This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had greatly expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant, but it was destroyed by fire in 1731.
In the 17th century, Brussels was a centre for the lace industry.
Traces of human settlement go back to the Stone Age, with vestiges and place-names related to the civilisation of megaliths, dolmens and standing stones (Plattesteen, Tomberg).
During late antiquity, the region was home to Roman occupation, as attested by archaeological evidence discovered near the centre.
Brabant, unlike the county of Flanders, was not fief of the king of France but was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire.
In the early 13th century, Brussels got its first walls, and after this, the city grew significantly.
Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven, gained the County of Brussels around 1000, by marrying Charles' daughter.
Because of its location on the shores of the Senne, on an important trade route between Bruges and Ghent, and Cologne, Brussels became a commercial centre specialised in the textile trade.Around this time, work began on the Cathedral of St. Gudula (1225), replacing an older Romanesque church.In 1183, the Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant.To let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected, between 13.Traces of it can still be seen today, mostly because the small ring, a series of roadways bounding the historic city centre, follows its former course.In the 15th century, by means of the wedding of heiress Margaret III of Flanders with Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, a new Duke of Brabant emerged from the House of Valois (namely Antoine, their son).