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BELGIUM, 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 forest, 112 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. ehief town of each :
Hydrography, Climate, Agriculture, &c. - The abundant water-system of B. is chiefly supplied by the rivers Scheldt and Maas, both of which rise in
France, and have their embouchures in Holland. At Antwerp,
Antwerp. Antwerp, the Scheldt, which, like the Maas, is navi. West Flanders, 1,213
668,976 East Flanders,
gable all through Belgium, is 32 feet deep, and about Hainault, 1,430
480 yards wide. Its tributaries are the Lys, Dender, Liege,
592,177 Liege. and Rupel. The Maas, or Meuse, receives in its course Brabant,
879,814 Brussels, Limbourg,
the waters of the Sambre, the Ourthe, and the Roer.
200,336 Luxembourg, 1,695
These natural hydrographical advantages are in. Namur, . 1,397
creased by a system of canals which unite Brussels
and Louvain with the Rupel, Brussels with Charleroi, Totsi, 11,313 5,087,105
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 1842, the the population being about 404 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 675, 594, 537, and 502 to the square culture. A large portion of the Campine seems mile. The rural population is to that of the towns destined to perpetual barrenness-a dreary, silent, as 3 to l.
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. ance, 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 Atrebatæ 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 nationvalleys 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 instrument used. In the Campine, the care of bees supported. 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 one year contained revived after a long depression, are Courtray and as many as 294,537 of these animals, 1,203,891 Bruges, in West Flanders; Ghent, in East Flanders; horned cattle, 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 Hainmically, 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 thé 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 manufactures 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 1871, the ness_since 1816, when Cockerill introduced into B.
put out' of coals in B. was 13,733,176 tons, the the English method of smelting iron with coke. The total value of which was £6,152,120. Nearly three principal seats of the metal manufacture are Liege, fourths of the exports of coal during the four years Namur, Charleroi, Mons, and their neighbourhoods. 1868–1871, went to the Netherlands. The number There are large ordnance foundries at Liege and of people employed at the end of that year in the Malines, and celebrated makers of firearms and coal-mines of Hainault, Namur, and Liege was 94,186; machinery in Liege; nail-making at Charleroi; tinthe average daily pay of the workmen, 24 francs; ware, &c., at Liege and in Hainault; wire and brass and the cost of production, 94 francs per ton of coal. factories at Namur; zinc manufactures at Liege ; The iron-ore weighs annually about two million tons, lead and shot factories at Ghent; the gold and silver and the prepared iron nearly half that quantity. 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 merce of B. averaged £100,000,000 in value, rather of B., no fewer than 400,000 persons being employed more than half of which sum was due to imports. in its culture and preparation. Besides these, we The commercial intercourse of B. with Great Britain, may mention the straw-bonnet manufacture in the in 1872, was represented in value by £13,211,004 for neighbourhood of Liege; the paper fabrics of the exports; and for imports of British home produce, provinces Liege, Namur, and Brabant; the glass- £6,499,062. Among the principal articles of export works of Hainault, Namur, Val-St-Lambert, and are coal, flax, linen, woollen, and cotton goods, Brabant; the porcelain, &c. of Tournay, Brussels, glass, firearms, and nails. More than a third of Mons, and Ghent; and sugar-refineries at Antwerp, the whole quantity is consigned to France, and half Bruges, Ostend, Ghent, &c. Steam-engines have of the remainder to the Zollverein, England, and been quite familiar objects in the several manu- Holland. The unit of the Belgian monetary system factories of B. for many years.
