Baesweiler — Site Of An Epic, Hollywood-Esque Battle Scene

Baesweiler is a town that lies about 20 km (12 mi) north-northeast of Aachen, in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state. This is an ancient place that dates back to the time of the Romans.

The town that is today Baesweiler was conquered by Julius Caesar himself. The ubiquitous Romans used this spot for a military route leading to Cologne. Many traces of their time here have been uncovered, such as funerary vessels.

Baesweiler itself was first mentioned in written records all the way back in 1130. But it gained more popularity — or notoriety — in 1371 as the site of a bloody and humiliating battle.

A disagreement arose between two dukes, Wenceslaus I of Luxembourg (and duke of Brabant) and William, Duke of Jülich. The year 1371 was probably a very bad time to be alive! There were mercenaries roaming about who pillaged and plundered everything in their sight. And so it happened that some of Wenceslaus’ merchants were robbed while on the land of Jülich.

Understandably, Wenceslaus was a bit peeved at the indignity suffered by his own people, especially as it had occurred in the territory of the other duke. So, Wenceslaus demanded reparations from William. But William not only refused to pay, he also offered jobs and protection to the same mercenaries who had committed this act.

Diplomacy was not so refined in those dark days. Rather than work out their difficulties, the two men declared war. Wenceslaus made preparations to attack while William asked his brother, Eduard I, Duke of Guelders, for assistance. The armies clashed at this very spot, in Baesweiler.

Wenceslaus was on track to win the battle. But before he could claim victory, the tide turned. With all the timing of a climactic Hollywood battle scene, the Duke of Guelders arrived in the nick of time to save his brother and win the day.

Wenceslaus was captured, and the hero of this act, Eduard, died in battle.

 

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