Antwerp Province is the northernmost province both of the Flemish Region called Flanders, of Belgium. It borders on North Brabant province of the Netherlands and the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Flemish Brabant and East Flanders, its capital is Antwerp. It has an area of 2,867 km2 and with 1.8 million inhabitants it is the country's most populous province. The province consists of 3 arrondissements: Antwerp and Turnhout; the eastern part of the province comprises the main part of the Campine region. During the early Middle Ages the region was part of the Frankish Empire, divided into several pagi; the territory of the present day province belonged to several pagi of which the region around Antwerp belonged to the Pagus Renesium. The Pagus Toxandria stretched from North Brabant into the Campine region. To the south there was the Pagus Hasbaniensis. In 843 the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne was divided among his sons and the river Scheldt became the border between West Francia and East Francia.
In 974 Otto II established the Margraviate of Antwerp as a defence against the County of Flanders. In 1106, Henry V granted the Margraviate to Godfrey I of Leuven, his descendants would from 1235 onwards become the Dukes of Brabant and the region itself was the northern part of the Duchy of Brabant. In 1430 the Duchy became part of the Duchy of Burgundy until 1477 when it fell to the House of Habsburg. In 1713, at the end of the Spanish Succession War the region became part of the Austrian Netherlands until 1794, with in 1790 the short lived United States of Belgium. On 1 October 1795 the former Austrian Netherlands were annexed by France under the French Directory; the modern province was created as the Department of the two Netes during the First French Empire. After the defeat of Napoleon, the territory became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands as the province of Central Brabant, distinguishing it from North Brabant and South Brabant. In 1830, after Belgium's independence the province was renamed Antwerp.
Prefects of the Department of the two Netes during the First French Empire Marquis Charles Joseph Fortuné d'Herbouville Charles Cochon Marc René Marie de Voyer d'Argenson Baron Jacques Fortunat de Savoye-Rollin Governors of the province of Antwerp during the United Kingdom of the Netherlands Charles–Louis van Keverberg van Kessel Pierre Joseph Pycke Leonard Pierre Joseph du Bus de Gisignies André Charles Membrede Edmond Charles Giullaume Ghislain de la Coste Alexandre François Ghislain van der Fosse Governors of the Belgian province of Antwerp François de Robiano Jean-François Tielemans Charles Rogier Henri de Brouckère Jules Malou Jan Teichmann Edward Pycke d'Ideghem Charles du Bois de Vroylande Edward Osy de Zegwaart Fredegand Cogels Louis de Brouchoven de Bergeyck Ferdinand de Baillet-Latour Gaston van de Werve de Schilde Georges Holvoet Richard Declerck Andries Kinsbergen Camille Paulus Cathy Berx 1846: 406,354 1856: 434,485 1866: 456,607 1880: 577,232 1890: 700,019 1900: 819,159 1910: 968,677 1920: 1,016,963 1930: 1,173,363 1947: 1,281,333 2008: 1,715,707 2010: 1,744,862 As in all Flemish provinces, the official and standard language of the Antwerp province is Dutch.
Common with Flemish Brabant, North Brabant and Brussels, the local dialect is a Brabantian variety. According to the International Social Survey Programme 2008: Religion III by the Association of Religion Data Archives, 73.3% of Antwerp's population identify themselves as Catholics, 24.1% as non-religious, 2.6% identify themselves in other religions. The province of Antwerp has a provincial council, elected every six years, an executive deputation headed by a governor; the current governor is Cathy Berx, appointed in 2008 by the Flemish Government. The last elections were held on 14 October 2012; the following parties were elected to the 72-member council: New Flemish Alliance: 27 seats Christian Democratic and Flemish: 13 seats Socialist Party – Different: 10 seats Flemish Interest: 7 seats Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats: 7 seats Green: 6 seats Workers' Party of Belgium: 2 seatsFor the 2013-2018 legislative term, the deputation consists of a coalition of N-VA, CD&V and sp.a, that each have 2 deputies.
