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Belgium

Belgium Collection

History Archive - Belgium Collection

Belgium (bel'j%~um), one of the smaller European states, lying between France and the Netherlands, tne North Sea and Rhenish Prussia. It is divided into nine provinces, and comprises 11,373 square miles, less than one third the size of Indiana. It has a population of 7,160,547, or 629 persons to the square mile, so that Belgium is the most densely populated country in Europe.

Dutch, Germans, French, Flemings and Walloons are found among its population. There are twenty-six towns with over 20,000 inhabitants, of which the capital, Brussels (population, 612,401), Antwerp (297,311), Ghent (163,059) and Liege (122,207) are the largest. Most of the country is low, and part of it is protected from the sea by dykes. The Scheldt and the Meuse, with their branches, and a system of canals afford abundant water supply.

The farming is like gardening on a large scale, so carefully is every inch of soil cultivated. All kinds of grain are raised. The land is rich in minerals, including coal, iron, lead, copper, zinc and marble. The chief manufactures are linen, woolen, cotton and silk goods, lace, leather and metals, besides sugar-refineries and distilleries, steel works, blast and puddling furnaces.

For many years Belgium led Europe in commerce, and her foreign trade is still very large. The people are mainly Roman Catholic. Culture has been hindered somewhat by the many different dialects in use; but there are many scientific and literary societies and museums, public libraries, music and art schools and universities at Ghent, Louvain, Liege and Brussels.

Attached to the universities are schools of engineering, arts, manufactures, mining, etc., with a combined attendance in 1909-10 of 2,407 students. There are also 85 schools of design, with nearly 15,000 students, several royal conservatories and other schools of music with 20,192 students, beside the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Antwerp, with 850 students in 1909. Belgium numbers Rubens, Teniers and Van Dyck among its great artists.

The standing army is fixed at 42,800 in time of peace, with 180,000 on a war-footing. Belgium has no navy. The government ife a constitutional monarchy, in which the succession is hereditary There are two houses, much like those in the United States —a senate (having no members), elected for eight years, and a chamber of representatives (present number being 166), elected for four years.

The history of Belgium as a separate kingdom dates from the year 1831, when it parted from Holland-. Its provinces, however, have figured in history from the days of the Caesars. They often served as the battle-ground of Europe, and the battle of Waterloo was fought on the soil of Brabant, a province of this kingdom. When Belgium became independent, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was elected king, and in 1865 his son, the present monarch, succeeded as Leopold II.

War with Holland has several times threatened, and riots of workingmen and socialists have caused disturbance; but the country is steadily growing in prosperity. The revenue estimated for 1911 amounted to 658,-724,000 francs, while the expenditure, as per budget, was a fraction over 658,000,000 francs. The imports for 1910 showed a total of over 6,500,000,000 francs.

The exports from the United States to Belgium, consisting of wheat, cotton, oil-cake, mineral oil, lard and tobacco, were valued in 1911 at $45,016,622, while the imports from Belgium into the United States, consisting of glass-work, rubber goods, iron and steel work and jewelry, had a gross value of $37,084,743. The railways of Belgium in 1911, including the lines operated by the state and those operated by private companies, were 2,915 miles in length.

References:

The New Student's Reference Work (1914) pp. 195-196

Available Books

Images

Image Name
Spine
The Black Gate at Treves
Strasbourg
Place de Brouckere, Brussels
Oude Hooft-Poort, Rotterdam
A Flemish Young Woman
La Gleize, a Village in the Ardennes
General View of Dinant
Eglise de St. Aubin a Namur
Arnheim
Town Hall, Louvain
Quai du Miroir, Bruges
The Romanesque Church, Hastiere
Tabernacle de l'Eglise St. Martin a Courtrai
Bell-ringer playing a Chime
Back Cover
Tabernacle dans l'Eglise de Ste. Gudule a Bruxelles
Village and Canal, Adinkerque
Chateau de Walzin, in the Lesse Valley
Ruins at Andernach
Rheinstein, or Reichenstein
Back Cover
Cheminee a l'Hotel de Ville d'Anvers
Stadt-Huis, Delft
Interior of Church, Nieuport
Interieur de l'Eglise St. Loup a Namur
The Flemish Plain
Back Cover
Pont de Jambes et Citadelle, Namur
Rue de Namur, Brussels
Le Perron Liegeois, Liege
Old House in the Grande Place, Brussels
Cologne
Oberwesel and Caub
The Lurley Berg
Interieur de l'Eglise Notre-Dame a Dinant
Vignette, Belgian Passage Boat, at the Gate of St. Catherine, Bruges
St. Martin's, Cologne
Heidelberg
General View of Dinant
Interior of a Farmhouse, Duinhoek
Interieur d'une Maison a Malines
The Cathedral of Ste. Gudule, Brussels
Tabernacle de l'Eglise St. Jacques a Gand
Engraved Title Page, Palace Royal, Brussels
The Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp
A Stormy Evening; the Dunes
Old House of the Quai de la Goffe, Liege
The Episcopal Palace-Inner Court, Liege
The Market Place, Breda
Grande Place and Belfry, Fumes
Hall and Vicarage, Nieuport
Interieur de l'Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon a Bruxelles
Arcade under the Nieuwerk, Ypres
The Arriere Faucille (Achter Sikkel), Ghent
Interieur de la Cathedrale de Tournay
The Farm of La Belle Alliance, and the Mound surmounted by the Belgian Lion, Waterloo
The Kolk, Rotterdam
Oberwesel
L'Hotel de Ville d'Audenaerde
Palace at Heidelberg
Entrance to the Old Church of the Carmelites, Brussels
Ghent Gate at Bruges
Bingen
Montalban's Tower, Amsterdam
The Dom Gasse, Wurzburg
Charles the Bold charging at the Head of his Troops
Maison de Ville a Dinant
L'Hotel-de-Ville a Louvain
Anciennes Halles a Louvain
La Maison Curtius, Liege
Interieur de la Cathedrale d'Anvers
The Chateau de Waulsort on the Meuse
Jube de l'Eglise de Dixmude
In Ste. Walburge's Church, Fumes
The Arriere Faucille, Ghent
Archway under the Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp
La Salle des Marlages a l'Hotel de Ville d'Anvers
Interieur de l'Eglise de Ste. Gudule a Bruxelles
The Apollinarisberg
L'Hotel-de-Ville de Bruxelles
Salle du Conseil a l'Hotel-de-Ville, Courtrai
The Begutnage, Bruges
Coblence, from Ehrenbreitstein
Title Page
Sketch Map of Belgium
The Bayen Thurm, Cologne
The Camp and Treasure of Charles the Bold en the Hands of the Swiss
Portail de la Cathedrale de Tournay
A Shrimper on Horseback, Coxyde
Ruins de l'Abbaye de Villers
Peristyle of Town Hall and Palais de Justice, Furnes
Front Cover
The Flemish Plain
The River Sambre seen from the Pont de Sambre, Namur
Salle des Magisrats a Audenaerde

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