August 25, 1830. Riots break out in the Southern Provinces of what was the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, leading to a conflict that would eventually establish the Kingdom of Belgium. The civil unrest was fuelled by several factors including widespread unemployment and resentment among French-speaking Catholics and liberals in the south towards the Calvinist Dutch King William I, who was seen as authoritarian and indifferent to southern needs. Riots erupted in Brussels after the showing of a patriotic opera, ‘La Muette de Portici’, when the audience – quickly joined by many of the city’s working classes – stormed government buildings. Dutch troops were unable to quell the unrest which lasted over a month. A provisional Belgian government declared independence on October 4, although it wasn’t until 1839 that this gained the recognition of the Dutch King. (Picture: Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1930 by Gustaf Wappers)
Also on August 25: British forces burn buildings in Washington DC and destroy the White House (1814); Uruguay declares independence from Brazil (1825); Belarus declares independence from the Soviet Union (1991).
Born on August 25: Sean Connery (1930), Frederick Forsyth (1938), Gene Simmons (1949), Tim Burton (1958), Claudia Schiffer (1970).