History of Belgium - History

History of Belgium - History

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Belgium profile - Timeline

1830 - Declaration of independence from Netherlands.

1914-18 World War One - Germany invades. Belgian army holds position behind Yser river until 1918.

1920 - Belgium abandons neutrality and signs military alliance with France.

1930 - Flanders and Wallonia legally become unilingual regions.

1940 - Germany invades Belgium and Holland. Belgian government evacuates to London. King Leopold surrenders to German forces.

1944 - Allied Forces liberate Belgium.

1950 - Belgian electorate votes for Leopold's return, but after strikes and riots Leopold appoints eldest son, Prince Baudouin, to temporarily rule in his place.

1951 - Baudouin officially assumes kingship.

1958 - Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg form Benelux Economic Union to promote free movement of workers, goods and services in the region.

1960 - Belgian government grants independence to the Congo - now Democratic Republic of Congo.

1962 - Independence for Ruanda-Urundi - now Rwanda and Burundi.

History of The Independence of Belgium

In the time of Charles V (1519-55) the Netherlands consisting of 17 provinces was under Spain.

However, there was a revolt in the time of Philip II (1555-98) of Spain, and ultimately the seven Northern provinces won their independence and came to be known as the United Provinces of Holland and the rest of the 10 provinces remained a part of Spain.

The Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 which ended the War of Spanish Succession gave the 10 provinces of Belgium to Austria and the same came to be known as the Austrian Netherlands.

During the French Revolutionary War, the Austrian Netherlands were conquered by the French and they remained a part of France for 20 years. Holland was also conquered by France and for many years continued to be a part of France.

Image Source:

After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the ruler of Holland was restored and he gave a new constitution to the people. The Congress of Vienna decided to set up a strong barrier State on the north-east of France and consequently united the Austrian Netherlands or Belgium with Holland.


It was the realisation of Pitt’s most cherished schemes. However, the statesmen assembled at Vienna ignored certain realities. National and religious differences separated the two halves. For centuries, the two parts had been separated and consequently there was not much in common between the two countries. The people of Holland were Protestants and those of Belgium Catholics.

They also differed in the matter of language. The French language was not only the language of the literature of the Belgians, but also the spoken language of the upper classes. Though the Flemish portion of the population was related to the Dutch, Dutch element had not developed itself with distinctness.

According to Prof. Fyffe, the antagonism between Belgium and Holland, though not insuperable, was sufficiently great to make a harmonious union between the two countries a work of great difficulty and the government at The Hague did not take the right course to conciliate its opponents.

A commission was appointed to draw up a constitution for the United Kingdom and in spite of the protests of the people of Belgium, both Holland and Belgium were given equal representation in the States-General unmindful of the fact that the population of Belgium was much more than that of Holland.

Although the people of Belgium rejected the constitution, yet the game was enforced. During the next 15 years, the people of Belgium were excluded from official posts which, in most cases, were given to the people of Holland. No wonder, these foreigners were not welcomed in Belgium. The States-General invariably met in the Dutch territory and never in Belgium.

This also was considered to be a grievance. The Dutch language was made the official language for the whole kingdom and this was resented by the people of Belgium. The financial policy of the Dutch government was considered to be unjust to the people of Belgium. Taxes which the people of Belgium disliked were imposed but resisted. Heavy punishments were, inflicted on journalists found guilty of seditious writings.

The debt burden of the two countries was not equal and Holland owed more debts than Belgium. As taxation to meet the debt charges was levied uniformly over the United Kingdom, the people of Belgium protested. The imposition of new taxes on flour and meat in 1821 added to the trouble. The religious differences separated the two parts completely. At the time of the union, the Catholic bishops of Belgium protested against the grant of religious toleration to the Protestants.

The Church in Belgium was determined to retain its control over education, but the government tried to transfer the same into secular hands. The one really irreconcilable enemy of Holland was the Church in Belgium. The Clerical Party in Belgium made an alliance with the political opposition to drive out the Dutch from Belgium.


For some months before the July Revolution of France in 1830, the antagonism between the Belgians and their government was so violent that no great shock from outside was necessary to produce an outbreak. The July Revolution gave the necessary spark. The performance of a revolutionary opera gave the signal for the beginning of the revolt.

The revolt was deliberately planned by Polignao and stirred up the foreign agitators, most of whom were Frenchmen. The French felt sympathy with the Belgian rebels because they weakened the barrier State and created an opportunity for the annexation of Belgium. The revolt spread from the cities to the countryside.

The king of Holland agreed to set up a separate State for Belgium but that did not satisfy the people of Belgium. The appearance of the Dutch troops at Brussels destroyed all hopes of peace. There was some inconclusive fighting. On the withdrawal of the troops, a provisional government was set up which declared the independence of Belgium.

There was a possibility of the crown prince of Holland being accepted as the head of the newly-created State. However, the violence of the revolt the activity of French emissaries and volunteers and the bombardment of Antwerp by the Dutch soldiers destroyed all hopes of a peaceful settlement.

There was a danger of all the European Powers being involved in the trouble. The independence of Belgium and the separation from Holland was a violation of the Peace Settlement of 1815 which the European Powers had pledged themselves to maintain. However, there was one relieving factor. Most of the European States had recognised Louis Philippe as the king of France and were inclined to support him on the question of Belgium.

The interests of Louis Philippe demanded the maintenance of peace and he knew that he could not succeed against a combination of all the European Powers if he followed the advice of the revolutionaries and there was a possibility of his losing the throne and his life as well. He was ably assisted by Talleyrand who believed that the crying need of France was to win some ally and thereby end her isolation.

With that object in view, Talleyrand went to London as French ambassador. He interviewed Wellington and William IV and assured them that France was not going to use the Belgian revolt for the purpose of adding to her power.

He propounded his doctrine of non-intervention as one which ought to govern the policy of governments of Europe So complete an understanding was established between France and England that all talk of the European Powers going to war against France on the question of Belgium ended.

The regulation of the affairs of Belgium was submitted to a conference at London. Hostilities were stopped. The independence of Belgium was recognised in principle by the conference before the end of 1830. A protocol defining the frontiers was signed by the powers in January 1831.

However, the matter was far from being finally settled. The problem of providing Belgium with a king had still to be settled. The Governments of Holland and Belgium had still to give their consent to the territorial arrangements drawn up for them. The people of Belgium were inclined to elect the second son of Louis Philippe as their king.

Although Louis Philippe outwardly declared his opposition to it, he secretly encouraged the proposal. The result was that his son. Due de Nemours was elected king in February 1831. This was something which the powers were not prepared to accept and consequently Louis Philippe refused the crown for his son.

The final settlement between England and France was that Leopold of Saxe-Coburg be offered the throne and he should marry a daughter of Louis Philippe. Leopold accepted the crown on the condition that some alterations would be made in the frontiers in favour of Belgium.

The difficulty of arranging the frontier of Belgium arose mainly from the position of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. In 1814, this Duchy was given to the Government of Holland. In 1830, the people of this Duchy joined hands with the people of Belgium in their revolt and with the exception of the fortress, the whole of the territory passed into the hands of Belgium. The London conference had declared Luxemburg a part of Holland.

However, when on the request of Leopold they declared that the question of Luxemburg will be discussed at some other future time, the Government of Holland took up arms and sent 50,000 soldiers to Belgium. Leopold appealed to France for help and a French army immediately crossed the frontiers. The Dutch withdrew and the French troops were also recalled. The London conference took up the question once again and recommended the division of Luxemburg between Holland and Belgium.

This was accepted by Belgium but rejected by Holland. The result was that a treaty was made between Leopold and the powers. By the beginning of 1832, the kingdom of Belgium was recognised by all the powers and Palmerston refused to allow France to have any territory from Belgium.

Although the kingdom of Belgium was set up, the problem of overcoming the resistance of the king of Holland had still to be faced. The Dutch king held the fort of Antwerp and refused to listen either to reason or to authority. A French army besieged the fort and the English fleet blockaded the Scheldt River. After a severe bombardment, the fort fell and hostilities ended. Negotiations for peace began once again.

The Belgians were not in a hurry to make peace because they had got what they desired. The king of Holland hesitated through sheer obstinacy. This state of affairs continued for years. However, by the Treaty of London, 1839, the independence and neutrality of the kingdom of Belgium was solemnly recognised and guaranteed by all the powers including Holland. It was the violation of this guarantee by Germany in 1914 that was the immediate cause of Britain’s entry into the war.