The three parties have a majority of 50 seats out of 72. Highest point: Beerzelberg located in the municipality Putte. Most important rivers: Scheldt, Grote Nete, Kleine Nete The province has a network of roads, railroads and rivers which provide a modern infrastructure; the traffic infrastructure was an important element of connecting the Port of Antwerp with the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Both the Iron Rhine railroad and the E313 and E34 highway connect Antwerp with the Ruhr Area; the river Schelde, an important waterway, connects the Port of Antwerp with the North Sea. The Albert Canal connects the Scheldt in Antwerp with the Liège. Other canals are the Canal Dessel – Kwaadmechelen, Schoten – Turnhout – Dessel, Herentals – Bocholt which flows into the Nete canal. Of the International E-road network, the E313, E19, E34 run through parts of the province; the Kennedy Tunnel and the Liefkenshoek Tunnel connect
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt. Present-day North Brabant was adjudicated to the Generality Lands of the Dutch Republic according to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, while the reduced duchy remained part of the Southern Netherlands until it was conquered by French Revolutionary forces in 1794. Today all the duchy's former territories, apart from exclaves, are in Belgium except for the Dutch province of North Brabant; the Duchy of Brabant was divided into four parts, each with its own capital. The four capitals were Leuven, Antwerp and's-Hertogenbosch. Before's-Hertogenbosch was founded, Tienen was the fourth capital, its territory consisted of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.
Its most important cities were Brussels, Leuven, Breda,'s-Hertogenbosch and Mechelen. The modern flag of Belgium takes its colors from Brabant's coat of arms: a lion or armed and langued gules as a primary heraldic charge on a black field. First used by Count Lambert I of Louvain, the lion is documented in a 1306 town's seal of Kerpen, together with the red lion of Limburg. Up to the present, the Brabant lion features as the primary charge on the coats of arms of both Flemish and Walloon Brabant, of the Dutch province of North Brabant; the region's name is first recorded as the Carolingian shire pagus Bracbatensis, located between the rivers Scheldt and Dijle, from braec "marshy" and bant "region". Upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun it was part of Lotharingia within short-lived Middle Francia, was ceded to East Francia according to the 880 Treaty of Ribemont. In earlier Roman times, the Nervii, a Belgic tribe, lived in the same area, they were incorporated into the Roman province of Belgica, considered to have both Celtic and Germanic cultural links.
At the end of the Roman period the region was conquered by the Germanic Franks. In 959 the East Frankish king Otto I of Germany elevated Count Godfrey of Jülich to the rank of duke of Lower Lorraine. In 962 the duchy became an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire, where Godfrey's successors of the ducal Ardennes-Verdun dynasty ruled over the Gau of Brabant. Here, the counts of Leuven rose to power, when about 1000 Count Lambert I the Bearded married Gerberga, the daughter of Duke Charles of Lower Lorraine, acquired the County of Brussels. About 1024 southernmost Brabant fell to Count Reginar V of Mons, Imperial lands up to the Schelde river in the west came under the rule of the French Counts Baldwin V of Flanders by 1059. Upon the death of Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia in 1085, Emperor Henry IV assigned his fief between the Dender and Zenne rivers as the Landgraviate of Brabant to Count Henry III of Leuven and Brussels. About one hundred years in 1183/1184, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa formally established the Duchy of Brabant and created the hereditary title of duke of Brabant in favour of Henry I of Brabant, son of Count Godfrey III of Leuven.
Although the original county was still quite small - and limited to the territory between the Dender and Zenne rivers, situated to the west of Brussels - from the 13th century onwards its name came to apply to the entire territory under control of the dukes. In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I became Duke of Lower Lotharingia. By that time the title had lost most of its territorial authority. According to protocol, all his successors were thereafter called Dukes of Brabant and Lower Lotharingia. After the Battle of Worringen in 1288, the dukes of Brabant acquired the Duchy of Limburg and the lands of Overmaas. In 1354 Duke John III of Brabant granted a Joyous Entry to the citizens of Brabant. In 1430 the Duchies of Lower Lotharingia and Limburg were inherited by Philip the Good of Burgundy and became part of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1477 the Duchy of Brabant became part of the House of Habsburg as part of the dowry of Mary of Burgundy. At that time the Duchy extended from Luttre, south of Nivelles to's Hertogenbosch, with Leuven as the capital city.
The subsequent history of Brabant is part of the history of the Habsburg Seventeen Provinces. The Eighty Years' War brought the northern parts under military control of the northern insurgents. After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the United Provinces' independence was confirmed and northern Brabant was formally ceded to the United Provinces as Staats-Brabant, a federally governed territory and part of the Dutch Republic; the southern part remained in Spanish Habsburg hands as a part of the Southern Netherlands. It was transferred to the Austrian branch of the Habsburg monarchy in 1714. Brabant was included in the unrecognised United States of Belgium, which existed from January to December 1790 during short-lived revolt against Emperor Joseph II, until imperial troops regained the Austrian Netherlands for Leopold II who had succeeded his brother; the area was overrun during the French Revolution in 1794, formally annexed by France in 1795. The duchy of Brabant was dissolved and the territory was reorganised in the départements of Deux-Nèthes and Dyle.
