Maine is one of the traditional provinces of France. It corresponds to the former County of Maine, whose capital was the city of Le Mans; the area, now divided into the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, counts about 857,000 inhabitants. In the 8th and 9th centuries there existed a Duchy of Cénomannie, which several of the Carolingian kings used as an appanage; this duchy was a march that may have included several counties including Maine, extended into Lower Normandy, all the way to the Seine. In 748, Pepin the Short Mayor of the Palace and thus the most powerful man in Francia after the king, gave this duchy to his half-brother Grifo. In 790 Charlemagne in turn gave it to Charles the Younger. Charlemagne's grandson, the future Charles the Bald, his son Louis the Stammerer inherited the title. At the height of the Scandinavian invasions Ragenold of Neustria held the title as well as the Neustrian march and the county of Maine, given to him on the death of Gauzfrid by Charles the Bald because Gauzfrid's children were too young to act in that capacity.
Ragenold, who may have been the son of Renaud d'Herbauges, died in 885 fighting the Vikings who were pillaging Rouen. The son-in-law of Charlemagne, was the count of Maine between 832 and 839. In the last half of the 9th century, Maine took on strategic importance because of invasions from Normandy and Brittany. Rorgon's son Gauzfrid in turn became Count of Maine, he fought against Salomon, King of Brittany and in 866 participated in the battle of Brissarthe alongside Robert the Strong, the Frankish Margrave of Neustria. In 924 King Rudolph of France was said to give Maine to the Norse nobleman Rollo, Duke of Normandy. Bordering the county of Anjou to the south and the Duchy of Normandy to the north, Maine became a bone of contention between the rulers of these more powerful principalities. Hugh III of Maine was forced to recognize Fulk Count of Anjou as his overlord. Sometime between 1045 and 1047 Hugh IV married Bertha, daughter of Odo II, Count of Blois and widow of Alan III, Duke of Brittany.
The Angevins did not want Maine to come under the influence of Blois, Count Geoffrey Martel invaded Maine. But the Normans did not want Maine to return to the Angevin orbit; the precise chronology is disputed, but it is clear that in 1051 Hugh IV died and the citizens of Le Mans opened their gate to the Angevins. Anjou wound up with effective control of most of the county, but the Normans did take several important strongholds on the Maine–Normandy border. Hugh IV's son Herbert II fled to the Norman court and his death in 1062 precipitated a succession crisis. Herbert died childless in 1062 after declaring William the Bastard Duke of Normandy, his heir, his sister Marguerite was engaged to William's eldest son, Robert Curthose and Herbert had taken refuge at William's court in 1056 when Geoffrey Martel, Duke of Anjou, invaded Le Mans. While the county was in Angevin hands, Anjou had its own succession problem. Duke William of Normandy claimed the county on their behalf of Herbert's young sister Margaret, betrothed to his son Robert Curthose.
The other claimant was Herbert's aunt Biota, a sister of Hugh IV, her husband Walter, Count of the Vexin. William invaded Maine in force in 1063 and despite stiff opposition Fulk IV, Count of Anjou, from local barons such as Geoffrey of Mayenne and Hubert de Sainte-Suzanne he controlled the county by the beginning of 1064. Biota and Walter were captured at the taking of Le Mans, they died sometime in 1063, poisoned, it was rumoured, though there is no hard evidence for this. Norman control of Maine secured the southern border of Normandy against Anjou and is one factor which enabled William to launch his successful invasion of England in 1066. In 1069 the citizens of Le Mans revolted against the Normans. Soon some of the Manceaux barons joined the revolt, the Normans were expelled in 1070, young Hugh V was proclaimed Count of Maine, he was the son of Azzo d'Este and his wife Gersendis, the other sister of Count Hugh IV. Azzo returned to Italy; the real power, was one of the Manceaux barons, Geoffrey of Mayenne, who may have been Gersendis' lover.
After Norman attacks in 1073, 1088, 1098 and 1099, Elias I succeeded his cousin Hugh V, who sold Maine to him in 1092 for ten thousand shillings. His daughter married Count of Anjou, who took Maine over in 1110 after the death of Elias. Henri Beauclerc, agreed to recognize him as Count of Maine so long as he acknowledged the Duke of Normandy as his overlord. Fulk's son Geoffrey Count of Anjou inherited Maine; when Geoffrey died in 1151, it passed to King Henry II of England. Since Henry had been Duke of Normandy since 1150, Anjou and Normandy all had the same ruler for the first time. Henry founded the Plantagenet dynasty in England. King Philip II of France attacked the Plantagenet holding, known as the Angevin Empire, being held by John, King of England; the Plantagenet loss of Normandy may have led to the increased sway of the House of Capet and thus to the Hundred Years' War, the French seneschal William des Roches took Touraine and Maine on behalf of the king. In 1331 the Count of Maine became a peer of the realm.
