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During the 18th century the power and wealth of the Netherlands declined.A series of wars with the more powerful British and French neighbors weakened it.
Records begin with the four centuries during which the region formed a militarized border zone of the Roman empire.
In 1942, the Dutch East Indies was conquered by Japan, but first the Dutch destroyed the oil wells that Japan needed so badly. The Netherlands formed a new economic alliance with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Benelux, and all three became founding members of the European Union and NATO.
In recent decades, the Dutch economy has been closely linked to that of Germany, and is highly prosperous.
By 1433, the Duke of Burgundy had assumed control over most of the lowlands territories in Lower Lotharingia; he created the Burgundian Netherlands which included modern Belgium, Luxembourg, and a part of France.
The Catholic kings of Spain took strong measures against Protestantism, which polarized the peoples of present-day Belgium and Holland.