After the defeat of Bonaparte in 1815, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
Gelderland is a province of the Netherlands, located in the central eastern part of the country. With a land area of nearly 5,000 km2, it is the largest province of the Netherlands and shares borders with six other provinces and Germany; the capital is Arnhem. Other major regional centres in Gelderland are Ede, Zutphen, Tiel, Wageningen and Winterswijk. Gelderland had a population of just over two million in 2018; the province dates from states of the Holy Roman Empire and takes its name from the nearby German city of Geldern. According to the Wichard saga, the city was named by the Lords of Pont who fought and killed a dragon in 878 AD, they named the town they founded after the death rattle of the dragon: "Gelre!"The County of Guelders arose out of the Frankish pagus Hamaland in the 11th century around castles near Roermond and Geldern. The counts of Gelre acquired the Betuwe and Veluwe regions and, through marriage, the County of Zutphen, thus the counts of Guelders laid the foundation for a territorial power that, through control of the Rhine, Meuse and IJssel rivers, was to play an important role in the Middle Ages.
The geographical position of their territory dictated the external policy of the counts during the following centuries. Further enlarged by the acquisition of the imperial city of Nijmegen in the 13th century, the countship was raised to a duchy in 1339 by the Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV. After 1379, the duchy was ruled by the counts of Egmond and Cleves; the duchy resisted Burgundian domination, but William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg was forced to cede it to Charles V in 1543, after which it formed part of the Burgundian-Habsburg hereditary lands. The duchy revolted with the rest of the Netherlands against Philip II of Spain and joined the Union of Utrecht. After the deposition of Philip II, its sovereignty was vested in the States of Gelderland, the princes of Orange were stadtholders. In 1672, the province was temporarily occupied by Louis XIV and, in 1713, the southeastern part including the ducal capital of Geldern fell to Prussia. Part of the Batavian Republic, of Louis Bonaparte’s Kingdom of Holland, of the French Empire, Gelderland became a province of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815.
During the Second World War, it saw heavy fighting between Allied Paratroopers, British XXX Corps and the German II SS Panzer Corps, at the Battle of Arnhem. Gelderland can be divided into four geographical regions: the Veluwe in the north, the Rivierenland including the Betuwe in the southwest, the Achterhoek or Graafschap in the east and the city-region of Arnhem and Nijmegen in the centre-south. In 2015, the 54 municipalities in Gelderland were divided into four COROPs: These municipalities were merged with neighbouring ones: Angerlo was merged into Zevenaar Dinxperlo was merged into Aalten Gorssel was merged into Lochem Hoevelaken was merged into Nijkerk Lichtenvoorde was merged into Groenlo Warnsveld was merged into Zutphen Wehl was merged into Doetinchem Millingen aan de Rijn and Ubbergen were merged into Groesbeek These municipalities were merged and given a new name: Borculo, Eibergen and Ruurlo have become Berkelland Hengelo, Hummelo en Keppel, Steenderen and Zelhem have become Bronckhorst Bergh and Didam has become Montferland Gendringen and Wisch have become Oude IJsselstreek In the 2001 movie A Knight's Tale, the protagonist, William Thatcher pretends to be a knight known as "Ulrich von Lichtenstein from Gelderland".
French Flemish is a West Flemish dialect spoken in the north of contemporary France. Place names attest to Flemish having been spoken since the 8th century in the area, ceded to France in the 17th century and which became known as French Flanders, its dialect subgroup, called French Flemish, became a minority dialect that survives in Dunkirk, Calais, Saint-Omer with an ethnic enclave Haut-Pont known for its predominantly Flemish community and Bailleul. French-Flemish has about 20,000 daily users, twice that number of occasional speakers; the language's status appears to be moribund, but there has been an active movement to retain French Flemish in the region. A growing, re-introduced language, French Flemish is taught in several schools in the French Westhoek; the ANVT-ILRF was given permission to carry out experimental lessons in four public schools for the school years of 2007–08 until 2010–11, after which it would be evaluated. Afterwards, all requirements were met but it was only allowed to continue them, but not to expand to other schools or to the collège.
