BELGIUM. History. XVH
these provinces. Thenceforward the Netherlands were subject to
Spanish Supremacy, which during the reign of Philip II. became
so intolerable that the whole country took up arms (towards the
close of the 16th century) with a view to shake off the Spanish yoke.
Success was achieved by the northern provinces only, those which
now constitute the Kingdom of Holland, whilst the southern
districts, the present Kingdom of Belgium, after protracted and
fierce struggles still continued to groan under the oppression of
the Spaniards. At length, under the regime of the Spanish
governor Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, Belgium also suc¬
ceeded in regaining the civic liberties in behalf of which the war
had originally broken out.
In 1598 the 'Spanish Netherlands' were ceded by Philip II. as
a fief to his daughter Clara Isabella Eugenia on the occasion of her
marriage with Albert, Archduke of Austria, the Spanish governor.
After the death of the archduke and his wife the Netherlands
reverted to Spain, by which they were governed till 1714, when
they were awarded by the Peace of Rastadt to the House of Austria.
The 'Austrian Netherlands'1 were wisely and beneficently govern¬
ed by the archdukes of Austria, who held the office of Stadholder,
and for a brief period the glorious days of the Burgundian re'gime
appeared to have returned. The governors of that period, especially
under the Empress Maria Theresa, are still gratefully remembered
by the Belgians. The opposition which the reforms of the Emp.
Joseph II. encountered at length gave rise to the 'Brabant Revo¬
lution' in 1789, but the independence thus attained lasted for a
single year only and under Emp. Leopold II. the Austrians again
took possession of the country.
This revolution, however, paved the way for the interference of
the French, whose aid had been invoked by the ecclesiastical and
the liberal parties. In 1794 the whole of Belgium was occupied
by French Republicans, who divided it into nine departments. In
1814 the French supremacy was finally shaken off.
The Treaty.of London, of 28th June, 1814, and the provisions
of the Congress of Vienna, of 7th June, 1815, united Belgium and
Holland under the name of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and
elevated William of Grange, son of the former stadtholder of the
Seven Provinces, to the newly constituted throne. Belgium was
again severed from her constrained union with Holland by the
Revolution of 1830. On 10th Nov. the provisional government
summoned a national congress, by which the Due de Nemours, son
of Louis Philippe, was invited to become the sovereign of Belgium.
The French monarch having declined the dignity in behalf of his
son, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was next selected by the congress, and
that prince accordingly ascended the throne on 21st July, 1831.
The treaty of the intervening powers, signed at London on 15th
Nov., 1831, by the representatives of the five great powers and of
Baedeker's Belgium -and Holland. ~4tli Edit. h