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Gateway to the Walloon Region

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Informations générales

Numéro vert : 0800 11 901, depuis la Belgique

A young region with a long history (from 57BC to 1831)

Imprimer

57 BC

Julius Caesar conquered Gaul. Our ancestors became the Gallo-Romans and were called the "Walha" by their Germanic neighbours. Hence the name "Wallonia". The "Walha" abandoned their Celtic dialects and started to speak Vulgar Latin. Already at that time, Wallonia was on the border between the Germanic world and the Latin world.

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5th century

The Roman empire began to break up. The Merovingians (with Clovis) gained control of our region. Deprived of its central power base, Vulgar Latin developed along different lines in each region. In Wallonia, it gave rise to the 'langue d'oïl' dialects (Picard, Walloon and Lorrain).

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8th century

The Carolingian dynasty dethroned Clovis' descendant. In 843, the Treaty of Verdun split the empire politically into three territories.

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13th century

An important event took place: literary Latin, which was taught in schools, lost its hegemony and was replaced by a vernacular language, Francien, the forerunner of modern French. The process of fragmentation continued unabated, and the "land of the Walloons" gradually broke up into rival principalities.

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15th century

Within a few short decades, the Dukes of Burgundy took over an area roughly corresponding to the modern Benelux and the North of France. The death of Charles the Bold (1477) raised the issue of succession. The Liégeois took advantage of this to regain their autonomy.

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16th century to 18th century

The Low Countries, the name given to this part of the empire that had been divided in two by the Principality of Liège, were governed successively by the Hapsburg dynasty of Spain (from the early 16th century until 1713-14) and by Austria (until 1794). This territory was enlarged in 1521-22 when Charles the Fifth (Charles-Quint) wrested the Tournai region from France.

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Late 18th century and early 19th century

It was the fall of the ancien régime that finally brought about the unification of the territory that makes up present-day Wallonia by making it part of a larger geopolitical entity: the French Republic, then the Napoleonic Empire. After the famous Battle of Waterloo, Wallonia became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands under King William of Orange.

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1830 and 1831

The "Walloons" played an active part in the revolution which led to the formation of a provisional government. This government proclaimed Belgium's independence and held elections for the National Congress. On 22 November 1830, this Congress voted to establish a "hereditary, representative and constitutional monarchy". Léopold de Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha was chosen to be the first King of the Belgians. He was duly sworn in on 21 July 1831.

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Mise à jour : 22/01/2007

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