- a country in Western Europe that has borders with The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Official name: Kingdom of Belgium.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Belgium (6,136), a small European State bordering on the North Sea,
with Holland to the N., France to the S., and Rhenish Prussia and
Luxemburg on the E.; is less than a third the size of Ireland, but it is
the most densely populated country on the Continent. The people are of
mixed stock, comprising Flemings, of Teutonic origin; Walloons, of Celtic
origin; Germans, Dutch, and French. Roman Catholicism is the predominant
religion. Education is excellent; there are universities at Ghent, Liège,
Brussels, and Louvain. French is the language of educated circles and of
the State; but the prevalence of dialects hinders the growth of a
national literature. The land is low and level and fertile in the N. and
W., undulating in the middle, rocky and hilly in the S. and E. The Meuse
and Scheldt are the chief rivers, the basin of the latter embracing most
of the country. Climate is similar to the English, with greater extremes.
Rye, wheat, oats, beet, and flax are the principal crops. Agriculture is
the most painstaking and productive of the world. The hilly country is
rich in coal, iron, zinc, and lead. After mining, the chief industries
are textile manufactures and making of machinery: the former at Antwerp,
Ghent, Brussels, and Liège; the latter at Liège, Mons, and Charleroi. The
trade is enormous; France, Germany, and Britain are the best customers.
Exports are coal to France; farm products, eggs, &c., to England; and raw
material imported from across seas, to France and the basin of the Rhine.
It is a small country of large cities. The capital is Brussels (480), in
the centre of the kingdom, but communicating with the ocean by a ship
canal. The railways, canals, and river navigation are very highly
developed. The government is a limited monarchy; the king, senate, and
house of representatives form the constitution. There is a conscript army
of 50,000 men, but no navy. Transferred from Spain to Austria in 1713.
Belgium was under French sway from 1794 till 1814, when it was united
with Holland, but established its independence in 1830.
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The correct spelling of this word ought to be: Belgium
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