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Belgium History

Belgium’s history is a weird one as it has been ruled by the Spanish, French, Dutch, and was part of the Austrian Hapsburgs Empire until 1794. Depending who was winning the big European wars depended who Belgium was given to.

In 1790, inspired by the France Revolution, a local rebellion led to the brief establishment of the United States of Belgium, although the country was invaded by France in 1794 and remained annexed until the fall of Napoleon in 1814. In 1830 after an attempt to unite the two Netherlands a rebellion broke out and which resulted in the establishment the Kingdom of Belgium.

Over the next eighty years Belgium was steadily progressing as a stable country till World War I broke out in August 1914. At the start of the war, King Albert and his army made a stand against the invading Germans; within weeks they were pushed back to a line behind the Yser River, which they successfully held until 1918. The country suffered heavily from the war, because most of the fighting was done on its territory. During this period saw links being made between Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg as strong allies. The country was once again invaded by the Nazis in 1940, remaining occupied for the rest of the war. Again due to the countries Geographic’s it suffered again with a lot of the battles being fought on its land or along its borders.

After the war Belgium was one of the founding members of the Benelux Union and the EU, while Brussels is the headquarters of both NATO and the EU. An alliance with the Netherlands and Luxembourg was created in 1958 and was called the Benelux Union, which in turn became one of the foundation stones of the European Community. Belgium has a stable Western European liberal democracy, but the principal domestic problem is the continuing tension between the Flemish-speaking north and the French-speaking south of the country, whose inhabitants are known as Walloons. This is the key sticking point when it comes to elections and which governments ally with each other.

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