Belgium is a federal state located in Western Europe, and its capital is Brussels. The country has a complex political history. As a result, there are three main languages in Belgium: Dutch, French, and German.
From 100 BC until the Middle Ages, the region was a Roman province. Germanic tribes entered the area during the 5th century, and from this time until the 17th century, Belgium thrived on commerce and culture. However, many battles among other European nations occurred in the country, thus transforming it into Europe's battlefield. Following the end of the Eighty Years' War in 1648, Belgium separated from the other nations in the so called Low Countries, or Netherlands. It is at this point in history that many cultures infiltrated the country. Spanish and Austrian Hapsburgs ruled part of the region, and later the French First Republic overtook the Austrian rule. As the Industrial Revolution swept across Europe, Belgium gained its independence, advanced, and even gained African colonies. The second half of the 20th century marks a period of conflict and reform, which may ultimately result in partition of the country. Today, Belgium's government remains a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
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