It is to be observed that the attitude of Palmerston during the years of the crisis was one of patience and wisdom. He showed infinite patience in dealing with the obstinacy of the Dutch and the irritating intransigence of the Belgians. He had the wisdom to admit that the Settlement of 1814-5 had failed and some other arrangement had to be made in its place.

Belgium — History and Culture

Belgium’s interesting, varied, and frequently violent history goes a long way to explaining the equally varied linguistic and cultural aspects of this small country. In spite of its troubled centuries, Belgium has influenced European art, classical music, literature, and the science of printing considerably, and its people’s pride in their country is well justified.


Belgium as a settled region dates back to Roman times when it was named Belgica. It has long been a kingdom, although nowadays the Belgian Royal family lives in comparative normality outside the capital. During the Middle Ages and until the 17th century, the country was a hub for culture and commerce, and a favorite central location for battles between various European powers. This unfortunate accident of geography resulted in it being nicknamed the ‘Battleground of Europe’, a name which proved tragically apposite during WWI and WWII.

Considered a part of the Netherlands until the Belgian Revolution in 1830, the country became neutral and independent, establishing its position as a constitutional monarchy under King Leopold 1 in 1831. Its constitution is based on the Napoleonic Code, and democracy reared its head with suffrage for men in 1893, although women had to wait to vote until 1949.

Belgium was active during the Industrial Revolution, improving its economy as a result, and the acquisition of the Belgian Congo as a gift to Leopold II brought benefits including the marketing of rubber and ivory, as well as heavy criticism for the Belgians’ poor treatment of the ethnic Congolese tribes.

The Germans invaded in 1914, soon after the start of WWI, and the Western Front battles mostly took place on Belgian soil. In 1940, history repeated itself with the country overrun by German troops, who remained in occupation until 1944, when liberation by the Allied forces took place as part of their push towards Germany.

The Belgian sites of the 20th century battles are now marked with monuments, landmarks, cemeteries of the fallen, and the ruins of German outposts and gun emplacements. For those fascinated by man’s inhumanity to man, there’s much to see and wonder at, especially in the Ypres region along the French border, infamous for its WWI horrors.

The Flanders Field Museum in Belgium gives an overview of the three major Ypres conflicts, during which hundreds of thousands died. WWII battles on Belgian soil included the Battle of the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge, in which a German offensive failed, opening the way to the final conquest of Germany by the Allied troops. The Royal Army and Military Museum in Brussels covers these battles and previous conflicts over a timeline of 10 centuries.


Any attempt at a general overview of Belgian culture will fall short of the reality, due to the division of the little country into three linguistic groups and the cultural influxes seeping across its borders from the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. The official languages here are German, Dutch, and French, although 33 percent of the inhabitants speak the old tongue of Walloon and a variant of Dutch, Flemish, is spoken by at least 60 percent. Within the three regions of Wallonia, Flanders, and Brussels-Capital, individual cultures flourish, each with their own traditions, folklore, gastronomy, and priorities.

Family values take a central position in the lives of most Belgians for whichever province they call home, as do the values of appearance and cleanliness, both in personal and property matters. As a result, Belgium is a refreshingly tidy, clean country. Although friendly and welcoming, Belgians are somewhat formal in their greeting, with brief handshakes the norm until a friendship or business relationship is fully established.

A small gift is expected when you’re invited to a Belgian home, and punctuality shows respect. If a toast is given, stand up, and it’s polite to eat all you are offered, never mind how full your plate is. All Belgians are extremely proud of their local cuisine, making praising your meal a must.

Belgium’s incredibly rich artistic tradition extends from its artworks to its architecture, music, literature, and traditionally authentic folkloric festivals, with all forming a strong part of the people’s cultural awareness in the present day. Museum and art gallery visits are very popular, and the many medieval old towns are a great source of pride. Even the famous Belgian craft beers have a cultural identity, especially those from the six Belgian Trappist monasteries which are permitted to brew strong ale.

  • OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Belgium
  • FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
  • CAPITAL: Brussels
  • POPULATION: 11,570,762
  • OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Dutch, French, and German
  • MONEY: Euro
  • AREA: 11,787 square miles (30,528 square kilometers)


One of the smallest countries in Europe, Belgium is bordered by France, Luxembourgh, the Netherlands, and Germany. The country also has a narrow coastline along the North Sea.

Belgium primarily lies close to sea level, though the country does reach 2,277 feet (694 metres) at a point known as Botrange, which lies within the Ardennes plateau.

Map created by National Geographic Maps


Belgium is one of the most heavily populated countries in Europe and most people live in urban areas.

Belgium is divided into three communities based on language: In the north are the Flemings, who speak Flemish (Dutch), in the south are the Walloons, who speak French, and in the city of Liège there is a small German-speaking population.

Different communities in Belgium have different customs. The typical Flemish greeting involves a quick handshake, whereas Walloons greet with a light kiss on the cheek. Walloons also tend to eat their dinner later in the evening than the Flemish. However, talking while chewing gum or while keeping hands in one's pockets are considered rude across communities.

Art, music, and architecture play a big role in Belgian life and history. The comic strip is highly regarded, with "Tintin" and "The Smurfs" both originating in the country. Sports are also popular in Belgium, with soccer being the most-played sport.

Waffles, moules frites (mussles served with french fries), and chocolate are three of the most popular Belgian foods.


While most of Belgium was covered by deciduous forest 2,000 years ago, human activity has reduced both plant and animal life in the region.

Today, the most common tree is oak and most animals can be found in the Ardennes, which consists of a mix of deciduous and coniferous forest. Animals commonly found in the Ardennes include wild boars, deer, wildcats, and pheasants.

Elsewhere in Belgium, several bird species can be found, such as sandpipers and snipes, along with muskrats and hamsters.

Belgium History

Belgium has existed essentially in its present form since
1830, when an uprising led to independence from The
Netherlands. The country's name goes back to a Celtic
tribe, the Belgae, whom Julius Caesar described as the most
courageous tribe in all of Gaul. The Belgae were
overwhelmed, however, by Caesar's legions around 50 BC, and
for 300 years the area was a Roman province. Some scholars
believe that the southern part of Belgium was the
northernmost area of true Roman cultural penetration, beyond
which Latin never really took hold. The proto-Dutch
language, spoken by the Frankish invaders who swept through
the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD, took hold north of
that line.

Throughout most of the Middle Ages, life in the area
centered on the quasi-independent trading and manufacturing
towns--Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Liege, and others--that rose
out of the rubble left by the Viking ravages of northern
Europe. After centuries of war and many accidents of
dynastic succession, the area that had come to be known as
the Lowlands--comprising the approximate modern territories
of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg--came into the
possession of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor in the early

The arrival of Protestantism polarized the Lowlands into two
hostile camps. In the religious wars, the split became geo-
graphic and political as the Protestants succeeded in
establishing the United Provinces of the Netherlands in the
north. The remaining Catholic territory after these wars is
roughly equivalent to modern Belgium.

After two centuries of Spanish rule, the Austrian Hapsburgs
gained control of the country after the Treaty of Utrecht
(1713). Napoleon annexed it to France in 1794. After his
defeat in 1815, Belgium was awarded to The Netherlands.
However, after 15 years of chafing against Dutch
administrative and economic reforms, the Belgian people
revolted and declared the independent state of Belgium in
1830. A progressive, almost republican constitution, was
created, and the state was successfully launched with
Leopold I, a German prince, as the first King of the

For 84 years, Belgium remained neutral in an era of intra-
European wars until German troops overran the country during
their attack on France in 1914. King Albert, the
constitutional commander-in-chief of the armed forces,
rallied what remained of his troops and, after joining the
French Army, was able to retain a tiny corner of Flemish
Belgium near the sea throughout the war. Some of the
fiercest battles of World War I were fought on "Flanders'


With Belgian independence in 1830 Europe had a new state and a new historiography, which explored the constitutional liberties of this young state. Its historians unanimously considered the Burgundian state a prefiguration of independent Belgium and most attacked the Burgundian dukes as French princes responsible for repressing Belgian identity. From the 1890s on, however, opinion changed, as typified by Henri Pirenne. Historians now praised the dukes for having ensured the maintenance of the state and the precedence of the common good over the local interests of municipalities and the principalities. Pirenne gave the most highly finished interpretation, which expressed an anxiety with regard to the social and linguistic tensions in Belgium at a time when peace seemed increasingly endangered in Europe. [5]

