Belgium is a popular tourist destination with beautifully preserved medieval towns, canals, and a more recent brutal history represented in the World War 1 battlefields.
The history of Belgium goes back to when the area was part of Gaul. Gaul is an area corresponding roughly with modern day France and consisted of three areas inhabited by the Belgae, Aquitani, and Gauls (Celts). After conquest by Julius Caeser, parts of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica and Germania Inferior covered what is today modern Belgium.
With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribes of the Franks became the dominant power, forming the predecessor states of modern France and Belgium, though for much of the Middle Ages Flanders and the areas of modern Belgium were part of France.
Religious policies and nationalist feelings in some regions led to separatism with the Federated Netherlands splitting from the southern Royal Netherlands, with this area corresponding to modern Belgium and being subject to Spanish and Austrian rule. The French revolution led to the annexation of the Low Countries but with the end of Napoleon in 1814 the United Kingdom of the Netherlands appeared. In 1830 the southern parts broke off giving rise to the country of Belgium.
In 1885 Belgium acquired Congo Free State as an outcome to The Berlin Conference which set out the rules for the colonisation of Africa. The Belgian rule of Congo was associated with brutal repression.
World War 1 saw Belgium invaded by Germany in 1914 and much of the fighting occurred on its territory. World War 2 also saw the Germans invade and occupy Belgium, only being liberated in February 1945.
After the war, Belgium's African possessions were decolonised and Belgium became a founder of the predecessor organisation of the European Union.