Sports car racing
Sports car racing is a form of circuit auto racing with sports cars that have two seats and enclosed wheels. They may be purpose-built or related to road-going models, a type of hybrid between the purism of open-wheelers and the familiarity of touring car racing, this style is often associated with the annual Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. First run in 1923, Le Mans is one of the oldest motor races still in existence, other classic but now defunct sports car races include the Italian classics, the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, and the Mexican Carrera Panamericana. Most top class sports car races emphasize endurance and strategy, longer races usually involve complex pit strategy and regular driver changes. These makers top road cars have often very similar both in engineering and styling to those raced. This close association with the nature of the cars serves as a useful distinction between sports car racing and touring cars. The 12 Hours of Sebring,24 Hours of Daytona, and 24 Hours of Le Mans were once considered the trifecta of sports car racing.
In the 1920s, the used in endurance racing and Grand Prix were still basically identical, with fenders. Cars such as the Bugatti Type 35 were almost equally at home in Grands Prix and endurance events, but specialisation gradually started to differentiate the sports-racer from the Grand Prix car. As mainly Italian cars and races defined the genre, the category was called Gran Turismo, as long distances had to be travelled and some basic comfort were necessary in order to endure the task. After the Second World War, sports car racing emerged as a form of racing with its own classic races. Top Grand Prix drivers competed regularly in sports car racing, from 1962 sports cars temporarily took a back seat to GT cars with the FIA replacing the World Championship for Sports Cars with the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. The US scene tended to feature small MG and Porsche cars in the smaller classes, the combination of mostly British chassis and American V8 engines gave rise to the popular and spectacular Can-Am series in the 1960s and 1970s.
Clubmans provided much entertainment at club-racing level from the 1960s into the 1990s, after a relative period of decline in the 1980s a British GT Championship emerged in the mid-90s. Road races such as the Mille Miglia included everything from stock touring cars to World Championship contenders, the Mille Miglia was the largest sporting event in Italy until a fatal accident caused its demise in 1957. The Targa Florio, another road race, remained part of the world championship until the 1970s. Between the late 1960s and late 1970s, Matra and Renault made significant, the competition at Le Mans even made it to the movie screens, with Steve McQueens film Le Mans. This era was seen by many as the highpoint of sports car racing, with the technology, a peculiarly American form of sports car racing was the Can-Am series, in which virtually unlimited sports prototypes competed in relatively short races
In architecture and structural engineering, a space frame or space structure is a truss-like, lightweight rigid structure constructed from interlocking struts in a geometric pattern. Space frames can be used to large areas with few interior supports. Like the truss, a frame is strong because of the inherent rigidity of the triangle. Alexander Graham Bell from 1898 to 1908 developed space frames based on tetrahedral geometry, bells interest was primarily in using them to make rigid frames for nautical and aeronautical engineering, with the tetrahedral truss being one of his inventions. Max Mengeringhausen developed the grid system called MERO in 1943 in Germany. The commonly used method, still in use has individual tubular members connected at joints and variations such as the space deck system, octet truss system. Stéphane de Chateau in France invented the Tridirectional SDC system, Unibat system, a method of tree supports was developed to replace the individual columns. Buckminster Fuller patented the octet truss in 1961 while focusing on architectural structures, Space frames are typically designed using a rigidity matrix.
The special characteristic of the matrix in an architectural space frame is the independence of the angular factors. If the joints are sufficiently rigid, the angular deflections can be neglected, the simplest form of space frame is a horizontal slab of interlocking square pyramids and tetrahedra built from aluminium or tubular steel struts. In many ways this looks like the jib of a tower crane repeated many times to make it wider. A stronger form is composed of interlocking tetrahedra in which all the struts have unit length, more technically this is referred to as an isotropic vector matrix or in a single unit width an octet truss. More complex variations change the lengths of the struts to curve the overall structure or may incorporate other geometrical shapes, within the meaning of space frame, we can find three systems clearly different between them, Curvature classification Space plane covers. These spatial structures are composed of planar substructures and their behavior is similar to that of a plate in which the deflections in the plane are channeled through the horizontal bars and the shear forces are supported by the diagonals.
