Adalrich, Duke of Alsace
Adalrich known as Eticho, was the Duke of Alsace, the founder of the family of the Etichonids and of the Habsburg, an important and influential figure in the power politic of late seventh-century Austrasia. Adalrich's family originated in the pagus Attoariensis around Dijon in northern Burgundy. In the mid-seventh century they began to be major founders and patrons of monasteries in the region under a duke named Amalgar and his wife Aquilina, they founded a convent at Brégille and an abbey for men at Bèze, installing children in both abbacies. They were succeeded by their third child, the father of Adalrich, Duke of Alsace. Adalrich first enters history as a member of the faction of nobles which invited Childeric II to take the kingship of Neustria and Burgundy in 673 after the death of Chlothar III, he married Berswinda, a relative of Leodegar, the famous Bishop of Autun, whose party he supported in the civil war which followed Childeric's assassination two years later. Adalrich was duke by March 675, when Childeric had granted him honores in Alsace with the title of dux and asked him to transfer some land to the founded abbey at Gregoriental on behalf of Abbot Valedio.
This grant was most the result of his support for Childeric in Burgundy, which had disputed possession of Alsace with Austrasia. Writers saw Adalrich as the successor in Alsace of Duke Boniface. After Childeric's assassination, Adalrich threw his support behind Dagobert II for the Austrasian throne. Adalrich abandoned Leodegar and went over to Ebroin, the mayor of the palace of Neustria, sometime before 677, when he appears as an ally of Theuderic, who granted him the monastery of Bèze. Taking advantage of the assassination of Hector of Provence in 679 to bid for power in Provence, he marched on Lyon but failed to take it and, returning to Alsace, switched his support to the Austrasians once more, only to find himself dispossessed of his lands in Alsace by King Theuderic III, an ally of Ebroin's who had opposed Dagobert in Austrasia since 675, who gave them to the Abbey of Bèze that year. Adalrich maintained his power in a restricted dukedom which did not encompass land west of the Vosges as it had under Boniface and his predecessors.
This land was a part of the kingdoms of Neustria and Burgundy, only the land between the Vosges and the Rhine south to the Sornegau Alsace proper, remained with Austrasia under Adalrich. The west of Vosges was under duke Theotchar. In Alsace, the civil war had resulted in a curtailed royal power and Adalrich's influence and authority, though restricted in territory, was augmented in practical scope. After the war, parts of the Frankish kingdom saw a more powerful viceregal hand under the exercise of the mayors of the palaces, while other regions were less directly affected by the royal prerogative; the Merovingian palace at Marlenheim in Alsace was never visited by a royal figure again in Adalrich's lifetime. While southern Austrasia had been the centre of Wulfoald's power, the Arnulflings were a north Austrasian family, who took scarce interest in Alsatian affairs until the 730s and 740s. Adalrich had made his allies counts, but in 683 he granted the comital office to his son and eventual successor Adalbert.
By controlling monasteries and counties in the family, Adalrich built up a powerful regional duchy to pass on to his Etichonid heirs. Adalrich had a rocky relationship with the monasteries of his realm, upon which he relied for his power, he is infamous for the suppression of that of Moutier-Grandval, for lording it over monasteries, including his own foundations. According to the Life of Germanus of Grandval, Adalrich "wickedly began oppressing the people in the vicinity of the monastery and to allege that they had always been rebels against his predecessors." He replaced him with his own man, Count Ericho. He exiled the people of the Sornegau. Many of the people exiled from the valley could not thus be exiled. Adalrich marched into the valley of the Sornegau with a large army of Alemanni at one end while his lieutenant Adalmund entered with a host by the other; the abbot, Germanus himself, his provost Randoald met Adalrich with books and relics in order to persuade him not to make violence. The duke granted a wadium, a device of recompense or promise, offered thus to spare the valley devastation, but for unknown reasons Germanus refused it.
The region was ravaged. As penance for his relationship to the deaths of two future saints and Germanus of Grandval, or out of a secret desire — disclosed it is said to his intimate friends — to found a place to the service of God and take up the religious life, Adalrich founded two monasteries in north central Alsace between 680 and 700: Ebersheim in honour of Saint Maurice and Hohenburg on the site of an old Roman fort discovered by his huntsmen and which he appropriated for his own military uses. Adalrich's daughter Odilia served as Hohenburg's first abbess and was named patron saint of Alsace by Pope Pius VII in 1807, his daughter Odilia was reputedly born blind, which Adalrich took as a punishment for some offence done to God. In order to save face with his retainers, he tried to persuade his wife to kill the infant child in secret. Bereswinda instead sent the child into hiding with a maid at the monastery of Palma. According to the Life of Odilia, a bishop named Erhard baptised the adolescent girl and smeared a chrism on her eyes, which miraculously restored her sight.
The bishop tried to restore the duke's relationship with his daug
The Belfort Gap or Burgundian Gate is a plateau located between the northern rim of the Jura Mountains and the southernmost part of the Vosges in France. It marks the divide between the drainage basins of the Rhine River in the east and that of the Rhône in the west, part of the European Watershed between the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, its elevation varies between 345 m at a little more than 400 m. The 40 km wide terrain corridor connects the French département of Haut-Rhin, south of the région Alsace and the Territoire de Belfort, north of the région Franche-Comté; the passage allows warm Mediterranean flows to advect northeastwards into the Upper Rhine Plain and the Middle Rhine Valley. Lines of communication that traverse the Belfort Gap include the French Route nationale 83 and the A36 autoroute, the railway line from Paris to Basel and the planned LGV Rhin-Rhône high-speed railway, as well as the Rhône-Rhine Canal. Two important routes crossed the area during the Roman era, which allowed Julius Caesar to move troops which were used to defeat Ariovistus and force his German tribes in the province of Germania Superior to retreat across the Rhine.
After the Migration Period and the Decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, Germanic Alemanni tribes settled east of the plateau, while the Burgundians established a first kingdom west of it. Both had been incorporated into the Kingdom of Francia by the early 6th century, while the highland remained the linguistic border between Germanic and Romance languages. Upon the division of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the area again marked the border between East Francia, i.e. the German stem duchy of Swabia, in the east and the Kingdom of Arles in the west. While the Swabian Alsace region was a constituent part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, the adjacent County of Burgundy in the west was not incorporated until 1033. About 1042 the County of Montbéliard was established on Burgundian territory right at the border with the Alsacien Sundgau region. Montbéliard fell to the Swabian House of Württemberg in 1407, while the Sundgau region around Ferrette and the French-speaking town of Belfort had been acquired by the Habsburg duke Albert II of Austria by marriage in 1324.
The area again marked a borderline, when the Habsburgs had to cede the Sundgau to the Kingdom of France according to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Over the following centuries of French–German enmity, the strategically important town of Belfort, situated at the western entrance into the corridor, has played the role of a bolt against invasions over the centuries whether originating from the west or the east and remained a communications center, impossible to circumvent. After the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Belfort, the language border was used in 1871 to determine the new demarcation line between the newly established German Empire and the French Third Republic retaining Belfort. A series of fortifications was set up to ensure defense of the area; the most recent military advance through the Belfort Gap was that of the French I Corps in November 1944. This article incorporates text translated from the corresponding French Wikipedia article as of November 22, 2008
Charles Martel was a Frankish statesman and military leader who as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was the de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. The son of the Frankish statesman Pepin of Herstal and a noblewoman named Alpaida, Charles asserted his claims to power as successor to his father as the power behind the throne in Frankish politics. Continuing and building on his father's work, he restored centralized government in Francia and began the series of military campaigns that re-established the Franks as the undisputed masters of all Gaul. According to a near-contemporary source, the Liber Historiae Francorum, Charles was "a warrior, uncommonly...effective in battle". Much attention has been paid to his success in defeating an Arab raid in Aquitaine at the Battle of Tours. Alongside his military endeavours, Charles has been traditionally credited with a seminal role in the development of the Frankish system of feudalism. At the end of his reign, Charles divided Francia between his sons and Pepin.
