The History of Belgium

Here is a peek into the brief history of Belgium

In today's time when we say Belgium, the first thought that pops up in mind is the Bruges, waffles, Brussels, or fries as the highlight of the EU. These are not just the globally known stereotypes; however, they root from Belgium's history and the origin of its name.

The Origin

It is believed that Belgium gets its name from the tribes of Belgae, which used to live in the northern sides of what was then Gaul around the third century BC. What is Belgae, and where did these tribes come from? As per the etymology experts, the name got its foundations from the proto-Celtic words 'belg' and 'bolg,' which intend to expand with anger.

When it comes to the discussion over the origin of Belgium, there have been immense debates and arguments amongst the researchers, historians, and scholars on whether Belgaes were truly Germanic, Celatic, or a mixture of tribes. Curiously, a few sources propose that Belgaes themselves were likewise not certain to where they belong. At the point when Julius Caesar overpowered their territories, he saw that their language and customs were not the same as those of different tribes in Gaul. During his victories, Caesar drew his consideration, especially on the Belgaes. The reason behind zeroing on the Belgaes was that they had a unique element. And why were they considered so peculiar? Out of all the tribes that existed in Gaul, the Belgaes were depicted as the bravest and most daring of all, and this fact was supported by the way that they were the hardest to be conquered. It took him four years until he at long last vanquished the Belgae tribes in 53 BC. Also, during the times of Romans, Belgaes could not acknowledge the way that their land and territories were essential for the Empire and revolted. Their chief Ambiorix was responsible for a revolt yet was in the end defeated.

After the Roman Period

After the fall of the Roman Empire and the start of the Middle Ages, the lands which today forms Belgium turned out to become a part of the Holy Roman Empire and would stay as such until the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The impact and control of the Holy Roman Empire over these regions would steadily diminish throughout the long term. Therefore, these lands were left segregated, and the lack of security was a decent chance for the French and English to take up the responsibility for the area.

Next Centuries

Over the centuries, these regions were separated into little medieval or small feudal states. The most renowned ones that arose were the areas of Hainaut and Flanders, Duchies of Limburg and Brabant, and the Prince-Bishopric of Liege. Of all these feudal or medieval states, the most affluent was the County of Flanders. The district turned into a focal point of trade and exchange and where English wool was imported and changed over into fine fabric. The abundance of the district prompted the development of urban areas, for example, Gent, Ypres, and Bruges. Until the nineteenth century, the regions of present-day Belgium were controlled by the Dutch, Spanish, and French and would stay until a series of events that would prompt the creation of the Belgian state.

Beginning of Belgium
The Vienna congress

The year 1815 was without critical significance without any doubts. Following the defeat of Napoleon in Waterloo, the successful forces of Austria, Britain, Russia, and Prussia met in Vienna to redistribute impact and arrange the jurisdiction of the regions for quite a long time to come. Perhaps, one of the major decisions was the formation of the United Kingdom of Netherlands. The principal idea was to make a state which would fill in as a buffer region against any future intervention of the French. During the Vienna Congress, the formation of a Belgian state was recommended. However, this alternative did not get sufficient support and backup. Rather it was concluded that regions that were once important for France should be presently added to the United Kingdom of Netherlands as its part.

This was not actually the best decision as it caused issues that would create a time of agitation and unrest and what might, in the end, prompt the Belgian Revolution 15 years after. The United Kingdom of Netherlands was divided on a large scale because of the fact that the individuals in the north were basically Protestant, while people in the south were Catholic. Further, there was additionally a phonetic division or the linguistic division between the Walloons, whose language is French, rather than the Flemish, whose primary language is Dutch. In the years to come, this linguistic division will be one of the principal explanations behind the disorder in the southern territories.

The Dutch king Willem I supported the Protestants, and in this way, he got disliked in the south. Also, individuals in the south of the Kingdom were accepted to be less addressed or represented. Willem even attempted to make Dutch the widespread universal language. However, he confronted a serious backlash from the communities that were French-speaking. The request which was set up by the Dutch predominance was obviously inadmissible for the southern communities, and this led to the start of the revolution of Belgian.

The Revolution

On the 25th of August 1830, the Dutch ruler Willem I was praising the fifteenth year of his rule. As a celebration, he went to the Auber's show La Muette de Portici at the Brussels opera house. During the performance, there were numerous patriotic banners inside the opera that were called for a revolution. From the time when the second act started with the duet called 'Amour sacré de la Patrie,' an uprising started among the audience, and the revolt immediately moved to the roads of Brussels. The inspiration and empowerment for the revolution started to get pace in different urban communities, and individuals' demands were basic and simple. They wanted freedom and to put an end to the domination of the Dutch. The Belgian Revolution was an event which not exclusively of huge importance for Belgium. However, it likewise formed the remaining part of Europe and brought about another country.

Belgium Into Existence

Following these events, the powers from the Vienna Congress once again gathered in London on the 20th of December’1830. This time they had no option or choice except to perceive the success of the revolution of Belgian and to ensure its independence. The authorities, however, demanded that the future king should come from the dynasty of Saxe-Coburg. The reason behind this was simple that was to stay away from any French interests and avoid it for later on Belgian territories. That is the reason Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg was welcomed to become the King of Belgium, and the date of his inauguration, i.e., was 21st of July’1831, turned into the public day of Belgium. From that point onwards, the Dutch and French communities have their own countries ruled by different kings and fixed the year 1831 as the day when Belgium came into existence.


Belgium has quite a debatable history with a number of significant events that have a strong impact and influence over its history. In present times Belgium is known as the land of parades, music festivals, best waffles, the world's best chocolates, and the country that introduced french fries.

Related Articles