Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Strasbourg
The Archdiocese of Strasbourg is a non-metropolitan archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in France, first mentioned in 343. It is one of nine archbishoprics in France which have no suffragans and the only one of those to be exempt, i.e. subject to the Holy See in Rome, thus not part of any Metropolitan's province. It is headed by Archbishop Luc Ravel, in office since February 2017; the Diocese of Strasbourg was first mentioned in 343, belonging to the ecclesiastical province of the Archbishopric of Mainz since Carolingian times. Archeological diggings below the current Saint Stephen’s Church, Strasbourg in 1948 and 1956 have unearthed the apse of a church dating back to the late 4th or early 5th century, considered the oldest church in Alsace, it is supposed. The diocese may thus have been founded around 300; the bishop was the ruler of an ecclesiastical principality in the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. For this state, see Prince-Bishopric of Strasbourg.
Since the 15th century, the diocesan seat has been the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. By the Concordat of 1801, the Diocese of Strasbourg became a public-law corporation of cult and the diocesan ambit of Strasbourg was redrawn and all its areas east of the river Rhine were redeployed, forming a part of the Archdiocese of Freiburg since 1821. On 29 November 1801 it gained territory from the Diocese of Basel, Diocese of Metz and Diocese of Speyer. On 25 February 1803 it lost territory to the Diocese of Konstanz, on 26 April 1808 it gained territory from the same and in 1815 lost territory to that Diocese of Konstanz. In 1871 the bulk of the diocese became part of German Empire, while small fringes remained with France. On 10 July 1874 Strasbourg diocese, with its diocesan ambit reconfined to the borders of German Alsace, gaining territory from the Diocese of Saint-Dié, losing territory to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Besançon, it became an exempt diocese subject to the Holy See instead of part of any ecclesiastical province.
When the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State was enacted, doing away with public-law religious corporations, this did not apply to the Strasbourg diocese, being within Germany. After World War I, Alsace along with the diocese was returned to France, but the concordatary status has been preserved since as part of the Local law in Alsace-Moselle; the diocese was elevated to Archdiocese of Strasbourg on 1 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II but not as Metropolitan of an ecclesiastical province and remains exempt, so having nor being a suffragan. The bishop of this see is appointed by the French president according to the Concordat of 1801; the concordat further provides for the clergy being paid by the government and Catholic pupils in public schools can receive religious instruction according to archdiocesan guide lines. It enjoyed papal visits from Pope John Paul II in October 1988 and Pope Francis in November 2014; the archiepsicopal cathedral seat is the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg, France, as mother church, a World Heritage Site.
It has four other Minor Basilicas, all in Bas-Rhin, Alsace: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Lutterbach Basilique Notre-Dame in Marienthal Basilique Notre-Dame de Thierenbach, in Jungholtz Basilique Notre-Dame du Mont Sainte-Odile in Ottrott. As per 2014, it pastorally served 1,380,000 Catholics on 8,280 km² in 767 parishes and 5 missions with 722 priests, 80 deacons, 1,332 lay religious and 17 seminarians; as of 31 December 2003, the area of the archdiocese comprised a total of 1,713,416 inhabitants of which 75.9% are Catholics, divided in 762 parishes covering an area of 8,280 km². 619 diocese priests, 50 deacons, 288 ordained priests and 1,728 nuns belonged to the archdiocese. Suffragan bishops of Strasbourg Amawich Werner de Bavière Guillaume Hermann Werner Thiepald Otton de Hohenstaufen Balduin Cunon Bruno Eberhard Bruno de Hohenberg Gebhard Burchard Rodolphe Father Conrad de Geroldseck Henri de Hasebourg Conrad de Hunebourg Henri de Veringen Berthold de Teck Henri de Stahleck Gautier de Geroldseck Henri de Geroldseck Father Conrad de Lichtenberg Frédéric de Lichtenberg Jean de Dirpheim.
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Metz is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers. Metz is the prefecture of the Moselle department and the seat of the parliament of the Grand Est region. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France and Luxembourg, the city forms a central place of the European Greater Region and the SaarLorLux euroregion. Metz has a rich 3,000-year-history, having variously been a Celtic oppidum, an important Gallo-Roman city, the Merovingian capital of Austrasia, the birthplace of the Carolingian dynasty, a cradle of the Gregorian chant, one of the oldest republics in Europe; the city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history. Because of its historical and architectural background, Metz has been submitted on France's UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List; the city features noteworthy buildings such as the Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral with its largest expanse of stained-glass windows in the world, the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains being the oldest church in France, its Imperial Station Palace displaying the apartment of the German Kaiser, or its Opera House, the oldest one working in France.
Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum. A basin of urban ecology, Metz gained its nickname of The Green City, as it has extensive open grounds and public gardens; the historic city centre is one of the largest commercial pedestrian areas in France. A historic garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, specialising in information technology and automotive industries. Metz is home to the University of Lorraine and a centre for applied research and development in the materials sector, notably in metallurgy and metallography, the heritage of the Lorraine region's past in the iron and steel industry. In ancient times, the town was known as "city of Mediomatrici", being inhabited by the tribe of the same name. After its integration into the Roman Empire, the city was called Divodurum Mediomatricum, meaning Holy Village or Holy Fortress of the Mediomatrici it was known as Mediomatrix. During the 5th century AD, the name evolved to "Mettis".
Metz has a recorded history dating back over 2,000 years. Before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, it was the oppidum of the Celtic Mediomatrici tribe. Integrated into the Roman Empire, Metz became one of the principal towns of Gaul with a population of 40,000, until the barbarian depredations and its transfer to the Franks about the end of the 5th century. Between the 6th and 8th centuries, the city was the residence of the Merovingian kings of Austrasia. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, Metz became the capital of the Kingdom of Lotharingia and was integrated into the Holy Roman Empire, being granted semi-independent status. During the 12th century, Metz became a republic and the Republic of Metz stood until the 15th century. With the signature of the Treaty of Chambord in 1552, Metz passed to the hands of the Kings of France; as the German Protestant Princes who traded Metz for the promise of French military assistance, had no authority to cede territory of the Holy Roman Empire, the change of jurisdiction wasn't recognised by the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
Under French rule, Metz was selected as capital of the Three Bishoprics and became a strategic fortified town. With creation of the departments by the Estates-General of 1789, Metz was chosen as capital of the Department of Moselle. Despite that Metz was a French-speaking city, after the Franco-Prussian War and according to the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871, the city was annexed into the German Empire, being part of the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine and serving as capital of the Bezirk Lothringen. Metz remained German until the end of World War I. However, after the Battle of France during the Second World War, the city was annexed once more by the German Third Reich. In 1944, the attack on the city by the U. S. Third Army freed the city from German rule and Metz reverted one more time to France after World War II. During the 1950s, Metz was chosen to be the capital of the newly created Lorraine region. With the creation of the European Community and the European Union, the city has become central to the Greater Region and the SaarLorLux Euroregion.
Metz is located on the banks of the Moselle and the Seille rivers, 43 km from the Schengen tripoint where the borders of France and Luxembourg meet. The city was built in a place where many branches of the Moselle river creates several islands, which are encompassed within the urban planning; the terrain of Metz forms part of the Paris Basin and presents a plateau relief cut by river valleys presenting cuestas in the north-south direction. Metz and its surrounding countryside are included in the forest and crop Lorraine Regional Natural Park, covering a total area of 205,000 ha; the climate of Lorraine is a semi-continental climate. The summers are warm and humid, sometimes stormy, the warmest month of the year is July, when daytime temperatures average 25 °C; the winters are snowy with temperature dropping to an average low of − 0.5 °C in January. Lows can be much colder through the night and early morning and the snowy period extends from November to February; the length of the day varies over the course of the year.
The shortest day is 21 December with 7:30 hours of sunlight. The median cloud cover is 93% and
Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. In the Middle Ages it was a prince-bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire, a de facto independent state ruled by the prince-bishop who had the ex officio title of count, it was annexed to France by King Henry II in 1552. It formed part of the province of the Three Bishoprics. Since 1801 the Metz diocese has been a public-law corporation of cult. Metz was a bishopric by 535, but may date from earlier than that. Metz's Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains is built on the site of a Roman basilica, a location for the one of the earliest Christian congregations of France; the diocese was under the metropolitan of Trier. After the French Revolution, the last prince bishop, Cardinal Louis de Montmorency-Laval fled and the old organization of the diocese was broken up. With the Concordat of 1801 the diocese was re-established covering the departments of Moselle and Forêts, was put under the Archdiocese of Besançon.
In 1817 the parts of the diocese which became Prussian territory were transferred to the Diocese of Trier. In 1871 the core areas of the diocese became part of Germany, in 1874 Metz diocese reconfined to the borders of the new German Lorraine department became subject to the Holy See; as of 1910 there were about 533,000 Catholics living in the diocese of Metz. When the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State was enacted, doing away with public-law religious corporations, this did not apply to the Metz diocese being within Germany. After World War I it was returned to France, but the concordatary status has been preserved since as part of the Local law in Alsace-Moselle. In 1940, after the French defeat, it came under German occupation till 1944 when it became French again. Together with the Archdiocese of Strasbourg the bishop of the see is nominated by the French government according to the concordat of 1801; the concordat further provides for the clergy being paid by the government and Roman Catholic pupils in public schools can receive religious instruction according to diocesan guide lines.
According to the traditional list of bishops, the current bishop Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin is the 105th bishop of Metz. According to this list, the first bishop was Saint Clement sent by Saint Peter himself to Metz; the first authenticated bishop however is Sperus or Hesperus, bishop in 535. Many of the bishops were declared holy or blessed, like Saint Arnulf, Saint Chrodegang or Saint Agilram. Adelbero was bishop of Metz in 933 AD; the bishop of Metz is appointed by the President of the Republic. Willibrord Benzler, O. S. B. 1901–1919 Jean-Baptiste Pelt, 1919–1937 Joseph-Jean Heintz, 1938–1958 Paul Joseph Schmitt, 1958–1987 Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin, O. P. 1987–2013 Jean-Christophe Lagleize, 2013–presentAuxiliary bishopsJean-Pierre Vuillemin, appointed 8 January 2019 Catholic Church in France Website of the diocese Catholic hierarchy Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Metz". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
Lutheranism is a major branch of western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation; the reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity. The split between the Lutherans and the Catholics was made public and clear with the 1521 Edict of Worms: the edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation; the divide centered on two points: the proper source of authority in the church called the formal principle of the Reformation, the doctrine of justification called the material principle of Lutheran theology.
Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone", the doctrine that scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith. This is in contrast to the belief of the Roman Catholic Church, defined at the Council of Trent, concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. Unlike Calvinism, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology, divine grace, the purpose of God's Law, the concept of perseverance of the saints, predestination; the name Lutheran originated as a derogatory term used against Luther by German Scholastic theologian Dr. Johann Maier von Eck during the Leipzig Debate in July 1519. Eck and other Roman Catholics followed the traditional practice of naming a heresy after its leader, thus labeling all who identified with the theology of Martin Luther as Lutherans.
Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term Evangelical, derived from εὐαγγέλιον euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "Gospel". The followers of John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition used that term. To distinguish the two evangelical groups, others began to refer to the two groups as Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed; as time passed by, the word Evangelical was dropped. Lutherans themselves began to use the term Lutheran in the middle of the 16th century, in order to distinguish themselves from other groups such as the Anabaptists and Calvinists. In 1597, theologians in Wittenberg defined the title Lutheran as referring to the true church. Lutheranism has its roots in the work of Martin Luther, who sought to reform the Western Church to what he considered a more biblical foundation. Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia during the 16th century, as the monarch of Denmark–Norway and the monarch of Sweden adopted Lutheranism.
Through Baltic-German and Swedish rule, Lutheranism spread into Estonia and Latvia. Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen. Under the reign of Frederick I, Denmark–Norway remained Catholic. Although Frederick pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, the most significant being Hans Tausen. During Frederick's reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads in Denmark. At an open meeting in Copenhagen attended by the king in 1536, the people shouted. Frederick's son Christian was Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. However, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III and advanced the Reformation in Denmark–Norway; the constitution upon which the Danish Norwegian Church, according to the Church Ordinance, should rest was "The pure word of God, the Law and the Gospel". It does not mention the Augsburg Confession; the priests had to understand the Holy Scripture well enough to preach and explain the Gospel and the Epistles for their congregations.
The youths were taught from Luther's Small Catechism, available in Danish since 1532. They were taught to expect at the end of life: "forgiving of their sins", "to be counted as just", "the eternal life". Instruction is still similar; the first complete Bible in Danish was based on Martin Luther's translation into German. It was published with 3,000 copies printed in the first edition. Unlike Catholicism, the Lutheran Church does not believe that tradition is a carrier of the "Word of God", or that only the communion of the Bishop of Rome has been entrusted to interpret the "Word of God"; the Reformation in Sweden began with Olaus and Laurentius Petri, brothers who took the Reformation to Sweden after studying in Germany. They led elected king in 1523, to Lutheranism; the pope's refusal to allow the replacement of an archbishop who had supported the invading forces opposing Gustav Vasa during the Stockholm Bloodbath led to the severing of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy in 1523.
Four years at the Diet of Västerås, the king succeeded in forcing the diet to accept his dominion over the national church. The king was given possession of all church properties, as well as the church appointments and approval of the clergy. While this granted official sanction to Lutheran ideas, Lutheranism did not become official until 1593. At that time the Uppsa
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871, after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle department of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east of the Vosges Mountains; the Lorraine section was in the upper Moselle valley to the north of the Vosges. The territory encompassed 93% of Alsace and 26% of Lorraine, while the rest of these regions remained part of France. For historical reasons, specific legal dispositions are still applied in the territory in the form of a "local law". In relation to its special legal status, since its reversion to France following World War I, the territory has been referred to administratively as Alsace-Moselle. Since 2016, the historical territory is now part of the French administrative region of Grand Est. Alsace-Lorraine had a land area of 14,496 km2, its capital was Straßburg. It was divided in three districts: Oberlelsaß, whose capital was Kolmar, had a land area of 3,525 km2 and corresponds to the current department of Haut-Rhin Unterelsaß, whose capital was Straßburg, had a land area of 4,755 km2 and corresponds to the current department of Bas-Rhin Lothringen, whose capital was Metz, had a land area of 6,216 km2 and corresponds to the current department of Moselle The largest urban areas in Alsace-Lorraine at the 1910 census were: Straßburg: 220,883 inhabitants Mülhausen: 128,190 inhabitants Metz: 102,787 inhabitants Diedenhofen: 69,693 inhabitants Colmar: 44,942 inhabitants The modern history of Alsace-Lorraine was influenced by the rivalry between French and German nationalism.
France long sought to attain and preserve its "natural boundaries", which were the Pyrenees to the southwest, the Alps to the southeast, the Rhine River to the northeast. These strategic claims led to the annexation of territories located west of the Rhine river in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. What is now known as Alsace was progressively conquered by Louis XIV in the 17th century, while Lorraine was incorporated in the 18th century under Louis XV. German nationalism, which resurfaced following the French occupation of Germany under Napoleon, sought to unify all the German-speaking populations of the former Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation into a single nation-state; as various German dialects were spoken by most of the population of Alsace and Moselle, these regions were viewed by German nationalists to be rightfully part of hoped-for united Germany in the future. We Germans who know Germany and France know better what is good for the Alsatians than the unfortunates themselves.
In the perversion of their French life they have no exact idea of. In 1871, the newly created German Empire's demand for Alsace from France after its victory in the Franco-Prussian War was not a punitive measure; the transfer was controversial among the Germans: The German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, was opposed to it, as he thought it would engender permanent French enmity toward Germany. Some German industrialists did not want the competition from Alsatian industries, such as the cloth makers who would be exposed to competition from the sizeable industry in Mulhouse. Karl Marx warned his fellow Germans: "If Alsace and Lorraine are taken France will make war on Germany in conjunction with Russia, it is unnecessary to go into the unholy consequences." However, the German Emperor, Wilhelm I sided with army commander Helmuth von Moltke, other Prussian generals and other officials who argued that a westward shift in the French border was necessary for strategic military and ethnographic reasons.
From an ethnic perspective, the transfer involved people who for the most part spoke Alemannic German dialects. From a military perspective, by early 1870s standards, shifting the frontier away from the Rhine would give the Germans a strategic buffer against feared future French attacks. Due to the annexation, the Germans gained control of the fortifications of French-speaking Metz, as well as Strasbourg on the left bank of the Rhine and most of the iron resources of Lorraine. However, domestic politics in the new Reich may have been decisive. Although it was led by Prussia, the new German Empire was a decentralized federal state; the new arrangement left many senior Prussian generals with serious misgivings about leading diverse military forces to guard a prewar frontier that, except for the northernmost section, was part of two other states of the new Empire – Baden and Bavaria. As as the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, these states had been Prussia's enemies. In the new Empire's constitution, both states, but Bavaria, had been given concessions with regard to local autonomy, including partial control of their military forces.
For this reason, the Prussian General Staff argued that it was necessary for the Reich's frontier with France to be under direct Prussian control. Creating a new Imperial Territory out of French territory would achieve this goal: although a Reichsland would not be part of the Kingdom of Prussia, being governed directly from Berlin it would be under Prusso-German control. Thus, by annexing Alsace-Lorraine, Berlin was able to avoid complications with Baden and Bavaria on such matters as new fortifications. Memories of the Napoleonic Wars were still quite fresh in the 1870s. Right up until the Franco-Prussian War, the French had maintained a long-standing desire to establish their entire eastern frontier on the Rhine, th
Bas-Rhin is a department in Alsace, a part of the Grand Est super-region of France. The name means "Lower Rhine", geographically speaking it belongs to the Upper Rhine region, it is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the traditional Alsace region, with 1,121,407 inhabitants in 2016. The prefecture and the General Council are based in Strasbourg; the INSEE and Post Code is 67. The inhabitants of the department are known as Bas-Rhinoises; the Rhine has always been of great historical and economic importance to the area, it forms the eastern border of Bas-Rhin. The area is home to some of the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. To the north of Bas-Rhin lies the Palatinate forest in the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate, the German State of Baden-Württemberg lies to the east. To the south lies the department of Haut-Rhin, the town of Colmar and southern Alsace, to the west the department of Moselle. On its south-western corner, Bas-Rhin joins the department of Vosges.
The Bas-Rhin has a continental-type climate, characterised by cold, dry winters and hot, stormy summers, due to the western protection provided by the Vosges. The average annual temperature is 7 °C on high ground; the annual maximum temperature is high. The average rainfall is 700 mm per year. Established according to data from the Infoclimat station at Strasbourg-Entzheim, over the period from 1961 to 1990; this is the last French department to have kept the term Bas meaning "Lower" in its name. Other departments using this prefix preferred to change their names - e.g.: Basses-Pyrenees in 1969 became Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Basses-Alpes in 1970 became the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The same phenomenon was observed for the inférieur departments such as Charente-Inférieure, Seine-Inférieure, Loire-Inférieure. Bas-Rhin is one of the original 83 departments created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution. On 14 January 1790 the National Constituent Assembly decreed: "- That Alsace be divided into two departments with Strasbourg and Colmar as their capitals.
In 1871 Bas-Rhin was annexed by Germany and became Bezirk Unterelsass in Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen. Strasbourg, the chef lieu of Bas-Rhin is the official seat of the European Parliament as well as of the Council of Europe; the demography of Bas-Rhin is characterized by high density and high population growth since the 1950s. In January 2014 Bas-Rhin had 1,112,815 inhabitants and was 18th by population at the national level. In fifteen years, from 1999 to 2014, its population grew by more than 86,000 people, or about 5,800 people per year, but this variation is differentiated among the 517 communes. The population density of Bas-Rhin is 234 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2014, more than twice the average in France, 112 in 2009; the first census was conducted in 1801 and this count, renewed every five years from 1821, provides precise information on the evolution of population in the department. With 540,213 inhabitants in 1831, the department represented 1.66% of the total French population, 32,569,000 inhabitants.
From 1831 to 1866, the department gained 48,757 people, an increase of 0.26% on average per year compared to the national average of 0.48% over the same period. Demographic change between the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the First World War was higher than the national average. Over this period, the population increased by 100,532 inhabitants, an increase of 16.74%, compared to 10% nationally. The population increased by 9.23% between the two world wars from 1921 to 1936 compared to a national growth of 6.9%. Like other French departments, Bas-Rhin experienced a population boom after the Second World War, higher than the national level; the rate of population growth between 1946 and 2007 was 83.83%