The latter became the first king of the Carolingian dynasty. Charles' grandson, extended the Frankish realms, became the first Emperor in the West since the fall of Rome. Charles, nicknamed "Martel", or "the Hammer", in chronicles, was the son of Pepin of Herstal and his second wife Alpaida, he had a brother named Childebrand, who became the Frankish dux of Burgundy. In older historiography, it was common to describe Charles as "illegitimate", but the dividing line between wives and concubines was not clear-cut in eighth-century Francia, it is that the accusation of "illegitimacy" derives from the desire of Pepin's first wife Plectrude to see her progeny as heirs to Pepin's power. After the reign of Dagobert I the Merovingians ceded power to the Pippinid Mayors of the Palace, who ruled the Frankish realm of Austrasia in all but name, they controlled the royal treasury, dispensed patronage, granted land and privileges in the name of the figurehead king. Charles' father, Pepin of Herstal, was able to unite the Frankish realm by conquering Neustria and Burgundy.
He was the first to call himself Duke and Prince of the Franks, a title taken up by Charles. In December 714, Pepin of Herstal died. Prior to his death, he had, at his wife Plectrude's urging, designated Theudoald, his grandson by their late son Grimoald, his heir in the entire realm; this was opposed by the nobles because Theudoald was a child of only eight years of age. To prevent Charles using this unrest to his own advantage, Plectrude had him imprisoned in Cologne, the city, intended to be her capital; this prevented an uprising on his behalf in Austrasia, but not in Neustria. Pepin's death occasioned open conflict between his heirs and the Neustrian nobles who sought political independence from Austrasian control. In 715, Dagobert III named Ragenfrid mayor of their palace declaring political independence. On 26 September 715, Ragenfrid's Neustrians met the young Theudoald's forces at the Battle of Compiegne. Theudoald fled back to Cologne. Before the end of the year, Charles Martel had escaped from prison and been acclaimed mayor by the nobles of Austrasia.
That same year, Dagobert III died and the Neustrians proclaimed Chilperic II, the cloistered son of Childeric II, as king. In 716, Chilperic and Ragenfrid together led an army into Austrasia intent on seizing the Pippinid wealth at Cologne; the Neustrians allied with another invading force under Radbod, King of the Frisians and met Charles in battle near Cologne, still held by Plectrude. Charles had little time to gather men, or prepare, the result was the only defeat of his career; the Frisians held off Charles, while the king and his mayor besieged Plectrude at Cologne, where she bought them off with a substantial portion of Pepin's treasure. They withdrew. Charles retreated to the hills of the Eifel to gather men, train them. Having made the proper preparations, in April 716, he fell upon the triumphant army near Malmedy as it was returning to its own province. In the ensuing Battle of Amblève, Martel attacked. According to one source, he split his forces into several groups. Another suggests that while this was his intention, he decided, given the enemy's unpreparedness, this was not necessary.
In any event, the suddenness of the assault lead them to believe they were facing a much larger host. Many of the enemy fled and Martel's troops gathered the spoils of the camp. Martel's reputation increased as a result, he attracted more followers; this battle is considered by historians as the turning point in Charles's struggle. Richard Gerberding points out that up to this time, much of Martel's support was from his mother's kindred in the lands around Liege. After Amblève, he seems to have won the backing of the influential Willibrord, founder of the Abbey of Echternach; the abbey had been built on land donated by Plectrude's mother, Irmina of Oeren, but most of Willibrord's missionary work had been carried out in Frisia. In joining Chilperic and Ragenfrid, Radbod of Frisia sacked Utrecht, burning churches and killing many missionaries. Willibrord and his monks were forced to flee to Echternach. Gerberding suggests that Willibrord had decided that the chances of preserving his life's work were better with a successful field commander like Martel than with Plectrude in Cologne.
Willibrord subsequently baptized Martel's son Pepin. Gerberding suggests a date of Easter 716. Martel received support from Bishop Pepo of Verdun. Charles took time to prepare. By the following spring, Charles had attracted e
The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. Together with the Palatine Forest to the north on the German side of the border, they form a single geomorphological unit and low mountain range of around 8,000 km2 in area, it runs in a north-northeast direction from the Burgundian Gate to the Börrstadt Basin, forms the western boundary of the Upper Rhine Plain. The Grand Ballon is the highest peak at 1,424 m, followed by the Storkenkopf, the Hohneck. Geographically, the Vosges Mountains are wholly in France, far above the Col de Saverne separating them from the Palatinate Forest in Germany; the latter area logically continues the same Vosges geologic structure but traditionally receives this different name for historical and political reasons. From 1871 to 1918 the Vosges marked for the most part the border between Germany and France, due to the Franco-Prussian War; the elongated massif is divided south to north into three sections: The Higher Vosges or High Vosges, extending in the southern part of the range from Belfort to the river valley of the Bruche.
