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BELGIUM (Fr. Belgique; Flem. Belgic)

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 673 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BELGIUM (Fr. Belgique; Flem. Belgic), an independent, constitutional and neutral state occupying an important position in north-west Europe. It was formerly part of the Low Countries or Netherlands (q.v.). Although the name Belgium only came into general use with the foundation of the modern kingdom in 1830, its derivation from ancient times is clear and incontrovertible. Beginning with the Belgae and the Gallia Belgica,of the Romans, the use of the adjective to distinguish the inhabit-ants of the south Netherlands can be traced through all stages of subsequent history. During the Crusades, and in the middle ages, the term Belgicae principes is of frequent occurrence, and when in 1790 the Walloons rose against Austria during what was called the Brabant revolution, their leaders proposed to give the country the name of Belgique. Again in 1814, on the expulsion of the French, when there was much talk of founding an independent state, the same name was suggested for it. It was not till sixteen years later, on the collapse of the united kingdom of GEOGRAPHY] the Netherlands, that the occasion presented itself for giving effect to this proposal. For the explanation of the English form of the name it may be mentioned that Belgium was a canton of what had been the Nervian country in the time of the Roman occupation. Topography, &c.—Belgium lies between 490 30' and 51° 30' N., and 2° 32' and 6' 7' E., and on the land side is bounded by Holland on the N. and N.E., by Prussia and the grand duchy of Luxemburg on the E. and S.E., and by France on the S. Its land frontiers measure 793 m., divided as follows: with Holland 269 m., with Prussia 6o m., with the grand duchy 8o m. and with France 384 M. In addition it has a sea-coast of 42 M. The western portion of Belgium, consisting of the two Flanders, Antwerp and parts of Brabant and Hainaut, is flat, being little above the level of the sea; and indeed at one point near Furnes it is 7 ft. below it. The same description applies more or less to the north-east, but in the south of Hainaut and the greater part of Brabant the general level of the country is about 300 ft. above the sea, with altitudes rising to more than boo ft. South of the Meuse, and in the district distinguished by the appellation " Between Sambre and Meuse," the level is still greater, and the whole of the province of Luxemburg is above 500 ft., with altitudes up to 165o ft. In the south-eastern part of the province of Liege there are several points exceeding 2000 ft. The highest of these is the Baraque de Michel close to the Prussian frontier, with an altitude of 2190 ft. The Baraque de Fraiture, north-east of La Roche, is over 2000 ft. While the greater part of western and northern Belgium is devoid of the picturesque, the Ardennes and the Fagnes districts of " Between Sambre and Meuse " and Liege contain much pleasant and some romantic scenery. The principal charm of this region is derived from its fine and extensive woods, of which that called St Hubert is the best known. There are no lakes in Belgium, but otherwise it is exceedingly well watered, being traversed by the Meuse for the greater part of its course, as well as by the Scheldt and the Sambre. The numerous affluents of these rivers, such as the Lys, Dyle, Dender, Ourthe, Ambleve, Vesdre, Lesse and Semois, provide a system of waterways almost unique in Europe. The canals of Belgium are scarcely less numerous or important than those of Holland, especially in Flanders, where they give a distinctive character to the country. But the most striking feature in Belgium, where so much is modern, utilitarian and ugly, is found in the older cities with their relics of medieval greatness, and their record of ancient fame. These, in their order of interest, are Bruges, Antwerp, Louvain, Brussels, Ghent, Ypres, Courtrai, Tournai, Furnes, Oudenarde and Liege. It is to them rather than to the sylvan scenes of the Ardennes that travellers and tourists flock. The climate may be described as temperate and approximating to that of southern England, but it is somewhat hotter in summer and a little colder in winter. In the Ardennes, owing to the greater elevation, the winters are more severe. Geology.