Jacob van Artevelde

Artevelde, Jacob van (yäˈkôp vän ärˈtəvĕldə) [key], c.1290–1345, Flemish statesman, of a wealthy family of Ghent. In 1337 the Flemish cloth industry underwent a severe crisis. The pro-French policy of the count of Flanders in the conflict between Edward III of England and Philip VI of France cut off English wool imports and thus ruined the Flemish merchants and weavers. Ghent rebelled, and Artevelde was given dictatorial powers as head of the city government. He negotiated (1338) a commercial treaty with England and obtained recognition of Flemish neutrality. The other towns of Flanders followed his lead, the count fled to France, and trade revived and prospered. In 1340, Artevelde had Edward III recognized as king of France (and thus suzerain of Flanders) by the Flemish towns. Artevelde's firm leadership and wealthy origin inevitably aroused resentment. Enemies accused him of proposing the lordship of Flanders to Edward the Black Prince (of England). In 1345 a riot broke out in Ghent, and Artevelde was killed by the mob.

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