On the other hand, the private Catholic education began teaching Dutch in collèges in Gravelines and Hondschoote. Though seen as a dialect of Dutch, some of its speakers prefer to call it a regional language. Jean-Paul Couché, chairman of the Akademie voor Nuuze Vlaemsche Taele, argues: Linguistically, a dialect depends on a larger, national language; that does not apply to French Flemish. We are not connected to standard Dutch because it is an artificial language, created based on the dialects of North Holland. Research shows that the distance between French Flemish and Dutch is greater than that between Dutch and German. Burgundian Netherlands French Flanders French Netherlands Isogloss Nord-Pas de Calais Seventeen Provinces Akademie voor Nuuze Vlaemsche Taele tries to regulate this language Flemish in France site UOC, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, subsite Euromosaic – Research Centre of Multilingualism. Fvlinhetnederlands.actieforum.com
West Flemish is a dialect of the Dutch language spoken in western Belgium and adjoining parts of the Netherlands and France. West Flemish is spoken by about a million people in the Belgian province of West Flanders, a further 120,000 in the neighbouring Dutch coastal district of Zeelandic Flanders and 10,000 in the northern part of the French département of Nord; some of the main cities where West Flemish is spoken are Bruges, Kortrijk, Ostend and Ypres. West Flemish is listed as a "vulnerable" language in UNESCO's online Red Book of Endangered Languages; the language has its own dedicated Wikipedia. West Flemish has a phonology that differs from that of Standard Dutch; the best known traits are the replacement of Standard Dutch velar fricatives g and ch in Dutch with glottal h and the overall lack of diphthongs. The following differences are listed by their Dutch spelling, as some different letters have merged their sounds in Standard Dutch but remained separate sounds in West Flemish. Pronunciations can differ from region to region.
Sch - /sx/ is realised as, or. Ei - /ɛi/ is realised as or. Ij - / ɛi / is realised in some words as. Ui - / œy / is realised in some words as. Au - /ʌu/ is realised as ou - /ʌu/ is realised as, it is similar to the long "oe", used in Standard Dutch, which can cause confusion e - /ɛ/ is realised as or. I - /ɪ/ is realised as. Ie - /i/ is longer aa - /aː/ is realised as; the nonexistentce of /x/ and /ɣ/ in West Flemish makes pronuncing them difficult for native speakers. That causes hypercorrection of the /h/ sounds to a /x/ or /ɣ/. Standard Dutch has many words with an -en suffix. While Standard Dutch and most dialects do not pronounce the final n, West Flemish drops the e and pronounces the n inside the base word. For base words ending with n, the final n sound is lengthened to clarify the suffix; that makes many words become similar to those of English: beaten, listen etc. The short o can be pronounced as a short u; that happens spontaneously to some words. The short a can turn into a short o in some words spontaneously.
The diphthong ui is replaced by a long u or a long ie. Like for the ui, the long o can be replaced by an for some words but a for others; that causes similarities to ranchers English. Here are some examples showing the sound shifts that are part of the vocabulary: Plural forms in Standard Dutch most add -en, but West Flemish uses -s, like the Lower Saxon Germanic dialects and more prominently in English in which -en has become rare. Under the influence of Standard Dutch, -s is being used by fewer people, younger speakers tend to use -en; the verbs zijn and hebben are conjugated differently. West Flemish has a double subject. Standard Dutch has an indefinite article, unlike in West Flemish. However, a gender-independent article is used. Like in English, n is pronounced. Another feature of West Flemish is the conjugation of nee to the subject of the sentence; that is somewhat related to the double subject, but when the rest of the sentence is not pronounced, ja and nee are used with the first part of the double subject.
