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(wŏlo͞onz`), group of people living in S Belgium who traditionally spoke a dialect of French called Walloon, but who today for the most part speak standard French. The Walloons, numbering some 3.5 million, reside mostly in the provinces of Hainaut, Liège, Namur, Luxembourg, and Walloon Brabant, in contrast to the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the northern provinces. The movement for reviving Walloon literature centered in Liège in the 19th cent.; today the language is considered moribund. The periodical Wallonie had considerable influence. Since medieval times the economic and social background of the Walloons has differed radically from that of the Flemings, and the cleavage became even more pronounced with the Industrial Revolution. The Walloon part of Belgium contains major mining areas and heavy industries, while the Flemings engage mainly in agriculture, manufacturing (particularly textiles), and shipping. Tension between Walloons and Flemings has long been a critical political issue. In 1970 a plan was approved that recognized the cultural autonomy of Belgium's three national communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north, the French-speaking Walloons of the south, and bilingual Brussels. The name Walloons was also applied to Huguenot refugees in America by the Dutch, who made no distinction between French and Walloon Protestants.


See H. H. Turney-High, Château-Gerard; the Life and Times of a Walloon Village (1953).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a people that make up about half of the population of Belgium. The Walloons number more than 4 million people (according to the 1970 census). They live in the provinces of Hainaut, Namur, and Liège, as well as in Luxembourg and in the departments of Nord and Ardennes in northeastern France. They speak the Walloon dialect of the French language. Religious Walloons are Catholic. Walloons are descendants of Belgic Celtic tribes, and since the first century A.D. they have undergone strong romanization and felt some influence from Germanic tribes, particularly the Franks. In terms of their language and ethnographic characteristics (for example, dress and living quarters), they are noticeably distinct from the Flemings who live in the same country. The majority of Walloons are employed in industry (mainly as workers), and in southern Belgium (Ardennes) they also raise livestock.


Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Martin O.Heisler in Managing Ethnic Conflict in Belgium" draws attention to the massive ethno-cultural cleavage that divides the Flemings from the Walloons and on some issues the French-speaking majority of Brussels from both of the larger groups."36
Hand in hand with this development emerged a strong antagonism for the French-speaking and politically dominant Walloons. Political predominance in Wallonia went with mastery over the territory's economic resources so that the Flemings were considered as second-class citizens38.
Another reason why the Walloons did not even consider it desirable to gain a smattering of the Flemish language was that it was not a means to an end i.e.
In his article Managing Ethnic Conflict in Belgium", the writer highlights how Flemings and Walloons or for that matter most communities across the globe display the principal traits often attributed to ethnic groups.
The Dutch- speaking Flemish Region and the French-speaking Walloon Region comprise five provinces each.
If Flemish citizens don't want their taxes to go to the Walloons, what about helping out unemployed immigrants from Africa, a large chunk of which the Belgians once owned and exploited as a major source of their prosperity?
Perhaps the citizens of Belgium do not have enough in common anymore, and Flemish and Walloons would be better off being divorced.
In 1715 the Walloon Synod assembled in The Hague received a letter written in Latin from churches "in Poland and Prussia." (42) As no copy of this letter survived, it is hard to state for certain if the letter was addressed to the Walloons directly (which would seem so) or, more importantly, who wrote it.
The state of the Polish Reformed Churches must have been painted in black colors indeed, as the Walloons described it as "etat triste et la destitution abslue." It made such a profound impression on the assembled delegates that they were resolved to help.
Also in those years the Walloons were helping Huguenot congregations in Saxony, then in a personal union with Poland.
The matter arose again the same year during the September Synod of the Walloons held in Naarden.
In a letter (unfortunately missing) to the Walloons, the Lithuanian Brethren thanked them for all the help and assistance.