The rounded summits of the Hautes Vosges are called ballons in French "balloons". The sandstone Vosges or Middle Vosges, between the Permian Basin of Saint-Die including the Devonian-Dinantian volcanic massif of Schirmeck-Moyenmoutier and the Col de Saverne The Lower Vosges or Low Vosges, a sandstone plateau ranging from 1,000 feet to 1,850 feet high, between the Col de Saverne and the source of the Lauter. In addition, the term "Central Vosges" is used to designate the various lines of summits those above 1,000 m in elevation; the French department of Vosges is named after the range. From a geological point of view, a graben at the beginning of the Paleogene period caused the formation of Alsace and the uplift of the plates of the Vosges, in eastern France, those in the Black Forest, in Germany. From a scientific view, the Vosges Mountains are not mountains as such, but rather the western edge of the unfinished Alsatian graben, stretching continuously as part of the larger Tertiary formations.
Erosive glacial action was the primary catalyst for development of the representative highland massif feature. The Vosges in their southern and central parts are called the Hautes Vosges; these consist of a large Carboniferous mountain eroded just before the Permian Period with gneiss, porphyritic masses or other volcanic intrusions. In the north and west, there are places less eroded by glaciers, here Vosges Triassic and Permian red sandstone remains are found in large beds; the grès vosgien are embedded sometimes up to more than 500 m in thickness. The Lower Vosges in the north are dislocated plates of various sandstones, ranging from 300 to 600 m high; the Vosges is similar to the corresponding range of the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine: both lie within the same degrees of latitude, have similar geological formations, are characterized by forests on their lower slopes, above which are open pastures and rounded summits of a rather uniform altitude. Both areas exhibit steeper slopes towards the Rhine River and a more gradual descent on the other side.
This occurs because both the Vosges and the Black Forest were formed by isostatic uplift, in a response to the opening of the Rhine Graben. The Rhine Graben is a major extensional basin; when such basins form, the thinning of the crust causes uplift adjacent to the basin. The amount of uplift decreases with distance from the basin, causing the highest range of peaks to be adjacent to the basin, the lower mountains to stretch away from the basin; the highest points are in the Hautes Vosges: the Grand Ballon, in ancient times called Ballon de Guebwiller or Ballon de Murbach, rises to 1,424 m. The Col de Saales, between the Higher and Central Vosges, reaches nearly 579 m, both lower and narrower than the Higher Vosges, with Mont Donon at 1,008 m being the highest point of this Nordic section; the highest mountains and peaks of the Vosges are: Grand Ballon 1,424 m Storkenkopf 1,366 m Hohneck 1,363 m Kastelberg 1,350 m Klintzkopf 1,330 m Rothenbachkopf 1,316 m Lauchenkopf 1,314 m Batteriekopf 1,311 m Haut de Falimont 1,306 m Gazon du Faing 1,306 m Rainkopf 1,305 m Gazon du Faîte 1,303 m Ringbuhl 1,302 m Soultzereneck 1,302 m Le Tanet 1,292 m Petit Ballon 1,272 m Ballon d'Alsace 1,247 m Brézouard 1,229 m Ballon de Servance 1,216 m Drumont 1,200 m Planche des Belles Filles 1,148 m Molkenrain 1,123 m Champ du Feu 1,099 m Baerenkopf 1,074 m Rocher de Mutzig 1,010 m Donon 1,009 m Taennchel 992 m Climont 965 m Hartmannswillerkopf 956 m Chatte Pendue 902 m Ungersberg 901 m Tête du Coq
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 Meuse or Maas is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea from the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. It has a total length of 925 km. From 1301 the upper Meuse marked the western border of the Holy Roman Empire with the Kingdom of France, after Count Henry III of Bar had to receive the western part of the County of Bar as a French fief from the hands of King Philip IV; the border remained stable until the annexation of the Three Bishoprics Metz and Verdun by King Henry II in 1552 and the occupation of the Duchy of Lorraine by the forces of King Louis XIII in 1633. Its lower Belgian portion, part of the sillon industriel, was the first industrialized area in continental Europe; the Afgedamde Maas was created in the late Middle Ages, when a major flood made a connection between the Maas and the Merwede at the town of Woudrichem. From that moment on, the current Afgedamde Maas was the main branch of the lower Meuse.
