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History of Alsace and Lorraine

By Sue Clarkson

copyright © 1997-2017 by Sue Clarkson; all rights reserved.

Notes from: Ruth Putnam. "Alsace and Lorraine from Caesar to Kaiser: 58 B.C. - 1871 A.D." New York and London: G.P Putnam's and Sons, 1915.

The histories of Alsace and Lorraine, while similar, are not identical. The following shows changes in the regions over the time period 843 - 1871.
 

History of Alsace

843 After the Treaty of Verdun, Charlemagne's properties were split: the area now known as France went to Charles the Bold, the Rhine territory went to Louis the German; the "Middle Kingdom" including Alsace and Lorraine went to the Emperor Lothaire

870 After the Treaty of Meersen, Alsace went to Louis the German 

1469 After the Treaty of St. Omer, Upper Alsace went to Charles of Burgundy (ruler of Netherlands and Burgundy), Charles was a French, but became the "landlord," taxes went to the German Emperor of Lower Alsace (Note: upper and lower refer to terrain as it descends to sea level, thus lower refers to the north)

1477 Land in Upper Alsace went to Habsburgs

1639 Most of Alsace taken by France during the Thirty Years' War; some communities were still under German sovereignty

1648 After the Treaty of Westphalia, most of Alsace went to France; some cities remained independent with loyalties unclear 

1679 After the Treaty of Nimwegen, cities brought under France

1697 After the Treaty of Ryswick, Louis XIV of France was in possession of most of Alsace and Strasbourg, some estates were still possessed by German nobles

**** First "Swabian" Migration under Habsburg King Charles VI 1718-1737

**** Second "Swabian" Migration under Habsburg Queen Maria Theresa 1740-1772

**** Third "Swabian" Migration under Habsburg King Joseph V 178-1790

1795 After the Act of the Assembly of France, feudalism was abolished and France gained greater control

1871 After the Treaty of Frankfort, Alsace was ceded to the German Empire. 

Alsace remained part of the German Empire until 1918, when it was awarded to France after World War I.

 

History of Lorraine

843 After the Treaty of Verdun, Charlemagne's Empire was split, the "Middle Kingdom" including Lorraine was allotted to the Emperor Lothaire

870 After the Treaty of Meersen, the "Middle Kingdom" was divided, the majority of the territory of Lorraine came under West Frankish sovereignty, the remaining areas passed back and forth between Frankish and German kings

951 Duchy of Lower Lorraine went to Netherlands and lost the name of Lorraine; Duchy of Upper Lorraine retained its name, was largely independent with some cities being vassals of France, some unimportant towns were vassals of the German Empire

1473 After the Treaty of Nancy, Charles of Burgundy became the "protector" of Lorraine, aligned with France; the Bishops of Toul, Metz and Verdun were ecclesiastical princes of the Holy Roman Empire

1476 Upon the death of Charles of Burgundy, Lorraine became and independent Duchy under Duke Renee, aligned to France with some cities subordinate to the Duchy

1542 After the Convention of Nuremburg, Duke Anthony (heir to Renee) confirmed the independence of Lorraine, refused to submit to the German Emperor; Anthony's brothers were French, his daughter-in-law was a niece of the Emperor

1546 Duchy placed under French Bishops's guardianship due to the death of Anthony's heir, leaving a widow who was related to the Hapsburgs and a young son; Metz, Toul and Verdun came under the French bishopric in 1552

1632 During the Thirty Years' War, Duke Charles IV was forced to cede much of Lorraine (except Nancy) to French King Louis XIII

1646 The Treaty of Westphalia after the Thirty Years' War confirmed France in possession of Metz, Toul and Verdun, other sections of Lorraine not specified

1659 After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, land was restored to Charles IV, but with diminished power

1679 After the Treaty of Nimwegen, Louis XIV of France demanded terms in exchange for recognizing Charles V as Duke of Lorraine; Louis began incorporating ten cities into France and assuming control of Lorraine; Duke Charles remained in exile in Austria with his Austrian wife

1697 After the Treaty of Ryswick, Duke Leopold compromised with Louis XIV, held the title of Duke but surrendered much authority; Leopold was German-Austrian

**** First "Swabian Migration" under Habsburg King Charles VI 1718-1737

1738 After the Treaty of Vienna, Duke Franz, who had married Maria Theresa (Habsburg) ceded Lorraine to Louis XIV, in exchange for Tuscany; Stanislaus, a deposed King of Poland, was named titular Duke for life

**** Second "Swabian Migration" under Habsburg Queen Maria Theresa 1740-1772

**** Third "Swabian Migration" under Habsburg King Joseph V 1780-1790

1793 Feudal estates and fiefs incorporated into the French Republic, named departments of Meurthe, Meuse, Vosges and Moselle (included German Lorraine and Pays Messin)

1871 After the Treaty of Frankfort, Moselle (including German Lorraine, the city of Metz and Pays Messin) were ceded to the German Empire

Lorraine remained part of the German Empire until 1918, when it was awarded to France after World War I.

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