—Belgium lies upon the northern side of an ancient mountain chain which has long been worn down to a low level and the remnants of which rise to the surface in the Ardennes, and extend eastward into Germany, forming the Eifel and Westerwald, the Hunsrtick and the Taunus. `Westward the chain lies buried beneath the Mesozoic and, Tertiary beds of Belgium and the north of France, but it reappears in the west of England and Ireland. It is the " Hercynian chain " of Marcel Bertrand, and is composed entirely of Palaeozoic rocks. Upon its northern margin lie the nearly undisturbed Cretaceous and Tertiary beds which cover the greater part of Belgium. The latest beds which are involved in the folds of this mountain range belong to the Coal Measures, and the final elevation must have taken place towards the close of the Carboniferous period. The fact that in Belgium Jurassic beds are found upon the southern and not upon the northern margin indicates that in this region the chain was still a ridge in Jurassic times. In the Ardennes the rocks which constitute the ancient mountain chain belong chiefly to the Devonian System, but Cambrian beds rise through the Devonian strata, forming the masses of Rocroi,669 Stavelot, &c., which appear to have been islands in the Devonian sea. The Ordovician and Silurian are absent here, and the Devonian rests unconformably upon the Cambrian; but. along the northern margin of the Palaeozoic area, Ordovician and Silurian rocks appear, and beds of similar age are also exposed farther north where the rivers have cut through the overlying Tertiary deposits. Carboniferous beds occur in the north of the Palaeozoic area. Near Dinant they are folded amongst the Devonian beds, but the most important band runs along the northern border of the Ardennes. In this band lie the coalfields of Liege, and of Mons and Charleroi. It is a long and narrow trough, which is separated from the older rocks of the Ardennes by a great reversed fault, the faille du midi. In the southern half of the trough the folding of the Coal Measures is intense; in the northern half it is much less violent. The structure is complicated by a thrust-plane which brings a mass of older beds upon the Coal Measures in the middle of the trough. Except along the southern border of the Ardennes, and at one or two points in the middle of the Palaeozoic massif, Triassic and Jurassic beds are unknown in Belgium, and the Palaeozoic rocks are directly and unconformably overlaid by Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits. The Cretaceous beds are not extensive, but the Wealden deposits of Bernissart, with their numerous remains of Iguanodon, and the chalk of the district about the Dutch frontier near Maastricht, with its very late Cretaceous fauna, are of special interest. Exclusive of the Ardennes the greater part of Belgium is covered by Tertiary deposits. The Eocene, consisting chiefly of sands and marls, occupies the whole of the west of the country. The Oligocene forms a band stretching from Antwerp to Maastricht, and this is followed towards the north by a discontinuous strip of Miocene and a fairly extensive area of Pliocene. The Tertiary deposits are similar in general character to those of the north of France and the south of England. Coal and iron are by far the most important mineral productions of Belgium. Zinc, lead and copper are also extensively worked in the Palaeozoic rocks of the Ardennes. Area and Population.—The area comprises 2,945,503 hectares, or about 11,373 English sq. m., and the total population in December 1904 was 7,074,910, giving an average of 600 per sq. m. The Nine Area in Population at Population per Provinces. English sq. m. end of 1904. sq. m. 1904. Antwerp . 1093 888,980 813.3 Brabant . 1268 1,366,389 1077.59 Flanders E. 1158 1,078,507 931.35 Flanders W. 1249 845,732 677.8 Hainaut . 1437 1,192,967 830.18 Liege 1117 863,254 772.8 Limburg . 931 255,359 274.28 Luxemburg 1706 225,963 132.45 Namur 1414 357,759 253 Total 11,373 7,074,910 622 The population was made up of 3,514.,491 males and 3,560,419 females. The rate at which the population has increased is shown as follows:—From 188o to 1890 the increase was at the rate annually of 54,931, from 1890 to 1900 at the rate of 62,421, and for the five years from 1900 to 1904 at the rate of 66,200. In 1831 the population of Belgium was 3,785,814, so that in 75 years it had not quite doubled. The following table gives the total births and deaths in certain years since 188o: Year. Total births. Total deaths. Excess of births. 1880 . 171,864 123,323 48,541 1895 183,015 125,148 57,867 1900 193,789 129,046 64.743 1904 191,721 119,506 72,215 These figures show that the births were 23,674 more in 1904 than in 1880, while the deaths were nearly 4000 fewer, with a population that had increased from 51 to 7 millions. Of 191,721 births in 1904, 12,887 or 6.7 % were illegitimate. Statistics of 670 recent years show a slight increase in legitimate and a slight decrease in illegitimate births. The emigration of Belgians from their country is small and reveals little variation. In 1900, 13,492 emigrated, and in 1904 the total rose only to 14,752. Of Belgians living abroad it is estimated that 400,000 reside in France, 15,000 in Holland, 12,000 in Germany and 4600 in Great Britain. The number of Belgians in the Congo State in 1904 was 1505. The number of foreigners resident in Belgium in 1900 with their nationalities were Germans, 42,079; English, 5096; French, 85,735; Dutch, 54,491; Luxemburgers, 9762; and all other nationalities, 14,411. With regard to the languages spoken by the people of Belgium the following comparative table gives the return for the three censuses of 1880, 1890 and 1900: 1880. 1890. 1900. 1 French only . 2,230,316 2,485,072 2,574,805 Flemish only 2,485,384 2,744,271 2,822,005 German only 39,550 32,206 28,314 French and Flemish 423,752 700,997 801,587 French and German . 35,250 58,590 66,447 Flemish and German . 2,956 7,028 7,238 The three languages 13,331 13,185 42,889 Constitution and Government . The Belgian constitution, drafted by the national assembly in 1830—1831 after the pro-visional government had announced that " the Belgian provinces detached by force from Holland shall form an independent state," was published on the 7th of February 183r, and the modifications introduced into it subsequently, apart from the composition of the electorate, have been few and unimportant. The constitution originally contained one hundred and thirty-nine articles, and decreed in the first place that the government was to be " a constitutional, representative and hereditary monarchy." Having decided in favour of a monarchy, the provisional government first offered the throne to the duc de Nemours, son of Louis-Philippe, but this offer was promptly withdrawn on the discovery that Europe would not endorse it. It was then offered to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, widower of the princess Charlotte of England, and accepted by him. The prince was proclaimed on the 4th of June 1831 as Leopold I., king of the Belgians, and on the 21st of July 1831 he was solemnly inaugurated in Brussels. The succession is vested in the heirs male of Leopold I., and should they ever make complete default the throne will be declared vacant, and a national assembly composed of the two chambers elected in double strength will make a fresh nomination. In 1894 a new article numbered 61 was inserted in the constitution providing that " in default of male heirs the king can nominate his successor with the assent of the two chambers, and if no such nomination has been made the throne shall be vacant," when the original procedure of the constitution would be followed. The Belgian national assembly assumed that its constitution would extend over the whole of the Belgic or south Netherlands, but the powers decreed otherwise. The limits of Belgium are fixed by the London protocol of the 15th of October 1831—also called the twenty-four articles—which cut off what is now termed the grand duchy of Luxemburg, and also a good portion of the duchy of Limburg. These losses of territory held by a brother people are still felt as a grievance by many Belgians. The Belgian constitution stipulates for " freedom of conscience, of education, of the press and also of the right of meeting," but the sovereign must be a member of the Church of Rome. The government was to consist of the king, the senate and the chamber of representatives. The functions of the king are those that appertain everywhere to the sovereign of a constitutional state. He is the head of the army and has the exclusive right of dissolving the chambers as preliminary to an appeal to the country. The senate is composed of seventy-six elected members and twenty-six members nominated by the provincial councils. A senator sits for eight years unless a dissolution is ordered, and no one is eligible until he is forty years of age. Half the[GOVERNMENT seventy-six elected senators retire for re-election every four years. There is no payment or other privilege, except a pass on the state railways, attached to the rank of senator. The chamber of representatives contained one hundred and fifty-two members until 1899, when the number was increased to one hundred and sixty-six. Deputies are elected for four years, but half the house is re-elected every two years. A deputy must be twenty-five years of age, and the members of both houses must be of Belgian nationality, born or naturalized. A deputy receives an annual honorarium of 4000 francs and a railway pass. Down to 1893 the electorate was exceedingly small. Property and other qualifications kept the voting power in the hands of a limited class. This may be judged from the fact that in the year named there were only 137,772 voters out of a population of 62 millions. In April 1894 the new electoral law altered the whole system. The property qualification was removed and every Belgian was given one vote on attaining twenty-five years of age and after one year's residence in his commune. At the same time the principle of multiple votes for certain qualifications was introduced. The Belgian citizen on reaching the age of thirty-five, providing he is married or is a widower with legitimate offspring and pays five francs of direct taxes, gets a second vote. Two extra votes are given for qualifications of property, official status or university diplomas. The maximum voting power of any individual is three votes. In 1904 there were 1,581,649 voters, possessing 2,467,966 votes. This system of plural voting has proved a success. It does not, however, satisfy the Socialists, whose formula is one man, one vote. The final change in the system of parliamentary elections was made in 1899-1900, when proportional representation was introduced. Proportional representation aims at the protection of minorities, and its working out is a little intricate, or at all events difficult to describe. The following has been accepted as a clear definition of what proportional representation is:—" Each electoral district has the number of its members apportioned in accordance with the total strength of each party or political programme in that district. As a rule there are only the three chief parties, viz. Catholic, Liberal and Socialist, but the presence of Catholic-Democrats or some other new faction may increase the total to four or even five. The number of seats to be filled is divided by the number of parties or candidates, and then they are distributed in the proportion of the total followers or voters of each. The smallest minority is thus sure of one seat." An illustration may make this clearer. In an electoral district with 32,000 votes which returns eight deputies, four parties send up candidates, let us say, eight Catholics, eight Liberals, eight Socialists and one Catholic-Democrat. The result of the voting is, 16,000 Catholic votes, 9000 Liberal, 4500 Socialist, and 2500 Catholic-Democrat. The seats would, there-fore, be apportioned as follows: four Catholic, two Liberal, one Socialist and one Catholic-Democrat. The king has one right which other constitutional rulers do not possess. He can initiate proposals for new laws (projets de loi). He is also charged with the executive power which he delegates to a cabinet composed of ministers chosen from the party representing the majority in the chamber. Down to 1884 the Liberal party had held power with very few intervals since 1840. The Catholic party succeeded to office in 1884. The ministers represent departments for finance, foreign affairs, colonies, justice, the interior, science and arts, war, railways, posts and telegraphs, agriculture, public works, and industry and labour. The minister for war is generally a soldier, the others are civilians. Ministers may be members of either chamber and enjoy the privilege of being allowed to speak in both. Sometimes one minister will hold several portfolios at the same time, but such cases are rare. The kingdom is divided into nine provinces which are sub-divided into 342 cantons and 2623 communes. The provinces are governed by a governor nominated by the king, the canton is a judicial division for marking the limit of the jurisdiction of each juge de paix, and the commune is the administrative unit, Administration. possessing self-government in all local matters. For each commune of 5000 inhabitants or over, a burgomaster is appointed by the communal council which is chosen by the electors of the commune. As three years' residence is required these electors are fewer in number than those for the legislature. In 1902 there were 1,146,482 voters with 2,007,704 votes, the principles of multiple votes, with, however, a maximum of four votes and proportional representation, being in force for communal as for legislative elections. Religion.—The constitution provides for absolute liberty of conscience and there is no state religion, but the people are almost to a man Roman Catholics. It is computed that there are ro,000 Protestants (half English) and 500o Jews, and that all the rest are Catholics. The government in 1904 voted nearly 7,000,000 francs in aid of the religious establishments of, and the benevolent institutions kept up by, the Roman Church. The grant to other cults amounted to 118,000 francs, but small as this sum may appear it is in due proportion to the relative numbers of each creed. The hierarchy of the Church of Rome in Belgium is composed of the archbishop of Malines, and the bishops of Liege, Ghent, Bruges, Tournai and Namur. The archbishop receives £800, and the bishops £600 apiece from the state yearly. The pay of the village cure averages £8o a year and a house. Besides the regular clergy there are the members of the numerous monastic and conventual houses established in Belgium. They are engaged principally in educational and eleemosynary work, and the development in such institutions is considerable. Education.—Education, though not obligatory, is free for those who cannot pay for it. In the primary schools instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, history and geography is obligatory. In 1904 there were 7092 primary schools with 859,436 pupils of both sexes. Of these 807,383 did not pay. Primary education is supposed to continue till the age of fourteen, but in practice it stops at twelve for all who do not intend to pass through the middle schools, which is essential for all persons seeking state employment of any kind. The middle schools have one privilege. They can give a certificate qualifying scholars for a mastership in the primary schools, which are under the full control of the communes. These appointments are always bestowed on local favourites. The pay of a school-master in a small commune is only £48, and in a large town £96, with a maximum ranging from £8o to £152 after twenty-four years' service. It is therefore clear that no very high qualifications could be expected from such a staff. The control of the state comes in to the extent of providing district inspectors who visit the schools once a year, and hold a meeting of the teachers in their district once a quarter. In each province there is a chief inspector who is bound to visit each school once in two years, and reports direct to the minister of public instruction. With regard to the middle schools, the government has reserved the right to appoint the teaching staff, and to prescribe the books that are to be used The results of the middle schools are fairly satisfactory. Still better are the Athenees Royaux, twenty in number, which are quite independent of the commune and subject to official control under the superior direction of the king. Mathematics and classics are taught in them and the masters are allowed to take boarders. The expenditure of the state on education amounts to about a million sterling. In 186o the grants were only for little over one-eighth of the total in 1903. In 1900 31.94 % of the Coal population was illiterate. Considerable progress in the education of the people is made visible-by a comparison of the figures of three decennial censuses. In 188o the illiterate were 42.25 % and in 1890 3 7.63, so that there was a further marked improvement by 1900. Among the provinces Walloon Belgium is better instructed than Flemish, Luxemburg coming first, followed by Namur, Liege and Brabant in their order. Higher instruction is given at the universities and in the schools attached thereto. Those at Ghent and Liege are state universities; the two others at Brussels and Louvain are free. At Louvain alone is there a faculty of theology. The number of students inscribed for the academical year 1904–1905 at each university was Ghent 899, Liege 1983, Brussels 1082, and Louvain 2134, or a grand total of 6098.. Liege is specially famed for the technical schools attached to it. There are also a large number of state-aided schools for special purposes; (I) for military instruction, there are the Ecole Militaire at Brussels, the school of cadets at Namur, and army schools at different stations, e.g. Bouillon, &c. For officers in the army, there are the Ecole de Guerre or staff college at Brussels with an average attendance of twenty, a riding school at Ypres where a course is obligatory for the cavalry and horse artillery, and for soldiers in the army there are regimental schools and evening classes for illiterate soldiers. (2) For education in the arts, there is the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Antwerp, and besides this famous school of painting there are eighty-four academies for teaching drawing throughout the kingdom. In music, there are royal conservatoires at Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and Liege. Besides these there are sixty-nine minor conservatoires. (3) For commercial and professional education, there are 181 schools. The Commercial Institute of Antwerp deserves special notice as an excellent school for clerks. (4) Among special schools may be named the three schools of navigation at Antwerp, Ostend and Nieuport. Since the wreck of the training-ship " Comte de Smet de Naeyer " in 1906, it has been decided that a stationary training-ship shall be placed in the Scheldt like the " Worcester " on the Thames. Among the numerous learned societies may be mentioned the Belgian Royal Academy founded in '769 and revived in 1818. For the encouragement of research and literary style the government awards periodical prizes which are very keenly contested. Justice.—The administration of justice is very fully organized, and in the Code Belge, which was carefully compiled between 1831 and 1836 from the old laws of the nine provinces leavened by the Code Napoleon and modern exigencies, the Belgians claim that they possess an almost perfect statute-book. The courts of law in their order are Cow' de Cassation, Cour d'Appel, Cour de Premiere Instance, and the Juge de Paix courts, one for each of the 342 cantons. The Cour de Cassation has a peculiar judicial sphere. It works automatically, examining every judgment to see if it is in strict accord with the code, and where it is not the decision or verdict is simply annulled. There is only one judge in this court, but he has the assistance of a large staff of revisers. The Cour de Cassation never tries a case itself except when a minister of state is the accused. The president of this tribunal is the highest legal functionary in Belgium. There are three courts of appeal, viz. at Brussels, Ghent and Liege. At Brussels there are four separate chambers or tribunals in the appeal court. Judges of appeal are appointed by the king for life from lists of eligible barristers prepared by the senate and the courts. Judges can only be removed by the unanimous vote of their brother judges. There are twenty-six courts of first instance distributed among the principal towns of the kingdom, and in Antwerp, Ghent and Liege there are besides special tribunals for the settlement of commercial cases. Of course there is the right of appeal from the decisions of these tribunals as well as of the regular courts. Finally the 342 Juge de Paix courts resemble British county courts. Criminal cases are tried by (I) the Tribunaux de Police, (2) Tribunaux Correctionnels, (3) and the Cours d'Assises. The last are held as the length of the calendar requires. Capital punishment is retained on the statute, but is never enforced, the prisoner on whom sentence of death is passed in due form in open court being relegated to imprisonment for life in solitary confinement and perpetual silence. The chief prisons are at Louvain, Ghent and St Gilles (Brussels), and the last named serves as a house of detention. At Merxplas, near the Dutch frontier, is the agricultural criminal colony at which an average number of two thousand prisoners are kept employed in comparative liberty within the radius of the convict settlement. Pauperism.—For the relief of pauperism there are a limited number of houses of mendicity, in which inmates are received, Provinces and communes. and houses of refuge for night shelter. At the beguinages of Ghent and Bruges women and girls able to contribute a specified sum towards their support are given a home. National Finance.—The budget is submitted to the chambers by the minister of finance and passed by them. The revenue and expenditure were in the years stated as follows: Year. Revenue. Expenditure. Year. 1880 394,215,932 francs 382,908,429 francs 1895 • 395,730,445 „ 410,383,402 „ 1903 632,416,810 „ 627,975,568 revenue is made up from taxes, including customs, tolls, including returns from railway traffic, &c., and the balance comes from various revenues, return of capital, loans, &c. The following are the principal items of expenditure (1903) : Service of debt Sovereign, senate, chamber, &c. Departments, foreign office agriculture railways . finance . industry tear public instruction justice . Minor items . The difference is made up of "special expenditure." The total debt in English money may be put at 126 millions sterling, which requires for interest, sinking fund and service about 54 millions sterling annually. The rate of interest on all the loans extant is 3 %, except on one loan of 219,959,632 francs, which pays only 21 %. Army and National Defence.—The army is divided into the regular army, the gendarmerie, and the garde civique. The Belgian regular army is thus composed: infantry, one regiment of carabiniers, one of grenadiers, three of chasseurs ¢ pied, and fourteen of the line, all these regiments having 3 or 4 active and 3 or 4 reserve battalions apiece; cavalry, two regiments of guides, two of chasseurs d cheval, and four of lancers, all light cavalry; artillery, four horse, thirty field, and seventy siege batteries on active service; engineers, 140 officers and 2000 men. The train or commissariat has only 3o officers and 600 men on the permanent establishment. Belgium retains the older form of conscription, and has not adopted the system of " universal service.” The annual levy is small and substitution is permitted. In 1904 the number inscribed for service was 64,042. Of these only 12,525 were enrolled in the army, and of that number 1421 were volunteers, who took an engagement on receipt of a premium. The effective strength of the army in 1904 with the colours was 3406 officers and 40,382 men. To this total has to be added the men on the active list, but either absent on leave or allowed to return to civil life, numbering 70,043. It is assumed• that on mobilization these men are immediately available. The reserve consists of 181 officers and 58,o14 men, so that the total strength of the Belgian army is 3587 officers and 168,439 men. The field force in war is organized in four infantry and two cavalry divisions, the total strength being about soo,000. The peace effective has not varied much since 187o, but the total paper strength is 75,000 more than in that year. In the years 1900–1904 it increased by 8000 men. The gendarmerie is a mounted force composed of men picked for their physique and divided into three divisions. It numbers 67 officers and 3079 men, but has no reserve. It is in every sense a corps d'elite, and may be classed as first-rate heavy cavalry. The total strength of the garde civique in 1905 was 35,102, to which have to be added 8532 volunteers belonging to the corps of older formation, service in which counts on a par with the garde civique. Some of the latter regiments, especially the artillery, would rank with British volunteers, but the mass of the garde civique does not pretend to possess military value. It is a defence against sedition and socialism. The defence of Belgium depends on five fortified positions. The fortified position and camp of Antwerp represents the true base of the national defence. Its detached forts shelter the city from bombardment, and so long as sea communication is open with England, Antwerp would be practically impregnable. Liege with twelve forts and Namur with nine forts are the fortified teetes de posit protecting the two most important passages of the Meuse. The forts are constructed in concrete with armoured cupolas. Termonde on the Scheldt and Diest on the Dender are retained as nominally fortified positions, but neither. could resist a regular bombardment for more than a few hours, as their casemates are not bomb-proof. The training camp of the Belgian army is at. Beverloo in the province of Limburg, and at Braschaet not far from Antwerp are ranges for artillery as well as rifle practice. The Belgian officer is technically as well trained and educated as any in Europe, but he lacks practical experience in military service. Mines and Industry.—The principal mineral produced in Belgium is coal. This is found in the Borinage district near Mons and in the neighbourhood of Liege, but the working of an entirely new coal-field, which promises to attain vast dimensions, was commenced in 1906 in the Campine district of the province of Limburg. The coal mines of Belgium give employment to nearly 15o,000 persons, and for some years the average output has exceeded 22,000,000 tons. Other minerals arc iron, manganese, lead and zinc. The iron mines produce much less than formerly, and the want of iron is a grave defect in Belgian prosperity, as about £5,000,000 sterling worth of iron has to be imported annually, chiefly from French Lorraine. The chief metal industry of the country is represented by the iron and steel works of Charleroi and Liege. Belgium is particularly rich in quarries of marble, granite and slate. Ghent is the capital of the textile industry, and all the towns of Flanders are actively engaged in producing woollen and cotton materials and in lace manufacture. The bulk of the population is, however, engaged in agriculture, and the extent of land under cultivation of all kinds is about 61 million acres. Commerce.—The trade returns for 1904 were as follows: Imports 4,426,400,000 francs General Commerce . Special Commerce (included in General 2,782,200,000 Commerce) Exports 3,849,100,000 General Commerce . Special Commerce (included in General 2,183,300,000 Commerce) The general commerce includes goods in transit across Belgium, the special commerce takes into account only the produce and the consumption of Belgium itself. The trade of Belgium has more than trebled as regards both imports and exports since 1870. The following table shows the amount of exports and imports between Belgium and the more important foreign states: Imports. Exports. France . 465,684,000 francs 346,670,000 francs Germany . 351,025,00') „ 505,473,000 „ England . 335,404,000 „ 392,324,000 „ Holland . 240,873,000 „ 268,781,000 United States . 222,301,000 „ 86,324,000 Russia . 212,119,000 „ 26,671,000 Argentina . 198,913,000 ,, 41,508,000 „ British India 141,669,000 „ 25,860,000 „ Rumania 102,174,000 „ 3,949,000 Australia . 58,190,000 „ 12,087,000 Congo State 53,100,000 „ 14,049,000 „ China 8,770,000 25,546,000 „ In the relative magnitude of the annual value of its commerce, excluding that in transit, Belgium stands sixth among the nations of the world, following Great Britain, the United States, Germany, France and Holland. The principal imports are food supplies and raw material such as cotton, wool, silk, flax, hemp and jute. Among minerals, iron ore, sulphur, copper, coal, tin, lead and diamonds are the most imported. The exports of greatest value 143,065,352 francs • 5,z89,0$7 3,751,636 12,253,957 165,086,019 34,479,674 19,905,589 63,972,473 31,799,105 27,168,032 4,179,046 Total 510,949,970 are textiles, lace, coal, coke, briquettes, glass, machinery, railway material and fire arms. Shipping and Navigation.—Belgium has no state navy, although various proposals have been made from time to time to establish an armed flotilla in connexion with the defence of Antwerp. The state, however, possesses a certain number of steamers. In 1904 they numbered sixty-five of 99,893 tons. These steamers are chiefly employed on the passenger route between Ostend and Dover. The total number of vessels entering the only two ports of Belgium which carry on ocean commerce, namely Antwerp and Ostend, in 1904 was 7650 of a tonnage of 10,330,127. Among inland ports that of Ghent is the most important, 1127 ships of a tonnage of 786,362 having entered the port in 1904. The corresponding figures for ships sailing from the two ports first named were in the same year 7642 and tonnage 10,298,405. The figures from Ghent were 1128 and 787,173 tons. Whereas the lines of steamers from Ostend are chiefly with Dover and London, those from Antwerp proceed to all parts of the world. A steam service was established in 1906 from Hull to Bruges by Zeebrugge and the ship canal. Internal Communications.—The internal communications of Belgium of every kind are excellent. The roads outside the province of Luxemburg and Namur are generally paved. In the provinces named, or in other words, in the region south of the Meuse, the roads are macadamized. The total length of roads is about 6000 m. When Belgium became a separate state in 183o they were less than one-third of this total. There are about 2900 M. of railways, of which upwards of 2500 M. are state railways. It is of interest to note that the state railways derived a revenue of 249,355 francs (or nearly £10,000) from the penny tickets for the admission of non-travellers to railway stations. Besides the main railways there are numerous light railways (chemins de fer vicinaux), of a total length approaching 2500 M. There are also electric and steam tramways in all the principal cities. The total of navigable waterways is given as 136o m. Posts, telegraphs and telephones are exclusively under state management and form a government department. Banks and Money.—The principal banking institution is the Banque Nationale which issues the bank-notes in current use. In 19o4the average value of no tes in circulation was 645,989,100 francs. The rate of discount was 3 % throughout the whole of the year. The mintage of Belgian money is carried out by a directeur de la fabrication who is nominated by and responsible to the government. The gold coins are for to and 20 francs, silver for half francs, francs, 2 francs and 5 francs. Nickel money is for 5, 10 and 20 centimes, and the copper coinage has been withdrawn from circulation. AUTH0RIrrns.–Annuaire statistique de la Belgique (1905); Beltjens and Godenne, La Constitution beige (Brussels, 1880) ; La Belgique iilustree (Brusse s, 1878–1882) ; Les Pandectes beiges (Brussels, 1898) ; Annales du parlement beige for each year; Belgian Life in Town and Country," Our Neighbours " Series (London, 1904). For geology see C. Dewalque, Prodrome dune description geologique de la Belgique (Brussels, 1880) ; M. Mourlon, Geologic de la Belgique (Brussels, 1880–1881); F. L. Cornet and A. Briart, " Sur le relief du sol en Belgique apres les temps paleozo ques," An. Soc. Geol. Belg. vol. iv., 1877, pp. 71-115, pls. v.-xi. (see also other papers by the same authors in the same journal); J. Gosselet, L'Ardenne (Paris, 1888); M. Bertrand, " Etudes sur le bassin houiller du nord et sur le Boulonnais," Ann. des mines, ser. ix. vol. vi. (Mem.), pp. 569-635, 1894; C. Malaise, " Etat actuel de nos connaissances sur le silurien de la Belgique," Ann. Soc. Geol. Belg. vol. xxv., 1900–1901, pp. 179-221; H. Forir, " Bibliographie des etages laekenien, ledien, wemmelien, asschien, tongrien, rupelien at bolderien at des depets tertiaires de la haute et moyenne Belgique," ibid. pp. 223 seq. (D. C. B.)
End of Article: BELGIUM (Fr. Belgique; Flem. Belgic)
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