You Forgot the Leopold Colony for the Poor: The Story Behind the Verapaz Bridge Rising in Ghent

You Forgot the Leopold Colony for the Poor: The Story Behind the Verapaz Bridge Rising in Ghent

Listen to the conversation with Tina De Gendt on “The World Today” on Radio 1 Select

Bridges are always named, often referring to a historical figure, city, or country. This is no different at Verapaz Bridge. city ​​historian Tina de Jandt He explains the story: “The story surrounding the name Verapaz begins in the middle of the nineteenth century. At that time, Ghent was swept by a huge amount of immigration from Flanders.”

Leopold first colony test

She says there was a lot of poverty at that time. “Thousands of people who worked in the factories tried to survive in order to get an apple and an egg. They lived in many openings, including in Voormuide, where the Verapaz Bridge would be built. During that time, Belgium acquired a colony in Guatemala, which is Specifically in the Verapaz region. Alta Verapaz is a department in Guatemala in the center of the country. The capital, Cuba.

At the time, Guatemala saw potential in Belgium, which was at the forefront of industrial development, says de Gendt. “Because there were so many engineers, Guatemala wanted to bring them in to experience an industrial revolution.” Ghent seems to have its own idea about this: “Ghent thought: let’s send the people we want to get rid of here. It’s about the people who live at the gates.”

Ghent thought: Let’s send the people we want to get rid of here. It’s about the people who lived in the vents

Ad to go to Verapaz

To accomplish this, an advertisement was made, and Ghent’s song “Wee Goes With Her to Verapaz” was written. “This was popular at the time. This way people were motivated to join the boat in Verapaz.”

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In the Voormuide district of Ghent, there was a beluizen (small workers’ houses together on an often dead street) where a group of people decided to go and travel to the colony. “They disappeared with the northern sun,” says de Gendt. “The years passed and no one heard of these people again.” The colony ceased to exist and no one knew what had happened to Gentinar.

an ambush?

He suspected that something mysterious was going on. “Because,” says de Gendt. “Verapaz is very similar to the French ‘tu ne verras pas’. You will never see it. More and more people are beginning to fear that these gentnars have been entrapped, and sent out to sea to disappear into nothingness. To disappear.”

Ghent thought: Let’s send the people we want to get rid of here. It’s about the people who lived in the vents

Later, says de Gendt, not so long ago, it turned out that these people came there and founded a colony, which was not very successful. “It really happened. Not many people survived because of the scurvy outbreak on the ship.”

Belgian tracks in Verapaz

It is clear that there are traces of that colony and the Belgian presence in Verapaz. “There is a Belgian club that is still active there. This is from people of Belgian descent who are still proud of their heritage.”

Documentary filmmakers Anne Van Denden and Didier Vollkart depicted the story, starting with a resident of Verapaz with bright blue eyes.

Reception center for refugees and asylum seekers

The name Verapaz is not only given to the new Ghent Bridge. Near the planned bridge, near the famous hatch, there is a reception center for refugees and asylum seekers. “This center was also called Verapaz,” says de Gendt. “It has almost the same meaning: people who are sent here with false promises.”

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Listen to the conversation with Tina De Gendt on “The World Today” on Radio 1 Select

Bron: vrtnws.be and “The World Today”

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