Why is Belgium written Belgique
Belgium as an independent state (from 1830 to today)
In the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Belgium (the southern Netherlands) and Holland (the northern Netherlands) were united under King Wilhelm I into one state. Although the policies of the new king benefited the Belgian bourgeoisie, protests arose against the measures he had decreed. The Catholics opposed the Protestant king's interference in clerical affairs. The liberals demanded more freedom. In 1828 the Catholics and Liberals drew up a joint catalog of demands. The alliance between Catholics and Liberals was known as unionism.
After a few incidents, the revolution broke out in Brussels in 1830. Wilhelm I immediately deployed his troops, but they were driven out on September 27, 1830. The rebels were supported by volunteers outside the city and Belgium broke away from the Northern Netherlands. The Provisional Government announced independence on October 4, 1830. On November 3, 1830, 30,000 citizens elected a national congress: Only those who paid enough taxes or citizens with special qualifications were allowed to participate in the election. On February 7, 1831, the National Congress passed a constitution that was particularly progressive for the time conditions at the time.
1830 - 1908
A diplomatic conference on the future of Belgium was held in London on November 4th. The great powers of the time recognized the separation between Belgium and the (Northern) Netherlands. Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg became the first king of the Belgians (1831 - 1865). He was followed in 1865 by his son, Leopold II (1865 - 1909). Under his reign, Belgium developed into the second most important industrial nation in Europe.
Both kings wanted to ensure Belgium's economic independence by acquiring colonies overseas, but initially failed. At the end of the 19th century, Leopold II decided to support Henry Stanley's expeditions in the Congo Basin. As a result, he was able to conclude several agreements with local tribal leaders. This resulted in a confederation of states. Initially, the Belgian government and parliament were unable to influence the king's actions. Since Leopold II was the first to occupy some areas in Central Africa, he was able to prevail with his demands at the Berlin Conference of 1884. In 1885 the Belgian parliament approved that Leopold II should become the head of state of the Congo. In 1908 the administration of the Congo was transferred to the Belgian state.
The world wars
Although Belgium had adhered to the neutrality policy imposed on it by the great powers since independence, the country was not spared the First World War. The Belgian army, led by King Albert I (1909-1934), was too small to be able to offer resistance to the Germans. Nevertheless, the Belgians managed to stop the advance of the enemy troops on the Yser. Belgium suffered particularly badly from this war. The area on the Yser Front was particularly hard hit.
The post-war years were very difficult. The international economic crisis also hit Belgium particularly hard. When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, tensions rose again. From 1936 Belgium again pursued a policy of neutrality, just as it did in World War I, but on May 10, 1940, German troops invaded the country again. After 18 days, King Leopold III capitulated. (1934-1951) before the Germans. This decision resulted in a break with the government. After the war, the question of the king dominated Belgian politics. In 1951, Leopold II finally renounced the throne. His successor, his son Baudouin I, reigned until his death in 1993. On August 9, his brother, Albert II, ascended the throne as the sixth king of the Belgians.
The federal state
The question of relations between communities has played a particularly important role in recent Belgian history. After four state reforms, Belgium became a federal state. Economic problems and greater internationalization also dominate the political scene. Belgium played an important role in the creation of the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union, the Benelux and the European Union. As a member of the United Nations and in the service of world peace, Belgian soldiers often take part in peace missions and the country sends its observers to all corners of the world.
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