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Lossingsbericht BRT radio


Belgian Pigeonrings


More and more people started keeping pigeons between 1800 and 1810. In those days also the first race had been place.

When took place the first pigeon races?

It's not easy to find information about the first pigeon flights. What I know is that the first races took place in what we now call Belgium. Old books about pigeonsport teach us that the first pigeon competitions took place between 1805 and 1807 in the suburbs of Liège. 



foto uit boek Wittouck


Those who had pigeons talked about it when they met and soon had one of them the prettiest another had the strongest and a third fancier thought he had the fastest pigeons, shortly afterwards the first pigeons were taken to a village further down and the first pigeons returned from a race, the fledgling pigeon sport was born. 


2 articles from the 1808 French newspaper: Gazette de France
1808-08-31 Gazette de France
The oldest Newsarticle about a pigeon race from "Gazette de France" The article on the left is talking about Bruxelles as return point but it must be Liège



Officially not Belgium, not in the Netherlands

until 1794-1795, the part belonged to the Principal Diocese of Liège, but was carried through an attack by Napoleon, which led to the disappearance of the Principal Diocese of Liège and was annexed under the first French empire (1804-1814). This means that actually the first pigeon races where kept in France.




 The First French Empire in dark green, with Liège


A General Government or Government General was an administrative unit established in 1814-1815 in the areas that the "Hoge Geallieerde Machten" had recaptured from the First French Empire. The General Governments of Central Rhine and Lower Rhine, a combination of the Lower Rhine States from the Peace of Lunéville, including the prince dioceses of Liege, Cologne and Trier, and possessions of Austria (including Luxembourg), Prussia (Gelre-Kleve) and Bavaria (Gulik). (Wikipedia)

The United Kingdom of the Netherlands was a historic state that encompassed Belgium and the Netherlands from 1815 to 1830, and which was also in a personal union with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The word "united" was added afterwards by historians to distinguish it from the contemporary Kingdom of the Netherlands. (Wikipedia)

The Belgian Revolution is the armed uprising in 1830 against King William I of the Netherlands that led to the separation of the southern provinces and to the independence of Belgium. After the French Revolution and the fall of Napoleon, great powers such as the German states and the United Kingdom had created a buffer zone by assigning the Belgian territories to the new Dutch kingdom. This had happened without domestic participation. (Wikipedia)


Since 1830, Liège has been part of Belgium, most of the work to breed a good racing pigeon took place between 1840-1860. We still use this timing to indicate that Belgium is the cradle of pigeon sport.

 Belgium since 1830, with Liège



© TomAerts