The most influential historian of Belgium was medievalist Henri Pirenne (1862-1935), a Walloon who wrote a masterful multivolume history of Belgium and became a national hero. At the University of Liège he was a student of Godefroid Kurth (1847-1916), and served as professor of history at the University of Ghent (1886-1930). A leader of Belgian passive resistance in World War I, the Germans held him (1916–18) as a hostage. Pirenne's Histoire de Belgique (7 vol., 1899–1932) stressed how traditional and economic forces had drawn Flemings and Walloons together. Pirenne, inspired by patriotic nationalism, presupposed a Belgian unity - social, political, and ethnic - which predated its 1830 independence by centuries. Although a liberal himself, he wrote his seven volume history with such a masterly balance that Catholics, liberals and socialists could quote from it with equal respect in their newspapers or sometimes even in their political gatherings. Pirenne's history remains crucial to the understanding of Belgium's past, but his notion of a continuity of Belgian civilization forming the basis of political unity has lost favor, however, leaving many Belgian scholars to feel that the creation of their country was a historical accident. [6] Pirenne's argument that the long Spanish rule in the Low Countries had little continuing cultural impact has likewise fallen, in the face of new as research since 1970 in the fields of cultural, military, economic, and political history. [7]

Belgium's Government

Today, Belgium's government is run as a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch. It has two branches of government. The first is the executive branch which consists of the king, who serves as the head of state the prime minister, who is the head of government and the Council of Ministers, which represents the decision-making cabinet. The second branch is the legislative branch, a bicameral parliament made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The major political parties in Belgium are the Christian Democratic, the Liberal Party, the Socialist Party, the Green Party, and Vlaams Belang. The voting age in the country is 18.

Because of its focus on regions and local communities, Belgium has several political subdivisions, each of which has a varied amount of political power. These include 10 different provinces, three regions, three communities, and 589 municipalities.

Belgium History

The history of Belgium could fill page after page in a very lengthy book. Suffice it to say that quite a lot has gone on over the centuries in this small yet historically significant land. As the site for the Battle of Waterloo in the 1800s, Belgium had already seen its fair share of wars in years prior, and it would not see an end to them for many more to come. Both World Wars took tolls on the Belgian people, yet the country managed to survive it all, fervently holding onto the rich Belgian culture that persists to this day. One of the more interesting things about Belgian culture is the fact that both Dutch and French are widely spoken here. These linguistic differences between fellow countrymen are indicative in their own way of just how interesting Belgium history is.

Belgium history really started to take shape when the Romans moved in. This was some 2,000 years ago, and ever since, this relatively small country has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs. By the fifth century AD, Frankish tribes started to arrive in Belgium, and shortly after Belgium fell under Merovingian rule. The Merovingian kingdom controlled much of Western Europe between the fifth and eighth centuries. In the year 800, however, that would start to change as Charlemagne was appointed the leader of the Holy Roman Empire. Christianity really started to spread throughout Europe and into other parts of the world during this time, and Charlemagne had strict attachments to the Catholic Church. Charlemagne passed away in 814, but not before leaving his hefty mark not only on the history of Belgium, but on the history of Europe as a whole. By 843, Belgium had split into the Dutch-speaking northern territory of Flanders, and the southern, French-speaking region of Wallonia, or Walloon. This split is still significant in Belgian culture, as northern Flemish cities like Brugge, Ghent, and Antwerp are still predominantly Dutch-speaking, while southern and eastern cities like Dinant and Liege are predominantly French-speaking.