is the franc, equal in value 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 middle though in this respect also there has been a perof the 13th c., B., with Bruges as its chief seat of ceptible 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 indi. period 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 revived, when the revolution of 1830 changed the form of speech along with its own peculiar modes prospects of the country. The treaty signed in of thought. The Royal Academy of Arts and London, April 19, 1839, gave to Holland the right to Sciences at Brussels is at the head of several levy a toll of two-and-sixpence per ton on all vessels other unions for scientific purposes. Among the navigating the Scheldt. The privilege of navigation most celebrated names in Belgian literature and on the inland waters between the Scheldt and the science, may be mentioned-Quetelet in matheRhine was purchased by B. for an annual payment matics, Altmeyer the historian, Fetis the musical of £50,000. In June 1839, this privilege was virtually critic, Conscience the Flemish poet and novelist, taken away by the government of Holland, and, Willems the philologist, and Baron and Moke in in 1843, with additional expense to B., the new literary history and criticism. Painting and architreaty of navigation was ratified by both parties. tecture formerly flourished in the wealthy old towns During this crisis preceding the development of a of Flanders; but after the brilliant epoch of Rubens free commerce, B. had not neglected her internal and his pupils, a long period of dulness followed.
The Société de Commerce de Bruxelles, In modern times, a revival of art has taken place, the Banque de Belgique, and other associations for as may be proved by the names of the painters, the extension of trade, had been formed; and May 1, Wappers, De Keyser, Gallait, De Biefve, Verboek1834, the government adopted the scheme for a hoven, &c.; the sculptors, W. Geefs, Simonis, Jehotte, railway-system the most complete of any on the Fraikin, &c.; the engravers, Calamatta, Brown, and continent. The centre of the Belgian net-work of Meunier; and the medallists, 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 Catholic clergy. The consequence was to Quiévrain and the borders of France, not far that education assumed å 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 over the universities, confines of Prussia. There were in 1873 open for gymnasia, and elementary schools, a higher style of conveyance in B. 1191 miles of railway lines ; of education has prevailed. The two universities of these 467 miles were in the hands of the state, and Ghent and Liege, united with a school of archithe rest were worked by companies. The cost of the tecture and mining; ten national schools (Athénées), permanent way and buildings of these lines has been in which a classical is combined with a commercial about £18,280 a mile. The net revenue at present education; fifty schools preparatory to these (Ecoles is stated to be £1508 a mile. The working of the moyennes); two seminaries for teachers at Lierre and post-office in B. was, in 1871, as follows: Private Nivelle, besides the superintendence now exercised by letters, 46,136,520 ; official letters, 7,835,693 ; the state over the institutions formerly maintained packets, 18,371,216; newspapers, 47,120,191. On by communes and provincial corporations, and, above January 1, 1872, there were in that country 430 posto all, over the primary schools—all this forms a suffioffices, 452 telegraph stations, and the total length cient counterpoise to the numerous schools supported of telegraph lines was 7031 miles, the length of wires by private individuals and religious bodies. Among 23,994 miles. B., along with France, Italy, and the latter may be noticed the Catholic High School Switzerland, entered on a monetary league in 1865, of Louvain, founded in 1836, and conducted under in which the four states agreed to adopt the French strict ecclesiastical discipline; the free university of decimal system of coins, weights, and measures. Brussels; and the gymnasia of the Jesuits at Namur, During the three years 1869–1871, the general com- Brugelette, Brussels, and Liege. Journalism in B.
has been greatly extended by the abolition of the the heiress of Burgundy-through the latter of stamp-duty (1848), and 180 daily newspapers are whom the Netherlands passed into the possession of now published, including 56 Flemish papers; but the House of Hapsburg. After the abdication of only a few have obtained a proper degree of respect. Charles, these provinces passed into the hands of ability and influence.
Philip II., and by the law of primogeniture, should Population and Religion.— The population of B. have remained united with Spain. But scarcely had is of mixed German and Celtic origin. The Flemings the peace of Château-Cambresis (1559) put an end (a branch of the Teutonic family) and Walloons (a to the encroachments of France, when the religious branch of the Celtic family), distinguished by their disputes of the Reformation, and the despotic peculiar dialects, are still conspicuous among the measures of Philip, excited in the provinces a long pure Germans, Dutch, and French. The French and bloody war for civil and religious freedom, language has gained the ascendency in educated which ended in the independence of the Northern society, and in the offices of government; but the or Teutonic Netherlands, while in the southern Flemish dialect prevails numerically in the propor or more Celtic provinces (now included under tion of 4 to 3. The Catholic religion is the prevail. B.), both the sovereignty of Spain and the rule ing form. There are only about 10,000 or 12,000 of the Roman Catholic Church continued. In Protestants, and 1400 Jews. The supreme Catholic 1598, B. was ceded by Philip II. to his daughter dignitaries of B. are the Archbishop of Mechlin, and Isabella, wife of the Archduke Albert, when it the five diocesan bishops of Bruges, Ghent, Tournay, became a distinct and independent kingdom. Several Namur, and Liege.
measures for the better regulation of internal affairs, The government of Belgium is a limited constitu- especially in the administration of justice, and for tional monarchy, and was established in its present the revival of industry, which had been injured by form by the revolution of 1830. The legislative the unenlightened policy of Philip, were projected. body consists of two chambers—that of the senate, Unfortunately, Albert died childless in 1621, and B. and that of the representatives. A responsible fell back into the hands of Spain, and became involved ministry, with the king as president, is at the head in the wars attending the decline of the Spanish of all public affairs, and its measures are carried monarchy. Peace was concluded chiefly at the cost into effect by the governors of the several provinces. of Belgium. By the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), The ministry includes departments for home affairs, the counties of Artois, Thionville, and other districts, foreign affairs, finance, justice, public works, and were given to France. Subsequent conquests by
The administration of justice retains the the same powerful neighbour secured to it, at forms of French jurisprudence. In the thirty years the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668), the possession 1841-1870 the total expenditure of the state of Lille, Charleroi, Oudenarde, Courtray, and other amounted to £150,784,059. The national debt places. These were partly restored to B. at the amounted in 1873 to 924,549,013 francs, or peace of Nimeguen ; but as a compensation, Valen. £36,981,960.
ciennes, Nieuport, Cambray, St Omer, Charlemont, The standing army of B. is formed by con- and other places, were given up, and only partially scription, to which every healthy man who has regained by B. at the peace of Ryswick in 1697. passed his nineteenth year is liable. Substitu- After the conclusion of this treaty, at the close tion is allowed. The legal period of service is of the reign of Charles II. of Spain, some endeavours eight years, but about five years are allowed on were made to create prosperity in B. by a new furlough. According to a law passed in 1868, the system of taxation and customs, and by the constrength of the army is to be 100,000 men on the struction of canals, to counteract the injury done war footing, and 80,000 in times of peace. The to its commerce by the closing of the navigation importance of B. in a military point of view affords of the Scheldt; but these projected improvements a reason for the maintenance of fortifications at were interrupted by the Spanish War of Succession, Antwerp, Ostend, Nieuport, Ypres, Tournay, Mons, which was not concluded until the peace of Utrecht, and other places.
in 1713. By this treaty, B. was given to Austria, History of Belgium to 1830.- In the time of the Holland retaining the privilege of garrisoning the Romans, the name Gallia Belgica was given to most important fortresses on the French frontier, the Southern Netherlands lying on the confines of and also of exercising a monopoly
of the navigation Gaul and Germany. It was peopled by Celtic and of the Scheldt. The 'Belgian Commercial Com. German tribes. The latter were predominant in pany' at Ostend, founded by Charles VI. in 1722, Batavia and Friesland, and, under the rule of the fell in 1731-another sacrifice to the cupidity of Franks in the 5th and 6th c., gained the ascendency Holland. During the Austrian War of Succession also in the southern districts. Until the close of (1744), almost the whole country fell into the hands the 11th c., the fendal system, which arose at the of the French; but was peaceably restored to fall of the Carlovingian dynasty, prevailed in the Austria by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748). Netherlands, where the several southern provinces B. remained undisturbed by the Seven Years' were made duchies and counties. The county War, and during the long peace following the treaty of Flanders, superior to all the others in industry of Aix-la-Chapelle, prosperity was restored. Especiand commerce, maintained, during a long struggle, ally during the mild reign of Maria Theresa of its independence against France; and, in 1385, when Austria, measures of public improvement were pro. the 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 gained posses- and successor of Maria Theresa, 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 conseunited 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 towns. The work of establishing unlimited sove 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