A duchy is a country, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. The term is used exclusively in Europe, where in the present day there is no sovereign duchy left; the term "duke" should not be confused with the title Grand Duke, as there exists a significant difference of rank between the two. In common European cultural heritage, a grand duke is the third highest monarchic rank, after emperor and king, its synonym in many Slavic and Baltic European languages is translated as Grand Prince, whereas most Germanic and Romance European languages use expressions corresponding to Grand Duke. Unlike a duke, the sovereign grand duke is considered royalty; the proper form of address for a grand duke is His Royal Highness, whereas for a non-royal duke in the United Kingdom it is His Grace. In contrast to this, the rank of a duke differs from one country to the next. In Germany, for example, a duke is listed in the aristocratic hierarchy below an emperor, grand duke, elector – in that order – whereas in Britain the duke comes third after king/queen and prince.
In all countries, there existed an important difference between "sovereign dukes" and dukes subordinate to a king or emperor. Some historic duchies were sovereign in areas that would become part of nation-states only during the modern era, such as Germany and Italy. In contrast, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that had unified either or during the medieval era, such as France, Sicily and the Papal States. In England, the term is used in respect of non-territorial entities. Traditionally, a grand duchy, such as Luxembourg or Tuscany, was independent and sovereign. There were many sovereign or semi-sovereign duchies in the de facto confederate Holy Roman Empire and German-speaking areas. In France, a number of duchies existed in the medieval period including Normandy, Burgundy and Aquitaine; the medieval German stem duchies were associated with the Frankish Kingdom and corresponded with the areas of settlement of the major Germanic tribes. They formed the nuclei of the major feudal states that comprised the early era of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.
These were Schwaben and Sachsen in pre-Carolingian times, to which Franken and Lothringen were added in post-Carolingian times. As mentioned above, such a duke was styled Herzog. In medieval England, duchies associated with the territories of Lancashire and Cornwall were created, with certain powers and estates of land accruing to their dukes; the Duchy of Lancaster was created in 1351 but became merged with the Crown when, in 1399, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, ascended the throne of England as Henry IV. Nowadays the Duchy of Lancaster always belongs to the sovereign and its revenue is the Privy Purse; the Duchy of Cornwall was created in 1337 and held successively by the Dukes of Cornwall, who were heirs to the throne. Nowadays, the Duchy of Cornwall belongs to the sovereign's heir apparent, if there is one: it reverts to the Crown in the absence of an heir apparent, is automatically conferred to the heir apparent upon birth; these duchies today have lost any non-ceremonial political role, but generate their holders' private income.
During the Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York made a successful entry into the City of York, by claiming no harm and that it was his right to possess "his duchy of York". Any and all feudal duchies that made up the patchwork of England have since been absorbed within the Royal Family. Other than Cornwall and Lancaster, British royal dukedoms are titular and do not include land holdings. Non-royal dukedoms are associated with ducal property, but this is meant as the duke's private property, with no other feudal privileges attached. In more recent times, territorial duchies have become rare. At present all independent duchies have disappeared. Luxembourg, an independent and sovereign nation with a history dating back as far as the 8th century, is the only remaining independent grand duchy, with HRH the Grand Duke Henri I as its head of state since the year 2000. In the middle east the concept of beylik can be seen as equivalent to duchy. For example, the Ottoman Empire, first just the nomadic Kayı tribe among the Ghuzz, settled in Bithynia on the border to the Byzantine Empire, evolved under the Sultanate of Rûm into a border principality.
It became an independent principality. It grew further into its own empire by conquering the nearby Anatolian beyliks remnants of the Sultanate of Rûm. Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Grand Duchy of
French First Republic
In the history of France, the First Republic the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times; this period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power. Under the Legislative Assembly, in power before the proclamation of the First Republic, France was engaged in war with Prussia and Austria. In July 1792, the Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro–Prussian Army, issued his Brunswick Manifesto, in which he threatened the destruction of Paris should any harm come to King Louis XVI of France; the foreign threat exacerbated France's political turmoil amid the French Revolution and deepened the passion and sense of urgency among the various factions.
