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Overview of the history of BELGIUM

April 2, 2019
By: Georges Demeester

Belgium is a kingdom of 30,000 km2 and 11,000,000 inhabitants. Before its independence in 1830, it suffered several invasions and occupations.

In 50 BC, at the time, Belgium was part of Gaul and was invaded by J. Cesar, who wrote in his memoirs “Of all the peoples of Gaul, the Belgians are the bravest “. Since then, our country has experienced many other occupations. In 843 following the Treaty of Verdun Belgium is managed by the Franks including the emperor Charlemagne created the first school.

In the Middle Ages, from the 9th to the 15th century, especially Flemish cities, Bruges and Ghent are very prosperous thanks to the numerous commerces especially in draps. In the 15th century, it was the domination of the Dukes of Burgundy and then the Habsburgs with Emperor Charles V, who was born in Ghent. in 1500. Following various marriages, it is the Spaniards with Philip II who rule Belgium (which was together with the Netherlands part of the ‘Low Lands’ at the time).

In 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht Belgium passes under Austrianrule with Joseph II hence the first revolts of independence of Belgium. From 1789 to 1815 the French occupied Belgium with Napoleon I. From 1815 to 1830, Belgium was merged with the Netherlands with William I of Orange. In 1830 the Belgians rebelled and drove the Dutch out of the country and declared their independence and have a Constitution (Basic Law) in 89 days, it was long a model of its kind.

From 1830 to 1908: Independent Belgium becomes a constitutional monarchy with as 1st King, Leopold I, from Saxony Coburg. Leopold II, successor of Leopold I, with the help of Stanley acquires Congo (DRC in 2019). Despite being a neutral country, Belgium was invaded in 1914 and in 1940 by Germany, in 1914 the Belgian army under the leadership of King Albert I, nicknamed the “Soldier King” stood up during from the Battle of the Yser to the German Army. The consequences of these two conflicts resulted in universal suffrage (in 1948 for the women).

After the Second World War, Leopold III was forced by referendum to abdicate in favor of his son. Baldwin I, who reigned until 1993 when he died, was then his brother Albert II who became King. In 1993, following a revision of the constitution, Belgium became a federal state following linguistic problems between Flemish and French-speakers, Belgium has since been composed of federal government and 3 Regions, Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Capital, each with a government and a parliament of its own, and 10 provinces.

On the economic level the situation is more or less stable and of a good level. Despite the invasions of most European countries, Belgium has always played a role major factor in the construction of Europe in the political, economic and educational spheres, the creation of Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and was one of the founding members with France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg of the Common Market in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, which in 1993 became the European Union by the Maastricht Treaty. In 2019 Belgium is present at the UN Security Council.

Belgium is undeniably a model for the creation of Europe, some countries to inspire.

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