This type of vault has a section of a simple arch. Usually this type of space frame does not need to use tetrahedral modules or pyramids as a part of its backing, spherical domes and other compound curves usually require the use of tetrahedral modules or pyramids and additional support from a skin. Classification by the arrangement of its elements Single layer grid, all elements are located on the surface to be approximated. The elements are organized in two layers parallel to each other at a distance apart
A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped vehicle component that covers the wheels rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance. Most tires, such as those for automobiles and bicycles, provide traction between the vehicle and the road providing a flexible cushion that absorbs shock. The materials of modern tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber and wire, along with carbon black. They consist of a tread and a body, the tread provides traction while the body provides containment for a quantity of compressed air. Before rubber was developed, the first versions of tires were bands of metal fitted around wooden wheels to prevent wear and tear. Pneumatic tires are used on many types of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, heavy equipment, and aircraft. Metal tires are used on locomotives and railcars, and solid rubber tires are still used in various non-automotive applications, such as some casters, lawnmowers. The etymology of tire is that the word is a form of attire. The spelling tyre does not appear until the 1840s when the English began shrink fitting railway car wheels with malleable iron, traditional publishers continued using tire.
The Times newspaper in Britain was still using tire as late as 1905, the spelling tyre began to be commonly used in the 19th century for pneumatic tires in the UK. However, over the course of the 20th century, tyre became established as the standard British spelling, the earliest tires were bands of leather, placed on wooden wheels, used on carts and wagons. The tire would be heated in a fire, placed over the wheel and quenched, causing the metal to contract. A skilled worker, known as a wheelwright, carried out this work, the outer ring served to tie the wheel segments together for use, providing a wear-resistant surface to the perimeter of the wheel. The word tire thus emerged as a variant spelling to refer to the bands used to tie wheels. The first patent for what appears to be a standard pneumatic tire appeared in 1847 lodged by the Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson, this never went into production. The first practical pneumatic tire was made in 1888 on May Street, Belfast, by Scots-born John Boyd Dunlop and it was an effort to prevent the headaches of his 10-year-old son Johnnie, while riding his tricycle on rough pavements.
His doctor, Sir John Fagan, had prescribed cycling as an exercise for the boy, Fagan participated in designing the first pneumatic tires. In Dunlops tire patent specification dated 31 October 1888, his interest is only in its use in cycles, in September 1890, he was made aware of an earlier development but the company kept the information to itself
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is a British manufacturer of luxury sports cars and grand tourers. It was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford and their sports cars are regarded as a British cultural icon. Aston Martin has held a Royal Warrant as purveyor of motorcars to HRH the Prince of Wales since 1982, headquarters and the main production site are in Gaydon, England, on the site of a former RAF V Bomber airbase. One of Aston Martins recent cars was named after the 1950s Vulcan Bomber, Aston Martin has diversified to speed boats, and real estate development. Aston Martin had a troubled history after the quarter of the 20th century but has enjoyed long periods of success. “In the first century we went bankrupt seven times, ” incoming CEO Andy Palmer told Automotive News Europe, “The second century is about making sure that is not the case. ”Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The two had joined forces as Bamford & Martin the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London where they serviced GWK, Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton, and the pair decided to make their own vehicles.
The first car to be named Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini and they acquired premises at Henniker Mews in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Production could not start because of the outbreak of World War I, all machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company. After the war found new premises at Abingdon Road, Kensington. Bamford left in 1920 and Aston Martin was revitalised with funding from Count Louis Zborowski, in 1922, Bamford & Martin produced cars to compete in the French Grand Prix, which went on to set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands. Approximately 55 cars were built for sale in two configurations, long chassis and short chassis, Aston Martin went bankrupt in 1924 and was bought by Dorothea, Lady Charnwood who put her son John Benson on the board. Aston Martin failed again in 1925 and the closed in 1926. Later that year, Bill Renwick, Augustus Bertelli and investors including Lady Charnwood took control of the business and they renamed it Aston Martin Motors and moved it to the former Whitehead Aircraft Limited Hanworth works in Feltham.
The only Renwick and Bertelli motor car made, it was known as Buzzbox, between 1926 and 1937 Bertelli was both technical director and designer of all new Aston Martins, since known as Bertelli cars. They included the 1½-litre T-type, International, Le Mans, MKII and its derivative, the Ulster, and the 2-litre 15/98 and its racing derivative. Most were open two-seater sports cars bodied by Bert Bertellis brother Enrico, with a number of long-chassis four-seater tourers, dropheads. Bertelli was a competent driver keen to race his cars, one of few owner/manufacturer/drivers, the LM team cars were very successful in national and international motor racing including at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia
Auto racing is a sport involving the racing of automobiles for competition. Almost as soon as automobiles had been invented, races of various sorts were organised, by the 1930s specialist racing cars had developed. There are now numerous different categories, each with different rules and it was won by the carriage of Isaac Watt Boulton. Internal combustion auto racing events began soon after the construction of the first successful gasoline-fueled automobiles, the first organized contest was on April 28,1887, by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Vélocipède, Monsieur Fossier. It ran 2 kilometres from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne, on July 22,1894, the Parisian magazine Le Petit Journal organized what is considered to be the worlds first motoring competition, from Paris to Rouen. One hundred and two competitors paid a 10-franc entrance fee, the first American automobile race is generally held to be the Thanksgiving Day Chicago Times-Herald race of November 28,1895. Press coverage of the event first aroused significant American interest in the automobile, brooklands, in Surrey, was the first purpose-built motor racing venue, opening in June 1907.
It featured a 4.43 km concrete track with high-speed banked corners, One of the oldest existing purpose-built automobile racing circuits in the United States, still in use, is the 2. 5-mile -long Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. It is the largest capacity venue of any variety worldwide, with a top capacity of some 257. NASCAR was founded by Bill France, Sr. on February 21,1948, the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race ever was held on June 19,1949, at Daytona Beach, Florida. From 1962, sports cars temporarily took a seat to GT cars. From 1972 through 2003, NASCARs premier series was called the Winston Cup Series, the changes that resulted from RJRs involvement, as well as the reduction of the schedule from 48 to 31 races a year, established 1972 as the beginning of NASCARs modern era. The IMSA GT Series evolved into the American Le Mans Series, the European races eventually became the closely related Le Mans Series, both of which mix prototypes and GTs. The best-known variety of racing, Formula One, which hosts the famous Monaco Grand Prix.
In single-seater, the wheels are not covered, and the cars often have aerofoil wings front, in Europe and Asia, open-wheeled racing is commonly referred to as Formula, with appropriate hierarchical suffixes. In North America, the Formula terminology is not followed, the sport is usually arranged to follow an international format, a regional format, and/or a domestic, or country-specific, format. In North America, the used in the National Championship have traditionally been similar though less sophisticated than F1 cars. The series most famous race is the Indianapolis 500, the other major international single-seater racing series is GP2
A manual transmission, known as a manual gearbox, stick shift, n-speed manual, standard, MT, or in colloquial U. S. English, a stick, is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications. The number of gear ratios is often expressed for automatic transmissions as well. Manual transmissions often feature a clutch and a movable gear stick. This type of transmission is called a sequential manual transmission. In a manual transmission, the flywheel is attached to the engines crankshaft, the clutch disk is in between the pressure plate and the flywheel, and is held against the flywheel under pressure from the pressure plate. When the engine is running and the clutch is engaged, the flywheel spins the clutch plate, as the clutch pedal is depressed, the throw out bearing is activated, which causes the pressure plate to stop applying pressure to the clutch disk. This makes the clutch plate stop receiving power from the engine, when the clutch pedal is released, the throw out bearing is deactivated, and the clutch disk is again held against the flywheel, allowing it to start receiving power from the engine.
Manual transmissions are characterized by gear ratios that are selectable by locking selected gear pairs to the shaft inside the transmission. Conversely, most automatic transmissions feature epicyclic gearing controlled by brake bands and/or clutch packs to select gear ratio, automatic transmissions that allow the driver to manually select the current gear are called manumatics. A manual-style transmission operated by computer is called an automated transmission rather than an automatic. Operating aforementioned transmissions often use the pattern of shifter movement with a single or multiple switches to engage the next sequence of gear selection. The earliest form of a transmission is thought to have been invented by Louis-René Panhard. This type of transmission offered multiple gear ratios and, in most cases and these transmissions are called sliding mesh transmissions or sometimes crash boxes, because of the difficulty in changing gears and the loud grinding sound that often accompanied.
