Vauban was here

Sebastian le Prestre, Marquis de Vauban (1633-1707), was a French military engineer and adviser to King Louis XIV.

Kilroy was here

What Kilroy was to the twentieth century, Vauban was to the seventeenth. Wherever you went in Western Europe, Vauban had already been there and had designed, built, strengthened — or conquered — the fortifications.

Altogether, in his long career, Vauban repaired and strengthened the existing fortifications in three hundred places, conducted fifty-three sieges and built thirty-three completely new fortresses.

Stephane Perréon, Vauban

In 1673 Louis XIV joined Vauban near Maastricht with 45,000 troops for the purpose of overcoming the existing fortifications and occupying the city. Vauban accomplished this within three weeks, using new tactics of his own devising.

For the next five years Maastricht was occupied by the French, and in this time Vauban repaired and strengthened the fortifications. But in 1678 the French withdrew from Maastricht as agreed in the peace treaties of that ended the Franco–Dutch War. In return, France retained control of the region of the Franche-Comté and the city of Besançon, which in the meantime had also been successfully besieged by Vauban.

City wall in Maastricht

My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2019.

See more posts on Sebastian le Prestre, Marquis de Vauban.
See more posts on Maastricht, the southernmost city in the Netherlands.

6 thoughts on “Vauban was here”

  1. Yes, at first I didn’t understand why so many fortifications were called Vauban but a trip to Les Invalides solved the mystery and you’re adding to my knowledge.

    1. Hi Sally. Yes, the fortifications he built are mainly in what is now France, since his job was to strengthen and protect the borders — but he also built in Maastricht (Netherlands), Freiburg (Germany) and a few places in Belgium.

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