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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

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Images

Image Name
L'Hotel-de-Ville de Bruxelles
The Arriere Faucille (Achter Sikkel), Ghent
The Broken Tower, Heidelberg
Interior of a Farmhouse, Duinhoek
The Farm of La Belle Alliance, and the Mound surmounted by the Belgian Lion, Waterloo
The Cathedral of Ste. Gudule, Brussels
A Corner of the Market on the Grande Place, Bruges
A Fair Parishioner, Nieuport
A Flemish Country Girl
The Bayen Thurm, Cologne
Cathedral at Mayence
The Lurley Berg
Rue de Namur, Brussels
Metz
Anciennes Maisons des Corporations a Anvers
Arcade under the Nieuwerk, Ypres
Ghent Gate at Bruges
The Flemish Plain
Eglise de Notre-Dame a Huy
Back Cover
Old House of the Quai de la Goffe, Liege
Front Cover
Back Cover
Front Cover
The Town Hall, Nieuport
Porte d'Ostende, Bruges
St. Martin's, Cologne
Interieur de l'Eglise de Ste. Gudule a Bruxelles
Salle de la Corporation des Brasseurs a Anvers
Tir a l'Arc de la Societe St. Sebastien a Bruges
General View of Dinant
A Flemish Inn - Playing Skittles, La Panne
Town Hall, Louvain
Oberwesel
The Minne Water, Bruges
Oberwesel and Caub
The Palace, Amsterdam
Oude Kerk, Delft
La Gleize, a Village in the Ardennes
A Shrimper, Coxyde
View from Andernach
The Viking Ship
The Quay, with Eel-boats and Landing-stages, Nieuport
Ruins de l'Abbaye de Villers
Salle des Magisrats a Audenaerde
Le Mont-de-Piete a Malines
Peristyle of Town Hall and Palais de Justice, Furnes
The Romanesque Church, Hastiere
Interieur de l'Eglise St. Loup a Namur
Bingen
L'Hotel de Ville a Anvers
The Apollinarisberg
The Eyer Merkt, Antwerp
Frankfort
Old Houses in the Rue de l'Empereur, Antwerp
La Vieille Boucherie, Liege
Interieur de l'Eglise Notre-Dame a Dinant
Heidelberg
Strasbourg
Title Page
The Ruins of the Cloisters of the Abbey of St. Bavon, Ghent
Hall and Vicarage, Nieuport
Place de Brouckere, Brussels
St. Gudula, Brussels
Quae du Miroir, Bruges
Autel de l'Eglise Notre Dame a Hal
The "Maid of Orleans"
Groote Hout-Poort, Haarlem
L'Hotel de Ville d'Audenaerde
Title Page
The Roman Arch at Orange, in the South of France
Chapelle dans la Cathedrale d'Anvers
Maisons Anciennes a Malines
Neckarsteinach
Anciennes Halles a Louvain
Jube de l'Eglise St. Pierre a Louvain
View from Oberwesel
Front Cover
The Place Verte, Antwerp
Archway under the Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp
In Ste. Walburge's Church, Fumes
Confessionnal de l'Eglise de St. Paul a Anvers
Antwerp Cathedral
The Chateau de Waulsort on the Meuse
Death of William the Silent
Waterloo
The Kolk, Rotterdam
Mayence
Pont des Arches, Liege
L'Hotel-de-Ville a Louvain
The Arriere Faucille, Ghent
The Morning of Agincourt
Godesberg
Rheinfels
Cologne
Great Square at Bruges

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