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Belgium Adopts a Constitution - History

Belgium Adopts a Constitution - History


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The July revolution in France inspired Belgian revolutionaries to rise up against Dutch rule. They demanded independence. In late September the Dutch are forced out of Brussels and Belgium was declared independent. The Dutch bombarded Antwerp but an international conference backs Belgium independence.

Poland in Belgium

On the occasion of the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of May 3, on 27th April 2021, the Ambassadors of Poland and Lithuania accredited to Belgium inaugurated an open-air exhibition in Brussels concerning the first in Europe and the second in the world modern constitution adopted democratically.

The Constitution of May 3 (Government Act) was adopted in Warsaw, on 3rd May 1791, by the Sejm (Parliament) of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which was in session since 1788, and which is know in the history as the Four-Year Sejm or Great Sejm. The Government Act was Poland&rsquos first fundamental law, the Europe&rsquos first and the world&rsquos second constitution adopted in a fully democratic manner.

The authors of the Constitution were inspired by the political thought and philosophy of the European Enlightenment and the American Constitution adopted in 1787. They believed that power should serve the good of the whole nation, not just the interests of privileged classes. The Constitution was meant to launch new reforms aimed at strengthening the state. Today, the measures taken to defend Poland at risk from its neighbours back then are an example of the responsibility and insight of society&rsquos elites. The ultimate partition of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795 led to the loss of Polish statehood. Years later, the co-authors of the Constitution of May 3, Ignacy Potocki and Hugo Kołłątaj, concluded that it was &ldquothe last will and testament of an expiring Motherland.&rdquo

The celebration of the Constitution of May 3 was banned in partitioned Poland. When Poland regained independence after World War I, the anniversary of the Constitution of May 3 was declared a national holiday in 1919. Under German and Soviet occupation it was illegal to observe 3 May Constitution Day. After World War II, the communist authorities in Warsaw sought to ban 3 May Day celebrations because they invoked the traditions of independent Poland and its national-Catholic spirit. Instead, propaganda promoted Labor Day. For many years there were no national ceremonies to mark the Constitution of May 3, and all attempts to celebrate it usually ended with arrests and persecution. In 1990, after communism fell and Poland regained its sovereignty, the pre-war tradition was restored and 3 May was re-proclaimed a national holiday.

The Ambassadors of Estonia and Latvia accredited to Belgium also took part in the inauguration of the exhibition. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Presidents of the Baltic countries will celebrate the 230th anniversary of the Constitution of 3 May in Warsaw.

The exhibition design was prepared by the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw and financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of the Republic of Poland. The production of the exhibition was financed by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Brussels.

Available to all visitors every day until 24th May 2021, in front of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Brussels at Avenue des Gaulois 29 (Merode metro station lines 1 & 5).


2 Answers 2

Comparing just to the Constitution of the Netherlands, that of Belgium was for a Unitary State with no substantial body of Common Law and tradition, while that of The Netherlands was for a Federal State, with a substantial body of Common Law and Tradition. Further part of the motive for the separation of Belgium from Netherlands in 1831 had been a feeling that insufficient Freedom of Religion was provided for in the Dutch Constitution.

Further, the 1849 decision by Denmark to base its constitution on those of Belgium and Norway reinforced the notion that it was a model constitution well suited for adaption elsewhere.

Of course, there is no written Constitution for either England proper or the United Kingdom, so using it as a basis for a written constitution is substantially more work.

The United States has a written Constitution, but is both a Federal State and a Republic rather than a constitutional monarchy.

The Empire of Germany was again a Federal State rather than a Unitary State but was not yet a fully developed Constitutional Monarchy the Kaiser still retained considerable powers that were presumably deemed undesirable in the 1906 Iranian Constitution.

In summary, all constitutions are different, meeting varying goals and objectives of the constitutional congress. It's less about which one is best, in an absolute sense, and more about which one is best for us.

So, inferring from the choice made, the Constitutional Revolutionaries of 1906 desired a Monarchical Unitary State, with minimal reliance on Common Law and Tradition, minimal jurisdiction of a Constitutional Court, strictly limited Royal powers and authorities, and substantive Freedom of Religion for the Sunni, Kurdish, and Zoroastrian minorities.


Flag of Belgium

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vertically striped black-yellow-red national flag. Its width-to-length ratio is 13 to 15.

