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BE'LGIUM, one of the smaller European states, \ Moselle, but attains only the moderate elevation of consists of the southern portion of the former king- ! 2000 feet. In Flanders the land becomes so low, that dom of the Netherlands (as created by the Congress in parts where the natural protection afforded by the of Vienna). In the time of the Romans, it formed downs is deficient, dikes, &c., have been raised to a part of Gallia Belgica.
check the encroachments of the sea. In the northGeography and Statistics.--Belgium lies between east part of Antwerp, a naturally unfertile district lat. 49° 27' and 51° 30' N., and between long. 2° 33' named the Campine, and composed of marshes and and 6° 5' E. It is bounded on the N. by Holland; barren heaths, extends in a line parallel, with the on the E. by Dutch Limbourg, Luxembourg, and coast, The once impassable morasses of the Morini Rhenish Prussia ; on the S. and S. W. by France ; and the Menapii, which stayed the progress of Cæsar's and on the N. W. by the North Sea. Its greatest legions, are now drained, and converted into fertile length, from north-west to south-east, is 173 English fields, surrounded by dense plantations, which make miles ; and its greatest breadth, from north to south, the land at a distance look like a vast green forest112 English miles. The whole area is 11,313 square though, when more closely regarded, we see only miles. The following table gives a list of the pro- numerous dwellings interspersed among fields, canals, vinces in Belgium, with the area, population, and and meadows. chief town of each :
Hydrography, Climate, Agriculture, &c.--The
abundant water-system of B. is chiefly supplied by Population
Chief Cities. the rivers Scheldt and Maas, both of which rise in Square Miles. Dec. 31, 1866.
France, and have their embouchures in Holland. At Antwerp, 1,094
Antwerp. West Flanders, 1,243
Antwerp, the Scheldt, which, like the Maas, is nariBruges.
639,709 East Flanders, 1,154
gable all through Belgium, is 32 feet deep, and about 801,872
480 yards wide. Its tributaries are the Lys, Dender, 1,430 847,775 Liège,
and Rupel. The Maas, or Meuse, receives in its course 1,111 556,666 Liège. Brabant , . 1,260
the waters of the Sambre, the Ourthe, and the Roer. 820,179
These natural hydrographical advantages are in
199,856 Hasselt. Luxembourg, 1,695 196,173 Arlon.
creased by a system of canals which unite Brussels Namur,
and Louvain with the Rupel, Brussels with Charleroi, 1,397 302,719 Namur.
Mons with Condé, Ostend with Bruges and Ghent, Total, 11,313 4,839,094
and this last place with Terneuse. According to the B. is the most densely peopled country in Europe, resolution passed by the government in 1812, the the population being about 433 to the square mile; long postponed project of cutting canals through the and in the particular provinces of East Flanders, Campine district was at length commenced, and Brabant, Hainault, and West Flanders, respectively, has been very advantageous to the spread of agrinot less than 705, 664, 591, and 524 to the square culture. A large portion of the Campine seems mile. The rural population bears to that of the destined to perpetual barrenness—a dreary, silent, towns a proportion of about 3 to 1.
irreclaimable waste ; but wherever it has been posPhysical Aspect.-B. is, on the whole, a level, sible to rescue a patch from the stubborn heath or and even low-lying country; diversified, however, the relentless sand, there agricultural colonies have hv hilly districts. In the south-east, a western been planted, and cornfields shine, and pastures branch of the Ardennes highlands makes its appear- brighten in the heart of the immemorial wilderness. once, separating the basin of the Maas from that of the The climate of B., in the plains near the sea, is
cool, humid, and somewhat unhealthy; but in the may be traced back to a very early period, even to the higher south-east districts, hot summers alternate time of the Romans, who noticed the love of traffic with very cold winters. April and November are prevailing in the Celtic districts of Gallia Belgica. always rainy months. These varieties of climate are This characteristic has remained steadfast to the favourable to a greater variety of produce than the present time. It is impossible not to recognise in neighbouring country of Holland can supply. The the cloth-weaving Atrebate the ancestors of the Ardennes districts yield a large supply of wood; while industrious race who gradually extended themselves the level provinces raise all kinds of grain—wheat, towards the east and north of Belgium. During rye, barley, oats, &c., leguminous plants, hemp, flax, the early commerce of Europe, when trade was colza, tobacco, hops, dye-plants, and chicory. Bel- secure only within walled towns, Flanders was the gium contains upwards of 7,000,000 acres, of which principal seat of productive industry; and its recent one-half is arable, rather more than one-fifth in separation from Holland has also been indirectly meadow and pasture, the same in woods and forests, favourable to the development of its internal and not above 500,000 acres lying waste.
