Regents of Belgium
Belgium did not become an independent state until 1831, after a rebellion
against the Dutch king. But it has a continuity that goes back to the
Burgundian state that evolved in the border region between France and Germany.
It had been created 1363 when the French king granted his son Philippe the Bold the
duchy of Burgundy. That duchy was located further south of present day
Belgium but Philippe the Bold expanded his holdings 1384 when he inherited
the county of Flanders, which constitute the northern part of Belgium.
Artois and Franche Comté was also included in the inheritance and through
further inheritances, purchases and conquests the Burgundian dukes would
become masters of a large territory on both sides of the Franco-German
border with its capitol in Brussels.
Most territories located on the French side of the border were lost after
the death of Charles the Bold 1477 but the rest was inherited by the Habsburg
dynasty. These territories that now were called the Netherlands were considerably
reduced when the northern provinces declared them selves independent 1581.
After that the Belgian provinces was first called the Spanish Netherlands
and after 1713 the Austrian Netherlands to distinguish them from the independent
state of the United Netherlands. The Franco-Spanish wars of the 17th
century lead to further territorial losses and in 1795 all of Belgium was conquered
by France. 1815 the Congress of Vienna decided that Belgium and the United
Netherlands should be a unified kingdom, but the Belgians rebelled after
just fifteen years.
Because Belgium was not a single political unit before its independence and
instead several different provinces with the same ruler are the Latin numerals of
the regents those they used in their main country.