History of Belgium

The history of Belgium predates the founding of the modern state of that name in 1830. Belgium's history is intertwined with those of its neighbours: the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg. For most of its history, what is now Belgium was either a part of a larger territory, such as the Carolingian Empire, or divided into a number of smaller states, prominent among them being the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, the Prince-Bishopric of Lige and County of Luxembourg. Due to its strategic location and the many armies fighting on its soil, since the Thirty Years' War (16181648), Belgium has often been called the "battlefield of Europe" or the "cockpit of Europe".[1] It is also remarkable as a European nation which contains, and is divided by, a language boundary between Latin-derived French and Germanic Dutch.Belgium's formation, like that of its Benelux neighbours, can be traced back to the "Seventeen Provinces" within the Burgundian Netherlands. These were brought together under the House of Valois-Burgundy, and eventually declared independent of both France and Germany by their descendant Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in his Pragmatic Sanction of 1549. The Eighty Years' War (15681648) led to the split between a northern Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands from which Belgium and Luxembourg developed. This southern territory continued to be ruled by the Habsburg descendants of the Burgundian house, at first as the "Spanish Netherlands". Invasions from France under Louis XIV led to the loss of what is now Nord-Pas-de-Calais to France, while the remainder finally became the "Austrian Netherlands". The French Revolutionary wars led to Belgium becoming part of France in 1795, bringing the end of the semi-independence of areas which had belonged to the Catholic church. After the defeat of the French in 1814, a new United Kingdom of the Netherlands was created, which eventually split one more time during the Belgian Revolution of 18301839, giving three modern nations, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
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