Belgium: Country and Foreign Investment
History, Population, Language and Culture
The Kingdom of Belgium was formed following the Belgian Revolution of 1830, and takes its name from the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, and the Belgae people who once inhabitted the region. Julius Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars states that the Belgae were culturally different to the Gauls and of Germanic ancestry, although historians doubt these claims as many tribal and personal Belgae names are Celtic in origin.
Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Belgium was taken over by Germanic Franks and formed part of a succession of Frankish kingdoms, culminating in the reign of Charlemagne (who was born near the modern-day Belgian city of Liège). The area was then divided between the newly formed Holy Roman Empire and France, before gradually becoming a series of independent feudal states during the middle ages.
Upon the death of Count Louis II of Flanders in 1384, a period of 450 years would ensue, in which modern Belgium was controlled by a succession of foreign powers and used as a diplomatic tool and a buffer territory between warring states. This began with the inheritance of the area by Burgundian dukes (1384–1482) during the Hundred Years' War. It was then transferred to Habsburg hands (1482–1556), before becoming the Spanish Netherlands (1556–1714), the Austrian Netherlands (1714–1795), and then a part of France, following the French Revolution and during the reign of Napoleon (1794-1814).
Belgium then seceded from the rest of the Netherlands in 1830, and is now divided into three regions, Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the South, and Brussels in the middle. Dutch is the official language of Flanders, while French is the predominant language in Wallonia, with Brussels being officially bilingual.