Ostend, a town of Belgium, in the province of West Flanders, on the North sea, 66 m. W. N. TV. of Brussels; pop. in 1871, 15,963. Next to Antwerp it is the principal port of Belgium, and it is one of the most frequented bathing places of Europe, the annual visitors numbering about 20,000. The town is well built, and contains several churches besides the cathedral. Among the public works which have been recently constructed are a pier extending from the steamboat landing to the railway station, and a magnificent hospital. A large dock for fishing boats has been built by the government. Outside of the Bruges gate are the oyster parka or salt-water reservoirs, filled with English oysters, which after being fattened here are exported in enormous quantities as Ostend oysters, and are celebrated for their small size and delicate taste. The passengers from and for England numbered in 1873 about 45,000. The number of vessels of all kinds entering the port in the same year was 698, with an aggregate tonnage of 171,652. The imports were valued at 16,000,000 francs, besides about 30,000,000 francs worth of goods in transit between England and Prussia. The value of exports was 15,000,000 francs, consisting chiefly of butter, eggs, meat, chiccory, and oil.
Several sugar mills have lately been constructed in the vicinity, but the manufacturing industry is limited. - Ostend was destroyed by the sea in 1333, and for some time afterward the present place was only a fishing village. It was enclosed with walls by Philip the Good of Burgundy, and fortified in 1583 by the prince of Orange. The memorable siege of Ostend by the Spaniards, ending with the surrender of the fortress to Spinola, lasted from July, 1601, till September, 1604, and cost upward of 100,000 lives. In the war of the Spanish succession the allies captured it in 1706; and in 1715 it was ceded by Holland to Charles VI. of Austria. It was taken in 1745 by the French, and restored in 1748; and again taken by the French in 1794 and held until the peace of 1814, the English having made an unsuccessful attempt to capture it in 1798. Three American envoys to European courts, Buchanan, Mason, and Soulé, met here in October, 1854, to deliberate on the acquisition of Cuba by the United States, the result of which was the so-called "Ostend manifesto." (See Buchanan.) The fortifications of Ostend were demolished in 1867.