/ beldʒəm /
Množina reči Belgium je Belgia.
Belgique · Belgium · Kingdom of Belgium
Prevedi Belgium na: francuski · nemački
1. A monarchy in northwestern Europe; headquarters for the European Common Market and for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Also called: Belgique.
2. Village in Illinois (USA).
3. Village in Wisconsin (USA); zip code 53004.
Country in W Europe, bounded N by the Netherlands, NW by the North Sea, S and W by France, E by Luxembourg and Germany.
A parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, Belgium has a constitution, revised 1971 and 1993, that dates from 1831. The prime minister and cabinet are drawn from and answerable to the legislature, which exercises considerable control over the executive. The legislature consists of a senate and a chamber of representatives. The senate has 182 members: 106 nationally elected, 50 representing the provinces, 25 coopted, and, by right, the heir to the throne. Senators are elected for four years. The chamber of representatives has 212 members elected by universal suffrage, through a system of proportional representation, for a four-year term. On the basis of parliamentary support, the monarch appoints the prime minister, who chooses the cabinet.
The first recorded inhabitants were the Belgae, an ancient Celtic people. Conquered by the Romans, the area was known from 15 BC as the Roman province of Belgica; from the 3rd century AD onward it was overrun by the Franks. Under Charlemagne, Belgium became the center of the Carolingian dynasty, and the peace and order during this period fostered the growth of such towns as Ghent, Bruges, and Brussels. Following the division of Charlemagne's empire 843 the area became part of Lotharingia.
late Middle Ages.
By the 11th century seven feudal states had emerged: the counties of Flanders, Hainaut, and Namur, the duchies of Brabant, Limburg, and Luxembourg, and the bishopric of Ličge, all nominally subject to the French kings or the German emperor, but in practice independent. From the 12th century the economy flourished; Bruges, Ghent, and Ypres became centers of the textile industry, while the artisans of Dinant and Ličge exploited the copper and tin of the Meuse valley. During the 15th century the states came one by one under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy, and in 1477, by the marriage of Mary (heir of Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy) to Maximilian (archduke of Austria), passed into the Hapsburg dominions.
under Spanish rule.
Other dynastic marriages brought all the Low Countries under Spain, and in the 16th century the religious and secular tyranny of Philip II led to revolt in the Netherlands. The independence of the Netherlands as the Dutch Republic was recognized 1648; the south, reconquered by Spain, remained Spanish until the Treaty of Utrecht 1713 transferred it to Austria. The Austrian Netherlands were annexed 1792 by revolutionary France. The Congress of Vienna 1815 reunited the North and South Netherlands as one kingdom under William, King of Orange-Nassau; but historical differences, and the fact that the language of the wealthy and powerful in the south was French, made the union uneasy.
recognition as an independent kingdom.
An uprising 1830 of the largely French-speaking people in the south, and continuing disturbances, led to the Great Powers' recognition 1839 of the South Netherlands as the independent and permanently neutral kingdom of Belgium, with Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (widower of Charlotte, daughter of George IV of England) as king, and a parliamentary constitution.
Although Prussia had been a party to the treaty 1839 recognizing Belgium's permanent neutrality, Germany invaded Belgium 1914 and occupied a large part of it until 1918. In 1940 Belgium was again overrun by Germany, to whom Leopold III surrendered. His government escaped to London, and Belgium had a strong resistance movement. After Belgium's liberation by the Allies 1944–45, the king's decision to remain in the country during the occupation caused acute controversy, ended only by his abdication 1951 in favor of his son Baudouin. Since 1945 Belgium has been a major force for international cooperation in Europe, being a founding member of the Benelux Economic Union 1948, the Council of Europe, and the European Economic Community. Between 1983 and 1985 there was much debate about the siting of US cruise missiles in Belgium before a majority vote in parliament allowed their installation.
Belgium's main problems stem from the division between French- and Flemish-speaking members of the population, aggravated by the polarization between the predominantly conservative Flanders in the north and the mainly socialist French-speaking Wallonia in the south. About 55% of the population speak Flemish, 44% French, and the remainder German. During 1971–73 attempts to close the linguistic and social divisions included the transfer of greater power to the regions, the inclusion of German-speaking members in the cabinet, and linguistic parity in the government. Separate regional councils and ministerial committees were established 1974. The language conflict developed into open violence 1980, and it was eventually agreed that Flanders and Wallonia should be administered by separate regional assemblies, with powers to spend up to 10% of the national budget on cultural facilities, health, roads, and urban projects. Brussels was to be governed by a three-member executive. Linguistic divisions again threatened.
the government 1983.
Leo Tindemans (Flemish Christian Social Party [CVP]) resigned as prime minister 1978 and was succeeded by Wilfried Martens. By 1980 Martens had formed no fewer than four coalition governments. A new coalition 1981, led by Mark Eyskens (CVP), lasted less than a year, and Martens again returned to power. Economic difficulties 1981–82 resulted in a series of public-sector strikes, but Martens remained at the head of various coalitions until Jan 1992. With the government on the point of collapse, the king asked Jean-Luc Dehaene (CVP), a deputy prime minister, to form a new coalition government. The coalition, comprising the main center-left parties, was formed March 1992.
a federal system.
In Sept 1992 the government agreed, in principle, to introduce a federal system of government, based on Flemish-speaking Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia, and the national capital, Brussels. In Feb 1993 the constitution was amended to allow for the creation of a fully federal state. King Baudouin died suddenly July 1993 and was succeeded by his brother, Prince Albert of Liege.