University of Hertfordshire

  • Pieter Francois
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-678
JournalHistorical Research
Volume81
Issue214
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Abstract

This article analyses the different British views of, and attitudes towards, Belgium during the period 1830–70. The rise and fall of the myth of Belgium as ‘a little Britain on the Continent’ is central in this analysis. This myth originated during the first years after the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and represented a major U-turn in British sympathies. It was built around Belgium's supposed gratitude towards Britain, its liberalism, constitutionalism and the close ties between the royal families of both countries. Furthermore, the British believed that British and Belgian national identity were very similar and that the nature of Belgian national identity was inherently Protestant. However, during the eighteen-fifties and sixties, disagreement on free trade, on France and on the continuing strength of Belgian Catholicism, led to Belgium becoming seen as just ‘another’ continental country

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