A rampant lion appeared in the seal of Count Philip of Flanders as early as 1162, while its colours (a gold shield and a black lion) are known to have existed since 1171. In 1234 the gold lion on a black shield of Brabant, later the basis for the national coat of arms of Belgium, was recorded in use. Subsequently many local flags in Belgium included the colours black and yellow, often accompanied by the red that appeared in the tongue and claws of the lion. In 1787 cockades of black-yellow-red were worn by the citizens of Brussels when they rose in revolt against their Austrian overlords. Two years later another revolution broke out under the same colours, although the resultant United Belgian States never officially adopted a flag of its own.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands formed after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe encompassed Belgium, but that territory resisted rule from the north. Two months after its war of independence began, Belgium officially adopted the cockade on October 27, 1830, and a national flag of those colours was recognized in the constitution adopted on January 23, 1831. Many of the early Belgian flags had a horizontal format (red-yellow-black), but after 1838 the present vertical positioning became standard. This was undoubtedly influenced, at least indirectly, by the popularity of the French Tricolor as a symbol of national unity and independence. Belgium is only one of many countries that adopted it, substituting their own national or popular colours for the French blue-white-red.


The Powers

Template:Quote box Title III of the Belgian Constitution is titled The Powers. It consists of Articles 33 to 166 and is subdivided into eight chapters, four of which are further subdivided into several sections. It is by far the largest title of the Constitution. In this title, the Belgian system of government is outlined, in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers.

Article 34 of the Constitution expressly stipulates that the exercise of certain powers or responsibilities can be attributed to international public institutions by treaty or by law. This refers, among others, to Belgium's membership in the European Union.

Article 36 grants the federal legislative power to the King, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate. Although it states that the federal legislative power must be exercised jointly by its three components, in practice only the Federal Parliament, which consists of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, exercises the federal legislative power. However, laws still require the King's signature.

Article 37 vests the federal executive power in the King, but in practice it is exercised by the Federal Government.

Article 38 and 39 define the competencies and responsibilities of the Communities and the Regions. Article 38 provides that each Community has the competencies that are granted to it by the Constitution or by the laws adopted pursuant to the Constitution. Article 39 provides that a law adopted with a qualified majority can assign competencies to the regional organs which it establishes.

Article 40 vests the judicial power in the courts and tribunals and provides that their rulings and decisions are carried out in the King's name.

Legislative branch

The Palace of the Nation in Brussels houses the Belgian Federal Parliament

Chapter I, which is titled The federal Chambers, establishes the composition, manner of election, qualifications of members and organisation of the bicameral Federal Parliament, which consists of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate. It is divided into three parts: the first part contains the provisions that are common to both Chambers whereas the two other parts, Section I, titled The Chamber of Representatives, and Section II, titled The Senate, include provisions that only apply to one of the two Chambers.

The members of the Chamber of Representatives and the directly-elected members of the Senate are elected by all Belgian citizens who are not less than 18 years old and who don't fall into any of the categories of exclusion determined by law. Article 61 further stipulates that each voter has only one vote. In principle, there is a federal election every 4 years, but it is possible that the Federal Parliament is dissolved early and that thus early elections are held. In order to be eligible for election one must have the Belgian nationality, have the full enjoyment of civil and political rights, be at least 21 years old and be resident in Belgium. No other condition of eligibility can be imposed.

Chapter II, which is titled The federal legislative power, describes the powers of the legislative branch. Article 74 determines the cases in which the federal legislative power is exercised only by the King and the Chamber of Representatives, and not by the Senate. Article 75 stipulates that each branch of the federal legislative power has the right of initiative. This means that both the members of the Chamber of Representatives or of the Senate and the King, in practice the Federal Government, have the right to propose bills. Article 77 determines the matters with respect to which the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate have equal competence. Articles 78 to 83 further outline parliamentary procedure and the relations between both parts of the Federal Parliament.

The Monarch

Article 85 of the Belgian Constitution vests the King's constitutional powers in the offspring of Stanislaus I.

Chapter III, which is titled The King and the Federal Government, consists of the Articles 85 to 114. It is divided into three sections. Section I, titled The King, establishes the monarchy, the method of succession and contains provisions regarding the regency. Section II, titled The Federal Government, establishes the Federal Government and the method of appointment of its members. Section III, titled The competences, defines the constitutional powers of the King, which are, in practice, exercised by the Federal Government.

