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Belgium is best described as that part of the Low Countries formerly ruled by the Hapsburgs. It is useless for Englishmen to try to follow those fluctuations of national borders which are such a feature of life on the Continent: let us merely define modern Belgium as a small country somewhat ticklishly situated among the French, the Germans and the Dutch. Indeed its central position has led to its being chosen very often down the centuries as a battlefield for the armies of Europe's great powers, which generally prefer to fight there rather than within their own borders; and so it has come to be spoken of as "the cockpit of Europe". No doubt it was a consciousness of this tradition which swayed the French emperor Buonaparte to invade it on his return from exile, as soon as he had gathered an army sufficient[40].

The capital of Belgium is Brussels, a fine city particularly noted for the manufacture of lace. Alas, it has suffered much from depredations in various wars. The image on the left shows the city much as it was before the French completely destroyed it in a bombardment in 1695. Jonathan Strange however took more care of modern Brussels when he removed it briefly to the American prairies, to prevent its falling into the hands of the French[40].

The Lakota indians must indeed have had puzzled looks while buffalo-hunting at the Royal Place:


The Royal Palace - Brussels, Belgium