ďThe Workshop of EuropeĒ

One of the many fascinating countries in Europe is Belgium. In northwestern Europe lies this country. It is small in size, but there are many people who live in Belgium which makes it one of the most densely populated European counties. It plays an important part in world affairs as NATO is located in its capital of Brussels. Many manufactured goods are produced here, as it is nicknamed the Workshop of Europe.
North to south measures about 100 miles and about half is hilly land. Belgium is lower than most European countries. On the north east this countyís boundary is formed by the North Sea, on the south west by France, on the east by Luxembourg and Germany, and on the east by Netherlands. A tiny seven square mile part of Belgium called Baarle-Hertog is located outside of Belgium and is totally surrounded by the Netherlands.
Most rivers make regions in Belgium. They use many man made rivers, canals, for travel and trade. Most of the main rivers in Belgium start in France then travel north throw or to Belgium. The main rivers are the Lys, Schedt, Sambre, and Meuse.

This countryís climate is called the marine west coast climate. The winters are mild, however; the summers are cool rather than warm like in the US. Temperatures range from about 350 F in January to about 640 F in July. The weather is rainy and cloudy. Most of the precipitation is in upland areas, with about 30 inches of
rain falling per year.

Industry and farming are very important to the people because this is their way of making money. Jobs in these areas are great in Belgium because of the weather. It is never too hot, nor too cold for industry. Also there is never too much of too little of rain fall.
Many years ago mining diamonds and coal employed many people. Trading these goods and other such as linen, leather, crystal, and lace was there major source of income. Today however, with the decline of mining and other industries is much of Belgiumís economy comes from services using itís railroads, highways, navigable waterways, and NATOís head quarters in Brussels.

Belgiumís government is different than the government in the US It is called a parliamentary monarchy. The king is the head of the state and also the commander of the army. One may think that the King has great power, but he really has little power in Belgium. Like other monarchies, the Kingís successor is his son, but if there is no son, then he will pick a successor himself. His decision must be qualified by Parliament.
The King must approve all of the laws passed by Parliament. In Parliament they have a 212 member Chamber of Representatives and 175-184 member Senate which is elected by the people. In Belgium if you are 18, then you are required by law to vote. Any person who does not vote could get a fine.
Belgiumís history goes back to the early times of the Roman empire from about 52 BC, however the modern nation of Belgium began in about 1830. In its early history Belgium has been ruled by the Romans, Huns, the Empire of Charlemagne, and France. During the middle ages and up to the 1830ís Belgium was involved in many battles and many wars. Once again, the rule was shared by many famous people and nations. Belgium was a possession of many nations such as Spain, Austria, and France before getting its independence in the 1800ís. Also as a result of the many counties that ruled them, many fortresses and castles were built and are still standing today. Moreover, important battles such as Napoleonís defeat at Waterloo, were fought on Belgiumís land.
Now independent Leopold I wanted Belgium to be strong and stay out of the wars of Europe. The second Leopold ruled in 1865 and he expanded the country. However, in 1914 W.W.I broke out, Germany invaded Belgium, and Belgium fought with the US and Germany was defeated in 1918. After this war they had to rebuild Belgium under King Albertís rule. Though never recovering from W.W.I, there was next a great depression in 1930. On the political side the