The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium. The people of the south were Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons. Both peoples were traditionally Roman Catholic as contrasted with the Protestant people of the north. Many outspoken liberals regarded King William I's rule as despotic. There were high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes. On 25 August 1830, riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. Theatregoers who had just watched the nationalistic opera La muette de Portici joined the mob. Uprisings followed elsewhere in the country. Factories were occupied and machinery destroyed. Order was restored after William committed troops to the Southern Provinces but rioting continued and leadership was taken up by radicals, who started talking of secession. Dutch units pulled out; the States-General in Brussels declared independence.
In the aftermath, a National Congress was assembled. King William appealed to the Great Powers; the resulting 1830 London Conference of major European powers recognized Belgian independence. Following the installation of Leopold I as "King of the Belgians" in 1831, King William made a belated attempt to reconquer Belgium and restore his position through a military campaign; this "Ten Days' Campaign" failed because of French military intervention. Not until 1839 did the Dutch accept the decision of the London conference and Belgian independence by signing the Treaty of London; the Dutch overthrew Napoleonic rule in 1813 and, after the British-Dutch Treaty of 1814, named their state the "United Provinces of the Netherlands" or the "United Netherlands". After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the Congress of Vienna created a kingdom for the House of Orange-Nassau, thus combining the United Provinces of the Netherlands with the former Austrian Netherlands in order to create a strong buffer state north of France.
Symptomatic of the tenor of diplomatic bargaining at Vienna was the early proposal to reward Prussia for its staunch fight against Napoleon with the former Habsburg territory. When the British insisted on retaining the former Dutch Ceylon and the Cape Colony the new kingdom of the Netherlands was compensated with these southern provinces; the union of these two areas reverted to the original cultural area of the Netherlands before the 16th century and were called the "United Kingdom of the Netherlands". The Belgian Revolution had many consequences. Catholic bishops in the south viewed the Protestant-majority north with suspicion, had forbidden working for the new government; this rule, originated in 1815 by Maurice-Jean de Broglie, the French nobleman, bishop of Ghent, caused an under-representation of Southerners in government apparatus and the army. The traditional economy of trade and an incipient Industrial Revolution were centred in the present day Netherlands in the large port of Amsterdam.
Furthermore, although 62% of the population lived in the South, they were assigned the same number of representatives in the States General. At the most basic level, the North was for free trade, while less-developed local industries in the South called for the protection of tariffs. Free trade lowered the price of bread, made from wheat imported through the reviving port of Antwerp; the more numerous Northern provinces represented a majority in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands' elected Lower Assembly, therefore the more populous Southerners felt under-represented. King William I was from the North, lived in the present day Netherlands, ignored the demands for greater autonomy, his more progressive and amiable representative living in Brussels, the twin capital, was the Crown-Prince William King William II, who had some popularity among the upper class but none among peasants and workers. A linguistic reform in 1823 was intended to make Dutch the official language in the Flemish provinces, since it was the language of most of the Flemish population.
This reform met with strong opposition from the upper and middle classes who at the time were French-speaking. On 4 June 1830, this reform was abolished. Religion was another cause of the Belgian Revolution. In the politics of the south Roman Catholicism was the important factor, its partisans fought against the freedom of religion proclaimed by William, at that time still supported by the liberal faction. Over time the liberal faction began to support the Catholics to accomplish its own goals: freedom of education and freedom of the press; the Belgian Revolution of 1830 crystallised this antagonism. The language policy of King William was abolished. Catholic partisans watched with excitement the unfolding of the July Revolution in France, details of which were swiftly reported in the newspapers. On 25 August 1830, at the Théâtre
The franc commonly distinguished as the French franc, was a currency of France. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money, it was reintroduced in 1795. After two centuries of inflation, it was revalued in 1960, with each new franc being worth 100 old francs; the NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being the franc. The French franc was a held international reserve currency of reference in the 19th and 20th centuries; the first franc was a gold coin introduced in 1360 to pay the Ransom of King John II of France. This coin secured the king's freedom and showed him on a richly decorated horse earning it the name franc à cheval; the obverse legend, like other French coins, gives the king's title as Francorum Rex and provides another reason to call the coin a franc. Its value was set as one livre tournois. John's son, Charles V, continued this type, it was copied at Brabant and Cambrai and, with the arms on the horse cloth changed, at Flanders.
