October 1, 1795 — The Romans conquered Belgium in 57 BC and it became integrated into the Roman Empire as Gallia Belgica. However in the 5th century AD Roman rule collapsed and the Franks conquered Belgium. Their first capital was at Tournai. In the 9th century the Franks ruled most of Western Europe. Yet their empire too broke up.
Today, Belgium is conquered by France, less than a year after the French army occupied the country.
The French Revolutionaries introduced a number of reforms, and in 1797 they also introduced conscription. The result was a rebellion in 1798; the French crushed it and remained in control.
Meanwhile Belgium began to industrialize. Coal mining boomed, as did textiles and the metal industries. Then, in 1815, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. Afterwards the great powers redrew the map of Europe. Belgium and Holland were united together as one country.
However the union was never going to work as Belgium and Holland were too different economically and culturally. On August 25, 1830 rebellion broke out and at a conference in January 1831 the great powers agreed to recognize Belgian independence.
Words of Wisdom for October 1, 2016
“Belgium thinks that however great the peril which a country might have to undergo under the system which we seek to establish here, that country ought to do its duty.”
— Henri La Fontaine, a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.