BELGIUM (Flemish, Belgie; French, Bel gique; German, Belgien), a Icingdom of Europe, bounded north by Holland, northwest by the North Sea, west and south by France, and east by the duchy of Luxemburg, Rhenish Prussia and Dutch Limburg. Its greatest length, northwest to southeast, is 165 miles; greatest breadth, north to south, 120 miles; area, 11,373 square miles. The country is triangular in shape, having its vertex in the west, the base resting on Germany in the east, the shorter side facing Holland and the sea and the larger forming the frontier of France. For adminis trative purposes Belgium is divided into nine provinces- Brabant, Antwerp, East Flanders, West Flanders, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Lux emburg and Namur. Differing little in area, these provinces are arranged to form a com pact and commodious division of the country. Brussels, the capital, is situated in Brabant, which occupies the centre and may be consid ered the metropolitan province. The follow ing table shows the areas of the provinces, with their estimated population, 31 Dec. 1912: Aseasin Provinces aquare miles Population Amlwerp 1,093 1.004.909 Brabant 1,268 1,522,941 Flanders. East 1,158 1,134,079 Flanders, West 1,249 884,777 Hainaut 1,437 1,247,042 Liege 1,117 896,649 Limburg 931 284,171 Luxemburg 1,706 232,900 Narnur 1,414 364,319 Total 11,373 7,571,387 The populations of the principal towns in 1912 were: • Bruss(ds 663,647 Seraing 41,833 Antwerp 312,884 Tourmti 37,349 LiEge 170.634 Courtrai 36,029 Ghent 167,477 Alost 35,603 Mahnes 59,735 SahntNicolas.... 35,128 Bruges 53,635 Nainur 32,453 Wrviers 45,964 Charkroi 29,452 Ostend 43,002 Mons 27,805 Louvidn 42,482 The last census, taken 31 Dec. 1910, placed the population at 7,423,784; the above official estimate reveals an increase of 147,603 in two years. The 1912 figures gave 3.756,872 males; 3,814,505 females. Excluding infants, the cen sus (1910) showed that 2,833,334 spoke only French; 3,220,662 only Flemish; 31,415 only German; 871,288 both French and Flemish; 74,993 both French and German; 8,652 German and Flemish; and 52,547 who were conversant with all three Ian guages. At the same time there were 254,547 foreigners residing in Belgium, distributed as follows: French, 80,765; Dutch, 70,950; Ger mans, 57,010; Luxemburgers, 10,367; Russians, 7,491; Brittsh, 6,974; Austro-Hungarians, 5,927; Italians, 4,498; Swiss, 2,335, and 8,238 of other nationalities. Statistics of Belgian etnigration show 13,492 in 1900; 14,752 in 1904; in 1908 these figures were more than doubled, namely, 32,294; in 1909 there were 38,190 and in 1912 a total of 35,775. The immigration of
foreigners into Belgium, on the other hand, exceeded the emigration of the natives to other countries. The latest available figures are: in 1910, 44,950; in 1911, 41,062; and 42,980 in 1912. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic,. but as no inquiries on the subject of religious belief are made in, the census enumeration, there are no figures available to show the distribution of creeds. The govern ment impartially subsidizes Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish places of worship by contributing to the stipends of ministers. So far back as 1831, when religious tolerance was still an almost unknown quantity in Europe, the Belgian Congress made freedom of con science and religious equality fundamental parts of their Constitution. The Belgian pop ulation is the densest in Europe and is com posed of two distinct races-Flemish, who are of German, and Walloons, who are of French extraction. The former, by far the more nu merous, have their principal locality in Flan ders; but also prevail throughout Antwerp, Limburg and part of Brabant. The latter are found chiefly in Hainaut, Liege, Namur and part of Luxemburg. The language of each corresponds with their origin - the Flemings speaking a Germanic dialect and the Walloons a .dialect, or rather a corruption, of French, with a considerable infusion of words and phrases from Spanish and other languages. This distinct mixture of races, and the repeated changes of masters to which they have been subj ected, have necessarily been very • un favor able to the formation of a national character. Still. in some leading features, there is a re markable uniformity in the population. Though the position of the country between France and Germany has made it the battlefield of Europe, the inhabitants show few warlike ten dencies and are unwearied in pursuing art's of peace. The fact bears strong testimony to the patient endurance of the Belgian people, but does not, as the European War has shown, pre clude the courage or the ability to fight when called on. French is the official language ot Belgium and in general use among the edu cated classes. Of late years, however, patriotic feelings have acquired. new strength; and one of its first manifestations has been an eager desire to cultivate the vernacular Flemish, which differs little from Dutch.