Marxism is a theory and method of working class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation, it originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Friedrich Engels. Marxism uses a methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and critique the development of class society and of capitalism as well as the role of class struggles in systemic economic and political change. According to Marxist theory, in capitalist societies, class conflict arises due to contradictions between the material interests of the oppressed and exploited proletariat—a class of wage labourers employed to produce goods and services—and the bourgeoisie—the ruling class that owns the means of production and extracts its wealth through appropriation of the surplus product produced by the proletariat in the form of profit.
This class struggle, expressed as the revolt of a society's productive forces against its relations of production, results in a period of short-term crises as the bourgeoisie struggle to manage the intensifying alienation of labor experienced by the proletariat, albeit with varying degrees of class consciousness. In periods of deep crisis, the resistance of the oppressed can culminate in a proletarian revolution which, if victorious, leads to the establishment of socialism—a socioeconomic system based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution based on one's contribution and production organized directly for use; as the productive forces continued to advance, Marx hypothesized that socialism would be transformed into a communist society: a classless, humane society based on common ownership and the underlying principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". Marxism has developed into many different branches and schools of thought, with the result that there is now no single definitive Marxist theory.
Different Marxian schools place a greater emphasis on certain aspects of classical Marxism while rejecting or modifying other aspects. Many schools of thought have sought to combine Marxian concepts and non-Marxian concepts, which has led to contradicting conclusions; however there is movement toward the recognition that historical materialism and dialectical materialism remains the fundamental aspect of all Marxist schools of thought. Marxism has had a profound impact on global academia and has influenced many fields such as archaeology, media studies, political science, history, art history and theory, cultural studies, economics, criminology, literary criticism, film theory, critical psychology and philosophy; the term "Marxism" was popularized by Karl Kautsky, who considered himself an "orthodox" Marxist during the dispute between the orthodox and revisionist followers of Marx. Kautsky's revisionist rival Eduard Bernstein later adopted use of the term. Engels did not support the use of the term "Marxism" to describe either his views.
Engels claimed that the term was being abusively used as a rhetorical qualifier by those attempting to cast themselves as "real" followers of Marx while casting others in different terms, such as "Lassallians". In 1882, Engels claimed that Marx had criticized self-proclaimed "Marxist" Paul Lafargue, by saying that if Lafargue's views were considered "Marxist" "one thing is certain and, that I am not a Marxist". Marxism analyzes the material conditions and the economic activities required to fulfill human material needs to explain social phenomena within any given society, it assumes that the form of economic organization, or mode of production, influences all other social phenomena—including wider social relations, political institutions, legal systems, cultural systems and ideologies. The economic system and these social relations form a superstructure; as forces of production, i.e. technology, existing forms of organizing production become obsolete and hinder further progress. As Karl Marx observed: "At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this expresses the same thing in legal terms—with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.
From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Begins an era of social revolution"; these inefficiencies manifest themselves as social contradictions in society which are, in turn, fought out at the level of the class struggle. Under the capitalist mode of production, this struggle materializes between the minority who own the means of production and the vast majority of the population who produce goods and services. Starting with the conjectural premise that social change occurs because of the struggle between different classes within society who are under contradiction against each other, a Marxist would conclude that capitalism exploits and oppresses the proletariat, therefore capitalism will lead to a proletarian revolution. Marxian economics and its proponents view capitalism as economically unsustainable and incapable of improving the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for falling rates of profit by cutting employee's wages, social benefits and pursuing military aggression.
The socialist system would succeed capitalism as humanity's mode of production through workers' revolution. According to Marxian crisis theory, socialism is not an economic necessity. In a sociali
The Vietnam War known as the Second Indochina War, in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union and other communist allies; the war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U. S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975. American military advisors began arriving in what was French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U. S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state.
The Việt Cộng known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF, a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U. S. involvement escalated in 1960, continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963. By 1964, there were 23,000 U. S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U. S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U. S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam known as the North Vietnamese Army engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces; every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966.
U. S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces and airstrikes. The U. S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, proved to be the turning point of the war; the Tet Offensive showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders. S. forces. Gradual withdrawal of U. S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U. S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.
S. Congress; the capture of Saigon by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, 58,220 U. S. service members died in the conflict, a further 1,626 remain missing in action. The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and confllict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War; the end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea.
Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s. Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most used name in English, it has been called the Second Indochina War and the Vietnam Conflict. As there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others. In Vietnamese, the war is known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ, but less formally as'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ', it is called Chiến tranh Việt Nam. The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of th
The European Parliament is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union, directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older. Together with the Council of the European Union, which should not be confused with the European Council and the Council of Europe, it exercises the legislative function of the EU; the Parliament is composed of 751 members, that will become 705 starting from the 2019–2024 legislature, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. It has been directly elected by the European citizens every five years and by universal suffrage since 1979. However, voter turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, has been under 50% since 1999. Voter turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters. Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do.
The Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU, shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council. It has equal control over the EU budget; the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, approves the appointment of the Commission as a whole, it can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure. The President of the European Parliament is Antonio Tajani, elected in January 2017, he presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People's Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections; the European Parliament has three places of work -- Luxembourg City and Strasbourg. Luxembourg City is home to the administrative offices. Meetings of the whole Parliament take place in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels; the Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952.
One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was a consultative assembly of 78 appointed parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states, having no legislative powers; the change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the University of Manchester: "For much of its life, the European Parliament could have been justly labelled a'multi-lingual talking shop'."Its development since its foundation shows how the European Union's structures have evolved without a clear "master plan". Some, such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post, said of the union: "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU"; the Parliament's two seats, which have switched several times, are a result of various agreements or lack of agreements. Although most MEPs would prefer to be based just in Brussels, at John Major's 1992 Edinburgh summit, France engineered a treaty amendment to maintain Parliament's plenary seat permanently at Strasbourg.
The body was not mentioned in the original Schuman Declaration. It was assumed or hoped that difficulties with the British would be resolved to allow the Council of Europe's Assembly to perform the task. A separate Assembly was introduced during negotiations on the Treaty as an institution which would counterbalance and monitor the executive while providing democratic legitimacy; the wording of the ECSC Treaty demonstrated the leaders' desire for more than a normal consultative assembly by using the term "representatives of the people" and allowed for direct election. Its early importance was highlighted when the Assembly was given the task of drawing up the draft treaty to establish a European Political Community. By this document, the Ad Hoc Assembly was established on 13 September 1952 with extra members, but after the failure of the proposed European Defence Community the project was dropped. Despite this, the European Economic Community and Euratom were established in 1958 by the Treaties of Rome.
The Common Assembly was shared by all three communities and it renamed itself the European Parliamentary Assembly. The first meeting was held on 19 March 1958 having been set up in Luxembourg City, it elected Schuman as its president and on 13 May it rearranged itself to sit according to political ideology rather than nationality; this is seen as the birth of the modern European Parliament, with Parliament's 50 years celebrations being held in March 2008 rather than 2002. The three communities merged their remaining organs as the European Communities in 1967, the body's name was changed to the current "European Parliament" in 1962. In 1970 the Parliament was granted power over areas of the Communities' budget, which were expanded to the whole budget in 1975. Under the Rome Treaties, the Parliament should have become elected. However, the Council was required to agree a uni
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
The Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the Chamber of Representatives. It is considered to be the "upper house" of the Federal Parliament. Created in 1831 as a chamber equal to the Chamber of Representatives, it has undergone several reforms in the past, most notably in 1993 and the reform of 2014 following the sixth Belgian state reform; the 2014 elections were the first ones without a direct election of senators. Instead, the new Senate is composed of members of community and regional parliaments and co-opted members, it is a chamber of the communities and regions and serves as a platform for discussion and reflection about matters between the different language communities. The Senate now only plays a minor role in the federal legislative process. Since the reform, it only holds about ten plenary sessions a year. After the Belgian Revolution, the National Congress decided about the Belgian Constitution and the state structure. A bicameral Parliament was chosen over a unicameral one, due to fears of more democratic and progressive decisions in the Chamber of Representatives, as was seen in France.
Thus the Senate served as a more elite body. To be eligible, one had to pay 1000 francs, which meant that at that time, only about 4000 persons could be elected. In the past, French was the sole language of government in Belgium, it was not until 1913 that Dutch was used in Parliament, by the liberal senator Emmanuel De Cloedt, which the French-speaking pro-Catholic newspaper La Libre Belgique described as séparatisme parlementaire; the Flemish nationalist party New Flemish Alliance, among other Flemish parties, said in 2010 that they want to abolish the Senate. The French-speaking parties, want to keep the Senate. During the 2010–2011 Belgian government formation, it has been decided that the Senate would no longer be directly elected and instead become a meeting place for members of the various regional parliaments. Since the sixth state reform, the Senate consists of 60 members. 50 are elected by the community and regional parliaments, 10 are co-opted members. Prior to the Belgian federal election of May 21, 1995, there were 184 elected senators.