There is an extra word, negates the previous sentence but gives a positive answer. Ja, nee and toet can all be strengthened by adding mo- or ba-. Both mean "but" and are derived from Dutch but or maar) and can be used together. West Flemish inherited many words from Saxon settlers and on had English loanwords from the wool and cloth trades. Both categories differ from Standard Dutch and show similarities with English and so is difficult to separate both categories. During the Industrial Revolution, the increasing trade with France caused many industrial loanwords from French; when words exist in both Dutch and West Flemish, their meaning can be different. That sometimes causes confusion for native speakers who do not realise that words are used differently. Dutch dialects Flemish people French Flemish Hebban olla vogala Westhoek Euromosaic report on West Flemish in France
's-Hertogenbosch, colloquially known as Den Bosch, is a city and municipality in the Southern Netherlands with a population of 152,968. It is the capital of the province of North Brabant; the city's official name is a contraction of the Dutch des Hertogen bosch—"the Duke's forest". The duke in question was Duke Henry I of Brabant, whose family had owned a large estate at nearby Orthen for at least four centuries, he founded a new town located on some forested dunes in the middle of a marsh. At age 26, he granted's-Hertogenbosch city rights and the corresponding trade privileges in 1185; this is, the traditional date given by chroniclers. The original charter has been lost, his reason for founding the city was to protect his own interests against encroachment from Gelre and Holland. It was soon rebuilt; some remnants of the original city walls may still be seen. In the late 14th century, a much larger wall was erected to protect the expanded settled area. Artificial waterways were dug to serve as a city moat, through which the rivers Dommel and Aa were diverted.
The birthplace and home of one of the greatest painters of the northern Renaissance, Hieronymus Bosch,'s-Hertogenbosch suffered a catastrophic fire in 1463, which the 13-year-old Bosch witnessed. Until 1520, the city flourished, becoming the second largest population centre in the territory of the present Netherlands, after Utrecht; the city was a center of music, composers, such as Jheronimus Clibano, received their training at its churches. Others held positions there: Matthaeus Pipelare was musical director at the Confraternity of Our Lady; the wars of the Reformation changed the course of the city's history. It became an independent bishopric. During the Eighty Years' War, the city took the side of the Habsburg authorities and thwarted a Calvinist coup, it was besieged several times by Prince Maurice of Orange, stadtholder of most of the Dutch Republic, who wanted to bring's-Hertogenbosch under the rule of the rebel United Provinces. The city was defended by Claude de Berlaymont known as Haultpenne.
In the years of Truce, before the renewed fighting after 1618, the fortifications were expanded. The surrounding marshes made a siege of the conventional type impossible, the fortress, deemed impregnable, was nicknamed the Marsh Dragon; the town was finally conquered by Frederik Hendrik of Orange in 1629 in a Dutch stratagem: he diverted the rivers Dommel and Aa, created a polder by constructing a forty-kilometre dyke and pumped out the water by mills. After a siege of three months, the city had to surrender—an enormous blow to Habsburg geo-political strategy during the Thirty Years' War; this surrender cut the town off from the rest of the duchy and the area was treated by the Republic as an occupation zone without political liberties. After the Peace of Westphalia, the fortifications were again expanded. In 1672, the Dutch rampjaar, the city held against the army of Louis XIV of France. In 1794, French revolutionary troops under command of Charles Pichegru took the city with hardly a fight: in the Batavian Republic, both Catholics and Brabanders at last gained equal rights.
From 1806, the city became part of the Kingdom of Holland and from 1810, it was incorporated into the First French Empire. It was captured by the Prussians in 1814; the next year, 1815, when the United Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, it became the capital of North Brabant. Many newer and more modern fortresses were created in the vicinity of the city. A new canal was built, the'Zuid-Willemsvaart', which gave the city an economic impulse. Trade and industry grew; until 1878, it was forbidden to build outside the ramparts. That led to the highest infant mortality in the kingdom. At the end of the 19th century, the conservative city government prevented industrial investment to avoid an increase in the number of workers and the establishment of educational institutions: students were regarded as disorderly; as a result, the relative importance of the city diminished. One of the few official Nazi concentration camp complexes in Western Europe outside Germany and Austria was named after's-Hertogenbosch.
It was known to the Germans as Herzogenbusch. About 30,000 inmates were interned in the complex during this time. In the Netherlands, this camp is known as'Kamp Vught', because the concentration camp was located at a heath near Vught, a village a few kilometres south of's-Hertogenbosch. Conquered by the Germans in World War II in 1940, with its railway station bombed by planes of the Royal Air Force on 16 September 1944, it was liberated in 24–27 October 1944 by British soldiers of Major-General Robert Knox Ross's 53rd Infantry Division after Major Donald Bremner of the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, of 158th Infantry Brigade, had routed the enemy on 23/24th; the population centres in the municipality are: Bokhoven, Deuteren, Empel, Gewande,'s-Hertogenbosch, Kruisstraat, Maliska
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo