Henri Alexis Brialmont

Belgian military engineer and writer (1821-1903)

Henri-Alexis Brialmont (Venlo, 25 May 1821 – Brussels, 21 July 1903), nicknamed The Belgian Vauban after the French military architect, was a Belgian army officer, politician and writer of the 19th century, best known as a military architect and designer of fortifications. Brialmont was also an active pamphleteer and political campaigner and lobbied through his career for reform and expansion of the Belgian military and was also involved in the foundation of the Congo Free State.

Henri Brialmont
Lieutenant-General Mathieu Brialmont in 1884, surrounded by his daughter, his granddaughter, his great-granddaughter and her daughter.
Statue of Henri Alexis Brialmont by Frans Huygelen in Brussels, Belgium

Today, Brialmont is best known for the fortifications which he designed in Belgium and Romania and would influence another in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fortifications he designed in Belgium at the end of the 1880s around the towns of Liège, Namur and Antwerp would play an important role during the early stages of the German invasion of Belgium during World War I.


  • At the time when the government intervened in the Guatemalan affair, the European colonies were closed to Belgian trade by prohibitive laws or high differential duties ... We therefore had to think about creating our own bases of operations for trade. national. From this point of view, we can only applaud the idea of ​​forming a Belgian colony on the vast American continent. ... Since this initiative, which our lack of initiative and perseverance alone failed, the situation has changed completely. Under the impetus of the great economic reform, led by the illustrious Robert Peel, ideas about free trade have gained ground in Europe, and the time may not be far off when all the powers will remove the barriers with which they have surrounded their transatlantic possessions. Therefore, the need to create agricultural colonies to promote the development of trade and national industry will no longer exist to the same degree.

Quotes addressed to Henri Alexis Brialmont


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