In the violence of 10 August 1792, citizens stormed the Tuileries Palace, killing six hundred of the King's Swiss guards and insisting on the removal of the king. A renewed fear of anti-revolutionary action prompted further violence, in the first week of September 1792, mobs of Parisians broke into the city's prisons, killing over half of the prisoners; this included nobles and political prisoners, but numerous common criminals, such as prostitutes and petty thieves, many murdered in their cells—raped and slashed to death. This became known as the September Massacres; as a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, a party of six members of France's Legislative Assembly was assigned the task of overseeing elections. The resulting Convention was founded with the dual purpose of abolishing the monarchy and drafting a new constitution; the Convention's first act, on 10 August 1792, was to establish the French First Republic and strip the king of all political powers.
Louis XVI, by a private citizen bearing his family name of Capet, was subsequently put on trial for crimes of high treason starting in December 1792. On 16 January 1793 he was convicted, on 21 January, he was executed by guillotine. Throughout the winter of 1792 and spring of 1793, Paris was plagued by mass hunger; the new Convention did little to remedy the problem until late spring of 1793, occupied instead with matters of war. On 6 April 1793, the Convention created the Committee of Public Safety, was given a monumental task: "To deal with the radical movements of the Enragés, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendée and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, the desertion of its commanding general." Most notably, the Committee of Public Safety instated a policy of terror, the guillotine began to fall on perceived enemies of the republic at an ever-increasing rate, beginning the period known today as the Reign of Terror. Despite growing discontent with the National Convention as a ruling body, in June the Convention drafted the Constitution of 1793, ratified by popular vote in early August.
However, the Committee of Public Safety was seen as an "emergency" government, the rights guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the new constitution were suspended under its control. The Committee's laws and policies took the revolution to unprecedented heights. After the arrest and execution of Robespierre in July 28, 1794, the Jacobin club was closed, the surviving Girondins were reinstated. A year the National Convention adopted the Constitution of the Year III, they reestablished freedom of worship, began releasing large numbers of prisoners, most initiated elections for a new legislative body. On 3 November 1795, the Directory was established. Under this system, France was led by a bicameral Parliament, consisting of an upper chamber called the Council of Elders and a lower chamber called the Council of Five Hundred, a collective Executive of five members called the Directory. Due to internal instability, caused by hyperinflation of the paper monies called Assignats, French military disasters in 1798 and 1799, the Directory lasted only four years, until overthrown in 1799.
The period known as the French Consulate began with the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799. Members of the Directory itself planned the coup, indicating the failing power of the Directory. Napoleon Bonaparte was a co-conspirator in the coup, became head of the government as the First Consul, he would proclaim himself Emperor of the French, ending the First French Republic and ushering in the French First Empire. French Republican Calendar French Revolutionary Wars
Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. It is said to occupy continuous territory that are otherwise conventionally Western Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe; the concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical and cultural identity. Central Europe is going through a phase of "strategic awakening", with initiatives such as the CEI, Centrope and the Visegrád Four. While the region's economy shows high disparities with regard to income, all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as highly developed. Elements of unity for Western and Central Europe were Latin; however Eastern Europe, which remained Eastern Orthodox, was the area of Graeco-Byzantine cultural influence. According to Hungarian historian Jenő Szűcs, foundations of Central European history at the first millennium were in close connection with Western European development, he explained that between the 11th and 15th centuries not only Christianization and its cultural consequences were implemented, but well-defined social features emerged in Central Europe based on Western characteristics.
The keyword of Western social development after millennium was the spread of liberties and autonomies in Western Europe. These phenomena appeared in the middle of the 13th century in Central European countries. There were self-governments of towns and parliaments. In 1335, under the rule of the King Charles I of Hungary, the castle of Visegrád, the seat of the Hungarian monarchs was the scene of the royal summit of the Kings of Poland and Hungary, they agreed to cooperate in the field of politics and commerce, inspiring their post-Cold War successors to launch a successful Central European initiative. In the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted Magdeburg rights. Before 1870, the industrialization that had developed in Western and Central Europe and the United States did not extend in any significant way to the rest of the world. In Eastern Europe, industrialization lagged far behind. Russia, for example, remained rural and agricultural, its autocratic rulers kept the peasants in serfdom.
The concept of Central Europe was known at the beginning of the 19th century, but its real life began in the 20th century and became an object of intensive interest. However, the first concept mixed science and economy – it was connected with intensively growing German economy and its aspirations to dominate a part of European continent called Mitteleuropa; the German term denoting Central Europe was so fashionable that other languages started referring to it when indicating territories from Rhine to Vistula, or Dnieper, from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans. An example of that-time vision of Central Europe may be seen in J. Partsch's book of 1903. On 21 January 1904, Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftsverein was established in Berlin with economic integration of Germany and Austria–Hungary as its main aim. Another time, the term Central Europe became connected to the German plans of political and cultural domination; the "bible" of the concept was Friedrich Naumann's book Mitteleuropa in which he called for an economic federation to be established after the war.
