At the beginning of the 16th century, the Philippeville region was on the boundary between Charles V’s Burgundian Netherlands and Francis I’s France. Fighting around Philippeville did not start, however, until 1554, after Henry II had succeeded his father on the throne. This area was ideal for an attack as it was covered with forests, sparsely populated and divided among the County of Hainaut, that of Namur, by now part of Burgundy, and the Bishopric of Liège. The medieval forts in the area were taken and pillaged one after the other. The fortress of Mariembourg, close to Couvin, and the town of Givet soon fell to the French. In 1555, Charles V’s new commander, William the Silent, established a new fort in the village of Echerennes, a village known since the 9th century. He garrisoned his troops there as soon as the fort was completed, barely four months after the start of construction. In 1556, Charles V named his new fortress Philippeville in honour of his son, Philip II of Spain, who would succeed him in the Netherlands – and on the city – the following year.