fleet moored at Flushing. The expedition was a disaster - the Austrians had already been defeated at the Battle of Wagram and were suing for peace, the French fleet had moved to Antwerp, and the British lost over 4,000 men to a disease called "Walcheren Fever", thought to be a combination of malaria and typhus. The force was withdrawn in December.

On November 1, 1944 the British and Canadians landed for a second time at Walcheren in an attempt to open up the Scheldt, which was the key to Antwerp. The amphibious assault (codenamed "Infatuate") proved a success and by November 8 all German resistance at the island had been overrun.

nl:Walcheren

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