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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/447

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APPLETONS’

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

AUGUST, 1897.



THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY.

(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)
By WILLIAM Z. RIPLEY, Ph. D.,

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; LECTURER IN ANTHROPO-GEOGRAPHY AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

VI.—FRANCE. PART II.

WHY is Belgium entitled to a separate national existence among the states of modern Europe? Ireland and even Wales have tenfold stronger claims to political independence on the score both of race and religion. One half of this little state is topographically like Holland; the other is not to be distinguished in climate, geography, or soil from Alsace Lorraine—that shuttlecock among nations, Belgium is father to no national speech. The Flemings can not hold common converse with their fellow-countrymen, the Wallons; for the first speak a corrupted Dutch, the second an archaic French language. Nor are the people more highly individualized in the anthropological sense. In fact, in a study of races Belgium is not to be considered apart from either northern France or southwestern Germany. It is closely allied to both. Of course, even despite the lack of all these elements of nationality, there is still a reason for the separate political existence of the Belgians, There must have been, for the sense of nationality is very intense among them. There is no sign of its abatement at the present time. It has made them a dominant power in Africa and elsewhere abroad. Their nationality is a geographical as well as an historical product. We shall deal with that presently. In the meantime we must consider the Belgians together with the whole population of northern