The country of Belgium is located in Northwestern Europe in whose central location has brought it great prosperity though trade with its neighbors. Belgium borders three important trading locations, which is what contributes to its prosperity in trade; France, the Netherlands, and Germany. Belgium is a very diverse country in which its history, government, independence, economy, location and many more facts are very interesting. Belgium’s history is very long, detailed, and filled with wars. The country in which is now Belgium has been populated since before prehistoric times.
Around 100 B. C. Celtic tribes, called Belgae, settled in the area. Julius Caesar and his Roman forces are the reason for the Belgae leaving when he defeated the Belgae around 50 B. C. This caused the area to be ruled by the Romans, and they renamed the area to Gaul. This is where new systems, such as road systems and technology, came about in the area. During the Middle Ages, Belgium was divided and fought over many times. Belgium’s location was a prime spot for soldiers and large battlegrounds during World War I and World War II.
At different points in time, Belgium was part of many different large empires. Ancient Rome, Spain, Austria, France, and the Netherlands all ruled Belgium at some point. Many centuries later, Belgium finally won its Independence from the Netherlands in 1830. Belgium does not have its own language, but does have two official languages. The two official languages in Belgium are Dutch and French. The Flemings speak Dutch and French is spoken by Walloons. German is also spoken in Belgium, but in very few locations. The people of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, speak both Dutch and French.
The Flemings and the Walloons are the main ethnic groups in Belgium and they each have their cultural differences. Belgium has been able to compromise and balance these differences to make suitable for both. About sixty percent of Belgian people are Flemings, while thirty percent are Walloons. The remaining ten percent are immigrants. Immigrants have become a relatively large contributor to the population of Belgium. Most Belgians live in cities or towns, and many of these people go to different parts of their small country for their job. Bicycle racing and soccer are the most popular spectator sports throughout Belgium.
Belgian food is very popular all around the world as well. Belgian waffles, chocolates, and beer are some of the most popular Belgian foods. Also, in Belgium, freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Belgian Constitution. Belgium is a very diverse country. Belgium has a free enterprise economy in which is highly developed. Free enterprise is a system is a system in which businesses operate without a lot of control from the government. The government provides basic services in which are social, medical, or on a must have basis by the citizens of Belgium.
Service industries employ most of the citizens in Belgium that work. About two thirds of the employed work at a service industry. Manufacturing employs about one sixth of the employed, farmers make up less than two percent of the employed, and mining takes up the smallest portion of those who are employed. Trading is a very large part of Belgium’s economy as well. Belgium has many well-known, large transportation systems. For example, Belgium has one of the densest railroad networks in the world. Also, Belgium’s chief seaport is one of the busiest in the world.
Also, there are about 1,000 miles of inland waterways that make trading in Belgium so prosperous. The terrain in Belgium is very varied in proportion to how small the country is. Many of the Belgian rivers are large enough to serve as routes for large ships to pass through and serve as very important transportation routes. The Schelde River, the Sambre River, and the Meuse River are a few of these large rivers. Belgium has no natural, large lakes, but many Belgian engineers have created lakes to add to the Belgian landscape. The Coastal and Interior Lowlands take up most of northern Belgium.
The terrains of these lowlands are very varied from beaches, to thin farmland. A thinly populated region of forest and marshland in northeastern Belgium, called the Kempenland, is a very popular area for hiking. The Central low plateaus lie in the central area of Belgium. This area of Belgium has the best soil for farming and also includes Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Then, in the southeastern area of Belgium includes the Ardennes. The Ardennes is a large band of sandstone ridges and limestone valleys. The Ardennes is mostly of forest covered hills and many large, winding rivers.
Botrange Mountain lies in the Ardennes and is the highest point in Belgium, with and elevation of 2,277 feet. Belgium’s climate is very rainy, with about 28 inches of rain per year, with cool summers and mild winters. Belgium is a very interesting, diverse country in which has many interesting facts and features.