Decisive Dates in Belgian History

Following are the most significant moments in Belgian History:

1st millennium BC Celtic tribes settle in western Europe.
58 BC The Belgae, a conglomeration of Celtic tribes living in the northern part of Gaul, fight with great valour against the forces of Julius Caesar, but are forced to surrender in 58 bc.
After 3rd-5th centuries The Franks cross the Rhine and settle in Gaul. Christianity spreads.
712 The Bishop of Cambrai dies in what will later become Brussels.
721 Bishopric of Liège established.
800 Charlemagne, a son of Liège, is crowned Emperor of the Romans in Rome.
843 Partition of France. The River Schelde is accepted as the border between Flanders and Wallonia (now a part of Lotharingia).
900 Baldwin, the first count of Flanders, builds a castle at Bruges.
966 The first documented reference to Brussels, then called 'Bruocsella'.
11th and 12th centuries Development of the cloth trade brings economic prosperity to Flanders. The blossoming trade between the Continent and England results in rapid growth of the cities, including Bruges, which becomes the trading centre for goods from Italy, France, Germany and England.
1302 Poorly armed Flemish peasants and craftsmen defeat an army of French knights in the Battle of the Golden Spurs at Kortrijk.
1308 Henri VII of Luxembourg becomes the Germanic emperor and is crowned Henri IV.
1369 Margaret, the daughter of the last count of Flanders, marries Phillip the Bold of Burgundy. Flanders passes to Burgundian rule.
15th century Dukes of Burgundy win control of what is now Belgium. The economically powerful areas of the Burgundian empire enjoy a period of cultural enrichment which produces artistic splendour and political prestige. The textile industries, which have developed in the Belgian territories since the 12th century, become the economic mainstay of northwestern Europe.
1425 The university at Leuven is founded by Pope Martin V and develops into the European centre of jurisprudence.
1477 Mary, daughter and heiress of the last Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, marries Maximilian of Austria. As a result , the Low Countries are brought increasingly under the sway of the Habsburg dynasty.
1500 Charles V, grandson of Maximilian and later the German emperor, is born in Ghent.
1521 Erasmus lives in Anderlecht, then a village outside Brussels.
1526 Pieter Brueghel the Elder is born.
1531 Brussels becomes the capital of the Spanish Netherlands.
1541 Mercator draws the first map of Flanders.
1555 Charles V is defeated by the Protestant princes of Germany and is forced to renounce the throne in favour of his son, Phillip II.
1566 Protestant iconoclasts ransack numerous churches. In order to put down the movement, the Spanish Duke of Alba is sent to the Low Countries. As the representative of the Inquisition, he subjects the people to a reign of terror which causes thousands of Protestants to emigrate.
1568 Counts Egmont and Hoorn, the leaders of a revolt against Spanish rule, are beheaded on the Grand-Place in Brussels.
1569 Pieter Brueghel the Elder dies at his home in Brussels.
1579 Under William I of Orange, the seven northern provinces, now called the Netherlands, join forces under the Union of Utrecht and declare their independence in 1581.
1585 In the struggle for recognition of their sovereignty, the Spanish recapture the port of Antwerp and block the River Scheldt. Many merchants and skilled artisans leave Antwerp; Amsterdam replaces Antwerp as the chief trading centre of Europe. From this time onward, the whole of the southern part of the Netherlands recognises Philip II as its sovereign.
1608 Peter Paul Rubens becomes court painter to the Spanish regents; he subsequently paints in France, Spain and England before returning to Antwerp. The artistic achievements of the Flemish school of 17th-century painters, which also includes Anthony Van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens, reflect the commercial and cultural revitalisation of the southern Netherlands.
1648 Treaty of Westphalia, by which Spain recognises the independence of the United Provinces of the north. Belgium remains under Spanish control. The treaty stimulates economic competition among northern European nations.
1667 The French king, Louis XIV, captures large parts of Flanders and Hainaut. Lille falls to France.
1695 Bombardment and destruction of the Grand Place by a French army.
1701-13 The Spanish War of Succession turns Belgium into a battlefield. By the Treaty of Utrecht, which ends the war, the present-day territory comprising Belgium and Luxembourg passes under the authority of the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI and his Habsburg successors.
1795 The French revolutionaries annex Belgium and Luxembourg which remain under French control until the defeat of Napoleon.
1803 Napoleon Bonaparte visits Brussels as First Consul of the Republic.
1815 The Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's last stand. Eupen and Malmédy annexed by Prussia. Holland and Belgium form the Kingdom of the Netherlands under William I of Orange.
1830-31 Conflicting interests between the north and south concerning religious affairs, economic matters and the authority of the king lead to revolution in Brussels. Belgium achieves independence as a neutral kingdom under Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.
1835 The first Continental railway, from Brussels to Mechelen, is inaugurated.
1881 King Leopold II seizes the Congo and Belgium becomes a colonial power.
1914-18 German troops march into Belgium and Luxembourg. The battles of the Yser are the bloodiest of the war. The Treaty of Versailles grants Eupen and Malmédy to Belgium.
1929 Hergé's Adventures of Tintin are published for the first time.
1940-44 German troops again march into Belgium. The Belgian government seeks exile in London. King Leopold III is deported to Germany. Belgium is liberated by the Allies in 1944.
1948 Customs union agreed between Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg (Benelux Agreement).
1951 King Baudouin I ascends the throne.
1957 Belgium joins the European Economic Community (today the European Union).
1958 The World's Fair at the Heysel in Brussels.
1959 Brussels becomes headquarters of the European Community.
1971 and 1980 Constitutional reform gives both linguistic groups (Flemish and French) more autonomy in economic and cultural matters.
1977 Belgium is divided into three distinct regions: Flanders, Wallonia and the conurbation of Brussels.
1989 In the reorganisation of the Belgian state, Brussels becomes the Capital Region, alongside Flanders and Wallonia.
1993 King Baudouin I dies on 31 July and is succeeded by his brother Albert.
1995 The provinces of Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant are created from the old province of Brabant, giving Belgium a total of ten provinces.

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