Some resources. A state which, like B., begins its hundreds of acres are devoted to vineyards, but the career under a burden of debt, which is shut in wine produced is of an inferior quality. The forests between nations who possess important ports and of Ardennes abound in game and other wild animals. colonies, and which is peopled by races not yet Good pasturage is found on the slopes and in the sufficiently blended to constitute à perfect nationvallers of the hilly districts, and in the rich meadows ality, must, before all other things, develop its of the low provinces. Gardening occupies not less internal, material resources. This has been well than 130,000 acres; indeed, it has been said that understood in Belgium. Since the commencement the agriculture of B. is just gardening on a large of its independent career, it has devoted its attention scale, so carefully and laboriously is every inch of almost exclusively to those branches of industry and soil cultivated. The spade is still the principal commerce by which its future greatness must be supinstrument used. In the Campine, the care of bees ported. is very productive, and the cultivation of the silk
Manufactures. The chief manufactures are linen, worm is encouraged. There are valuable fisheries woollen, cotton, silk, lace, leather, and metals. on the coast, which employ about 200 boats. B. The great seats of the linen manufacture--recently is famous for its horses, and in 1846 contained revived after a long depression-are Courtray and 294,537 of these animals, 1,203,891 horned cattle, Bruges, in West Flanders; Ghent, in East Flanders ; and 662,508 sheep.
Brussels, in Brabant; Mechlin, or Malines, in Geology.-The geological formations of B. are Antwerp; and Tournay, in Hainault. The number closely associated with those of France and Britain. of linen pieces annually produced is about 900,000. The greater portion of the country is covered with The lawn and damask fabrics of Bruges are celeTertiary deposits. A line drawn across the course of brated, as well as the lace made in and near Brussels, the Scheldt, by Mechlin, along the Demer and Maas, Malines, Louvain, and Bruges, which sometimes will have on its northern and north-western aspect commands a price of £40 per yard. But the Belgian a tract of tertiary deposits, bounded northwards by hand-spun yarn, though superior in quality, cannot the sea.
In these tertiary strata the different geo- maintain its ground against machinery. Verviers, logical periods are fully represented; but only the Liege, Dolhaim, Ypres, Doperinghe, Limbourg, second, containing the Pleiocene deposits, is rich in Bruges, Mons, Thuin, and Hodimont are centres of fossils. The Secondary deposits occupy an extensive the woollen manufacture. Ypres alone employs 50,000 tract in the centre of Belgium, between the Scheldt workmen in this branch of industry. Brussels and and the Demer. The most important district, econo- Tournay have large carpet manufactures, and Ilainmically, is the south-western, consisting of Palæozoic ault supplies a considerable amount of hosiery. The rocks—Silurian, Devonian, and Carboniferous. These principal manufactures of cotton are at Ghent and beds have a very complicated structure, from the Lokeren, in East Flanders; Bruges and Courtray, in numerous and extensive flexures and folds they West Flanders ; Malines, Louvain, and Anderlecht, have undergone, and these are often accompanied in Brabant; Tournay and Mons, in Hainault; and with great upward shifts, by which beds of many also at Antwerp. The separation of B. from Holland different ages are brought to the same level.
had at first a prejudicial effect on this as on other Mineral Products.---B. is rich in minerals, which, trades; but the opening of the navigation of the next to its abundant agriculture, constitute the Scheldt, the intersection of the country by railways chief source of its national prosperity. The four and canals, and, in consequence, the rapid and provinces in which they are found are Hainault, extensive communication with other countries, have Namur, Liege, and Luxembourg. They include lead, revived the activity of the cotton trade, which now copper, zinc, calamine, alum, peat, marble, limestone, gives employment to between one and two hundred slate, iron, and coal. Lead is wrought, but only to a thousand workmen. Maestricht, which belongs to small extent, in Liege; copper in Hainault and Liege; Holland, is one of the chief seats of mavufactures manganese in Liege and Namur; black marble at of leather, but this trade is also carried on at Dinant; slates at Herbemont; and calamine prin- Limbourg, Liege, Stadelot, Namur, Dinant, and cipally at Liege. But these products are insignifi- especially at Bruges and Ghent. The manufacture cant compared to the superabundance of coal-of gloves has made great progress in recent years. from anthracite to the richest gas coal-and iron, Metallurgy also has rapidly increased in productivein which B. ranks next to England. In 1866, the ness since 1816, when Cockerill introduced into B. number of coal-pits was 286 ; and the amount of the English method of smelting iron with coke. The coal put out' was 12,774,662 tons, valued at upwards principal seats of the metal manufacture are Liege, of £6,041,200. In 1857 the amount of iron ore was Namur, Charleroi, Mons, and their neighbourhoods. between one and two million tons, and of the pre- There are large ordnance foundries at Liege and pared iron, more than half a million. The number Malines, and celebrated makers of firearms and of workmen employed during the same year in the machinery in Liege ; nail-making at Charleroi ; tinBelgian coal-fields was 72,577. B. also possesses ware, &c., at Liege and in Hainault; wire and brass several mineral springs, of which the most celebrated factories at Namur; zinc manufactures at Liege; is the chalybcate water of Spa, visited by thousands lead and shot factories at Ghent; the gold and silver both from the Old World and the New.
