(Dr. Schärfe, 4th Supplement, June 1984)
Since middle of the 15th century the total Netherlands consisting of 17 provinces were united by Burgundy through inheritance, purchase or contracts. Because the heiress of Charles the Bold, Maria, married Maximilian of Austria, the Netherlands come to Habsburg. They were raised 1548 by Charles V. to the Burgundian circle and thus detached extensively from the empire. Therewith a long and cruel pursuit of the protestant was upset, which led already 1579 with the union of Utrecht to the separation of the northern provinces (about the present Netherlands). Spain did not succeed to win back this part.
Since the separation the southern provinces formed the Spanish Netherlands. They finally formed in 1830 Belgium. Before, however, this zone had to bear much sorrow. Again and again it was theatre of wars and lost in this period numerous cities and the Artois to France.
After the Spanish succession war, the Spanish Netherlands fell to Austria and was called then Austrian Netherlands. That was 1714.
After the outbreak of the war between Austria and France in combination with the French revolution, the zone finally was occupied by France after the victory of Pichegru in Fleurus at the 26.6.1794. In the peace of Campo Formio (1797) and Luneville (1801), Austria transferred its Netherlands to France out of which later on Belgium emerged. They were divided immediately into 9 departments and were fused by arrangements and laws with France. This union lasted 20 years until the collapse of Napoleon in 1814.