Province of Belgium, part of the French-speaking Walloon community and region, bordered by Flemish Brabant to the north and Liége, Namur, and Hainaut to the south; area 1,091 sq km/421 sq mi; population (2007 est) 370,500. The province was created in 1995 when the province of Brabant was divided into three autonomous administrative divisions: Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant, and Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital is Wavre. The Battle of Waterloo was fought in the northwestern part of the region.
Physical Walloon Brabant occupies part of the undulating, low-lying Central Plateaux and rises to 166 m/545 ft above sea level in the south. It is covered by fertile, well-cultivated loams. The Senne, Dijle, and Gete rivers flow north across the province.
Economic The main industries include metalworking, electromechanical engineering, and paper production. Agricultural products include wheat, sugar beet, and cattle. Three-quarters of the region, however, is employed in the service sector, a strong economy supported by the growth of advanced technology companies and small- and medium-sized businesses. The Université Catholique de Louvain employs the largest workforce in the region.
History The duchy of Brabant was at the zenith of its power in the 13th century. It was incorporated into Burgundy in 1430, and on the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to the emperor Maximilian I became part of the Habsburg Empire. In 1556, control of the duchy passed to the Habsburg Phillip II of Spain. The duchy was divided during the Dutch Revolt (1568–1648), North Brabant becoming a Dutch province, and South Brabant remaining under the control of the Spanish. In 1713 it became Austrian, until the whole area was included in the Netherlands in 1815. In 1830 the French-speaking population in the southern Netherlands rebelled, and South Brabant was included in Belgium when that nation was recognized in 1839. South Brabant became an autonomous province in 1995 based on the division of the Flemish and Walloon communities.
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