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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
It wasn't their fault they were so prosperous. The city-state of Geneva (Switzerland) was just too wonderful for its own good. Because it was such a ripe plum, the Duke of Savoy coveted it. It wasn't a member of the Swiss Confederation back then, so he probably thought that it would be easy pickins. Little did he know. . .

On the night of December 11-12, the duke's forces in combination with those of Phillip III of Spain launched a surprise attack. His plan was to have a few soldiers slip into the city and open the gates for the rest of the army. History doesn't tell us whether Geneva expected something like this might happen, but it does tell us that an alert night guard, Jacques Mercier, raised the alarm. The church bells were rung, and the Genevois were alerted in enough time to repel the soldiers as they tried to scale the walls of the city. The Savoyards were routed. The Genevois lost only 18 men in the fighting and the Savoyards lost 54.

To celebrate this illustrious defeat, the city of Geneva celebrates the festival of L'Escalade every year on the weekend closest to the date. L'Escalade is taken from "escalade", meaning "scaling defensive walls".

Today's Question: In what year did the original battle happen?

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Blogger robynl said...
during the night of 11–12 December 1602

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