Conquests led by Joan of Arc allowed Charles VII to return to sound coinage and he revived the franc à cheval. John II, was not able to strike enough francs to pay his ransom and he voluntarily returned to English captivity. John II died as a prisoner in England and his son, Charles V was left to pick up the pieces, and so he did. Charles V pursued a policy of reform, including stable coinage. An edict dated 20 April 1365 established the centerpiece of this policy, a gold coin called the denier d’or aux fleurs de lis which had a standing figure of the king on its obverse, pictured under a canopy, its value in money of account was one livre tournois, just like the franc à cheval, this coin is universally known as a franc à pied. In accordance with the theories of the mathematician and royal advisor Nicolas Oresme, Charles struck fewer coins of better gold than his predecessors. In the accompanying deflation both prices and wages fell, but wages fell faster and debtors had to settle up in better money than they had borrowed.
The Mayor of Paris, Étienne Marcel, exploited their discontent to lead a revolt which forced Charles V out of the city. The franc fared better, it became associated with money stable at one livre tournoisHenry III exploited the association of the franc as sound money worth one livre tournois when he sought to stabilize French currency in 1577. By this time, inflows of gold and silver from Spanish America had caused inflation throughout the world economy and the kings of France, who weren't getting much of this wealth, only made things worse by manipulating the values assigned to their coins; the States General which met at Blois in 1577 added to the public pressure to stop currency manipulation. Henry III agreed to do this and he revived the franc, now as a silver coin valued at one livre tournois; this coin and its fractions circulated until 1641 when Louis XIII of France replaced it with the silver écu. The name "franc" continued in accounting as a synonym for the livre tournois; the decimal "franc" was established as the national currency by the French Revolutionary Convention in 1795 as a decimal unit of 4.5 g of fine silver.
This was less than the livre of 4.505 g, but the franc was set in 1796 at 1.0125 livres, reflecting in part the past minting of sub-standard coins. Silver coins now had their denomination marked as "5 FRANCS" and it was made obligatory to quote prices in francs; this ended the ancien régime's practice of striking coins with no stated denomination, such as the Louis d'or, periodically issuing royal edicts to manipulate their value in terms of money of account, i.e. the Livre tournois. The franc became the official currency of France in 1799. Coinage with explicit denominations in decimal fractions of the franc began in 1795. Decimalization of the franc was mandated by an act of 7 April 1795, which dealt with of weights and measures. France led the world in adopting the metric system and it was the second country to convert from a non-decimal to a decimal currency, following Russia's conversion in 1704, the third country to adopt a decimal coinage following the United States in 1787. France's first decimal coinage used allegorical figures symbolizing revolutionary principles, like the coinage designs the United States had adopted in 1793.
The circulation of this metallic currency declined during the Republic: the old gold and silver coins were taken out of circulation and exchanged for printed assignats issued as bonds backed by the value of the confiscated goods of churches, but declared as legal tender currency. The withdrawn gold and silver coins were used to finance wars and to import food, in short supply; as during the "Mississippi Bubble" in 1715–1720, too many assignats were put in circulation, exceeding the value of the "national properties", the coins, due to military requisitioning and hoarding, rarefied to pay foreign suppliers. With national government debt remaining unpaid, a shortage of silver and brass to mint coins, confidence in the new currency declined, leading to hyperinflation, more food riots, severe political instability and termination of the First French Republic and the political fall of the French Convention. Followed the economic failure of the Directoire
German occupation of Belgium during World War II
The German occupation of Belgium during World War II began on 28 May 1940 when the Belgian army surrendered to German forces and lasted until Belgium's liberation by the Western Allies between September 1944 and February 1945. It was the second time. After the success of the invasion, a military administration was established in Belgium, bringing the territory under the direct rule of the Wehrmacht. Thousands of Belgian soldiers were taken as prisoners of war, many were not released until 1945; the German administration juggled competing objectives of maintaining order while extracting material from the territory for the war effort. They were assisted by the Belgian civil service, which believed that limited co-operation with the occupiers would result in the least damage to Belgian interests. Belgian Fascist parties in both Flanders and Wallonia, established before the war, collaborated much more with the occupiers. Food and fuel were rationed, all official news was censored. Belgian civilians living near possible targets such as railway junctions were in danger of Allied aerial bombing.
From 1942, the occupation became more repressive. Jews suffered systematic persecution and deportation to concentration camps, as measures were taken against potential political opposition. Despite vigorous protest, the Germans deported Belgian civilians to work in factories in Germany. Meanwhile, the Belgian Resistance, formed in late 1940, expanded vastly. From 1944, the SS and Nazi Party gained much greater control in Belgium after the military government was replaced in July by a Nazi civil administration, the Reichskommissariat Belgien-Nordfrankreich. In September 1944, Allied forces arrived in Belgium and moved across the country; that December, the territory was incorporated de jure into the Greater German Reich although its collaborationist leaders were in exile in Germany and German control in the region was non-existent. Belgium was declared liberated in February 1945. In total, 40,690 Belgians, over half of them Jews, were killed during the occupation and the country's pre-war gross domestic product was reduced by eight percent.
Belgium had pursued a policy of neutrality since its independence in 1830 avoiding becoming a belligerent in the Franco-Prussian War. In World War I, the German Empire invaded Belgium. During the ensuing occupation, the Allies encouraged Belgian workers to resist the occupiers through non-compliance, leading to large-scale reprisals against Belgian civilians by the German army; as political tensions escalated in the years leading to World War II, the Belgian government again announced its intention to remain neutral in the event of war in Europe. The military was reorganised into a defensive force and the country left several international military treaties it had joined in the aftermath of World War I. Construction began of defences in the east of the country; when France and Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Belgium remained neutral while mobilising its reserves. Without warning, the Germans invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940. During the following 18 Days' Campaign, the Belgian army was pushed back into a pocket in the north-west of Belgium and surrendered on 28 May.
The government fled to France, the United Kingdom, establishing an official government in exile under pre-war Prime Minister Hubert Pierlot. They were responsible for forming a small military force made up of Belgian and colonial troops, known as the Free Belgian Forces and which fought as part the Allied forces. Shortly after the surrender of the Belgian army, the Militärverwaltung in Belgien und Nordfrankreich was created by the Germans with Brussels as administrative centre. Germany annexed Eupen-Malmedy, a German-speaking region given to Belgium under the Treaty of Versailles of 1919; the Military Government was placed under the control of General Alexander von Falkenhausen, an aristocrat and career soldier. Under von Falkenhausen's command, the German administration had two military units at its disposal: the Feldgendarmerie and the Gestapo; the section of the Military Government that dealt with civil matters, the Militärverwaltungsstab, commanded by Eggert Reeder, was responsible for all economic and political matters in the territory.
Before leaving the country in 1940, the Belgian government had installed a panel of senior civil-servants, the so-called "Committee of Secretaries-General", to administer the territory in the absence of elected ministers. The Germans retained the Committee during the occupation; the Committee hoped to stop the Germans becoming involved in the day-to-day administration of the territory, allowing the nation to maintain a degree of autonomy. The Committee hoped to be able to prevent the implementation of more radical German policies, such as forced labour and deportation. In practice, the Committee enabled the Germans to implement their policies more efficiently than the Military Government could have done by force. In July 1944, the military administration was replaced by a civilian government, led by Josef Grohé; the territory was divided into Reichsgaue increasing the power of the Nazi Party and SS in the territory. By 1944 the Germans were forced to share power, day
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019; the euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents; the currency is used by the institutions of the European Union, by four European microstates that are not EU members, as well as unilaterally by Montenegro and Kosovo. Outside Europe, a number of special territories of EU members use the euro as their currency. Additionally, 240 million people worldwide as of 2018 use currencies pegged to the euro; the euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of August 2018, with more than €1.2 trillion in circulation, the euro has one of the highest combined values of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.
S. dollar. The name euro was adopted on 16 December 1995 in Madrid; the euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit at a ratio of 1:1. Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members, by March 2002 it had replaced the former currencies. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.83 within two years, it has traded above the U. S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.60 on 18 July 2008. In late 2009, the euro became immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis, which led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising and strengthening the currency; the euro is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank and the Eurosystem. As an independent central bank, the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy; the Eurosystem participates in the printing and distribution of notes and coins in all member states, the operation of the eurozone payment systems.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty obliges most EU member states to adopt the euro upon meeting certain monetary and budgetary convergence criteria, although not all states have done so. The United Kingdom and Denmark negotiated exemptions, while Sweden turned down the euro in a 2003 referendum, has circumvented the obligation to adopt the euro by not meeting the monetary and budgetary requirements. All nations that have joined the EU since 1993 have pledged to adopt the euro in due course. Since 1 January 2002, the national central banks and the ECB have issued euro banknotes on a joint basis. Euro banknotes do not show. Eurosystem NCBs are required to accept euro banknotes put into circulation by other Eurosystem members and these banknotes are not repatriated; the ECB issues 8% of the total value of banknotes issued by the Eurosystem. In practice, the ECB's banknotes are put into circulation by the NCBs, thereby incurring matching liabilities vis-à-vis the ECB; these liabilities carry interest at the main refinancing rate of the ECB.
The other 92% of euro banknotes are issued by the NCBs in proportion to their respective shares of the ECB capital key, calculated using national share of European Union population and national share of EU GDP weighted. The euro is divided into 100 cents. In Community legislative acts the plural forms of euro and cent are spelled without the s, notwithstanding normal English usage. Otherwise, normal English plurals are sometimes used, with many local variations such as centime in France. All circulating coins have a common side showing the denomination or value, a map in the background. Due to the linguistic plurality in the European Union, the Latin alphabet version of euro is used and Arabic numerals. For the denominations except the 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, the map only showed the 15 member states which were members when the euro was introduced. Beginning in 2007 or 2008 the old map is being replaced by a map of Europe showing countries outside the Union like Norway, Belarus, Russia or Turkey.
The 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, keep their old design, showing a geographical map of Europe with the 15 member states of 2002 raised somewhat above the rest of the map. All common sides were designed by Luc Luycx; the coins have a national side showing an image chosen by the country that issued the coin. Euro coins from any member state may be used in any nation that has adopted the euro; the coins are issued in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. To avoid the use of the two smallest coins, some cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents in the Netherlands and Ireland and in Finland; this practice is discouraged by the Commission, as is the practice of certain shops of refusing to accept high-value euro notes. Commemorative coins with €2 face value have been issued with changes to the design of the national side of the coin; these include both issued coins, such as the €2 commemorative coin for the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, nationally i
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright reddish yellow, soft and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a group 11 element, it is solid under standard conditions. Gold occurs in free elemental form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, in alluvial deposits, it occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less it occurs in minerals as gold compounds with tellurium. Gold is resistant to most acids, though it does dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which forms a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion. Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to refine gold and to confirm the presence of gold in metallic objects, giving rise to the term acid test. Gold dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which are used in mining and electroplating.
Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys. A rare element, gold is a precious metal, used for coinage and other arts throughout recorded history. In the past, a gold standard was implemented as a monetary policy, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, the world gold standard was abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1971. A total of 186,700 tonnes of gold exists above ground, as of 2015; the world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, 10% in industry. Gold's high malleability, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions, conductivity of electricity have led to its continued use in corrosion resistant electrical connectors in all types of computerized devices. Gold is used in infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, tooth restoration. Certain gold salts are still used as anti-inflammatories in medicine; as of 2017, the world's largest gold producer by far was China with 440 tonnes per year.
Gold is the most malleable of all metals. It can be drawn into a monoatomic wire, stretched about twice before it breaks; such nanowires distort via formation and migration of dislocations and crystal twins without noticeable hardening. A single gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, an avoirdupois ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become semi-transparent; the transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, in sun-visors for spacesuits. Gold is a good conductor of electricity. Gold has a density of 19.3 g/cm3 identical to that of tungsten at 19.25 g/cm3. By comparison, the density of lead is 11.34 g/cm3, that of the densest element, osmium, is 22.588±0.015 g/cm3. Whereas most metals are gray or silvery white, gold is reddish-yellow; this color is determined by the frequency of plasma oscillations among the metal's valence electrons, in the ultraviolet range for most metals but in the visible range for gold due to relativistic effects affecting the orbitals around gold atoms.
Similar effects impart a golden hue to metallic caesium. Common colored gold alloys include the distinctive eighteen-karat rose gold created by the addition of copper. Alloys containing palladium or nickel are important in commercial jewelry as these produce white gold alloys. Fourteen-karat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, both may be used to produce police and other badges. White gold alloys can be made with nickel. Fourteen- and eighteen-karat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron, purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium. Less addition of manganese, aluminium and other elements can produce more unusual colors of gold for various applications. Colloidal gold, used by electron-microscopists, is red. Gold has only one stable isotope, 197Au, its only occurring isotope, so gold is both a mononuclidic and monoisotopic element. Thirty-six radioisotopes have been synthesized, ranging in atomic mass from 169 to 205.
The most stable of these is 195Au with a half-life of 186.1 days. The least stable is 171Au. Most of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses below 197 decay by some combination of proton emission, α decay, β+ decay; the exceptions are 195Au, which decays by electron capture, 196Au, which decays most by electron capture with a minor β− decay path. All of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses above 197 decay by β− decay. At least 32 nuclear isomers have been characterized, ranging in atomic mass from 170 to 200. Within that range, only 178Au, 180Au, 181Au, 182Au, 188Au do not have isomers. Gold's most stable isomer is 198m2Au with a half-life of 2.27 days. Gold's least stable isomer is 177m2Au with a half-life of only 7 ns. 184m1Au has three decay paths: β+ decay, isomeric
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands is the unofficial name given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands as it existed between 1815 and 1839. The United Netherlands was created in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars through the fusion of territories that had belonged to the former Dutch Republic, Austrian Netherlands, Prince-Bishopric of Liège; the polity was a constitutional monarchy, ruled by William I of the House of Orange-Nassau. The polity collapsed in 1830 with the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution. With the de facto secession of Belgium, the Netherlands was left as a rump state and refused to recognise Belgian independence until 1839 when the Treaty of London was signed, fixing the border between the two states and guaranteeing Belgian independence and neutrality as the Kingdom of Belgium. Before the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries was a patchwork of different polities created by the Eighty Years' War; the Dutch Republic in the north was independent, while the Southern Netherlands was split between the Austrian Netherlands and Prince-Bishopric of Liège.
The former was part of Habsburg Austria and both were part of the Holy Roman Empire. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the War of the First Coalition broke out in 1792 and France was invaded by Prussia and the Holy Roman Empire. After two years of fighting, the Austrian Netherlands and Liège were captured by the French in 1794 and annexed into France; the Dutch Republic became a French client state. In 1813, the Netherlands was liberated from French rule by Prussian and Russian troops during the Napoleonic Wars, it was taken for granted that any new regime would have to be headed by the son of the last Dutch stadhouder, William Frederik of Orange-Nassau. A provisional government was formed, most of whose members had helped drive out the House of Orange 18 years earlier. However, they realised that it would be better in the long term to offer leadership of the new government to William Frederik themselves rather than have him imposed by the allies. Accordingly, William Frederick was installed as the "sovereign prince" of a new Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands.
The future of the Southern Netherlands, was less clear. In June 1814, the Great Powers secretly agreed to the Eight Articles of London which allocated the region to the Dutch as William had advocated; that August, William Frederik was made Governor-General of the Southern Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège–almost all of what is now Belgium. For all intents and purposes, William Frederik had completed his family's three-century dream of uniting the Low Countries under a single rule. Discussions on the future of the region were still ongoing at the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon attempted to return to power in the "Hundred Days". William used the occasion to declare himself king on 16 March 1815 as William I. After the Battle of Waterloo, discussions continued. In exchange for the Southern Netherlands, William agreed to cede the Principality of Orange-Nassau and parts of the Liège to Prussia on 31 May 1815. In exchange, William gained control over the Duchy of Luxembourg, elevated to a grand duchy and placed in personal and political union with the Netherlands, though it remained part of the German Confederation.
Though the United Netherlands was a constitutional monarchy, the king retained significant control as head of state and head of government. Beneath the king was a bicameral legislature known as the States General with a Senate and House of Representatives. From the start, the administrative system proved controversial. Representation in the 110-seat House of Representatives, for example, was divided between south and north, although the former had a larger population; this was resented in the south. The United Netherlands was divided into 17 provinces and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, constitutionally distinct. Many were based on the pre-existing départements, established by the French, they included: Antwerp Drenthe East Flanders Friesland Gelderland Groningen Hainaut Holland Limburg Liège Namur North Brabant Overijssel South Brabant Utrecht West Flanders Zeeland The United Netherlands was a colonial power with overseas colonies in the East Indies and elsewhere. Economically, the United Netherlands prospered.
Supported by the state, the Industrial Revolution began to affect the Southern Netherlands where a number of modern industries emerged, encouraged by figures such as John Cockerill who created the steel industry in Wallonia. Antwerp emerged as major trading port. William I supported economic modernisation. Modern universities were established at Leuven, Liège, Ghent in 1817. Lower education was extended; the General Netherlands Society for Advancing National Industry was created in 1822 to encourage industrialisation in the south, while the Netherlands Trading Society was created in 1825 to encourage trade with the colonies. William I embarked on a programme of canal building that saw the creation of the North Holland, Ghent–Terneuzen and Brussels–Charleroi canals. Differences between Southern and Northern Netherlands were never effaced; the two were divided by the issue of religion because the south was Roman Catholic and the north Dutch Reformed. The Cathol