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The town is located on the Leie, a tributary of the Scheldt. The municipality comprises several former parishes and villages: Deinze (the city itself), Astene, Bachte-Maria-Leerne, Gottem (Gottem-St.-Martinus), Grammene, Meigem (Meigem-St.-Jozefskerk), Petegem aan de Leie ("Peteghem"), Sint Martens leerne ("Sint Martinus"), Vinkt ("Vinkt") and Wontergem. Deinze was probably founded in the 7th century by monks from nearby Rolduc. It grew to be an important economic center in Flanders until 1340 when it was almost completely destroyed by fire. In 1555 it became part of Spain's Generality Lands as "deynse".