goods of Brussels and Ghent may also be noticed as The modern industrial character of the Belgians important branches of Belgian industry. Flax is
one of the most extensive and valuable products articles of export are far more various than those of of B., no fewer than 400,000 persons being employed import. The value of Belgian exports in 1866 in its culture and preparation. Besides these, we amounted to 747,350,000 pounds; in 1865, to 756, may mention the straw-bonnet manufacture in the 420,000 pounds; and in 1857, to 450,704,000 francs ; neighbourhood of Liege; the paper fabrics of the in 1863, 533,657,281 francs. Among the principal provinces Liege, Namur, and Brabant; the glass- articles of export are coal, flax, linen, woollen, works of Hainault, Namur, Val-St.-Lambert, and and cotton goods, glass, firearms, and nails. More Brabant; the porcelain, &c., of Tourna', Brussels, than a third of the whole quantity is consigned Mons, and Ghent; and sugar-refineries at Antwerp, to France, and half of the remainder to the ZollBruges, Ostend, Ghent, &c. In 1857, the number of verein, England, and Holland. The unit of the steam-engines employed in the sereral manufactures Belgian monetary system is the franc, equal in value of B. was 3499.
to the French franc. The natural wealth and industrial resources of B. It cannot be said that intellectual improvement have always been more or less modified by the has kept pace with the material prosperity of B., political relations of the country. In the niddle though in this respect also there has been a percepof the 13th c., B., with Bruges as its chief seat of tible advance. The great hindrances to a thorough manufactures, had surpassed all its neighbours in development of the national intellect have been the industry, and had established a flourishing com- lack of political independence, which has drawn off merce with the Italians. After the discovery of the most precious energies of the country to foreign America, Antwerp took the place of Bruges, and was centres of activity; and the variety and confused regarded as a northern Venice. But the unhappy mixture of dialects, whereby the true Flemish indiperiod of Spanish oppression and the war in the viduality has been driven into the background. Netherlands deeply depressed Belgian commerce, An independent national literature, acting as the which suffered still more at the peace of Westphalia, bond of a pure national unanimity, was not possible, when Holland monopolised the navigation of the under such unfavourable conditions, to which may Scheldt. The river was again opened at the close be added the facilities afforded for supplying the of the 18th c., when the French had invaded the people with cheap reprints of foreign works. "The Netherlands, and Napoleon caused the harbour of Flemish element--the most important-seems indeed Antwerp to be restored and enlarged. At the cost to have become conscious of its capabilities in respect of Amsterdam, Belgian commerce received a new to literature; but a genuine expression of the entire impulse by the union of B. with Holland, as settled Belgian mind will first become possible when the by the congress of Vienna; but scarcely were hopes Walloon element also begins to develop a freer form revived, when the revolution of 1830 changed the of speech along with its own peculiar modes of prospects of the country. The treaty signed in thought. The Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences London, April 19, 1839, gave to Holland the right to at Brussels is at the head of several other unions for levy a toll of two-and-sixpence per ton on all vessels scientific purposes. Among the niost celebrated navigating the Scheldt. The privilege of navigation names in Belgian literature and science, may be on the inland waters between the Scheldt and the mentioned—Quetelet in mathematics, Altmeyer the Rhine was purchased by B. for an annual payment historian, Fetis the musical critic, Conscience the of £50,000. In June 1839, this privilege was virtually Flemish poet and novelist, Willems the philologist, taken away by the government of Holland, and, and Baron and Moke in literary history and criticism. in 1843, with additional expense to B., the new Painting and architecture formerly flourished in the treaty of navigation was ratified by both parties. wealthy old towns of Flanders; but after the brilDuring this crisis preceding the development of a liant epoch of Rubens and his pupils, a long period free commerce, B. had not neglected her internal of dulness followed. In modern times, a revival of
The Société de Commerce de Bruxelles, art has taken place, as may be prored by the names the Banque de Belgique, and other associations for of the painters, Wappers, De Keyser, Gallait, De the extension of trade, had been formed; and May 1, Biefve, Verboekhoven, &c.; the sculptors, W. Geefs, 1834, the government adopted the scheme for a Simonis, Jehotte, Fraikin, &c. ; the engravers, Calarailway-system the most complete of any on the matta, Brown, and Meunier; and the medallists, continent. The centre of the Belgian net-work of Wiener and Hars. railways is Malines, whence lines are carried out The Belgian school-system suffered for more than in all directions. The north line goes to Antwerp ten years under the freedom of teaching allowed by and its harbour; the west, by Ghent and Bruges, the constitution, which was chiefly made use of by to Ostend; the south-west, by Brussels and Mons, the wealthy ('atholic clergy. The consequence was to Quiévrain and the borders of France, not far that education assumed a divided and sectarian from Valenciennes; and the east, by Louvain, character. Since the state, however, has exercised Tirlemont, Liege, Verviers, and extending to the a general superintendence orer the universities, confines of Prussia. The entire length of these main gymnasia, and elementary schools, a higher style of lines in 1866 was nearly 1400 miles. The entire education has prevailed. The two universities of cost of the permanent way and building of the state Ghent and Liege, united with a school of archirailways up till 31st December 1866 was 9,515,876 tecture and mining; ten national schools (Athénérs), pounds. The receipts of the main railways during in which a classical is combined with a commercial the same year were 1,532,751 pounds; the expenses, education; fifty schools preparatory to these (Ecoles * 33,102 pounds, showing a net profit of 749,649 moyennes); two seminaries for teachers at Lierre and pounds. In connection with this great scheme of Nivelle, besides the superintendence now exercised by internal communication, the government gave at- the state over the institutions formerly maintained tention to commercial treaties and other measures by communes and provincial corporations, and, above calculated to supply the want of colonial_trade. all, over the primary schools-all this forms a suffiThe colony founded in the district of St. Thomas cient counterpoise to the numerous schools supported by a treaty with the republic of Guatemala has by private individuals and religious bodies. Among passed through a long series of difficulties, but now the latter may be noticed the Catholic Iligh School promises good results.
of Louvain, founded in 1836, and conducted under In 1866 the number of ships which entered Bel- strict ecclesiastical discipline; the free university of gian ports was 4568, and the number which left, Brussels ; and the gymnasia of the Jesuits at Namur, 4478; their united tonnage, 2,096,997 tons. The Brugelette, Brussels, and Liege. Journalism in B.
has been greatly extended by the abolition of the the heiress of Burgundy—through the latter of whom stamp-duty (1848), and 180 daily newspapers are now the Netherlands passed into the possession of the published, including 56 Flemish papers ; but only a House of Hapsburg. After the abdication of Charles, few have obtained a proper degree of respectability these provinces passed into the hands of Philip II., and influence.
and by the law of primogeniture, should have rePopulation and Religion. The population of B. is mained united with Spain. But scarcely had the of mixed German and Celtic origin. The Flemings peace of Château-Cambresis (1559) put an end to the (a branch of the Teutonic family), and Walloons (a encroachments of France, when the religious disputes branch of the Celtic family), distinguished by their of the Reformation, and the despotic measures of peculiar dialects, are still conspicuous among the Philip, excited in the provinces a long and bloody pure Germans, Dutch, and French. The French lan- war for civil and religious freedom, which ended in guage has gained the ascendency in educated society, the independence of the Northern or Teutonic and in the offices of government; but the Flemish Netherlands, while in the southern or more Celtic dialect prevails numerically in the proportion of 4 to provinces (now included under B.), both the sove
The Catholic religion is the prevailing form. reignty of Spain and the rule of the Roman Catholic There are only about 10,000 or 12,000 Protestants. Church continued. In 1598, B. was ceded by Philip and 1400 Jews. The supreme Catholic dignitaries of II. to his daughter Isabella, wife of the Archduke B. are the Archbishop of Mechlin, and the five dio. Albert, when it became a distinct and independent cesan bishops of Bruges, Ghent, Tournay, Namur, kingdom. Several measures for the better regulaand Liege.
tion of internal affairs, especially in the administraThe government of Belgium is a limited constitu- tion of justice, and for the revival of industry, which tional monarchy, and was established in its present had been injured by the unenlightened policy of form by the revolution of 1830. The legislative body Philip, were projected. Unfortunately, Albert died consists of two chambers—that of the senate, and childless in 1621, and B. fell back into the hands of that of the representatives. A responsible ministry, Spain, and became involved in the wars attending with the king as president, is at the head of all pub- the decline of the Spanish monarchy. Peace was lic affairs, and its measures are carried into effect by concluded chiefly at the cost of Belgium. By the the governors of the several provinces. The minis- treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), the counties of Artois, try includes departments for home affairs, foreign Thionville, and other districts, were given to France. affairs, finance, justice, public works, and war. The Subsequent conquests by the same powerful neighadministration of justice retains the forms of French bour secured to it, at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle jurisprudence. The total revenue of B. for 1864 (1668), the possession of Lille, Charleroi, Oudenarde, was 157,682,790 francs; the total expenditure was Courtray, and other places. These were partly re150,943,138 francs. The national debt, May 1, 1865, stored to B. at the peace of Nimeguen; but as a amounted to 655,486,047 francs.
compensation, Valenciennes, Nieuport, Cambray, St. The organization of the army is based on the law of Omer, Charlemont, and other places, were given up, 1845, and consisted, in 1866, of 73,718 rank and file, and only partially regained by B. at the peace of viz.: 56,550 infantry, 8202 cavalry, 6700 artillery, Ryswick in 1697. After the conclusion of this 1690 engineers, and 576 train. The Civic or National treaty, at the close of the reign of Charles II. of Guard, organized since 1848, includes about 90,000 Spain, some endeavours were made to create pros
The whole navy of B. consists only of the brig perity in B. by a new system of taxation and cusDuc de Brabant, with 20 guns; the schooner, Luise toms, and by the construction of canals, to counter. Marie, of 10 guns, two war-sloops, and five steamers, act the injury done to its commerce by the closing which ply as packet-boats between Ostend and Dover. of the navigation of the Scheldt; but these projected The importance of B. in a military point of view improvements were interrupted by the Spanish War affords a reason for the maintenance of fortifications of Succession, which was not concluded until the at Antwerp, Ostend, Nieuport, Ypres, Tournay, Mons, peace of Utrecht in 1713. By this treaty, B. was and other places.
given to Austria, Holland retaining the privilege of History of Belgium to 1830.-In the time of the garrisoning the most important fortresses on the Romans, the name Gallia Belgica was given to the French frontier, and also of exercising a monopoly Southern Netherlands lying on the confines of of the navigation of the Scheldt. The 'Belgian ComGaul and Germany. It was peopled by Celtic and mercial Company' at Ostend, founded by Charles German tribes. The latter were predominant in VI. in 17:22, fell in 1731-another sacrifice to the Batavia and Friesland, and, under the rule of the cupidity of Holland. During the Austrian War of Franks in the 5th and 6th c., gained the ascendency Succession (1741), almost the whole country fell also in the southern districts. Until the close of the into the hands of the French; but was peaceably 11th c., the feudal system which arose at the fall restored to Austria by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of the Carlovingian dynasty, prevailed in the Nether-|(1748). lands, where the several southern provinces were B. remained undisturbed by the Seven Years' made duchies and counties. The county of Flan- War, and during the long peace following the treaty ders, superior to all the others in industry and of Aix-la-Chapelle, prosperity was restored. Especommerce, maintained, during a long struggle, its cially during the mild reign of Maria Theresa of independence against France; and, in 1985, when Austria, measures of public improvement were prothe male line of the Counts of Flanders expired, was moted by Prince Charles of Lorraine, governor of annexed to the powerful House of Burgundy, which, the Belgian provinces. The reign of Joseph II., son in the beginning of the 15th c., also gaineil posses, and successor of Maria Theresir, began in disputes sion of all the other provinces of the Netherlands. with Holland. The latter country consented to The rulers of Burgundy aimed at founding a powerful the abolition of the Barrière-contract, in united state between France and Germany, and quence of which, several important fortresses were therefore endeavoured to repress the free republican demolished, though the emperor failed in his spirit which manifested itself in the rapidly rising endeavour to make free the navigation of the
The work of establishing unlimited sore- Scheldt. But the errors of his internal administrareignty was interrupted by the fall of Charles the tion were the serious feature of his policy. By his Bold, and the partial division of his territories; but innovations, he offended the religious sympathies was continued by the Emperor Charles V., the of the people, and violated the legal privileges of the grandson of the Emperor Maximilian, and Maria, i states, of which he had made the strict preservation