Erasme Louis Surlet de Chokier
Erasme Louis, Baron Surlet de Chokier (27 November 1769 - 7 August 1839), born in Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

, was a Belgian politician and before the accession of Leopold I
Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I was from 21 July 1831 the first King of the Belgians, following Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. He was the founder of the Belgian line of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 to the Belgian throne, was the first Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...


During the Heureuse Révolution
Revolution Liégeoise
The Liège Revolution is a period of time extending from 1789 to 1795 and eventually led to the abolition of the Bishopric of Liège, after eight centuries of existence as an independent state.-Historiography:...

of 1789, when a crowd followed the example of the French revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and drove off the prince-bishop of Liège, Surlet de Chokier served in the patriotic army. When the following year this army was defeated by the Austrians at Hasselt
Hasselt is a Belgian city and municipality, and capital of the Flemish province of Limburg...

 and Zutendaal
Zutendaal is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg. On 1 January 2008 Zutendaal had a total population of 6,985. The total area is 32.07 km², giving a population density of 218 inhabitants per km².-External links:...

, Surlet de Chokier was forced to flee to Breda
Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

, only being able to return to Gingelom in 1792.

After the French annexation of Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

, Surlet de Chokier became a devoted follower of the French revolution and of Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

. In 1800, Surlet de Chokier was elected mayor of Gingelom and member of the départemental council of Meuse-Inférieure
Meuse-Inférieure is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. It is named after the river Meuse. Its capital was Maastricht....

. In 1812 he became a member of the French parliament.

After the fall of Napoleon, Surlet de Chokier entered the House of Representatives of the Staten-Generaal as leader of the Southern
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

 opposition, where his opposition to the government gave him the nickname Surlet de Choquant. Although ennobled a baron by the king in 1816, his opposition had aggravated King William I
William I of the Netherlands
William I Frederick, born Willem Frederik Prins van Oranje-Nassau , was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg....

 so much that the monarch personally made sure that Surlet de Chokier was not reelected in 1828.

After the Belgian revolution
Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium....

 started, Surlet de Chokier was sent by the arrondissement Hasselt
Arrondissement of Hasselt
The Arrondissement of Hasselt is one of the three administrative arrondissements in the Province of Limburg, Belgium.It is both an administrative and a judicial arrondissement...

 as a deputy to the National Congress
National Congress of Belgium
The Belgian National Congress was a temporary legislative assembly in 1830, established shortly after the Provisional Government of Belgium had proclaimed Belgian independence on October 4 of that year...

. Elected Chairman of the Congress, Surlet de Chokier was active in the creation of the Belgian Constitution
Constitution of Belgium
The Constitution of Belgium dates back to 1831. Since then Belgium has been a parliamentary monarchy that applies the principles of ministerial responsibility for the government policy and the Trias Politica. The Constitution established Belgium as a centralised unitary state...

. After the refused offer of the Belgian crown to the Duke of Nemours
Louis, Duke of Nemours
Prince Louis of Orléans was the second son of the future King Louis-Philippe I of France, and his wife Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily. Under the reign of his father from 1830–1848, he was styled as Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours.-Childhood:He was born at the Palais Royal, in Paris...

, Surlet de Chokier was appointed Regent of Belgium on 24 February 1831, and can therefore be considered as the first Head of State of independent Belgium. He served as Regent until Leopold I took the oath as King of the Belgians on 21 July 1831.

Surlet de Chokier died in 1839 in Gingelom.

External links

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