Naumann's idea was that the federation would have at its centre Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire but would include all European nations outside the Anglo-French alliance, on one side, Russia, on the other. The concept failed after the German defeat in the dissolution of Austria -- Hungary; the revival of the idea may be observed during the Hitler era. According to Emmanuel de Martonne, in 1927 the Central European countries included: Austria, Germany, Poland and Switzerland; the author use both Human and Physical Geographical features to define Central Europe, but he doesn't care about the legal development, the social, economic, infrastructural developments in these countries. The interwar period brought new geopolitical system and economic and political problems, the concept of Central Europe took a different character; the centre of interest was moved to its eastern part – the countries that have appeared on the map of Europe: Czechoslovakia and Poland. Central Europe ceased to be the area of German aspiration to lead or dominate and became a territory of various integration movements aiming at resolving political and national problems of "new" states, being a way to face German and Soviet pressures.
However, the conflict of interests was too big and neither Little Entente nor Intermarium ideas succeeded. The interwar period brought new elements to the concept of Central Europe. Before World War I, it embraced German states, non-German territories being an area of intended German penetration and domination – German leadership position was to be the natural result of economic dominance. After the war, the Eastern part of Central Europe was placed at the centre of the concept. At that time the scientists took an interest in the idea: the International Historical Congress in Brussels in 1923 was committed to Central Europe, the 1933 Congress continued the discussions. Hungarian scholar Magda Adam wrote in her study Versailles System and Central Europe: "Today we know that the bane of Central Europe was the Little Entente, military alliance of Czechoslovakia and Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes (later Yu
Middle Francia was a short-lived Frankish kingdom, created in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun after an intermittent civil war between the grandsons of Charlemagne resulted in division of the united empire. Middle Francia was allocated to emperor Lothair I, the eldest son and successor of emperor Louis the Pious, his realm contained the imperial cities of Aachen, the residence of Charlemagne, as well as Pavia but lacked any geographic or ethnic cohesion which prevented it from surviving and forming a nucleus of a larger state, as was the case with West Francia and East Francia. Middle Francia was situated between the realms of East and West Francia, comprised the Frankish territory between the rivers Rhine and Scheldt, the Frisian coast of the North Sea, the former Kingdom of Burgundy and Provence, as well as parts of northern Italy. Following the 855 partition, Middle Francia became only a geographic term and the bulk of its territory was reorganized as Lotharingia, named after Lothair I's namesake son.
In 855, on his deathbed at Prüm Abbey, Emperor Lothair I with the Treaty of Prüm divided Middle Francia among his three sons. The lands in northern Italy, which extended as far south as Rome and Spoleto, were left to the eldest son Louis II the Younger, crowned co-Emperor in 850 and sole Emperor from 855; this became the Kingdom of Italy. Most of the lands north of the Alps, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, what is now western Switzerland, passed to Lothair II and were called Lotharingia, after its ruler. Charles received Kingdom of Burgundy and Provence, which became the Kingdom of Arles, after Charles' capital. Charles died early and without sons in 863. According to Frankish custom, his brothers Louis II and Lothair II divided his realm. Lothair II received the western Lower Burgundian parts which were bordering his western Upper Burgundy which were incorporated into Lotharingia; when Lothair II died in 869, his only son Hugh by his mistress Waldrada, was declared illegitimate, so his only legal heir was his brother, Louis II.
If Louis II had inherited Lotharingia, Middle Francia would have been reunited. However, as Louis II was at that time campaigning against the Emirate of Bari, Lotharingia was partitioned between his uncles Charles the Bald and Louis the German by the Treaty of Meerssen in 870. Louis the German took Upper Burgundy, territory north of the Jura mountains, while the rest went to Charles the Bald. In 875 the last of Lothair I's children Louis II died without sons and named as his successor in Italy his cousin Carloman of Bavaria, eldest son of Louis the German. However, Pope John VIII, dealing with the constant threat of raiders from the Emirate of Sicily, sided with Charles the Bald. After much confusion and conflict, Charles the Bald took Louis' realm in Italy. Carloman was crowned King of Bavaria in 876 and invaded Italy in 877 to claim the Kingdom of Italy, but on his death in 880 without any legitimate heirs, his kingdom went to his younger brother, King Charles the Fat. Charles was crowned Emperor by Pope John VIII in 881 and thus he reunited the entire Carolingian Empire in 884, although it lasted only until Charles' overthrow in 887.
