Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. As of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France, 36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas; this is a higher total than that of any other European country, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
This is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions: COM of Saint-Martin, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. The median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a
The Reformation was a movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Roman Catholic church – and papal authority in particular. Although the Reformation is considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, there was no schism between the Catholics and the nascent Lutheran branch until the 1521 Edict of Worms; the edict condemned Luther and banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas. The end of the Reformation era is disputed: it could be considered to end with the enactment of the confessions of faith which began the Age of Orthodoxy. Other suggested ending years relate to the Counter-Reformation, the Peace of Westphalia, or that it never ended since there are still Protestants today. Movements had been made towards a Reformation prior to Luther, so some Protestants in the tradition of the Radical Reformation prefer to credit the start of the Reformation to reformers such as Arnold of Brescia, Peter Waldo, Jan Hus, Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného, John Wycliffe, Girolamo Savonarola.
Due to the reform efforts of Huss and others in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Utraquist Hussitism was acknowledged by both the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, although other movements were still subject to persecution, as were the including Lollards in England and Waldensians in Italy and France. Luther began by criticising the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Treasury of Merit had no foundation in the Bible; the Reformation developed further to include a distinction between Law and Gospel, a complete reliance on Scripture as the only source of proper doctrine and the belief that faith in Jesus is the only way to receive God's pardon for sin rather than good works. Although this is considered a Protestant belief, a similar formulation was taught by Molinist and Jansenist Catholics; the priesthood of all believers downplayed the need for saints or priests to serve as mediators, mandatory clerical celibacy was ended. Simul justus et peccator implied that although people could improve, no one could become good enough to earn forgiveness from God.
Sacramental theology was simplified and attempts at imposing Aristotelian epistemology were resisted. Luther and his followers did not see these theological developments as changes; the 1530 Augsburg Confession concluded that "in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic", after the Council of Trent, Martin Chemnitz published the 1565–73 Examination of the Council of Trent in order to prove that Trent innovated on doctrine while the Lutherans were following in the footsteps of the Church Fathers and Apostles. The initial movement in Germany diversified, other reformers arose independently of Luther such as Zwingli in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva. Depending on the country, the Reformation had varying causes and different backgrounds, unfolded differently than in Germany; the spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. During Reformation-era confessionalization, Western Christianity adopted different confessions.
Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, sometimes employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of the tenets of the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon with the Unitarians of Transylvania. Anabaptist movements were persecuted following the German Peasants' War. Leaders within the Roman Catholic Church responded with the Counter-Reformation, initiated by the Confutatio Augustana in 1530, the Council of Trent in 1545, the Jesuits in 1540, the Defensio Tridentinæ fidei in 1578, a series of wars and expulsions of Protestants that continued until the 19th century. Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of Protestantism. Southern Europe remained predominantly Catholic apart from the much-persecuted Waldensians. Central Europe was the site of much of the Thirty Years' War and there were continued expulsions of Protestants in central Europe up to the 19th century. Following World War II, the removal of ethnic Germans to either East Germany or Siberia reduced Protestantism in the Warsaw Pact countries, although some remain today.
Absence of Protestants however, does not imply a failure of the Reformation. Although Protestants were excommunicated and ended up worshipping in communions separate from Catholics contrary to the original intention of the Reformers, they were suppressed and persecuted in most of Europe at one point; as a result, some of them lived as crypto-Protestants called Nicodemites, contrary to the urging of John Calvin who wanted them to live their faith openly. Some crypto-Protestants have been identified as late as the 19th century after immigrating to Latin America; as a result Reformation impulses continued to affect the Latin Church well past the end of what is considered the Reformation era. The oldest Protestant churches, such as the Unitas Fratrum and Moravian Church, date their origins to Jan Hus in the early 15th century; as it was led by a Bohemian noble majority, recognised, for a time, by the Basel Compacts, the Hussite Reformation was Europe's first "Magisterial Reformation" because the ruling magistrates supported it, unlike the "Radical Reformation", which the state did not support.
Common factors that played a role during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation included the rise of nationalism, the
Alsace is a cultural and historical region in eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. From 1982 to 2016, Alsace was the smallest administrative région in metropolitan France, consisting of the Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin departments. Territorial reform passed by the French legislature in 2014 resulted in the merger of the Alsace administrative region with Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine to form Grand Est. Alsatian is an Alemannic dialect related to Swabian and Swiss German, although since World War II most Alsatians speak French. Internal and international migration since 1945 has changed the ethnolinguistic composition of Alsace. For more than 300 years, from the Thirty Years' War to World War II, the political status of Alsace was contested between France and various German states in wars and diplomatic conferences; the economic and cultural capital of Alsace, as well as its largest city, is Strasbourg. The city is the seat of bodies; the name "Alsace" can be traced to the Old High German Ali-saz or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain".
An alternative explanation is from a Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "seated on the Ill", a river in Alsace. In prehistoric times, Alsace was inhabited by nomadic hunters. By 1500 BC, Celts began to settle in Alsace and cultivating the land, it should be noted that Alsace is a plain surrounded by the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest mountains. It creates Foehn winds which, along with natural irrigation, contributes to the fertility of the soil. In a world of agriculture, Alsace has always been a rich region which explains why it suffered so many invasions and annexations in its history. By 58 BC, the Romans had established Alsace as a center of viticulture. To protect this valued industry, the Romans built fortifications and military camps that evolved into various communities which have been inhabited continuously to the present day. While part of the Roman Empire, Alsace was part of Germania Superior. With the decline of the Roman Empire, Alsace became the territory of the Germanic Alemanni; the Alemanni were agricultural people, their Germanic language formed the basis of modern-day dialects spoken along the Upper Rhine.
Clovis and the Franks defeated the Alemanni during the 5th century AD, culminating with the Battle of Tolbiac, Alsace became part of the Kingdom of Austrasia. Under Clovis' Merovingian successors the inhabitants were Christianized. Alsace remained under Frankish control until the Frankish realm, following the Oaths of Strasbourg of 842, was formally dissolved in 843 at the Treaty of Verdun. Alsace formed part of the Middle Francia, ruled by the eldest grandson Lothar I. Lothar died early in 855 and his realm was divided into three parts; the part known as Lotharingia, or Lorraine, was given to Lothar's son. The rest was shared between Louis the German; the Kingdom of Lotharingia was short-lived, becoming the stem duchy of Lorraine in Eastern Francia after the Treaty of Ribemont in 880. Alsace was united with the other Alemanni east of the Rhine into the stem duchy of Swabia. At about this time, the surrounding areas experienced recurring fragmentation and reincorporations among a number of feudal secular and ecclesiastical lordships, a common process in the Holy Roman Empire.
Alsace experienced great prosperity during the 13th centuries under Hohenstaufen emperors. Frederick I set up Alsace as a province to be ruled by ministeriales, a non-noble class of civil servants; the idea was that such men would be more tractable and less to alienate the fief from the crown out of their own greed. The province had a central administration with its seat at Hagenau. Frederick II designated the Bishop of Strasbourg to administer Alsace, but the authority of the bishop was challenged by Count Rudolf of Habsburg, who received his rights from Frederick II's son Conrad IV. Strasbourg began to grow to become the commercially important town in the region. In 1262, after a long struggle with the ruling bishops, its citizens gained the status of free imperial city. A stop on the Paris-Vienna-Orient trade route, as well as a port on the Rhine route linking southern Germany and Switzerland to the Netherlands and Scandinavia, it became the political and economic center of the region. Cities such as Colmar and Hagenau began to grow in economic importance and gained a kind of autonomy within the "Décapole", a federation of ten free towns.
As in much of Europe, the prosperity of Alsace came to an end in the 14th century by a series of harsh winters, bad harvests, the Black Death. These hardships were blamed on Jews, leading to the pogroms of 1336 and 1339. In 1349, Jews of Alsace were accused of poisoning the wells with plague, leading to the massacre of thousands of Jews during the Strasbourg pogrom. Jews were subsequently forbidden to settle in the town. An additional natural disaster was the Rhine rift earthquake of 1356, one of Europe's worst which made ruins of Basel. Prosperity returned to Alsace under Habsburg administration during the Renaissance. Holy Roman Empire central power had begun to decline following years of imperial adventures in Italian lands ceding hegemony in Western Europe to France, which had long since centralized power. France began an aggressive policy of expanding eastward, first to the riv
The Merovingians were a Salian Frankish dynasty that ruled the Franks for three centuries in a region known as Francia in Latin, beginning in the middle of the 5th century. Their territory corresponded to ancient Gaul and the Roman provinces of Raetia, Germania Superior and the southern part of Germania; the semi legendary Merovech was supposed to have founded the Merovingian dynasty, but it was his famous grandson Clovis I who united all of Gaul under Merovingian rule. After the death of Clovis, there were frequent clashes between different branches of the family, but when threatened by its neighbours the Merovingians presented a strong united front. During the final century of Merovingian rule, the kings were pushed into a ceremonial role; the Merovingian rule ended in March 752 when Pope Zachary formally deposed Childeric III. Zachary's successor, Pope Stephen II, confirmed and anointed Pepin the Short in 754, beginning the Carolingian monarchy; the Merovingian ruling family were sometimes referred to as the "long-haired kings" by contemporaries, as their long hair distinguished them among the Franks, who cut their hair short.
The term "Merovingian" comes from medieval Latin Merovingi or Merohingi, an alteration of an unattested Old Dutch form, akin to their dynasty's Old English name Merewīowing, with the final -ing being a typical patronymic suffix. The Merovingian dynasty owes its name to the semi-legendary Merovech, leader of the Salian Franks; the victories of his son Childeric I against the Visigoths and Alemanni established the basis of Merovingian land. Childeric's son Clovis I went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire under his control around 486, when he defeated Syagrius, the Roman ruler in those parts, he won the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alemanni in 496, at which time, according to Gregory of Tours, Clovis adopted his wife Clotilda's Orthodox Christian faith. He subsequently went on to decisively defeat the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse in the Battle of Vouillé in 507. After Clovis's death, his kingdom was partitioned among his four sons; this tradition of partition continued over the next century.
When several Merovingian kings ruled their own realms, the kingdom—not unlike the late Roman Empire—was conceived of as a single entity ruled collectively by these several kings among whom a turn of events could result in the reunification of the whole kingdom under a single ruler. Leadership among the early Merovingians was based on mythical descent and alleged divine patronage, expressed in terms of continued military success. In 1906, the British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie suggested that the Marvingi recorded by Ptolemy as living near the Rhine were the ancestors of the Merovingian dynasty. Upon Clovis's death in 511, the Merovingian kingdom included all of Gaul except Burgundy and all of Germania magna except Saxony. To the outside, the kingdom when divided under different kings, maintained unity and conquered Burgundy in 534. After the fall of the Ostrogoths, the Franks conquered Provence. After this their borders with Italy and Visigothic Septimania remained stable. Internally, the kingdom was divided among Clovis's sons and among his grandsons and saw war between the different kings, who allied among themselves and against one another.
The death of one king created conflict between the surviving brothers and the deceased's sons, with differing outcomes. Conflicts were intensified by the personal feud around Brunhilda. However, yearly warfare did not constitute general devastation but took on an ritual character, with established'rules' and norms. Clotaire II in 613 reunited the entire Frankish realm under one ruler. Divisions produced the stable units of Austrasia, Neustria and Aquitania; the frequent wars had weakened royal power, while the aristocracy had made great gains and procured enormous concessions from the kings in return for their support. These concessions saw the considerable power of the king parcelled out and retained by leading comites and duces. Little is in fact known about the course of the 7th century due to a scarcity of sources, but Merovingians remained in power until the 8th century. Clotaire's son Dagobert I, who sent troops to Spain and pagan Slavic territories in the east, is seen as the last powerful Merovingian King.
Kings are known as rois fainéants, despite the fact that only the last two kings did nothing. The kings strong-willed men like Dagobert II and Chilperic II, were not the main agents of political conflicts, leaving this role to their mayors of the palace, who substituted their own interest for their king's. Many kings came to the throne at a young age and died in the prime of life, weakening royal power further; the conflict between mayors was ended when the Austrasians under Pepin the Middle triumphed in 687 in the Battle of Tertry. After this, though not a king, was the political ruler of the Frankish kingdom and left this position as a heritage to his sons, it was now the sons of the mayor that divided the realm among each other under the rule of a single king. After Pepin's long rule, his son Charles Martel assumed power, fighting against nobles and his own stepmother, his reputation for ruthlessness further undermined the king's position. Under Charles Martel's leadership, the Franks defeated the Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732.
After the victory of 718 of the Bulgarian Khan Ter
Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. All species of garnets possess similar physical properties and crystal forms, but differ in chemical composition; the different species are pyrope, spessartine, grossular and andradite. The garnets make up two solid solution series: pyrope-almandine-spessartine and uvarovite-grossular-andradite; the word garnet comes from the 14th‑century Middle English word gernet, meaning'dark red'. It is derived from granum; this is a reference to mela granatum or pomum granatum, a plant whose fruits contain abundant and vivid red seed covers, which are similar in shape and color to some garnet crystals. Garnet species are found in many colors including red, yellow, purple, blue, black and colorless, with reddish shades most common. Garnet species' light transmission properties can range from the gemstone-quality transparent specimens to the opaque varieties used for industrial purposes as abrasives.
The mineral's luster is categorized as resinous. Garnets are nesosilicates having the general formula X3Y23; the X site is occupied by divalent cations 2+ and the Y site by trivalent cations 3+ in an octahedral/tetrahedral framework with 4− occupying the tetrahedra. Garnets are most found in the dodecahedral crystal habit, but are commonly found in the trapezohedron habit, they crystallize in the cubic system, having three axes that are all of equal length and perpendicular to each other. Garnets do not show cleavage, so when they fracture under stress, sharp irregular pieces are formed; because the chemical composition of garnet varies, the atomic bonds in some species are stronger than in others. As a result, this mineral group shows a range of hardness on the Mohs scale of about 6.5 to 7.5. The harder species like almandine are used for abrasive purposes. For gem identification purposes, a pick-up response to a strong neodymium magnet separates garnet from all other natural transparent gemstones used in the jewelry trade.
Magnetic susceptibility measurements in conjunction with refractive index can be used to distinguish garnet species and varieties, determine the composition of garnets in terms of percentages of end-member species within an individual gem. Almandine: Fe3Al23 Pyrope: Mg3Al23 Spessartine: Mn3Al23 Almandine, sometimes incorrectly called almandite, is the modern gem known as carbuncle; the term "carbuncle" is derived from burning charcoal. The name Almandine is a corruption of Alabanda, a region in Asia Minor where these stones were cut in ancient times. Chemically, almandine is an iron-aluminium garnet with the formula Fe3Al23. Almandine occurs in metamorphic rocks like mica schists, associated with minerals such as staurolite, kyanite and others. Almandine has nicknames of Oriental garnet, almandine ruby, carbuncle. Pyrope is red in color and chemically an aluminium silicate with the formula Mg3Al23, though the magnesium can be replaced in part by calcium and ferrous iron; the color of pyrope varies from deep red to black.
Pyrope and spessartine gemstones have been recovered from the Sloan diamondiferous kimberlites in Colorado, from the Bishop Conglomerate and in a Tertiary age lamprophyre at Cedar Mountain in Wyoming. A variety of pyrope from Macon County, North Carolina is a violet-red shade and has been called rhodolite, Greek for "rose". In chemical composition it may be considered as an isomorphous mixture of pyrope and almandine, in the proportion of two parts pyrope to one part almandine. Pyrope has tradenames. Another intriguing find is the blue color-changing garnets from Madagascar, a pyrope-spessartine mix; the color of these blue garnets is not like sapphire blue in subdued daylight but more reminiscent of the grayish blues and greenish blues sometimes seen in spinel. However, in white LED light, the color is equal to the best cornflower blue sapphire, or D block tanzanite. Pyrope is an indicator mineral for high-pressure rocks; the garnets from mantle-derived rocks and eclogites contain a pyrope variety.
Spessartine or spessartite is manganese aluminium garnet, Mn3Al23. Its name is derived from Spessart in Bavaria, it occurs most in granite pegmatite and allied rock types and in certain low grade metamorphic phyllites. Spessartine of an orange-yellow is found in Madagascar. Violet-red spessartines are found in rhyolites in Maine. Blue pyrope–spessartine garnets were discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar; this type has been found in parts of the United States, Kenya and Turkey. It changes color from blue-green to purple depending on the color temperature of viewing light, as a result of the high amounts of vanadium. Other varieties of color-changing garnets exist. In daylight, their color ranges fro
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
Duchy of Württemberg
The Duchy of Württemberg was a duchy located in the south-western part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was a member of the Holy Roman Empire from 1495 to 1806; the dukedom's long survival for nearly four centuries was due to its size, being larger than its immediate neighbors. During the Protestant Reformation, Württemberg faced great pressure from the Holy Roman Empire to remain a member. Württemberg resisted repeated French invasions in the 18th centuries. Württemberg was directly in the path of French and Austrian armies who were engaged in the long rivalry between the House of Bourbon and the House of Habsburg. In 1803, Napoleon raised the duchy to be the Electorate of Württemberg of the Holy Roman Empire. On 1 January 1806, the last Elector assumed the title of King of Württemberg; this year, on 6 August 1806, the last Emperor, Francis II, abolished the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the territory of the Duchy of Württemberg lies in the valley of the Neckar river, from Tübingen to Heilbronn, with its capital and largest city, Stuttgart, in the center.
The northern part of Württemberg is open, with large rivers making for decent arable land. The southern part of Württemberg is mountainous and wooded, with the Black Forest to the west and the Swabian Alb to the east; the southeastern part of the Duchy, on the other side of the Swabian Alb, is Ulm and the Danube river basin. The Duchy of Württemberg was over 8,000 square kilometres of pastures and rivers. Politically, it was a patchwork of 350 smaller territories governed by many different secular and ecclesiastical landlords; as early as the 14th century, it had dissolved into many districts, which were called "Steuergemeinde," a "small, taxable community." By 1520, the number of these districts had rose to 45, from 38 in 1442, would number 58 by the end of the 16th century. These varied in size vastly, with Urach containing 76 outlying villages to Ebingen, which only contained its eponymous town. Württemberg was one of the most populous regions of the Holy Roman Empire, supporting 300,000-400,000 inhabitants in the 16th century, 70% of which lived in the countryside.
The largest town in the Duchy was Stuttgart, followed by Heilbronn, Schwäbisch Hall and Reutlingen Tübingen and Kirchheim-Teck, over 670 villages that contained the rest of the population. The Duchy of Württemberg was formed when, at the Diet of Worms, 21 July 1495, Maximilian I, King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor, declared the Count of Württemberg, Eberhard V "the Bearded," Duke of Württemberg; this would be the last elevation to Dukedom of the Medieval era. The House of Württemberg had reigned over the territory since the 11th century, Duke Eberhard I himself ascended to the throne in 1450 at the age of 14, over a territory split in two states: the Württemberg ruled by the Württemberg-Stuttgart line, the Württemberg of the Württemberg-Urach line. In 1482, he united the two parts of the future Duchy, fusing the governments of both counties into what would be the basis of the Duchy's central government. After Eberhard's death in 1495, he was succeeded by his cousin, Eberhard II, he would make little change to the government's structure.
Despite having earlier been the Count from 1480 to 1482, he proved to be administratively incompetent, his attempt to begin a war against Bavaria prompted the Estates to request Maximilian I to call a diet in March 1498 to remove Eberhard II. The Emperor made the unprecedented decision to side with the Estates and thus deprived Duke Eberhard II of his principality in May 1498. While the Duke's advisers were arrested or fled, Eberhard II himself was banished to Lindenfels Castle and granted an annuity of 6000 florins until his death in 1504; the one accomplishment of Eberhard II's reign was the establishment of the Hofkapelle for the performance of religious music, this system of music patronage would remain uninterrupted until the Thirty Years' War. Ulrich, of the Urach line of the Württemberg family, succeeded Eberhard II in 1498, in his minority, his regency was controlled by four nobles: Counts Wolfgang von Fürstenberg and Andreas von Waldburg, Hans von Reischach, Diepolt Spät. Two other men, the abbots of Zwiefalten and Bebenhausen held advisory positions in the regency.
While the regency would hear the wishes of the people through the Estates, they became opposed to the wishes of the local burghers during the unpopular Swabian War, to which the Estates voted more soldiers and money. Maximilian I declared Ulrich I of age at 16, in the process violating the 1492 Treaty of Esslingen that stipulated that he could only succeed at 20, thus began one of the longest and most tumultuous periods in the history of the region. The young Duke at first made little change to the government, allowing his councilors to decide on policy while he made his greatest marks in the Duchy through the expansion of the realm through war. With the aid of Duke Albert IV of Bavaria and Maximilian I, Ulrich invaded the Rhine Palatinate with an army of 20,000 soldiers, obtaining Maulbronn Abbey, the County of Löwenstein and the districts of Weinsberg, Neuenstadt am Kocher, Möckmühl from the Palatinate as well as Heidenheim an der Brenz and the abbeys of Königsbronn and Herbrechtingen. Ulrich's ability to rule, on the other hand, was less reliable.
The first crisis he faced was financial: since the beginning of his reign to 1514, he had racked up a debt of more than 600,000 florins in addition to the debt