One of Belgium
's three regions, making up the francophone southern half (roughly) of the country, comprising the provinces of Hainaut
. The regional capital is Namur, and major centres include Liege, Charleroi
; the majority of the surface area covers the Ardennes
hills. A small area in the east, the Ostkantonen, is German-speaking.
Wallonie in French; Walonêye in Wallon.
Conceptually, Wallonia is a nineteenth century invention, intended as a counterweight to the rather more deeply-rooted Flemish identity in the newly-formed Belgian state; in earlier times bits of the territory had been shuffled between numerous principalities as well as spending time as part of the Spanish Netherlands and France.
The region was the first place where the Industrial Revolution reached continental Europe, with heavy industry - particularly glass (St.-Gobain) steel (Cockerill) and chemicals (Solvay) growing up strongly in the basin of the Meuse and Sambre. The decline in manufacturing in the last couple of decades has hit the area severely and unemployment levels remain high in places.