Liege became a powerful Belgian city in the 800s, as it was the main seat for the controlling prince-bishops. Belgium was very much a land of city states in the early Middle Ages, and though some of these entities enjoyed relative autonomy, the country still fell under the rule of the Counts of Flanders. These Counts ruled over what is essentially today Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The Gravensteen Castle in Ghent dates back to 1180, when the Counts of Flanders were riding high. In the latter part of the 1300s, the Counts of Flanders were starting to lose control over modern-day Belgium, and after strategic marriages formed new and powerful alliances, the French Duke of Burgundy assumed control. This marked a significant turning point in the history of Belgium, as cities like Brussels, Brugge, Leuven, and Antwerp experienced their Golden Ages. Flemish cities in Belgium became some of the wealthiest and most important cities of the day, and grand buildings were erected and wonderful guilded homes sprung up. The ornate Town Hall in Leuven is a sign of the wealth and prosperity that some of the Belgium cities were enjoying in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Belgium Map

By the sixteenth century, Belgium had fallen under control of the Spanish crown, which was tied to the mighty Hapsburg Dynasty. Carlos V, who was born in Ghent in the year 1500, abdicated the throne in 1556, due largely to religious tensions. The Protestant religion had begun to make its mark on Belgian culture during Carlos V&rsquos reign, and when the throne was turned over to his son, Philip II, the Inquisition in Belgium was well under way. Together with the duke of Alba, Philip II brought his reign down on the oft-rebellious Belgium citizens, even going so far as to hold public beheadings in Brussels&rsquos stunning Grand Place. The Eighty Year&rsquos War, which ended in 1648, saw Holland push Spain out, but Belgium would remain under Spanish rule. In the early 1700s, Belgium and its citizens were looking to make a new identity for themselves, but by 1795, Belgium history again saw French rule return. In 1814, Napoleon would suffer his legendary defeat at Waterloo, which is just south of Brussels. The next fifteen years of Belgian history involved inclusion in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, though in 1830, Belgium won its independence. For centuries, Belgians had stood proud and firm, enduring battle after battle. Finally, they had a country all their own. A just reward it was for all that Belgium&rsquos people had been through.

Belgian culture is very much a product of Belgium history, and as Brussels continues to become a central base for the growing European Union, Belgium&rsquos international role will only increase. The earlier part of the 1900s involved devastation by two World Wars, but now Belgium is standing taller than ever. The history of Belgium is virtually on display everywhere you go in the country, and it&rsquos just part of what makes a Belgium vacation so enjoyable. For more insight into Belgium history during your trip, you can visit some of the country&rsquos historical museums, which are in good supply across the land.

History of Belgium - History

Clickable Timeline

Beginning in 57 BC, Julius Caesar extended the power of Rome into the region of Europe that is now Belgium. The people he encountered there were the Belgae, one of the various Celtic tribes of early Gaul, and the Romans dubbed their new province Gallia Belgica. In the fourth century AD, with Rome in decline, control of Gaul was ceded to the Franks, a Germanic tribe that the weakened empire employed as mercenaries. As the Franks flourished, they decided to dispense with their Roman employers. By 431, they had established an independent dynasty, the Merovingian, with its capital at Tournai. Soon after, under Clovis I (c.466-511), the Merovingians succeeded in pummeling the last of the Romans in Gaul. They held large parts of present day France and Belgium as well as southwestern Germany. Clovis also adopted Christianity, thus gaining the support of the Church.

After Clovis' death the Merovingian kingdom began to fragment, and the Frankish lands did not come together under single rule again until the reign of Pepin III (the Short) in 751. Pepin deposed the last of the Merovingians and founded the Carolingian dynasty, which is named after his son Charlemagne.

Charlemagne succeeded his father in 768 and ruled for almost a half century, creating during that time an empire that covered nearly all of continental Europe, with the exception of Spain and Scandinavia. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned him Emperor of the West. Although Charlemagne spent much of his reign conquering and subduing various parts of Europe, he also did much to foster commerce and the arts. The beginnings of organized trade along Belgium's rivers was one result of his reign, as was the preservation of classical learning and the arts.

On Charlemagne's death, his empire was divided, and familial feuding led finally to the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Under the terms of the treaty, three of Charlemagne's grandsons split the empire between them. West Francia, under Charles the Bold, formed the basis of France. The Middle Kingdom was given to Lothair, though it would soon fragment. East Francia, under Louis the German, became the basis of Germany. West Francia included the narrow strip of land north and west of the Scheldt river in today's Belgium. The remainder of present-day Belgium was included first in the Middle Kingdom, under Lothair, but it gradually came under the sway of the German kings.

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