Battle of the Golden Spurs  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was a battle fought between the Kingdom of France and the County of Flanders at Kortrijk (Courtrai in French) in modern-day Belgium on 11 July 1302.

On 18 May 1302, after two years of French occupation and several years of unrest, the people of Flanders revolted against French rule and massacred many Frenchmen in the Belgian city of Bruges. King Philip IV of France immediately organized an expedition of 8,000 troops, including 2,500 men-at-arms, under Count Robert II of Artois to put down the rebellion. Meanwhile, 9,400 men from the civic militias of several Flemish cities were assembled to counter the expected French attack.

When the two armies met outside the city of Kortrijk on 11 July, the cavalry charges of the mounted French men-at-arms proved unable to defeat the armoured, well-equipped and well-trained Flemish militia infantry pike formation on a battlefield. The result was a rout of the French nobles, who suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Flemish. The battle was a famous early example of an all-infantry army overcoming an army that depended on the shock attacks of heavy cavalry.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Battle of the Golden Spurs became an important cultural reference point for the Flemish Movement. In 1973, the date of the battle was chosen to be the date of the official holiday of the Flemish Community in Belgium.





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