The Kingdom of Belgium, also known as the Southern Provinces, was an unrecognized state and monarchy in Western Europe. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and centre of commerce and culture, and changed hands between major imperial powers several times. After the Napoleonic Wars, the Belgian region was transferred from Austria to the Netherlands.
In 1830, during a wave of revolutions, the Belgian Revolution saw the declaration of independence from the Netherlands, but this was not recognized by any major power in Europe. This fact, and the lack of international support for the nation, caused the crackdown of revolutionaries and the end of the revolution in 21 August 1831. In order to avoid future conflicts and to resolve some issues, the Belgian state was divided in two, between the Netherlands and the Kingdom of France.