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GOUDA History
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The area were now Gouda lies, was still covered with swamps and wet land around the year 1000. One of the most important rivers cutting through that area was the "Gouwe" river. Alongside its banks the first settlers came to live during the 11th and 12th centuries. Most people came to built a house around the fortified castle of the familyu "Van der Goude" (close to the present St. John's church). The small city began to grow and named itself Gouda" (after the "Van der Goude" family).

Around 1225 the Gouwe river was connected with the Old Rhine through a new canal. The estuary of the Gouwe in the IJsel river was transformed into a harbour, which attracted more and more traders (navigating between Flanders-France on the one hand, and Holland and the Baltic area on the other hand).

Gouda was chartered in 1272 and the counts brought their tollhouse right to the city. By then the Van der Goude family had disappeared and had been replaced by the lords of Beaumont, who built a new and imposing castle on the banks of the IJsel in 1361. Already around 1350 the city had expanded to its maximum and fortified walls were constructed. Although fires (1361) and the plague (1438) did not spare the city, Gouda continued to thrive.

The plague inspired the god-fearing people of Gouda to build numerous convents and chapels. In the 15th century Gouda was rich, ranked among the five most important cities of Holland and was as large as Amsterdam. One of the most famous sons of Gouda was the 16th century humanist Desiderius Erasmus. He was born here and received his education here. Gouda developed into a thriving trade centre during the 15th century, with the focus of its trade lying on beer and cloth production. During the 80 years war Gouda became politically and economically isolated, but recovered in the 17th century due to new industries and trades such as cheese-making, pipe-making and the production of wax candles.

Gouda had always remained an industrial beehive. Some of the most important products to come from here are : candles, soap, sirup, yarn, rope, machines, terra cotta pots, pipes, etc.....


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