Antwerp (Fr. Anvers), the chief town of the province of the same name in Belgium, was founded in the seventh century A.D., on the right bank of the river Scheldt, about 50 miles from the sea. The numerous canals greatly facilitate the shipping and unshipping of goods which pass to and from every quarter of the globe, and steam communication exists with all foreign countries. The cathedral is one of the finest Gothic buildings in North Europe, and contains three masterpieces of Rubens. It has six aisles, and is 500 feet long by 250 feet broad. In the church of St. James the painter himself is buried. The Hotel de Ville, the Hotel of the Hanseatic League, and the old house of Plantins the printers are interesting architectural monuments. Perhaps the best thing that Antwerp possesses is its noble picture gallery, thoroughly illustrating the development of Dutch and Flemish art. For three or four centuries after its foundation Antwerp, though prosperous, suffered from the Normans, from fires and from plagues, and never stood out as one of the first ports of Europe till the 12th century. A little later it joined the Hanseatic League, and from that date until the closing of the Scheldt in 1648, it grew steadily in wealth and population, though the Spanish armies twice captured it. On one of these occasions (1576) what was known as "the Spanish Fury" raged with such disastrous effect that the traces of it can be clearly distinguished to this day. In 1792 the city passed into French hands, and Napoleon did all he could to make it a rival port to London. In 1814 Antwerp was surrendered by the Treaty of Paris, a previous attempt to take it having failed. It was then assigned to Holland. When Belgium claimed its independence in 1830 Antwerp was held by the Dutch garrison, and had to be reduced by bombardment in 1832. Since that date it has belonged to Belgium.