The former main branch silted up and is today called the Oude Maasje. In the late 19th century and early 20th century the connection between the Maas and Rhine was closed off and the Maas was given a new, artificial mouth - the Bergse Maas; the resulting separation of the rivers Rhine and Maas reduced the risk of flooding and is considered to be the greatest achievement in Dutch hydraulic engineering before the completion of the Zuiderzee Works and Delta Works. The former main branch was, after the dam at its southern inlet was completed in 1904, renamed Afgedamde Maas and no longer receives water from the Maas; the Meuse and its crossings were a key objective of the last major German WWII counter-offensive on the Western Front, the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944/45. The Meuse is represented in the documentary; the name Meuse is derived from the French name of the river which derives from the Celtic or Proto-Celtic name *Mosā. The Dutch name Maas descends from Middle Dutch Mase, which comes from the presumed but unattested Old Dutch form *Masa, from Proto-Germanic *Masō.
Modern Dutch and German Maas and Limburgish Maos preserve this Germanic form. Despite the similarity, the Germanic name is not derived from the Celtic name, judging from the change from earlier o into a, characteristic of the Germanic languages; the Meuse rises in Pouilly-en-Bassigny, commune of Le Châtelet-sur-Meuse on the Langres plateau in France from where it flows northwards past Sedan and Charleville-Mézières into Belgium. At Namur it is joined by the Sambre. Beyond Namur the Meuse winds eastwards, skirting the Ardennes, passes Liège before turning north; the river forms part of the Belgian-Dutch border, except that at Maastricht the border lies further to the west. In the Netherlands it continues northwards through Venlo along the border to Germany turns towards the west, where it runs parallel to the Waal and forms part of the extensive Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta, together with the Scheldt in its south and the Rhine in the north; the river has been divided near Heusden into the Afgedamde Maas on the right and the Bergse Maas on the left.
The Bergse Maas continues under the name of Amer, part of De Biesbosch. The Afgedamde Maas joins the Waal, the main stem of the Rhine at Woudrichem, flows under the name of Boven Merwede to Hardinxveld-Giessendam, where it splits into Nieuwe Merwede and Beneden Merwede. Near Lage Zwaluwe, the Nieuwe Merwede joins the Amer, forming the Hollands Diep, which splits into Grevelingen and Haringvliet, before flowing into the North Sea; the Meuse is crossed by railway bridges between the following stations: Netherlands: Hasselt – Maastricht Weert - Roermond Blerick – Venlo Cuijk – Mook-Molenhoek Ravenstein – Wijchen's-Hertogenbosch – ZaltbommelThere are numerous road bridges and around 32 ferry crossings. The Meuse is navigable over a substantial part of its total length: In the Netherlands and Belgium, the river is part of the major inland navigation infrastructure, connecting the Rotterdam-Amsterdam-Antwerp port areas to the industrial areas upstream:'s-Hertogenbosch, Maastricht, Liège, Namur. Between Maastricht and Maasbracht, an unnavigable section of the Meuse is bypassed by the 36 km Juliana Canal.
South of Namur, further upstream, the river can only carry more modest vessels, although a barge as long as 100 m. can still reach the French border town of Givet. From Givet, the river is canalized over a distance of 272 kilometres; the canalized Meuse used to be called the "Canal de l'Est — Branche Nord" but was rebaptized into "Canal de la Meuse". The waterway can be used by the smallest barges that are still in use commercially 40 metres long and just over 5 metres wide. Just upstream of the town of Commercy, the Canal de la Meuse connects with the Marne–Rhine Canal by means of a short diversion canal; the Cretaceous sea reptile. The first fossils of it were discovered outside Maastricht in 1780. An international agreement was signed in 2002 in Ghent, Belgium about the management of the river amongst France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium. Participating in the agreement were the Belgian regional governments of Flanders and Brussels. Most of the basin area is in Wallonia, followe
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious called the Fair, the Debonaire, was the King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, from 813. He was King of Aquitaine from 781; as the only surviving adult son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Franks after his father's death in 814, a position which he held until his death, save for the period 833–34, during which he was deposed. During his reign in Aquitaine, Louis was charged with the defence of the empire's southwestern frontier, he conquered Barcelona from the Muslims in 801 and asserted Frankish authority over Pamplona and the Basques south of the Pyrenees in 812. As emperor he included his adult sons, Lothair and Louis, in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm among them; the first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew Bernard of Italy, for which Louis atoned in a public act of self-debasement. In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons, only exacerbated by Louis's attempts to include his son Charles by his second wife in the succession plans.