The fourth state reform, which took place in 1993, revised the Belgian Constitution, reduced the number of senators to 71 and replaced the provincial senators, who were appointed by the Provincial Councils, with Community senators. The change took effect following the May 1995 federal election. Of the total of 71 elected senators, 40 were elected directly, 21 appointed by the community parliaments and 10 senators were co-opted; the overall distribution of seats between parties was however determined by the results of the direct election. The sixth state reform, taking effect on the May 25, 2014 election, reduced the number of senators from 71 to 60 and abolished the direct election. Starting with the elections of 25 May 2014, 50 senators are appointed by and from the community and regional parliaments: 29 senators appointed by the Flemish Parliament from the Flemish Parliament or from the Dutch language group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region 10 senators appointed by and from the Parliament of the French Community 8 senators appointed by and from the Parliament of Wallonia 2 senators appointed by and from the French-language group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region 1 senator appointed by and from the Parliament of the German-speaking CommunityPreviously, a total of 21 were appointed by and from the Community parliaments: 10 by the Flemish Parliament, 10 by the Parliament of the French Community and one by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community.
The German-speaking senator is chosen by plurality. They were distributed using the results of the direct election between the parties that have at least one directly elected senator, insofar as they had enough seats in the Flemish Parliament or the Parliament of the French Community; these Community senators hold a double mandate. They are appointed to the Senate for a term of 4 years, but as the Community parliaments are renewed every 5 years, it is possible that regional elections take place during these 4 years. In this event, the Community senators who are not re-elected to their Community parliament are replaced by a member belonging to the same fraction, insofar as that fraction has enough seats left in the Flemish Parliament or the Parliament of the French Community, as the case may be, following the regional elections to replace those Community senators. In order to ensure that the Senate can continue to exercise its functions when the Community parliaments are dissolved, the Community senators remain in office until the parliament of their Community either confirms their mandate or appoints new Community senators.
Ten senators are co-opted, meaning they are elected by their peers: six by the Dutch-language group and four by the French-language group. These seats are distributed proportionally between parties based on the results of the direct election of the Chamber of Representatives. In 1893, the co-opted members were included in the Constitution as a new category of senators, it was intended to allow the senators to elect a number of experts or members of representative organisations to join them to enhance the quality of debate and legislation.
Maoism, known in China as Mao Zedong Thought, is a communist political theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong, whose followers are known as Maoists. Developed from the 1950s until the Deng Xiaoping reforms in the 1970s, it was applied as the guiding political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China and as theory guiding revolutionary movements around the world. A key difference between Maoism and other forms of Marxism–Leninism is that peasants should be the bulwark of the revolutionary energy, led by the working class in China; the modern Chinese intellectual tradition of the turn of the 20th century is defined by two central concepts, namely iconoclasm and nationalism. By the turn of the 20th century, a proportionately small yet significant cross-section of China's traditional elite found themselves skeptical of the efficacy and the moral validity of Confucianism; these skeptical iconoclasts formed a new segment of Chinese society, a modern intelligentsia whose arrival—or as historian of China Maurice Meisner would label it, their defection—heralded the beginning of the destruction of the gentry as a social class in China.
The fall of the last imperial Chinese dynasty in 1911 marked the final failure of the Confucian moral order and it did much to make Confucianism synonymous with political and social conservatism in the minds of Chinese intellectuals. It was this association of conservatism and Confucianism which lent to the iconoclastic nature of Chinese intellectual thought during the first decades of the 20th century. Chinese iconoclasm was expressed most and vociferously by Chen Duxiu during the New Culture Movement which occurred between 1915 and 1919. Proposing the "total destruction of the traditions and values of the past", the New Culture Movement was spearheaded by the New Youth, a periodical, published by Chen Duxiu and was profoundly influential on the young Mao Zedong, whose first published work appeared on the magazine's pages. Along with iconoclasm, radical anti-imperialism dominated the Chinese intellectual tradition and evolved into a fierce nationalist fervor which influenced Mao's philosophy immensely and was crucial in adapting Marxism to the Chinese model.
