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gemeente (municipality), southwestern Netherlands, at the divergence of the Merwede, Noord, Oude Maas (Old Meuse), and Dordtse Kil rivers. Founded in 1008, it was the residence of the counts of Holland until 1203 and was first chartered in 1220. It was fortified in 1271, and, although severely damaged by flood in 1421, it was one of the most prosperous medieval ports in the Netherlands until it was surpassed by Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In 1572 it was captured by the Sea Beggars (Netherlands rebels against Spain) and was the scene of the first assembly of the United Provinces. It was the seat (1618-19) of the important Synod of Dort, an international assembly of the Reformed Church (for which it had declared in 1572).