New estimates of gdp per province for the period from 1819 to 1896 show that the Industrial Revolution did not generate radical changes in the hierarchy of rich and poor provinces, but it increased the gap between the two sets dramatically. These findings suggest that the foundations of Belgium’s economic geography were shaped during the ancien régime, not during the first half of the nineteenth century, as the traditional literature maintains. They support the revisionist view, recently advanced in British historiography, of substantial continuity between the eighteenth century and the era of the Industrial Revolution.

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