Vital to understanding Chinese nationalist sentiments of the time is the Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919. The Treaty aroused a wave of bitter nationalist resentment in Chinese intellectuals as lands ceded to Germany in Shandong were—without consultation with the Chinese—transferred to Japanese control rather than returned to Chinese sovereignty; the negative reaction culminated in the 4 May Incident in 1919 during which a protest began with 3,000 students in Beijing displaying their anger at the announcement of the Versailles Treaty's concessions to Japan. The protest took a violent turn as protesters began attacking the homes and offices of ministers who were seen as cooperating with, or being in the direct pay, of the Japanese; the 4 May Incident and Movement which followed "catalyzed the political awakening of a society which had long seemed inert and dormant". Yet another international event would have a large impact not only on Mao, but on the Chinese intelligentsia, i.e. the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
Although the revolution did elicit interest among Chinese intellectuals, socialist revolution in China was not considered a viable option until after the May 4 Incident. Afterwards, "o become a Marxist was one way for a Chinese intellectual to reject both the traditions of the Chinese past and Western domination of the Chinese present". During the period following the Long March and the Communist Party of China were headquartered in Yan'an, a prefecture-level city in Shaanxi province. During this period, Mao established himself as a Marxist theoretician and he produced the bulk of the works which would be canonized into the "thought of Mao Zedong"; the rudimentary philosophical base of Chinese Communist ideology is laid down in Mao's numerous dialectical treatises and it was conveyed to newly recruited party members. This period established ideological independence from Moscow for Mao and the CPC. Although the Yan'an period did answer some of the questions, both ideological and theoretical, which were raised by the Chinese Communist Revolution, it left many of the crucial questions unresolved.
Mao's Intellectual Marxist development can be divided into five major periods: the initial Marxist period from 1920–1926. The initial Marxist period from 1920–1926: Marxist thinking employs imminent socioeconomic explanations and Mao's reasons were declarations of his enthusiasm. Mao did not believe that education alone would bring about the transition from capitalism to communism because of three main reasons. Psychologically: the capitalists would not turn towards communism on their own; these reasons do not provide socioeconomic explanations, which form the core of Marxist ideology. The formative Maoist period from 1927–1935: in this period, Mao avoided all theoretical implications in his literature and employed a minimum of Marxist category thought, his writings in this period failed to elaborate what he meant by the "Marxist method of
Brussels the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita, it covers 161 km2, a small area compared to the two other regions, has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people. Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major centre for international politics and the home of numerous international organisations, politicians and civil servants.
Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, legislative branches and its name is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions. The secretariat of the Benelux and headquarters of NATO are located in Brussels; as the economic capital of Belgium and one of the top financial centres of Western Europe with Euronext Brussels, it is classified as an Alpha global city. Brussels is a hub for rail and air traffic, sometimes earning the moniker "Crossroads of Europe"; the Brussels Metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the busiest in the country. Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century; the Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual in French and Dutch though French is now the de facto main language with over 90% of the population speaking it. Brussels is increasingly becoming multilingual.
English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population and a large number of migrants and expatriates speak other languages. Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomy, as well as its historical and architectural landmarks. Main attractions include its historic Grand Place, Manneken Pis and cultural institutions such as La Monnaie and the Museums of Art and History; because of its long tradition of Belgian comics, Brussels is hailed as a capital of the comic strip. The most common theory of the origin of the name Brussels is that it derives from the Old Dutch Bruocsella, Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning "marsh" and "home" or "home in the marsh". Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai, made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695, when it was still a hamlet; the names of all the municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region are of Dutch origin, except for Evere, Celtic. In French, Bruxelles is pronounced and in Dutch, Brussel is pronounced. Inhabitants of Brussels are known in French in Dutch as Brusselaars.
In the Brabantian dialect of Brussels, they are called Brusseleirs. The written x noted the group. In the Belgian French pronunciation as well as in Dutch, the k disappeared and z became s, as reflected in the current Dutch spelling, whereas in the more conservative French form, the spelling remained; the pronunciation in French only dates from the 18th century, but this modification did not affect the traditional Brussels' usage. In France, the pronunciations and are heard, but are rather rare in Belgium. See also: History of Brussels The history of Brussels is linked to that of Western Europe. Traces of human settlement go back to the Stone Age, with vestiges and place-names related to the civilisation of megaliths and standing stones. During late antiquity, the region was home to Roman occupation, as attested by archaeological evidence discovered near the centre. Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, it was incorporated into the Frankish Empire; the origin of the settlement, to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus' construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580.
The official founding of Brussels is situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel. Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island. Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven, gained the County of Brussels around 1000, by marrying Charles' daughter; because of its location on the shores of the Senne, on an important trade route between Bruges and Ghent, Cologne, Brussels became a commercial centre specialised in the textile trade. The town grew quite and extended towards the upper town, where there was a smaller risk of floods; as it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. Around