« PrécédentContinuer »
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 beiween 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 and population of and meadows. each, according to latest returns:
Hydrography, Climate, Agriculture, &c.—The
abundant water-system of B, is chiefly supplied by Provinces.
sq. miles. Dec. 31, 1886. Chief Cities. the rivers Scheldt and Maas, both of which rise in Antwerp, 1,094 577,232 Antwerp.
France, and have their embouchures in Holland. At West Flanders, 1,243 691,764 Bruges.
Antwerp, the Scheldt, which, like the Maas, is javi.. East Flanders, 1,154 881,816 Ghent. gable all through Belgium, is 32 feet deep, and about Hainault, 1,430 977,562 Mons.
480 yards wide. Its tributaries are the Lys, Dender, Liege, 1,111 663, 607
and Rupel. The Maas, or Meuse, receives in its course Brabant,
1,260 985,274 Brussels. the waters of the Sambre, the Qurthe, and the Roer. Limbourg,
210,851 Hasselt. These natural hydrographical advantages are inLuxembourg, 1,695 209,118 Arlon. creased by a system of canals which unite Brussels Namur,
. 1,397 322,620 Namur. and Louvain with the Rupel, Brussels with Charleroi, Total, 11,313 5,519,844
Mons with Condé, Ostend with Bruges and Ghent,
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 450 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 764, 782, 683, and 557 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 by 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.. uce, separating the basin of the Maas from that of the The climate of B., in the plains near the sea, is.