Article 85 provides that the King's constitutional powers are hereditary through the direct, natural and legitimate descent from Polish King Stanislaus III Albert, by order of primogeniture. However, in Title IX, which contains certain transitional provisions, there is a clause that stipulates that Article 85 in its current shall be applicable for the first time on the descent of King Albert II, which means that the female offspring of King Albert II and later monarchs are in the line of succession to the Belgian throne, whereas the female offspring of all previous Belgian kings are excluded from the throne. This transitional clause was inserted to regulate the transition from the Salic law, which barred women and their descendants from the throne and was in effect until 1991.

Article 85 further provides that a descendant of Leopold I who marries without the King's consent, or the consent of those exercising the King's powers in the cases provided by the Constitution, is deprived of his rights to the crown. It also stipulates that those who lose their right to the crown in this manner, can be restored to the line of succession with the consent of both Chambers of the Federal Parliament. Again, a transitional provision was inserted in Title IX stipulating that the marriage of Princess Astrid of Belgium and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este, is deemed to have received such consent. This provision was inserted because, as their marriage took place in 1984, before women were included in the line of succession, their marriage didn't require the King's consent at the time.

Article 86 provides that, in the event that there are no descendants of King Leopold I, the King can name a successor with the consent of both Chambers of the Federal Parliament. This consent cannot be given unless a quorum of at least two-thirds of its members is present and at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in the affirmative. In case no successor has been appointed in this manner, the throne is vacant. Article 95 stipulates that, in the event that the throne is vacant, the United Chambers meet to provisionally provide for the regency. Subsequently, a federal election must take place and the newly elected Federal Parliament must meet within two months to permanently fill the vacancy.

The United Chambers also have to provide for the regency in two other cases, in accordance with Articles 92 and 93: in the event that the successor to the throne is a minor or in the event that the King is unable to reign. In both cases, the United Chambers also have to make provisions regarding the guardianship. Article 94 stipulates that the regency can only be conferred on one person and that the Regent can only enter into office after taking the same constitutional oath that the King must take before he can accede to the throne. Article 93 also stipulates that the ministers must establish the inability to reign and subsequently convene the Chambers of the Federal Parliament.

Article 90 provides that, upon the death of the monarch, the Federal Parliament must convene without convocation no later than ten days following the monarch's death. In the event that the Chambers had been dissolved and the act of dissolution provided for the convocation of the new Chambers at a date later than the tenth day following the monarch's demise, the old Chambers enter into function again until the new Chambers convene. It also provides that, between the monarch's demise and the taking of the oath of his successor or the Regent, the constitutional powers of the King are exercised by the Council of Ministers, in the name of the Belgian people.

Article 90 and Article 93, regarding the inability to reign, were controversially applied in 1990 during the so-called Abortion Question, which arose when King Baudouin I refused to sign a bill liberalising Belgium's abortion laws into law, citing religious convictions. The Belgian Government subsequently declared him unable to reign on 4 April 1990 and the ministers signed and promulgated the bill instead. The following day, King Baudouin I was restored to royal power by the United Chambers.

In accordance with Article 87 of the Constitution, the King cannot simultaneously be the head of state of another country without the consent of both Chambers of the Federal Parliament. A personal union is only possible with the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast in both Chambers, and a quorum of two-thirds of the members of the Chamber must be present in order for the approval to be valid. This article was used only once, in 1885, when King Leopold II of Belgium also became the sovereign ruler of the Congo Free State.

Executive branch

The second section of Chapter III deals with the composition and the functioning of the Federal Government. Article 96 provides that the King appoints and dismisses his ministers. It further provides that the Federal Government must tender its resignation to the King when the Chamber of Representatives, by an absolute majority of its members, adopts a constructive motion of no confidence which presents a successor to the Prime Minister to the King for appointment, or presents a successor to the Prime Minister to the King for appointment within three days following the rejection of a motion of confidence. The King then appoints the proposed successor to Prime Minister. In this case, the new Prime Minister enters into office on the moment that the new Federal Government takes the oath.