John M. Riddle: A History of the Middle Ages: 300–1500. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. ISBN 978-0742554092. Timothy Reuter: The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume 3: c. 900–c. 1024. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 9780521364478. Engreen, Fred E.. "Pope John the Eighth and the Arabs". Speculum. 20: 318–30. Doi:10.2307/2854614
Luxembourg the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, France to the south, its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture and languages are intertwined with its neighbours, making it a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation's three official languages: French and the national language, Luxembourgish; the repeated invasions by Germany in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union. With an area of 2,586 square kilometres, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe. In 2018, Luxembourg had a population of 602,005, which makes it one of the least-populous countries in Europe, but by far the one with the highest population growth rate.
Foreigners account for nearly half of Luxembourg's population. As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by Grand Duke Henri and is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and one of the world's highest GDP per capita; the City of Luxembourg with its old quarters and fortifications was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 due to the exceptional preservation of the vast fortifications and the old city. The history of Luxembourg is considered to begin in 963, when count Siegfried I acquired a rocky promontory and its Roman-era fortifications known as Lucilinburhuc, ′little castle′, the surrounding area from the Imperial Abbey of St. Maximin in nearby Trier. Siegfried's descendants increased their territory through marriage and vassal relations. At the end of the 13th century, the Counts of Luxembourg reigned over a considerable territory. In 1308, Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg became King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor.
The House of Luxembourg produced four Holy Roman Emperors during the high Middle Ages. In 1354, Charles IV elevated the County to the Duchy of Luxembourg. Since Sigismund had no male heir, the Duchy became part of the Burgundian Circle and one of the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands. Over the centuries, the City and Fortress of Luxembourg, of great strategic importance situated between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg territories, was built up to be one of the most reputed fortifications in Europe. After belonging to both the France of Louis XIV and the Austria of Maria Theresia, Luxembourg became part of the First French Republic and Empire under Napoleon; the present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Grand-Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands with a Prussian garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France. In 1839, following the turmoil of the Belgian Revolution, the purely French-speaking part of Luxembourg was ceded to Belgium and the Luxembourgish-speaking part became what is the present state of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, OECD, United Nations, NATO, Benelux. The city of Luxembourg, the country's capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the EU. Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2013 and 2014, a first in the country's history; as of 2018, Luxembourgish citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries and territories, ranking the Luxembourgish passport 5th in the world, tied with Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc situated on the Bock rock by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes, in 963 through an exchange act with St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier. Around this fort, a town developed, which became the centre of a state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors. In 1437, the House of Luxembourg suffered a succession crisis, precipitated by the lack of a male heir to assume the throne, which led to the territories being sold by Duchess Elisabeth to Philip the Good of Burgundy.
In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs and the French. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands; the Congress of Vienna formed Luxembourg as a Grand Duchy within the German Confederation. The Dutch king became, in the grand duke. Although he was supposed to rule the grand duchy as an independent country with an administration of its own, in reality he treated it to a Dutch province; the Fortress of Luxembourg was manned by Prussian troops for the German Confederation. This arrangement was revised by the 1839 First Treaty of London, from which date Luxembourg's full independence is reckoned. At the time of the Belgian Revolution of 1830–1839, by the 1839 Treaty establishing full independence, Luxembourg's territory was reduced by more than half, as the predominantly francophone western part of the country was transferred to Belgium. In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union (Zoll
House of Luxembourg
The House of Luxembourg was a late medieval European royal family, whose members between 1308 and 1437 ruled as King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperors as well as Kings of Bohemia and Hungary. Their rule over the Holy Roman Empire was twice interrupted by the rival House of Wittelsbach; the Luxembourg line was a cadet branch of the ducal House of Limburg–Arlon, when in 1247 Henry, younger son of Duke Waleran III of Limburg inherited the County of Luxembourg upon the death of his mother Countess Ermesinde, a scion of the House of Namur. Her father, Count Henry IV of Luxembourg, was related on his mother's side to the Ardennes-Verdun dynasty, which had ruled the county since the late 10th century. Count Henry V's grandson Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg upon the death of his father Henry VI at the 1288 Battle of Worringen, was elected Rex Romanorum in 1308; the election was necessary after the Habsburg king Albert I of Germany had been murdered, Henry, backed by his brother Archbishop-Elector Baldwin of Trier, prevailed against Charles, Count of Valois.
