The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geological features of the Ardennes mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel, both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian as were several other named ranges of the same greater range. Located in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching as well into Germany and France, geologically into the Eifel—the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, most of the Ardennes proper consists of southeastern Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of the Kingdom of Belgium; the eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg called "Oesling", on the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate. The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after England.
The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy. Allied generals in World War II felt the region was impenetrable to massed vehicular traffic and armor, so the area was "all but undefended" during the war, leading to the German Army's twice using the region as an invasion route into Northern France and Southern Belgium, via Luxembourg in the Battle of France and the Battle of the Bulge. Much of the Ardennes is covered in dense forests, with the mountains averaging around 350–400 m in height but rising to over 694 m in the boggy moors of the Hautes Fagnes region of south-eastern Belgium; the region is typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers, the most prominent of, the Meuse. Its most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium and Charleville-Mézières in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants; the Ardennes is otherwise sparsely populated, with few of the cities exceeding 10,000 inhabitants. The Eifel range in Germany adjoins the Ardennes and is part of the same geological formation, although they are conventionally regarded as being two distinct areas.
Signal de Botrange 694 m, highest peak in the High Fens, Province of Liège, Weißer Stein 692 m, Mürringen, Province of Liège, Baraque Michel 674 m, Province of Liège, Baraque de Fraiture 652 m, highest point of the Plateau des Tailles, Province of Luxembourg, Lieu-dit Galata 589 m, highest point on the Plateau de Saint-Hubert, Province of Luxembourg, Kneiff, 560 m, highest point of Luxembourg Buurgplaatz, 559 m, highest point in the Oesling section of the Ardennes, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Napoléonsgaard 547 m, near Rambrouch-Rammerech, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Croix-Scaille 504 m, hosting the Tour du Millénaire, Province of Namur, in Belgium on the border to France. N. B; the Belgian Province of Luxembourg in the above list is not to be confused with the country known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Ardennes is an old mountain range formed during the Hercynian orogeny; the low interior of such old mountains contains coal, plus iron and other metals in the sub-soil. This geologic fact explains the greatest part of the geography of its history.
In the North and West of the Ardennes lie the valleys of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, forming an arc going across the most industrial provinces of Wallonia, for example Hainaut, along the river Haine. The region was uplifted by a mantle plume during the last few hundred thousand years, as measured from the present elevation of old river terraces; this geological region is important in the history of Wallonia because this old mountain is at the origin of the economy, the history, the geography of Wallonia. "Wallonia presents a wide range of rocks of various ages. Some geological stages internationally recognized were defined from rock sites located in Wallonia: e.g. Frasnian, Tournaisian, Visean and Namurian". Except for the Tournaisian, all these rocks are within the Ardennes geological area; the Ardennes includes the greatest part of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, the south of the province of Namur and the province of Liège plus a small part of the province of Hainaut, as well as the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, called Oesling and the main part of the French department called Ardennes.
Before the 19th century industrialization, the first furnaces in the four Walloon provinces and in the French Ardennes used charcoal for fuel, made from harvesting the Ardennes forest. This industry was in the extreme south of the present-day Belgian province of Luxembourg (which until 1839 was part of the Grand Duchy of Luxe
Arrondissements of Belgium
Arrondissements of Belgium are subdivisions below the provinces of Belgium. There are administrative and electoral arrondissements; these may not relate to identical geographical areas. Belgium, a federalized state, geographically consists of three regions, of which only the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region are subdivided into five provinces each; the 43 administrative arrondissements are an administrative level between the municipalities and the provinces. Brussels-Capital forms a single arrondissement for all 19 municipalities in the region by that name; as an exception, the arrondissement of Verviers has two NUTS codes: BE335 for the French-speaking part and BE336 for the German-speaking part. The latter is identical to the area of the German-speaking community. Belgium has 12 judicial arrondissements: The arrondissement Liège covers the French-speaking part of the province of Liège The arrondissement Eupen covers the German-speaking part of the province of Liège The arrondissement Brussels covers the Capital Region and the administrative arrondissement of Halle-Vilvoorde The arrondissement Leuven covers the administrative arrondissement of Leuven The remaining 8 arrondissements are coterminous with, have the same names as, the remaining 8 provincesUntil March 31, 2014 Belgium had 27 judicial arrondissements.
These are now sections of today's 12 judicial arrondissements. In addition, the arrondissement Brussels was divided into the sections Brussels and Halle-Vilvoorde Until the end of 1999 the electoral districts for the election of the parliaments were electoral arrondissements; the arrondissement of Brussels-Capital is not part of any province and forms its own electoral district. As the only part of Belgium, the Walloon Parliament still uses electoral arrondissements; each electoral arrondissement consists of at least one arrondissement. There were 13 such electoral districts, but they have since been reduced to 11; each of these electoral districts take their names from the arrondissements they consist of decreasing in order of population. Municipalities in Belgium Communities and language areas of Belgium "Arrondissements of Belgium". Statoids
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat
Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is French-speaking, accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory and a third of its population; the Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, the political entity responsible for matters related to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region. The German-speaking minority in eastern Wallonia results from WWI and the subsequent annexation of three cantons that were part of the former German empire; this community represents less than 1% of the Belgian population. It forms the German-speaking Community of Belgium, which has its own government and parliament for culture-related issues. During the industrial revolution, Wallonia was second only to the United Kingdom in industrialization, capitalizing on its extensive deposits of coal and iron; this brought the region wealth, from the beginning of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, Wallonia was the more prosperous half of Belgium.
Since World War II, the importance of heavy industry has diminished, the Flemish Region surpassed Wallonia in wealth, as Wallonia declined economically. Wallonia now suffers from high unemployment and has a lower GDP per capita than Flanders; the economic inequalities and linguistic divide between the two are major sources of political conflicts in Belgium and a major factor in Flemish separatism. The capital of Wallonia is Namur, the most populous city is Charleroi. Most of Wallonia's major cities and two-thirds of its population lie along the Sambre and Meuse valley, the former industrial backbone of Belgium. To the north lies the Central Belgian Plateau, like Flanders, is flat and agriculturally fertile. In the southeast lie the Ardennes and sparsely populated. Wallonia borders Flanders and the Netherlands in the north, France to the south and west, Germany and Luxembourg to the east. Wallonia has been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie since 1980; the term "Wallonia" can mean different things in different contexts.
One of the three federal regions of Belgium is still constitutionally defined as the Walloon Region, but the region's government has renamed it Wallonia, it is called Wallonia. Preceding 1 April 2010, when the renaming came into effect, Wallonia would sometimes refer to the territory governed by the Walloon Region, whereas Walloon Region referred to the government. In practice, the difference between the two terms is small and what is meant is clear, based on context; the root of the word Wallonia, like the words Wales and Wallachia, is the Germanic word Walha, meaning the strangers. Wallonia is named after the Walloons, the population of the Burgundian Netherlands speaking Romance languages. In Middle Dutch, the term Walloons included the French-speaking population of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège or the whole population of the Romanic sprachraum within the medieval Low Countries. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in 57 BC; the Low Countries became part of the larger Gallia Belgica province which stretched from southwestern Germany to Normandy and the southern part of the Netherlands.
The population of this territory was Celtic with a Germanic influence, stronger in the north than in the south of the province. Gallia Belgica became progressively romanized; the ancestors of the Walloons became Gallo-Romans and were called the "Walha" by their Germanic neighbours. The "Walha" started to speak Vulgar Latin; the Merovingian Franks gained control of the region during the 5th century, under Clovis. Due to the fragmentation of the former Roman Empire, Vulgar Latin regionally developed along different lines and evolved into several langue d'oïl dialects, which in Wallonia became Picard and Lorrain; the oldest surviving text written in a langue d'oïl, the Sequence of Saint Eulalia, has characteristics of these three languages and was written in or near to what is now Wallonia around 880 AD. From the 4th to the 7th century, the Franks established several settlements mostly in the north of the province where the romanization was less advanced and some Germanic trace was still present.
The language border began to crystallize between 700 under the reign of the Merovingians and Carolingians and around 1000 after the Ottonian Renaissance. French-speaking cities, with Liège as the largest one, appeared along the Meuse river and Gallo-Roman cities such as Tongeren and Aachen became Germanized; the Carolingian dynasty dethroned the Merovingians in the 8th century. In 843, the Treaty of Verdun gave the territory of present-day Wallonia to Middle Francia, which would shortly fragment, with the region passing to Lotharingia. On Lotharingia's breakup in 959, the present-day territory of Belgium became part of Lower Lotharingia, which fragmented into rival principalities and duchies by 1190. Literary Latin, taught in schools, lost its hegemony during the 13th century and was replaced by Old French. In the 15th century, the Dukes of Burgundy took over the Low Countries; the death of Charles the Bold in 1477 raised the issue of succession, the Liégeois took advantage of this to regain some of their autonomy.
From the 16th to the 18th century, the Low Countries wer
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain and ruler of the Spanish Empire, Archduke of Austria, ruler of the Habsburg Netherlands. The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, the German colonisation of Venezuela both occurred during his reign. Charles V revitalized the medieval concept of the universal monarchy of Charlemagne and travelled from city to city, with no single fixed capital: overall he spent 28 years in the Habsburg Netherlands, 18 years in Spain and 9 years in Germany. After four decades of incessant warfare with the Kingdom of France, the Ottoman Empire, the Protestants, Charles V abandoned his multi-national project with a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556 in favor of his son Philip II of Spain and brother Ferdinand I of Austria; the personal union of his European and American territories, spanning over nearly 4 million square kilometres, was the first collection of realms to be defined as "the empire on which the sun never sets". Charles was the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties: Valois of Burgundy, Habsburg of Austria, Trastámara of Spain.
As heir to the House of Burgundy, he inherited areas in the Netherlands and around the eastern border of France. As the head of the House of Habsburg, he inherited Austria and other lands in central Europe, was elected to succeed his grandfather, Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor; as a grandson of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, both from the Spanish House of Trastámara he inherited the Crown of Castile, developing a nascent empire in the Americas and Asia, the Crown of Aragon, which included a Mediterranean empire extending to southern Italy. Charles was the first king to rule Castile and Aragon in his own right, as a result he is referred to as the first king of Spain; the personal union under Charles of the Holy Roman Empire with the Spanish Empire was the closest Europe has come to a universal monarchy since the time of Charlemagne in the 9th century. Because of widespread fears that his vast inheritance would lead to the realisation of a universal monarchy and that he was trying to create a European hegemony, Charles was the object of hostility from many enemies.
His reign was dominated by war by three major simultaneous prolonged conflicts: the Italian Wars with France, the struggle to halt the Turkish advance into Europe, the conflict with the German princes resulting from the Protestant Reformation. The French wars fought in Italy, lasted for most of his reign. Enormously expensive, they led to the development of the Tercios; the struggle with the Ottoman Empire was fought in the Mediterranean. The Turkish advance was halted at the Siege of Vienna in 1529, a lengthy war of attrition, conducted on Charles' behalf by his younger brother Ferdinand, continued for the rest of Charles's reign. In the Mediterranean, although there were some successes, he was unable to prevent the Ottomans' increasing naval dominance and the piratical activity of the Barbary pirates. Charles opposed the Reformation, in Germany he was in conflict with Protestant nobles who were motivated by both religious and political opposition to him, he could not prevent the spread of Protestantism and was forced to concede the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, which divided Germany along denominational lines.
While Charles did not concern himself with rebellions, he was quick to put down three dangerous rebellions. Once the rebellions were quelled the essential Castilian and Burgundian territories remained loyal to Charles throughout his rule. Charles's Spanish dominions were the chief source of his power and wealth, they became important as his reign progressed. In the Americas, Charles sanctioned the conquest by Castilian conquistadores of the Aztec and Inca empires. Castilian control was extended across much of Central America; the resulting vast expansion of territory and the flows of South American silver to Castile had profound long term effects on Spain. Charles was only 56 when he abdicated, but after 40 years of active rule he was physically exhausted and sought the peace of a monastery, where he died at the age of 58; the Holy Roman Empire passed to his younger brother Ferdinand, archduke of Austria, while the Spanish Empire, including the possessions in the Netherlands and Italy, was inherited by Charles's son Philip II of Spain.
The two empires would remain allies until the extinction of the male line of the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs in 1700. Charles was born in 1500 as the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile at the Prinsenhof in the Flemish city of Ghent, part of the Habsburg Netherlands; the culture and courtly life of the Burgundian Low Countries were an important influence in his early life. He was tutored by William de Croÿ, by Adrian of Utrecht. Charles became a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece in his infancy and became its grand master. Founded by the Burgundian Philip the Good in 1430, the order emphasised the ideals of the medieval knights and the desire for Christian unity to fight the infidel, it played an important part in the development of Charles' beliefs and he is seen in portraits without its insignia prominently displayed. It is said that Charles spoke several vernacular languages: he was f
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope