In 1713, the Spanish Netherlands of the south become the Austrian Netherlands by the Traité of Utrecht.
During the 17th century the wars between France and Spain draw about the current border between France and Belgium. To the Treated of Utrecht, in 1713, the crown of Spain passes to the Capétiens, with Philippe V of Spain, grandson of Louis XIV.
The Netherlands of the south were under military control of the United Provinces, but return to the Habsbourg of Austria, including the towns of Tournai and Philippeville and the province of West-Flandres, yielded by France. The United Provinces could keep fortified towns there, but its army exchanges some was to leave Lille.
The Netherlands, in French increasingly named the Country Belgium , remain a Federal state of ten semi-autonomous Provinces, directed by Habsbourg of Austria from Vienna. The “Austrian supervision” takes again moreover the central institutions of the “Spaniards” with Brussels.
A centralizing policyUnder the reign of Marie-Therese, via her ambassador plenipotentiaries, the Lumières make their entry, and the central government sets up a policy to create an administrative, economic and cultural revival.
Thus, the central government extends its influence and intervenes more and more in the management of the States. The administrative cleansings release from the capital which will allow the rise of coal and metallurgical industries, in particular in Hainaut (the same will apply in Principality of Liege). Textile industry also knows a strong growth (in Ghent in particular), while free trade is stimulated. To slow down the exodus of the capital, Marie-Therese is combined with France in 1756.
On the cultural and intellectual level, the government is not in remainder: it creates an Academy imperial and royal sciences and the humanities, in Brussels (1769-1771). A “Belgian” historiography will be born there (Jean Of the Rocks harnesses himself with the writing of a national history ).
Moreover, until 1740, Spanish was still used like common language of the Conseil from the Netherlands in Vienna (become in 1757 Belgian Bureau ). With centralization, the use of French will become dominating in the central administration, with the detriment of the popular languages (which remain in the administrations of the provincial States and the cities). The instruments must however always be written in the language of the area.
In 1789, the centralizing reforms (political and religious) which wants to impose the new sovereign Joseph II cause the dissension of the General states and will lead to the insurrection.
IndependenceRising, known under the name of Revolution brabançonne with the the Brabant, gives place, after the defeat of the Austrian troops with Turnhout, with proclamations of independence of the various States constituting the Austrian Netherlands.
The discord between the parties catholic and liberal obstructs however considerably the defense of the country and supports the return of the Austrian troops, which restore their authority as of October of the same year. We can already note that this discord was not repeated in 1830: these two parties linked their effort, and were divided only at the end of the XIXè century.
Restoration, occupations, disappearanceIn 1792, the Principality of Liege, as well as the Austrian Netherlands are occupied (“released from the emperor”) by the French revolution after the Bataille of Jemappes, then reconquered in 1793 by Austria.
In 1794, the Belgian States are again conquered by France, and the annexation is final on October 1st 1795. When Napoleon Bonaparte becomes Consul, the territories of the Netherlands of the south as well as part of the Netherlands of north are integrated in the French Empire, and are reorganized in “Belgian” departments.
In 1815, the Congrès of Vienna will attach the Belgian departments to the the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, from which they will take their independence in 1830 definitively.
- List of the sovereigns of the Spanish and Austrian Netherlands
- List of the governors of the Spanish and Austrian Netherlands
- List of the ambassador plenipotentiaries of the Austrian Netherlands
- History of Luxembourg
- History of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais
- History of the Netherlands
- Revolution brabançonne
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