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Summary Article: Flemish Brabant from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Province of Belgium, part of the Dutch-speaking Flemish community and region, bounded by Antwerp to the north, Limbourg and Liège to the east, Walloon Brabant and Hainaut to the south, and East Flanders to the west; area 2,106 sq km/813 sq mi; population (2003 est) 1,025,800. Contained within its borders is the Brussels-Capital Region, an autonomous administrative division created in 1995 at the same time as the province of Brabant was bisected into Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant. Its capital is the city of Louvain, and other major towns include Halle, Tienen, and Vilvoorde.

History The duchy of Brabant was at the zenith of its power in the 13th century. It was incorporated into Burgundy in 1430, and became part of the Habsburg Empire on the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to Emperor Maximilian I. In 1556, control of the duchy passed to the Habsburg Philip II of Spain. The duchy was divided during the Dutch war of independence, North Brabant becoming a Dutch province and South Brabant remaining under the control of the Spanish. The Treaties of Utrecht (1713–14) transferred it to the Austrians until 1815, when the area once again became Dutch. In 1830, the French-speaking population in the south of the Netherlands rebelled, and when Belgium was recognized in 1839 South Brabant was included in it. Brabant became an autonomous Belgian province in 1995, based on the division of the Flemish and Walloon communities.

Physical Occupying part of the fertile Central Plateau, Flemish Brabant gradually rises from north to south to the Forest of Zoniën. The rivers Schelde, Demer, Dijle, Senne, and Gete flow through the region.

Economy Agriculture is one of the province's main occupations. The main crops are wheat, sugar beet, and vegetables. Flemish Brabant is second only to Limburg for fruit production, and produces almost half of all the cut flowers exported by Belgium. Service industries make up a large percentage of the economic picture. The metallurgical, textile, and food-processing industries are also important.

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