Newer manual transmissions on cars have all gears mesh at all times and are referred to as constant-mesh transmissions, in both types, a particular gear combination can only be engaged when the two parts to engage are at the same speed. To shift to a gear, the transmission is put in neutral. The vehicle slows while in neutral and that slows other transmission parts, so the time in neutral depends on the grade, for both upshifts and downshifts, the clutch is released while in neutral. Some drivers use the only for starting from a stop. Even though automobile and light truck transmissions are now almost universally synchronized, transmissions for trucks and machinery, motorcycles
World Sportscar Championship
The World Sportscar Championship was the world series run for sports car racing by the FIA from 1953 to 1992. The official name of the series changed throughout the years, however it has generally been known as the World Sportscar Championship from its inception in 1953. The World Sportscar Championship was, with the Formula One World Championship, in 2012 the World Sportscar Championship was revived and renamed as the World Endurance Championship. Cars were split into Sports Car and GT categories and were divided into engine displacement classes. The Ferrari and Maserati works teams were fierce competitors throughout much of the decade, notably absent from the overall results were the Jaguar works team, who did not enter any events other than Le Mans, despite the potential of the C- and D-Types. In 1962, the calendar was expanded to include smaller races, the World Sportscar Championship title was discontinued, being replaced by the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. They group cars into three categories with specific sizes, less than one litre, less than two litres, and over two litres.
Hillclimbs, sprint races and smaller races expanded the championship, which now had about 15 races per season, for 1963 the three engine capacity classes remained but a prototype category was added. For 1965 the engine classes became for cars under 1300 cc, under 2000 cc, in 1972 the Group 6 Prototype and Group 5 Sports Car classes were both replaced by a new Group 5 Sports Car class. These cars were limited to 3.0 L engines by the FIA, the new Group 5 Sports Cars, together with Group 4 Grand Touring Cars, would contest the FIAs newly renamed World Championship for Makes from 1972 to 1975. Prototypes returned in 1976 as Group 6 cars with their own series, the World Championship for Sports Cars, in 1981, the FIA instituted a drivers championship. While this change was unwelcome amongst some of the private teams, several of the old guard manufacturers returned to the WSC within the next two years, with each marque adding to the diversity of the series. Under the new rules, it was possible for normally aspirated engines to compete with the forced induction engines that had dominated the series in the 70s.
In addition, most races ran for either 500 or 1000 km, Group B cars, which was a GT class, were allowed to race, but entries in this class were sparse, and Group B cars disappeared from the series, with sports-prototypes dominating the championship. Porsche was the first constructor to join the series, with the 956, as costs increased, a C2 class was created for privateer teams and small manufacturers, with greater limits to fuel consumption. In this lower class, most cars used either the BMW M1 engine or the new Cosworth DFL, like in the main class, Tiga and Ecurie Ecosse were among the most competitive in this class. While the Group C formula had brought back to the sport. For 1986, the World Endurance Championship became the World Sports-Prototype Championship, the new classification, known as Group C Category 1, was designed to mandate Formula One engines
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the worlds sixth-largest country by total area, the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east. Australias capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney, for about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored, on 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states.
The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard, Australia has the worlds 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income. With the second-highest human development index globally, the country highly in quality of life, education, economic freedom. The name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis a name used for putative lands in the southern hemisphere since ancient times, the Dutch adjectival form Australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south. On 12 December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted, in 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as Australia. The first official published use of the term Australia came with the 1830 publication of The Australia Directory and these first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturists, the northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by fishermen from Maritime Southeast Asia.
The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch. The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent New Holland during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. William Dampier, an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688, in 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. The first settlement led to the foundation of Sydney, and the exploration, a British settlement was established in Van Diemens Land, now known as Tasmania, in 1803, and it became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the part of Western Australia in 1828.
Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales, South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, the Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia
Sir John Arthur Jack Brabham, AO, OBE was an Australian racing driver who was Formula One champion in 1959,1960, and 1966. He was a founder of the Brabham racing team and race car constructor that bore his name, Brabham was a Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic and ran a small engineering workshop before he started racing midget cars in 1948. His successes with midgets in Australian and New Zealand road racing led to his going to Britain to further his racing career. There he became part of the Cooper Car Companys racing team and he contributed to the design of the mid-engined cars that Cooper introduced to Formula One and the Indianapolis 500, and won the Formula One world championship in 1959 and 1960. In 1962 he established his own Brabham marque with fellow Australian Ron Tauranac, in the 1966 Formula One season Brabham became the first – and still the only – man to win the Formula One world championship driving one of his own cars. He was the last surviving World Champion of the 1950s, John Arthur Jack Brabham was born on 2 April 1926 in Hurstville, New South Wales, a commuter town outside Sydney.
Brabham was involved with cars and mechanics from an early age, at the age of 12, he learned to drive the family car and the trucks of his fathers grocery business. Brabham attended technical college, studying metalwork and technical drawing, Brabhams early career continued the engineering theme. At the age of 15 he left school to work, combining a job at a garage with an evening course in mechanical engineering. Brabham soon branched out into his own business selling motorbikes, which he bought and repaired for sale, One month after his 18th birthday on 19 May 1944 Brabham enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force. He was based at RAAF Station Williamtown, where he maintained Bristol Beaufighters at No.5 Operational Training Unit, on his 20th birthday,2 April 1946, Brabham was discharged from the RAAF with the rank of leading aircraftman. He started a service and machining business in a workshop built by his uncle on a plot of land behind his grandfathers house. Brabham started racing after an American friend, Johnny Schonberg, persuaded him to watch a car race.
Midget racing was a category for small open-wheel cars racing on dirt ovals and it was popular in Australia, attracting crowds of up to 40,000. Brabham records that he was not taken with the idea of driving, being convinced that the drivers were all lunatics, at first Schonberg drove the homemade device, powered by a modified JAP motorcycle engine built by Brabham in his workshop. In 1948, Schonbergs wife persuaded him to racing and on his suggestion Brabham took over. He almost immediately found that he had a knack for the sport, Brabham has since said that it was terrific driver training. You had to have quick reflexes, in effect you lived—or possibly died—on them, due to the time required to prepare the car, the sport became his living
Sir Stirling Moss, OBE is a British former Formula One racing driver. In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and third the other three, Moss was born in London, son of Alfred Moss, a dentist of Bray and Aileen. He was brought up at Long White Cloud house on the bank of the River Thames. His father was a racing driver who had placed 16th at the 1924 Indianapolis 500. Stirling was a horse rider as was his younger sister, Pat Moss. Moss raced from 1948 to 1962, winning 212 of the 529 races he entered, like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae, often on the same day. He preferred to race British cars, Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one, at Vanwall, he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on F1 racing. He remained the English driver with the most Formula One victories until 1991 when Nigel Mansell overtook him after competing in more races. Moss was one of the Cooper Car Companys first customers, using winnings from competing in horse-riding events to pay the deposit on a Cooper 500 racing car in 1948.
He persuaded his father, who opposed his racing and wanted him to be a dentist, to let him buy it. His first major race victory came on the eve of his 21st birthday at the wheel of a borrowed Jaguar XK120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy on the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland. He went on to win the six more times, in 1951,1955,1958 and 1959. Also a competent rally driver, he is one of three people to have won a Coupe dOr for three consecutive penalty-free runs on the Alpine Rally. He finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with Desmond Scannell, in 1954, he became the first non-American to win the 12 Hours of Sebring, sharing the Cunningham teams 1. 5-liter O. S. C. A. In 1953 Mercedes-Benz racing boss Alfred Neubauer had spoken to Mosss manager, Ken Gregory, having seen him do well in a relatively uncompetitive car, and wanting to see how he would perform in a better one, Neubauer suggested Moss buy a Maserati for the 1954 season. In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza he passed both drivers who were regarded as the best in Formula One at the time—Juan Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes, Ascari retired with engine problems, and Moss led until lap 68 when his engine failed.
Fangio took the victory, and Moss pushed his Maserati to the finish line, already impressed when Moss had tested a Mercedes-Benz W196 at Hockenheim, promptly signed him for 1955. Mosss first Formula One victory was in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, leading a 1–2–3–4 finish for Mercedes, it was the first time he beat Fangio, his teammate and arch rival, who was his friend and mentor
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie