King Baudouin I (1951-1960)
In 1950 King Leopold III, accompanied by his sons,
Prince Albert and Prince Baudouin, returned to Belgium, deciding to
ask the government and parliament to vote on a law that would allow
his powers to be delegated to his son, Prince Baudouin, duke of
In 1951, Baudouin became the fifth king of the
Belgians. In 1960 he married DoŮa Fabiola de Mora y Aragůn.
On the international scene, in 1951 Belgium signed
a treaty which established the 'European Coal and Steel Community'.
Later, that institution would form the foundation of the European
Economic Community, now the European Union.
The independence of Belgian Congo was officially
recognised in 1960 and a Congolese constitution was outlined. On
30 June 1960, the king attended the handover of power in Lťopoldville
(now Kinshasa). Congo became the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The second half of the twentieth century was marked
by rising tensions between the Flemish-speaking and French-speaking
populations of the Belgian kingdom, fuelled by differences in
language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders
and Wallonia. In 1962 the linguistic frontier was formalised by law.
Despite the reforms, tensions between the Flemish and French-speaking
communities continued to be amplified in the following years, resulting
in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the
period from 1970 to 1993.