BELGAE, BELGIUM AND BRUSSELS: FROM BRITANNIA TO BREXIT
The histories of the people of Britain and Belgium have been intertwined for at least two millennia. Folk of the Belgae tribes crossed the Channel and settled in eastern and southern Britain prior to the Roman invasion in AD 43. Their continental connections foreshadowed many centuries of historical links through the wool trade, dynastic marriage, politics and war. Linguistic, political and religious divides have challenged the concept of one nation: the modern country of Belgium is a 19th-century creation of diverse provinces with ancient, distinguished and, at times, harrowing histories. The lands of Belgium have often been a battleground for other people's wars; the British and Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. In October 2017, New Zealanders will commemorate the centenary of another grim battle of the 'Great War': Passchendaele. More recently, the Battle of Brexit has taken the shine from the golden stars of Europe and Brussels.