Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Low Countries are the countries on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers. Usually used in modern context the term is used to refer to The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (an alternate term is the Benelux).
The Low Countries were the scene of the early northern towns, built from scratch rather than developed from ancient centers, that mark the reawakening of Europe in the 12th century. Cities of the Early Middle Ages built round the manufacture and trade of woollen cloth, Europe's first industry, included Liège, Leuven, Mechelen, Antwerp, Brussels, Ypres, Ghent and Utrecht, to employ a list compiled by Henri Pirenne.
Prior to modern nationbuilding the Low Countries referred to a wide area of northern Europe roughly stretching from Dunkirk at its south-western point to the area of Schleswig-Holstein at its north-eastern point, but in the 16th century the term Low Countries began to roughly correspond only to the Burgundian holdings in the area. Roughly the same area later gave rise to the Seventeen Provinces covered by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1548 of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (sometimes called the Spanish Netherlands or Austrian Netherlands), and later to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830).
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