TAMH: Trading Ports

Centuries - 16 | 19

Antwerp in the 19th century

(Antwerp/Antwerpen, Belgium)

The River Scheldt had been closed to marine traffic for almost two hundred years. Under Austrian occupation in 1792, Joseph II had made an attempt to open it by military force but failed. A further attempt, when the city was under French control in 1795, was more successful but met with a British blockade. This was hardly surprising given Napoleon's description of the port as a 'pistol pointed at the heart of England'. Napoleon's defeat resulted in reunification with the Netherlands and a short period of growth. However, the Scheldt was closed again after the Belgian revolution of 1830 but reopened in 1863 and Antwerp grew once again to be one of Europe's major ports. Many Tayside vessels traded with Anwerp in the 19th century. Those of Dundee's Gem Line were frequent visitors. The picture of the port of Antwerp is from around 1892.

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