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The city of Brussels is the capital of modern Belgium. The original village grew up around a chapel on an island in the Zenne River. By the 6th century, it found itself located on an important trade route, and became a flourishing commercial center specializing in woolens in the medieval period. The merchant aristocracy was forced to share power with the craftsmen after their revolt in 1421. It was ruled successively by the Duke of Burgundy, then the Holy Roman Empire. It was part of the Spanish Netherlands from 1530, then of modern Belgium from 1830. In the 20th and early 21st centuries, it produced textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, machinery, rubber goods and brewed beverages. It has become something of an international capital since it became the headquarters of the European Union. (TGN)
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