The history of the local medium, within a few hundred parsecs, is dominated by the evolution of the Gould Belt. The event that triggered this star-forming region and molded the gas distribution is still unknown. Its orientation and extent are reasonably well determined and its expansion matches the space and velocity distributions of many large HI and H2 clouds within half a kiloparsec. The present rim coincides with most of the nearby OB associations, but their mean velocity does not seem to be related to the Belt expansion. The Belt age is uncertain by a factor of 2 because of the discrepancy found between the dynamical timescale (20 to 30 Myr) and the stellar ages (30 to 60 Myr). The stellar content is derived from kinematic studies for massive stars and from X-ray observations for young solar-mass ones. Whether star formation is active along the rim or spread over a larger fraction of the disc is debated. The Belt flatness and its tilt remain very difficult to interpret. Various scenarii involve the impact of a high-velocity cloud, a cascade of supernovae, the dissolution of a rotating system, or the braking of a supercloud entering the spiral arm. Because of the enhanced star formation, the Belt supernova rate over the past few million years has been 3 to 4 times larger than the local Galactic rate. The corresponding pulsars may be responsible for the population of unknown gamma-ray sources associated with the Belt. The higher rate also implies an enhanced cosmic-ray production locally.