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a people related to the Dutch. Most Flemings live in Belgium, where they number approximately 5.7 million (1975, estimate). Approximately 300,000 live in France, in regions bordering on Belgium. Some Flemings live in the Netherlands, but they have essentially formed a single nationality with the Dutch. The language of the Flemings is Flemish; most believers are Catholic.
The Flemings are descendants of Frankish tribes of western Germany who had mixed with Frisians and Saxons. After the Netherlands bourgeois revolution in the 16th century, most Flemings remained under Spanish rule and in 1830 joined with the Walloons to create the independent state of Belgium. The rest became part of the population of the Netherlands that split from Spain. During the 1960’s, tensions between the Flemings and Walloons, existing from the mid-19th century, increased; areas of contention included the question of a national language and the issue of whether to adopt a federal form of government.