Brabant. I. Duchy Of, one of the ancient divisions of the Netherlands, bounded N. by Holland and Gelderland, E. by Limburg and Liege, S. by Namur and Hainaut, and W. by Flanders and Zealand. The Menapii and Tungri were the original inhabitants of this country. By the Romans it was made part of the province of Gallia Belgica. The Franks settled in it in the 5th century. It successively formed part of Austrasia, of the Garlo-vingian kingdom, of the kingdom of Lorraine, and of the duchy of Lower Lorraine. When Duke. Otho died childless in 1005, Godfrey, count of Ardennes, became count of Brabant; and in 1190 Brabant was made a duchy. In 1349 Duke John III. received from the emperor the golden bull of Brabant, according to which no Brabancon could appeal to a higher court of judgment than that of the duke of Brabant. Duke John's eldest daughter, Joanna, bequeathed the duchy to her nephew, Anthony, second son of Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy (1405). Duke Anthony fell on the French side, at the battle of A gin court. With Philip, the younger brother of Anthony, the line of dukes terminated.
Brabant passed to Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy (1430), and remained an integral part of the duchy of Burgundy until, in 1477, Maximilian, the future emperor of Germany, married Mary, the heiress of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Brabant then passed under the dominion of the house of Austria. The emperor Charles V. left it to his son Philip II. of Spain. In the revolt of the Netherlands Brabant was among the first to join, but was not successful in its efforts. At the peace of Westphalia (1648) the northern part was abandoned, to the United Provinces, and received the name of North Brabant; at the same time the provinces of Antwerp and Mechlin were cut off from the ancient limits of the duchy, and erected into separate territories under Spanish rule. The remaining part was called thenceforth South Brabant, and remained a part of the hereditary possessions of the Spanish crown until the war of Spanish succession, at the end of which it reverted to Charles VI., afterward emperor of Germany, together with Antwerp and Mechlin, and was thenceforward known as part of the Austrian Netherlands. Both Bra-bants were conquered by the French in 1794. Under them North Brabant formed the department of Bouches-du-Rhin, and South Brabant the department of La Dyle and a part of Deux-Nethes. At the congress of Vienna (1814) both Brabants were given to the king of Holland. In the revolution of 1830, South Brabant joined the revolt of the provinces which had formerly been the Austrian Netherlands, and it has since formed part of the kingdom of Belgium, while North Brabant remains part of the kingdom of Holland. H. North, a province of Holland, bounded N. by the provinces of Holland and Gelderland, E. by Limburg, S. by Limburg and Antwerp, and W. by Zealand; area, 1,980 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 440,302. It is divided into the arrondissements of Bois-le-Duc, Breda, and Eindhoven; capital, Bois-le-Duc. The principal rivers are the Maas, the Dommel, the Dintel, the Donge, and the two rivers Aa. There are numerous canals.
Agriculture is in an advanced condition. Mutton, poultry, bees, game, and fish are abundant. Pine is the principal tree; of minerals the country is entirely destitute. The linen, cotton, cutlery, and porcelain manufactures are highly prosperous; and the inhabitants, chiefly Roman Catholics, are distinguished for their industry and frugality. III. South, the metropolitan province of Belgium, bounded N. by Antwerp, E. by Limburg and Liege, S. by Namur and Hainaut, and W. by East Flanders; area, 1,268 sq. m.; pop. in 1869, 862,982. It is divided into the arrondissements of Brussels, Lou-vain, and Nivelles; capital, Brussels. A part of the inhabitants speak Flemish and others Walloon; the great majority are Roman Catholics. The soil is flat, and in some places wooded. It is watered by the Dyle, the Den-der, and the Senne. The climate is rather moist, but healthy. The agriculture is of the first quality, the land being cultivated like a garden. The products are rye, wheat, oil seed, and buckwheat, but little fruit. Cattle are reared, mostly oxen and horses; so are bees. Its manufactures are of woollen and cotton stuffs, linen, Brussels lace, leather, hats, playing cards, tobacco, starch, brandy, paper, and oil.
South Brabant is intersected by several railroads and canals.