Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Belgium - Nova Belgica - Nueva Bélgica

Some people may have heard of New Netherland, the colony that later became the state of New York after the English took it over, land, as I related in the last post, purchased by the Belgian colonialist Peter Minuit. If you look at old maps of that time the name given to the land mass is often not 'New Netherland' but is 'Nova Belgica' or 'New Belgium' in Latin language. This was obviously long before the modern Kingdom of Belgium as we know it existed and yet the name was still associated with the area that was the Spanish and Austrian Netherlands, later the United Provinces (Dutch republic) when the Spanish were forces out. But, I have discovered there was a later effort at Belgian colonization in the New World after the independence of the Kingdom of Belgium as it is today. Shortly after independence Belgium recognized the country of Mexico and Belgian engineers built the first railroad in Mexico (already they had established the first brewery in Mexico long before). Eventually there was the idea for a 'Nueva Bélgica' colony in the Mexican state of Chihuahua (seems a rather harsh change compared to the Belgian climate). Nothing finally came of the idea though less formal colonies (communities really) were established in other areas, some in Mexico and a number across the United States et cetera.

It would have been a nice holiday spot to have a Belgian colony in Mexico, but not to be. There were also efforts to establish Belgian colonies in the Ethiopia-Eritrea-Sudan Red Sea coast area, the Philippines and Hawaii, none of which were finally successful. Those were mostly done by King Leopold I and more later by King Leopold II who obviously was finally successful in a big way in establishing the Belgian colonial empire in central Africa (and also a tiny corner of China). What would have happened though to "New Belgium". I hate to admit it but probably it would not have worked out anyway. Just like the English gobbled up New Netherland and New Sweden in North America, with all of the civil wars and revolutions in Mexico the New Belgium colony there would probably have been victimized by the government as well. I have an idea for that particular problem though that I will try to remember to discuss in greater detail later.

No comments:

Post a Comment