Though his reign ended on a high note, with order restored to his empire, it was followed by three years of civil war. Louis is compared unfavourably to his father, though the problems he faced were of a distinctly different sort. Louis was born while his father Charlemagne was on campaign in Spain, at the Carolingian villa of Cassinogilum, according to Einhard and the anonymous chronicler called Astronomus, he was the third son of Charlemagne by his wife Hildegard. His grandfather was King Pepin the Younger. Louis was sent there with regents and a court. Charlemagne constituted the sub-kingdom in order to secure the border of his kingdom after the destructive war against the Aquitanians and Basques under Waifer and Hunald II, which culminated in the disastrous Battle of Roncesvalles. Charlemagne wanted his son Louis to grow up in the area. However, in 785, wary of the customs his son may have been taking in Aquitaine, Charlemagne sent for him to Aquitaine and Louis presented himself at the Royal Council of Paderborn dressed up in Basque costumes along with other youths in the same garment, which may have made a good impression in Toulouse, since the Basques of Vasconia were a mainstay of the Aquitanian army.
In 794, Charlemagne settled four former Gallo-Roman villas on Louis, in the thought that he would take in each in turn as winter residence: Doué-la-Fontaine in today's Anjou, Ebreuil in Allier, Angeac-Charente, the disputed Cassinogilum. Charlemagne's intention was to see all his sons brought up as natives of their given territories, wearing the national costume of the region and ruling by the local customs, thus were the children sent to their respective realms at so young an age. Each kingdom had its importance in keeping some frontier, Louis's was the Spanish March. In 797, the greatest city of the Marca, fell to the Franks when Zeid, its governor, rebelled against Córdoba and, handed it to them; the Umayyad authority recaptured it in 799. However, Louis marched the entire army of his kingdom, including Gascons with their duke Sancho I of Gascony, Provençals under Leibulf, Goths under Bera, over the Pyrenees and besieged it for two years, wintering there from 800 to 801, when it capitulated.
The sons were not given independence from central authority and Charlemagne ingrained in them the concepts of empire and unity by sending them on military expeditions far from their home bases. Louis campaigned in the Italian Mezzogiorno against the Beneventans at least once. Louis was one of Charlemagne's three legitimate sons to survive infancy, he had Lothair who died during infancy. According to Frankish custom, Louis had expected to share his inheritance with his brothers, Charles the Younger, King of Neustria, Pepin, King of Italy. In the Divisio Regnorum of 806, Charlemagne had slated Charles the Younger as his successor as emperor and chief king, ruling over the Frankish heartland of Neustria and Austrasia, while giving Pepin the Iron Crown of Lombardy, which Charlemagne possessed by conquest. To Louis's kingdom of Aquitaine, he added Septimania and part of Burgundy. However, Charlemagne's other legitimate sons died – Pepin in 810 and Charles in 811 – and Louis alone remained to be crowned co-emperor with Charlemagne in 813.
On his father's death in 814, he inherited the entire Frankish kingdom and all its possessions. While at his villa of Doué-la-Fontaine, Louis received news of his father's death, he rushed to Aachen and crowned himself emperor to shouts of Vivat Imperator Ludovicus by the attending nobles. Upon arriving at the imperial court in Aachen, one of Louis' first acts was to purge the palace of its "filth", he destroyed the old Germanic pagan tokens and texts, collected by Charlemagne. He further exiled members of the court he deemed morally "dissolute", including some of his own relatives. From the start of his reign, his coinage imitated his father Charlemagne's portrait, which gave it an image of imperial authority and prestige, he sent all of his unmarried sisters to nunneries, to avoid any possible entanglements from overly powerful brothers-in-law. Sparing his illegitimate half-brothers, he forced his father's cousins and Wala to be tonsured, placing them in Noirmoutier and Corbie despite the latter's initial loyalty.
His chief counsellors were