Rocroi - Encyclopedia

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ROCROI, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Ardennes, 2 2 m. N.N.W. of Charleville by rail, and within 2 m. of the Belgian frontier. Pop. (1906) town, 796; commune, 2116.2116. As a fortified place it commands the Ardennes plateau between the valley of the Meuse and the head-waters of the Oise. The present fortifications, constructed by Vauban, form a pentagon and entirely close in the town, which has regularly built streets converging on a central square. Overlooking the latter is the church, a florid building of the 18th century. Rocroi is the seat of a sub-prefect and has a tribunal of first instance.

The place, originally called Croix-de-Rau or Rau Croix, was fortified in the 16th century and besieged by the imperialists in 1555. Invested by the Spaniards in 1643, it was relieved by Louis II., the duke of Enghien (afterwards the Great Conde), after a brilliant victory. Captured in 1658 by the same duke, then in the Spanish service, it was not restored to France till the treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. In 1815 Rocroi was besieged for a month by the allies.

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