The name of the town is derived from the French l'ile (''the island'), as it was actually situated on an island. It was started as a small village by the Flemish in 1030. The village grew into a town by the 11th century and was conquered by Count Baldwin IV of Flanders. Later it became a leading manufacturer of textile.
Serving as a capital of Flanders during all the Middle Ages, the town was passed to France by the Flanders government in 1312. Later the town was also passed to Austria and Spain and then it returned to France again and made a showplace of French power and glory. But it was not the end of its adventures: it was seized by Eugene, Prince of Savoy, together with the English headed by the Duke of Marlborough, and then it again returned to France. It suffered severely during both World Wars.
Today Lille (or Ryssel in Flemish) grew into the most important city in northern France, and is considered to be the fourth biggest city in the whole country. Due to its reverses of fortune and a number of universities the population of the city is young.
: guide to Lille with maps, photos and weather conditions
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