Brabant Revolution of 1789–1790

Brabant Revolution of 1789–1790


a bourgeois revolution that began in Brabant.

The Brabant Revolution was an attempt to liberate the Belgian provinces that had been part of the Austrian Empire since 1714. At the beginning of 1787 an anti-Austrian popular front was formed with the broad participation of the urban poor and peasantry in the Belgian provinces. This front was led by representatives of bourgeois parties—a conservative party that defended the interests of the Catholic Church, large landowners, and guilds (the Nootists); and a liberal party that united part of the urban middle and petite bourgeoisie (the Vonckists). The anti-Austrian movement grew stronger under the influence of the Great French Revolution. In September 1789 the Revolutionary Committee, which was made up of representatives of the Nootists and the Vonckists, was established in the city of Breda. In October 1789 a Belgian volunteer army crossed the Belgian-Dutch border and began military actions against Austrian troops on the territory of Brabant. The popular uprisings that had broken out in Brussels and other Belgian cities enabled the insurgents to complete the liberation of almost all Belgian territory at the beginning of December.

On Jan. 7, 1790, the National Congress of the Liberated Provinces was convoked in Brussels on the initiative of the Nootist leaders H. van der Noot and P. S. Van Eipen. The congress announced the deposition of the Austrian emperor Joseph II, and on Jan. 11, 1790, it proclaimed the independence of the United States of Belgium. The constitution adopted by the National Congress was bourgeois aristocratic. The peasantry’s demands for the abolition of the remaining feudal obligations were not satisfied. Consequently, a considerable part of the peasantry stopped participating in the revolution. Soon the Nootists attacked the Vonckists, who had demanded a broadening of the suffrage. On the night of Mar. 15–16, 1790, the Vonckists were defeated. Taking advantage of the grave internal political situation in the United States of Belgium, Austria again subjugated the territory in December 1790.


Frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia, 1789–1794. Edited by V. P. Volgin and E. V. Tarle. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941. Chapter 4.