The Kingdom of Belgium (Royaume de Belgique, in French, Koninkrijk Belgie, in Dutch and Koenigreich Belgien, in German) is a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. The capital is Brussels. The major seaports are Oostende and Zeebrugge. The river ports are Antwerp, Gent, Brussels and Liege.
Belgium derives its name from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribe. The Roman region of Gallia Belgica included modern Belgium, northern France, The Netherlands, and part of Switzerland. Rome’s successor in western Europe was the kingdom of the Franks, which originated in Belgian Gaul and expanded into Germany, eventually extending from the Pyrenees Mountains eastward across the Alps and southward as far as Rome itself. The Franks were led by Charlemagne, who united all of western Europe through conquest during his reign from 768 to 814. When the Frankish realm was partitioned in 843, Belgium was incorporated in the duchy of Lorraine, which was part of Francia Orientalis. In the extreme west of this realm arose the county of Flanders, which was a fief of the kings of France.
The Grande Place, Brussels.
The Town Hall building in Leuven, Gothic architecture in Belgium.
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