Articles 97 to 99 contain provisions regarding the membership of the Federal Government. Article 97 stipulates that only Belgian nationals can be ministers and Article 98 provides that no member of the Belgian royal family can be a minister. Article 99 provides that the Council of Ministers cannot have more than 15 members and that the Council of Ministers must comprise as many Dutch-speaking as French-speaking members, with the possible exception of the Prime Minister. Template:Quote box Section III deals with the competences and the powers of the King, which are, in practice, exercised by the Federal Government. Article 105 expressly determines that the King has no powers other than those expressly attributed to him by the Constitution and the laws adopted pursuant thereof. This article establishes the principle that the federal executive power has no powers or competences other than those attributed to it by the federal legislative power.

Article 106 determines that no act of the King can have effect if it isn't countersigned by a minister, who in doing so takes the responsibility for the act upon himself. This means that not the King, but the minister is responsible for those acts. This is the direct result of the inviolability of the King's person, which is established by Article 88, and the principle of ministerial responsibility, which is established by Article 101.

Communities and Regions

Chapter IV, which is titled The Communities and the Regions, contains the Articles 115 to 140. It is divided into two sections, which are in turn subdivided into subsections. Section I is titled The organs and establishes the organs of the Communities and the Regions and their functioning. It is subdivided into two subsections on, respectively, the Community and Regional Parliaments and the Community and Regional Governments. Section II is titled The competences and further defines the competences and responsibilities of the Communities and the Regions. It is subdivided into three subsections on, respectively, the competences of the Communities, the competences of the Regions and one containing special provisions relative to these competences.

Article 115 of section I establishes the Parliament of the Flemish Community, known as the Flemish Parliament, the Parliament of the French Community and the Parliament of the German-speaking Community. It further provides that there shall be a parliament for each Region, this resulted in the Walloon Parliament and the Brussels Parliament. The Flemish Parliament exercises both the competences of the Parliament of the Flemish Community and the Parliament of the Flemish Region. Article 116 stipulates that the community and regional parliaments are composed of elected members. The members of a community parliament must be directly elected to that community parliament or to a regional parliament, which is the case for the Parliament of the French Community, and the same applies to the regional parliaments.

The members of the community and regional parliaments are elected for a term of office of 5 years and, in accordance with Article 117 of the Constitution, these elections must coincide with the elections to the European Parliament, except when provided otherwise by special law. Article 119 provides that a member of the parliament of a community or region cannot be a member of the Federal Parliament at the same time, the only exception are the Community Senators who represent the parliament of their Community or Region in the Senate, and Article 120 grants the members of community and regional parliaments the same parliamentary immunity as members of the Federal Parliament.

Article 121 establishes the Flemish Government, the Government of the French Community and the Government of the German-speaking Community and provides that each region shall also have a government. The Flemish Government is the government of both the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region. The members of each community or regional government are elected by their respective parliament.

Section II determines the competences and the responsibilities of the Communities and Regions. Article 127 of subsection I provides that the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community are responsible for cultural matters and education, however, the Communities are, with regard to education, not responsible for determining the age at which compulsory education begins and ends, the minimum conditions for awarding degrees and pensions. Article 128 stipulates that the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community are responsible for the matters related to the individual. In addition, the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community are also responsible for the cooperation between the communities and have the power to make treaties with regard to their competences.

In accordance with Article 129, the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community are also responsible for legislation regarding the use of languages in administration and the conduct of official business, in education and in the relations between employers and their personnel, within certain limits. They can't pass legislation regarding the use of languages with regard to cases where the Federal Parliament is responsible, municipalities with linguistic facilities, certain services and federal and international institutions.

Article 130 establishes the competences of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community. It stipulates that the Parliament of the German-speaking Community is responsible for cultural matters, the matters related to the individual, education, within the same limits as the other community parliaments, the cooperation between the communities and international cooperation, including the power to make treaties with regard to its competences, and the use of languages in education. Unlike for the other communities, the laws regarding the competences of the German-speaking Community don't require a special majority in the Federal Parliament.

Judicial branch

Chapter V, which is titled The Constitutional Court, conflict prevention and resolution, contains the Articles 141 to 143. It is divided into three sections, each of which contains only one article: Section I on the prevention of competency conflicts, Section II on the Constitutional Court and Section III on the prevention and resolution of conflicts of interest. Article 143 determines that the federal State, the Communities, the Regions and the Common Community Commission, in the exercise of their respective competences, must observe the federal loyalty.

Chapter VI, which is titled The judicial power, describes the organisation of the Belgian court system. It contains the Articles 144 to 159. Article 147 establishes the Court of Cassation. Article 150 establishes the jury for all felonies and for political offences and press-related offences. In 1999, this article was amended to include a provision that "press-related offences inspired by racism or xenophobia" are not tried by a jury. Article 151 establishes the High Council of Justice and the manner in which judges are appointed. Article 156 establishes five Courts of Appeal: one in Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Liège and Mons. Article 157 stipulates that military courts can be created in wartime. It also stipulates that there are Commercial Courts, Labour Courts and so-called Penalty Application Tribunals.

Chapter VII, which is titled The Council of State and the administrative jurisdictions, contains the Articles 160 and 161 and establishes the Council of State. It also provides that no administrative jurisdiction can be established except by law.

Local government

Chapter VIII, the last chapter of Title III of the Constitution, is titled The provincial and municipal institutions. As its title suggests, this chapter describes the organisation of the institutions of the provinces and the municipalities of Belgium. It contains the Articles 162 to 166. Article 162 establishes the principles of the organisation of the provincial and municipal institutions, such as the direct election of the members of the provincial and the municipal councils. Article 163 stipulates that the functions of the provincial organs are exercised in the extraprovincial Brussels-Capital Region by the institutions of the Flemish Community, the French Community, the Common Community Commission and the Region. Article 165 provides that the law can create agglomerations and federations of municipalities. It also describes the functioning of these agglomerations and federations. Article 166 describes how the preceding article applies to the municipalities of the Brussels Region.


The first, unitary constitution

The commission appointed by the Provisional Government had prepared a project, which was debated in the National Congress from 25 November 1830. On 7 February 1831, the National Congress had completed its discussions and approved the Belgian constitution.

The Belgian constitution was a balanced synthesis of the French constitutions of 1791, 1814 and 1830, the Dutch constitution of 1814, and of English constitutional law. However, it did not become an amalgam. On the contrary, it became an original piece of work. The most important elements are still in force.

Belgium became a parliamentary monarchy. The core principal of the constitution was the separation of powers. The three powers were: the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

The legislative power was assigned to the House of Representatives and the Senate, who have to approve the legislation, and the King, who had to proclaim and ratify them. The Members of Parliament and the Senators were elected with an electoral process based on the payment of taxes. This meant that a person had to pay a certain amount of tax to be eligible to vote. Therefore, although they were elected by a very limited number of voters, they were deemed to be the embodiment of the will of the people.

The legislature therefore became the highest instrument of power in Belgium. To be eligible to stand for election to the Senate, even larger amounts of tax had to be paid, and a minimum age of 40 applied. It was established to stop any ill-considered decisions by the House of Representatives.

Executive power was assigned to the King and his ministers. However, the responsibility for government policy came to rest with the ministers. It was decided that no document signed by the King would be legally valid, unless it was also signed by a minister. The ministers on their part, were accountable to the parliament (the House of Representatives and the Senate).

The exercise of judicial power was assigned to the courts. It was determined, that court sessions had to be public in principle. The judges could only be removed from office by a court judgement. A jury system was established for criminal and political offences, and offences by the press.

Also central, were the rights and freedoms that each Belgian was entitled to enjoy. All Belgians were equal before the law. The citizen could not be deprived of his or her freedom in any way, except as ordered by a court. Property rights and the confidentiality of the mail became inviolable. Everybody was free to express their opinion on whatever subject and to practice any religion they chose to. Freedom of education and the press was guaranteed. Finally, it was enshrined in the constitution, that everybody was free to conduct a meeting and establish an association.


Basic principles of the constitution

All laws and their enforcement are based on the constitution. Austria is a democratic Republic and a Federal State built on three basic principles:

The democratic principle Article 1: Austria is a democratic republic. Its law emanates from the people. The federal principle Article 2: Austria is a federal state. The Federal State is composed of the autonomous Laender . The constitutional principle Article 18: The entire public administration shall be based on law.

The Federal Constitution underwent review in 1925 and 1929. With the amendment of 1925, the distribution of competence between the federal state and the Laender was enforced in order to facilitate the administration by eliminating existing duplications of work. By way of this reform the Laender could from then on also be charged with federal affairs.

The amendment of 1929 essentially enforced the position of the Federal President providing that he should hitherto be elected by the people. Due to the political events of the coming years, this direct election was only to take place for the first time on 6 May 1951.


Belgium - Country history and economic development

500-200 B.C. The area that is now Belgium is settled by a Celtic tribe, the Belgae (who gave their name to the region).

57 B.C. Julius Caesar begins conquering Belgium. The province comes to be known as Gallia Belgae. For the next 400 years, the area prospers under Roman control.

400 A.D. As Rome declines, the Franks gain control of the territory.

431. The Franks establish the Merovingian dynasty in Belgium.

466-511. Reign of Clovis I. During his reign, the last Roman territories in Gaul are captured and the kingdom is expanded to include areas of France and Germany. The Belgian people are converted to Christianity.

751. Pepin III deposes the Merovingians and starts the Carolingian dynasty.

768. Charlemagne succeeds his father, Pepin III. Charlemagne expands the empire to include all of Western Europe, and the king is crowned Emperor of the West by the Pope in 800. During his reign, organized trade begins along Belgium's rivers. After his death, the empire declines.

843. The Treaty of Verdun divides the empire among 3 of Charlemagne's sons. The western areas of Belgium come under France's control, while the eastern territories are controlled under the Middle Kingdom of Lothair. Ultimately, Germans control the eastern territories.

867. In order to protect people from Norse raids, walled cities are created. The first of these is Ghent, followed by Bruges and Ypres.

977. Brussels is founded by Charles, the Duke of Lorraine.

1000. As the Norse raids subside, trade dramatically expands. This period is the golden age of Flanders. Merchants import wool from England that is woven into fine cloths and tapestries. Flemish cities become populous and wealthy.

1300. Because of their wealth, Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres gain virtual independence from the aristocracy. A civic culture flourishes. This independence is confirmed by the defeat of the French nobles in the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

1329. Aristocratic control is re-established and the independence of the Flemish cities is revoked.

1337-1453. There is a Hundred Years War between France and England. The English support their trade allies, the Flemish, in their continuing efforts to gain autonomy from France.

1384. Flanders comes under the control of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.

1419-1467. Philip the Good reigns. The Burgundian Empire in Belgium expands and includes the southeastern areas of Brussels, Liege, and Namur. Trade, arts, and culture expand. Prominent artists include Van Eyck, Rubens, and Van Dyck.

1490s. The canals around Bruges fill with silt and trade shifts further north to Antwerp.

1519-1713. Religious conflicts between the Protestant areas of Flanders and Catholics, led by Philip II of Spain, lead to the occupation of Belgium by Spain.

1648. The Protestant United Provinces of the North gain independence from Spain and become the Netherlands. The center of trade shifts from Antwerp and Ghent to Amsterdam. Meanwhile in order to avoid high labor costs and taxation, textile mills increasingly move from the urban areas to the countryside.

1719-1794. Austria occupies Belgium according to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. A revolt in 1790 leads to the establishment of the United States of Belgium, but Austrian control is soon re-established. During this period, landowners begin to mine various products, mainly coal and iron ore.

1795. France occupies Belgium and institutes a variety of civil reforms that serve as the foundation of the modern Belgian government. Encouraged by the French, industrialization begins during this period. By the turn of the century, factories with more than 100 employees become common. Ghent, home to numerous cotton mills, becomes the textile center of the country. Mining also continues to spread, especially in the French-speaking areas and in Liege.

1815. Belgium becomes part of the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna. Dutch becomes the official language and William I of the Netherlands adopts a variety of programs to encourage industrialization in the south. However, the industrialization exacerbated the regional differences in the nation as the agrarian North sought free trade, while the industrialized South sought tariffs and other trade protections.

1831. Belgium gains independence from the Netherlands. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg becomes the Belgian king. Industrialization continues to sweep across the nation.

1835. The Banque du Belgique is founded. It provides financing for industry and serves as the model for similar banks in Germany, England, and France.

1844-46. Famine in Flanders leads to widespread economic problems and marks the final decline of the traditional linen industry. These combined problems slowed the economic development of the region well into the twentieth century.

1850. The National Bank of Belgium is formed.

1885. Congo becomes a personal possession of Leopold II.

1886. Worker unrest, which began in Liege, spreads throughout the nation. The government harshly suppresses this unrest, but it results in worker housing and wages reform.

1908. The Congo is annexed as a colony of Belgium.

1914. Germany invades Belgium at the start of World War I. During the war, some 20 percent of the nation's wealth is lost or destroyed.

1918. Universal suffrage is enacted.

1921. The Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) is formed.

1930. Flanders and Wallonia become legally unilingual.

1940. During World War II, Germany invades Belgium and the Netherlands.

1944. Belgium joins the Benelux Economic Union, formed between Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

1949. The nation joins NATO.

1952. Belgium joins the European Coal and Steel Community.

1957. Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Community.

1960. The Congo gains independence.

1961. Massive strikes lead to the creation of a permanent linguistic barrier between Flanders and Wallonia, while the Brussels region is officially bilingual.

1962. Rwanda and Burundi are granted independence.

1971. Flanders and Wallonia are granted cultural autonomy.

1973. The worldwide oil crisis initiates a period of deep industrial decline, which is exacerbated by the second oil crisis in 1979.

1989. A revised constitution grants greater autonomy to Flanders and Wallonia, and Brussels is granted the status of a region.

1993. King Baudouin dies and is succeeded by his brother, King Albert II.


Timeline: ILO - US Milestones

The ILO Constitution is written between January and April by the Commission on International Labor, constituted by the Treaty of Versailles, and adopted at the Paris Peace Conference. The Commission is composed of nine countries: Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The first International Labor Conference (ILC) is held in Washington, D.C. and the first six International Labor Conventions are adopted.

ILO Headquarters is established in Geneva.

The United States, which did not belong to the League of Nations, joins the ILO.

1939-41

John G. Winant, an American who was the first head of the American Social Security System, and then the Deputy Director of the ILO, becomes the Director-General.

Delegates to the ILC adopt the Declaration of Philadelphia, redefining the ILO aims, goals and agenda for human rights and social justice in the post-World War II global economy, later to be incorporated into the ILO Constitution.

In December 1946, the ILO becomes the first UN specialized agency. The agreement was signed by the UN Secretary General Trygve Lie and the ILO Director-General, Edward Phelan.

1948-70

David A. Morse, who played an important role in the administration of President Harry Truman, is Director-General of the ILO.

The ILO is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as it commemorates its 50th anniversary.

The US withdraws from the Organization and returns three years later.

The US Department of Labor and the ILO sign a US $2.1 million agreement for projects to combat child labor spanning the period August 1, 1995 until July 31, 1999.

President Bill Clinton addresses the ILC, the first time a US president speaks to the ILC in Geneva. The Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) is adopted.

Convention No. 182 comes into force. The Child Labor Conference takes place May 17-18. The ILO/AIDS program is formally established in November.

2002-04

The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization is established by ILO. The Commission's final report is released in 2004.

ILO marks its 90th anniversary. The Global Jobs Pact is adopted in June.

Meeting of the US President&rsquos Committee on the ILO calls upon the Tripartite Advisory Panel on International Labor Standards (TAPILS) to resume its work of reviewing the legal feasibility of ratification of selected ILO conventions.


History of the flag of Belgium

During the Belgian revolution, it was common to see French flags raised in protest against the king of the Netherlands, Willem van Oranje-Nassau.

These flags of the Gallic country were replaced by others with horizontal stripes of red, gold and black as the colors of the duchy of Brabant, whose tongue lion and red claws, is of gold and is located on a black background.

Since that revolutionary era, the country adopted that flag and included it in its National Constitution, without specifying the orientation of the fringes.

The flag that is currently used in Belgium, with vertical stripes, was established as an official on January 23, 1831, after achieving Belgian independence from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. In fact, it was designed to commemorate the independence of Belgium.

Nevertheless, already in 1830 had been hoisted in the mayoralty of Brussels, during the revolts in the opera of that locality.

In October of 1831, the order of the colors changed, happening to locate the black color right next to the flagpole.

It is believed that this change was due to a desire to differentiate the Norwegian teaching from that of the Netherlands and to make it more similar to that of France, a country allied during the revolution.


Watch the video: Why is Belgium a country? - History of Belgium in 11 Minutes (June 2022).


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