Henry arranged the marriage of his son John with the Přemyslid heiress Elisabeth of Bohemia in 1310, through whom the House of Luxembourg acquired the Kingdom of Bohemia, enabling that family to compete more for power with the Habsburg and Wittelsbach dynasties. One year after being crowned Holy Roman Emperor at Rome, Henry VII, still on campaign in Italy, died in 1313; the prince-electors, perturbed by the rise of the Luxembourgs, disregarded the claims raised by Henry's heir King John, the rule over the Empire was assumed by the Wittelsbach duke Louis of Bavaria. John instead concentrated on securing his rule in Bohemia and vassalized the Piast dukes of adjacent Silesia from 1327 until 1335, his son Charles IV, in 1346 mounted the Imperial throne. His Golden Bull of 1356 served as a constitution of the Empire for centuries. Charles not only acquired the duchies of Brabant and Limburg in the west, but the former March of Lusatia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1373 under the Kingdom of Bohemia.
The family's decline began under Charles' son King Wenceslaus, deposed by the prince-electors in 1400 who chose the Wittelsbach Elector Palatine Rupert. In 1410 rule was assumed by Wenceslaus' brother Sigismund, who once again stabilized the rule of the Luxembourgs and contributed to end the Western Schism in 1417, he was succeeded by his son-in-law, the Habsburg archduke Albert V of Austria. The Habsburgs prevailed as Luxembourg heirs, ruling the Empire until the extinction of their senior branch upon the death of Maria Theresa in 1780. Henry VII — elected King of the Romans in 1308 succeeding assassinated Albert of Habsburg, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1312, he was succeeded by Louis IV from the House of Wittelsbach. Baldwin — brother of Henry, Prince-Archbishop of Trier and thereby Archchancellor of Burgundy 1307–54. John the Blind — only son of Henry, he was enfeoffed with Bohemia by his father in 1310, married the Přemyslid heiress Elisabeth of Bohemia and deposed the Bohemian king Henry the Carinthian.
Charles IV — eldest son of John. He was elected King of the Romans in opposition to Louis IV in 1346 and succeeded his father as king of Bohemia in the same year, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1355. John Henry, Margrave of Moravia — younger brother of Charles, he married Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, daughter of Henry the Carinthian in 1330. Jobst of Moravia — eldest son of John Henry. Margrave of Brandenburg 1388–1411, elected King of the Romans in 1410. Wenceslaus — eldest surviving son of Charles; as Margrave of Brandenburg from 1373 to 1378, he was elected King of the Romans in 1376 and succeeded his father as King of Bohemia in 1378. Declared deposed by the prince-electors in 1400, he was succeeded by Rupert of Wittelsbach. Sigismund — younger son of Charles. Margrave of Brandenburg from 1378 to 1388, he was King of Hungary from 1387 in right of his wife Mary of Anjou, was elected King of the Romans in 1411, succeeding his brother as King of Bohemia in 1419, being crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1433 yet he left no heirs male.
Jacquetta of Luxembourg — Mother of Queen Consort, Elizabeth Woodville and subsequent ancestress of all English and British monarchs since Henry VIII including the current monarch, Elizabeth II. Elizabeth of Luxembourg, only child of Emperor Sigismund, married Archduke Albert V of Austria from the Albertinian line of the House of Habsburg in 1422, becoming queen consort of Hungary from 1437 as well as Queen of the Romans and queen consort of Bohemia from 1438 until Albert's death in 1439: she was the heiress who conveyed the major portion of the Luxembourg inheritance to the Habsburgs and the Jagiellons through her daughter Elisabeth of Austria. According to the Salic law, the succession could have been disputed, in which case it would have passed collaterally to the cadet branch of Ligny; that branch descended from a younger son of Henry V, was headed by Louis de Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, before he was executed for treason by Louis XI of France. The first instance of the house of Luxembourg seems to be: Two houses descended from the women of the counts of Luxembourg, the Counts of Loon and the Counts of Grandpré, wear a shield barry.
Both families had a place in relation to the succession of the House of Ardennes. Indeed, the Count of Grandpré was the next heir of Conrad II of Luxembourg, the last representative of the Ardennes dynasty, but Emperor Frederick Barbarossa preferred that Luxembourg was held by a lord Germanic rather than French and attributed the co
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome's war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. While militarily just as strong as the Romans, the internal division between the Gallic tribes helped ease victory for Caesar, Vercingetorix's attempt to unite the Gauls against Roman invasion came too late; the wars paved the way for Julius Caesar to become the sole ruler of the Roman Republic. Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, most historians agree that the wars were fought to boost Caesar's political career and to pay off his massive debts. Still, Gaul was of significant military importance to the Romans, as they had been attacked several times by native tribes both indigenous to Gaul and farther to the north.
Conquering Gaul allowed Rome to secure the natural border of the river Rhine. The Gallic Wars are described by Julius Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which remains the most important historical source regarding the conflict; as a result of the financial burdens of his consulship in 59 BC, Caesar incurred significant debt. However, through his membership in the First Triumvirate—the political alliance which comprised Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey, himself— Caesar had secured the proconsulship of two provinces, Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum; when the Governor of Transalpine Gaul, Metellus Celer, died unexpectedly, this province was awarded to Caesar. Caesar's governorships were extended to a new idea at the time. Caesar had four veteran legions under his direct command: Legio VII, Legio VIII, Legio IX Hispana, Legio X; as he had been Governor of Hispania Ulterior in 61 BC and had campaigned with them against the Lusitanians, Caesar knew most of these legions. Caesar had the legal authority to levy additional legions and auxiliary units as he saw fit.
His ambition was to conquer and plunder some territories to get himself out of debt, it is possible that Gaul was not his initial target. It is more that he was planning a campaign against the Kingdom of Dacia, located in the Balkans; the countries of Gaul were wealthy. Most had contact with Roman merchants and some those that were governed by republics such as the Aedui and Helvetii, had enjoyed stable political alliances with Rome in the past; the Romans feared the Gallic tribes. Only fifty years before, in 109 BC, Italy had been invaded from the north and saved only after several bloody and costly battles by Gaius Marius. Around 62 BC, when a Roman client state, the Arverni, conspired with the Sequani and the Suebi nations east of the Rhine to attack the Aedui, a strong Roman ally, Rome turned a blind eye; the Sequani and Arverni sought Ariovistus’ aid and defeated the Aedui in 63 BC at the Battle of Magetobriga. The Sequani rewarded Ariovistus with land following his victory. Ariovistus settled the land with 120,000 of his people.
When 24,000 Harudes joined his cause, Ariovistus demanded that the Sequani give him more land to accommodate the Harudes people. This demand concerned Rome because if the Sequani conceded, Ariovistus would be in a position to take all of the Sequani land and attack the rest of Gaul, they did not appear to be concerned about a conflict between non-client and allied states. By the end of the campaign, the non-client Suebi under the leadership of the belligerent Ariovistus, stood triumphant over both the Aedui and their co-conspirators. Fearing another mass migration akin to the devastating Cimbrian War, now keenly invested in the defense of Gaul, was irrevocably drawn into war; the Helvetii was a confederation of about five related Gallic tribes that lived on the Swiss plateau, hemmed in by the mountains as well as the Rhine and Rhone rivers. They began to come under increased pressure from German tribes to the east. By 58 BC, the Helvetii were well on their way in the planning and provisioning for a mass migration under the leadership of Orgetorix.
Caesar mentions as an additional reason their not being able to in turn raid for plunder themselves due to their location. They planned to travel across Gaul to the west coast, a route that would have taken them through lands of the Aedui, a Roman ally, the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul; the Helvetii sent emissaries to neighboring tribes to negotiate peaceful transit. Orgetorix made an alliance with the Sequani chieftain Casticus and arranged the marriage of his daughter to an Aedui chieftain, Dumnorix; the three secretly planned to become kings of their respective tribes, masters of the whole of Gaul. Orgetorix's personal ambitions were discovered and he was to be put on trial, with the penalty being death by fire if convicted. Orgetorix escaped with the help of his many debtors. However, the death of Orgetorix was "not without suspicion that he had decided upon death for himself", as Caesar puts it. Caesar dated their departure to the 28 March, mentions that they burned all their towns and villages so as to discourage thoughts among undecided client tribes and enemies of occupying their vacated realm..
Caesar was across the Alps in Italy. With only a single legion in Transalpine Gaul, the endangered province, he hurried to Geneva and ordered a levy of several auxiliary units and the destruction of the Rhone bridge. Th