The boundary between Belgium and France was mostly stable for 200 years.
That is, before a Belgian farmer annoyed with the placement of one of those stones marking the storied territorial split inadvertently altered the border 7.5 feet so his tractor could proceed more easily.
The border-dispute-that-wasn’t came to light when a historian walking along the demarcation line noticed that the stone had migrated slightly into France, the BBC reported.
The Belgian village of Erquelinnes, which lies along the 390-mile border with France, had as a result grown by seven feet. The French town of Bousignies-sur-Roc in turn shed more than a few inches.
“I was happy, my town was larger,” David Lavaux, the mayor of Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1, according to the BBC. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”
The stone in question dates to 1819, one year before the signing of the Treaty of Kortrijk, which set the modern-day boundaries of the once-warring states, according to the BBC.
Much has improved in relations between Belgium and France in the two centuries since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
“We should be able to prevent a new border war,” Aurélie Welonek, the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc, told a French newspaper.
Belgian authorities told the BBC that they will ask the farmer to move back the border. If he fails to comply, they might want to seek support from the Franco-Belgian border commission, that has not been summoned because 1930.
The farmer also could face a fine.