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Wouldn't Napoleon be pleased?

A French Sunday paper surveyed attitudes among the French to the idea of swallowing up Wallonia should relationship guidance for Belgium fail dismally, and a majority (54%) rather like the idea. Opinion in the border départements is more favourable still, at 66%. Le Soir has the details.

This does not come as a huge surprise, frankly, and rather conveniently for our Gallic chums, they have some old maps and département names they can dust off:

The above is the pertinent part of an 1811 map of the France of 130 départements, and note the names ready to be resurrected: Lys, Eseaut, Dyle, Jemappes, Ourthe, Sambre et Meuse and the hugely memorable Fôrets. The latter encompasses the whole of Luxembourg, so maybe Grand Duke Henri will be glad of Luxembourg's membership of NATO. On the downside, the addition of seven new départements really should prompt a renumbering of the existing ones, so Paris would be pushed from 75 to 81.

(Rather annoyingly I have a map of the France of 130, with the numbers, hidden away in the archives but I cannot lay hands on it at the moment).

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Blogger Ed said... 12:20 pm

Would the "reunification" of the French-speaking bits of Northern Europe be by consent or by annexation?

I can't see the argument that the EU has "prevented war" working if the French army just walk in and take half of Belgium...

Les Belges seem to be getting on OK without an executive anyway. A model for the rest of us, perhaps. If something important came up I'm sure the Belgian MPs could think of something.  

Blogger hatfield girl said... 4:56 pm

Have you a map of England from, say 1750 - 1800, with the regions marked?

And a much earlier comparison would be interesting too.

And a post Second war one before entering the EU. Every country has regions and probably settled for long periods too.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:12 pm

HG - I have a *lot* of maps of varying vintages, and could dig up something on dear old Blighty easily enough, but until the hateful changes of 1974 English counties had scarcely been changed since the 12th century.  

Blogger hatfield girl said... 5:37 pm

C, I have just been swimming through the internet and, having tried to look at what I asked you about, found indeed that counties are what England has had since the Danelaw times. When I entered Danelaw there is a lovely map that shows England divided into only four regions with Wales much larger, taking in most of the north west.
The 'Britain of the countries and the regions' is a much greater preposterousness than I had understood, believing there to have been regions that were culturally and historically coherent much later than 1100 or 1200. As you say, there has been nothing but counties in all England's modern history.

It seems wholly unacceptable to split it up into fake regions, whether EU statistical units of account, or pseudo historical regions (unless we do the real thing - imagine Wales twice as big). Never will I plumb the depths of Labour's destructiveness. And I never did like Bedfordshire either.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:12 pm

Sorry I did not post a link - I speed read and thought you were asking a rhetorical question vis a vis maps.

The monstrosities of Avon, Humberside and the like are as nothing compared to the horrors inflicted on our Caledonian neighbours. It is intriguing that the Republic of Ireland has stuck with its ancient counties, and I am hard pushed to think of major states that have changed their internal boundaries to a marked degree except after a war, revolution or other upheaval. It is curious that the DDR messed around with the historic German states provinces than did the Federal Republic.

The priest who married me (of which less later....) is a Breton nationalist, and some 200 odd years after the traditional divisions of Brittany were done away with under the First Republic, still gets pretty hot under the collar about the departmental system. His argument, apart from one of history / continuity, is that the nine dioceses represented divisions based on people and culture rather than legislative convenience.

Here is the historic division, and here the modern divisions  

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