Skeleton find linked to D'Artagnan's musketeers

5th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 May 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The seven skeletons uncovered in a front garden in Maastricht on Tuesday may be the remains of musketeers who died during a fierce 17th century battle between D'Artagnan French troops and defenders of the southern Dutch city, it has been revealed.

5 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The seven skeletons uncovered in a front garden in Maastricht on Tuesday may be the remains of musketeers who died during a fierce 17th century battle between D'Artagnan French troops and defenders of the southern Dutch city, it has been revealed.

The famous French musketeer D'Artagnan  — who was an officer in French King Louis XIV personal guard and led the siege of Maastricht — was killed in the battle. The French troops occupied the Dutch city from 1673 to 1679.

D'Artagnan was immortalised and romanticised by writer Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Three Musketeers.

The skeletal remains of at least seven people were uncovered during renovation work on the front garden of a house on Picardenlaan in Maastricht, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

Experts from the national forensic institute NFI were called in to ascertain whether an old burial site had been disturbed or whether the remains were from victims of crime buried there in recent years.

But the focus shifted to a 17th century battle on Wednesday as residents also claimed to have previously found coins dating back to that time in their backyards.

On 14 June 1673, Louis XIV's troops started to surround the city of Maastricht. Under the leadership of Captain-Lieutenant D'Artagnan, the First Company of "Mousquetaires du Roi" prepared to storm a rampart located in front of one of the city's gates.

The assault on the bulwark took place not far from where the seven skeletons were found. The elite French officer, Charles de Batz de Castelmore (better known as D'Artagnan) was killed on 25 June 1673 during a night attack on the Tongerse Poort (Tongerse Gate).

Despite the fact that D'Artagnan was killed after being shot in the head by a musket bullet fired from the nearby fortress wall, the Dutch city surrendered to French troops on 30 June.

According to French sources from that time, the attack on the Tongerse Poort five days earlier had cost the lives of more than 100 French soldiers.

D'Artagnan was the popular hero from the adventure novels of Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Man in the Iron Mask). The unofficial fourth musketeer represented traditional, heroic values.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + French news

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