The aggregation of population in towns was at one time mainly brought about by the necessity for defence, a fact indicated by the defensive sites of many old towns.
At the foot of the dunes are the old towns and villages of Sassenheim, close to which are slight remains of the ancient castle of Teilingen (12th century), in which the countess Jacoba of Bavaria died in 1433.
The old towns of Axel and Halst were formerly important fortresses, and as such were frequently besieged in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The fishery is of ancient importance; at the old towns of Falsterbo and SkanOr, south of Malmo, thousands of fishermen were employed until the harbours became choked in 1631, and the fish were a valuable item in the Hanseatic commerce.
A number of small old towns are found along the Rhine, the Lek and the Holland Ysel, such as Rhenen (or Reenen), Wyk-by-Duurstede, Yselstein, Montfoort.
The southern division of the province presents a very different aspect, and contains many old towns and villages.
This led to the disappearance of the agri cultural population, to a decline in public safety, and to the spread of malaria in many parts; indeed, it is quite possible that it was not introduced into Latium before the 4th century B.C. The evil increased in the later period of the Republic, and many of the old towns of Latium sank into a very decayed condition; with this the continual competition of the provinces as sources of food-supply no doubt had a good deal to do.
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