A serie of articles about the monarchy and the new King of Belgians
The Belgian Revolution was at the source of the choice by the national congress of the constitutionnal monarchy as a way to govern Belgium. Let’s say more about the belgian revolution of september 1830.
The people of the south were nearly all Catholics; half were French-speaking. The flemish dialects spoken in the north were not unified and the way to understand eachother from west to east of the flemish-speaking part was rather an illusion. Many outspoken liberals regarded King Guillaume I rule as despotic. There were high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes.
On 25 August 1830 riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. Theatergoers who had just watched a nationalistic opera joined the mob. Uprisings followed elsewhere in the country. Factories were occupied and machinery destroyed. Order was restored briefly after William committed troops to the Southern Provinces but rioting continued and leadership was taken up by radicals, who started talking of secession.
Dutch units saw the mass desertion of recruits from the southern provinces, and pulled out. The States-General in Brussels voted in favour of “violent secession of the United provinces” and declared independence. In the aftermath, a National Congress was assembled. King Guillaume refrained from future military action and appealed to the Great Powers. The resulting London Conference took place in november 1830. All major European powers recognized Belgian independence thanks partly to the cleverness of our first minister of foreign affairs Sylvain van de Weyer. The national congress chose for the monarchy after animated debates which saw a confrontation of monarchists and republicans. Awaiting the choice of a reigning family and the difficulties linked to that, it was decided to choose Surlet de Chokier as interim ruler of the country.
Following the installation of Leopold I of axe-Coburg-Gotha as “King of the Belgians” on july 21st 1831, King William made a belated military attempt to reconquer Belgium and restore his position through a military campaign. This “Ten Days’ Campaign” failed because of French military intervention. Not until 1839 did the Dutch accept the decision of the London conference and Belgian independence by signing the Treaty of London. The points of disagreement with Belgium were settled in the treaty of 4 articles in 1839.