After the Battle of Verneuil in 1424, the English occupied Maine, John of Lancaster took the title of Duke. The English held Le Mans until 1448 and Fresnay until 1449. In 1481, Charles IV, Duke of Anjou bequeathed his lands to Louis XI of France, thus returning the county to the crown. At the beginning, a part of the Maine population supported the French revolution that took place in Par
Montbéliard is a city in the Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France, about 13 km from the border with Switzerland. It is one of the two subprefectures of the department. Montbéliard is mentioned as early as 983 as Mons Beliardae; the County of Montbéliard or Mömpelgard was a feudal county of the Holy Roman Empire from 1033 to 1796. In 1283, it was granted rights under charter by Count Reginald, its charter guaranteed the county perpetual liberties and franchises which lasted until the French Revolution in 1789. Montbéliard's original municipal institutions included the Magistracy of the Nine Bourgeois, the Corp of the Eighteen and the Notables, a Mayor, Procurator, appointed "Chazes", all who participated in the administration of the county as provided by the charter. Under the 1283 charter, the Count and the people of Montbéliard were required by law to defend Montbéliard, while citizens of Montbéliard were not required to fight in any wars outside of the county.
Altogether, the charter lent to Montbéliard a democratic air remarkable for its time. In 1397 the county passed by marriage of Henriette, heiress of the county to Eberhard IV, Count of Württemberg, to the House of Württemberg. In 1520, Duke Ulrich of Württemberg was ousted from the duchy by the Swabian League; as a result, he retreated to the only territory he still possessed. From there on, Ulrich used Montbéliard as a base of operations to raise troops to retake Württemberg, but in dire need of funds, he decided to lease Montbéliard to his half-brother, George. In 1534, still in need of funds, Ulrich sold Montbéliard to Francis I of France, though with right to repurchase, which Ulrich exercised after his restoration to Württemberg in 1536. Still governing Montbéliard as its count, George attempted to strengthen Lutheranism in the county succeeding in suppressing the other confessions fully. From 1598 to 1608, the architect Heinrich Schickhardt built several landmarks of the city, like St. Martin, a castle, a bridge, a college and several hotels.
After the French Revolution, Montbéliard was incorporated into the Rauracian Republic. In 1793 the town was annexed to France, confirmed in 1796 and by the German Mediatisation of 1806, when Württemberg was compensated with other areas, became a kingdom; as a consequence of the former rule under the dukes of Württemberg, it has been for centuries one of the few Protestant enclaves in France. The Württemberg coat of arms from 1495 represents Montbéliard as two jumping fishes on a red field. For details of the local events of the Second World War, see Sochaux; the metropolitan area has a population of 302,000. Montbéliard and the surrounding region constitute an important manufacturing center based upon metallurgy and car industry; the main manufacturing plant of the Peugeot automobile company is located in Montbéliard and has around 20,000 employees. In the area the automotive industry accounts for 34,000 employees in more than 100 companies; the Peugeot company's museum is located in the adjacent commune of Sochaux.
Montbéliard is the center of a metropolitan area of 132,000 inhabitants. The Château de Montbéliard, the castle of the Dukes of Württemberg; as the residence of the Counts of Montbéliard, the history of the castle is linked with the story of the families that reigned over the County for more than eight centuries. Built on a rocky promontory at the confluence of the Lizaine and Allan valleys, this stronghold, which existed in the 10th century, was transformed during the course of the centuries. Today, on the northern side of the edifice, one can admire the Henriette Tower, the Frédéric Tower and the main building dating back to the 18th century; the castle has become the Museum of the Castle of the Dukes of Württemberg, which includes a historical tour, an important archaeological department whose collections come from excavations of local Gallo-Roman sites, the Cuvier natural history gallery and exhibits of paintings and sculptures of international renown. On the esplanade of the Castle, the Clock pavilion or Hôtel du Bailli, built according to plans of the architect Schickhardt at the beginning of the 17th century, houses today the Academy of Music.
The Museum of Art and History Beurnier Rossel. The Beurnier-Rossel mansion, located opposite St. Martin's church, near the Town Hall, stands as a witness to the life-style of the urban bourgeoisie during the 18h and 19th centuries. Today it houses the Museum of History; the restored 18th century reception rooms on the first floor contain furniture, paintings and draperies which recreate the ambiance of a private residence. On the second floor, there is an exhibit of objects relating to the history of the town and local life and the collection of music boxes made by L'Épée is exhibited in the attic. Saint-Martin Protestant Church. Saint Martin Protestant Church was built between 1601 and 1607 and is the work of Heinrich Schickhardt, the architect of Frederic 1st Prince of Montbéliard, in its purest form, it is the oldest church in France dedicated to the Reformation form of worship. Saint Maimboeuf Church. Built between 1850 and 1875 on the Cardinal Mathieu's request to assert the Catholic reconquest over Lutheranism, Saint Maimboeuf Church dominates the town.
It includes a polychrome altarpiece. Montbeliard's most popular sports club is FCSM. Founded in 1928, FC Sochaux-
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department and in the Hauts-de-France region of France on the Scheldt river, known locally as the Escaut river. A sub-prefecture of the department, Cambrai is a town which had 32,518 inhabitants in the Census of 2009, it is in the heart of the urban unit of Cambrai which, with 47,138 inhabitants, ranks as 7th largest of the department. Its urban area, a more extensive range, included 65,986 inhabitants in 2009. With Lille and the towns of the former Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, it is part of the Metropolitan area of Lille which has more than 3.8 million inhabitants. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, Cambrai replaced Bavay as the "capital" of the land of the Nervii. At the beginning of the Merovingian era, Cambrai became the seat of an immense archdiocese covering all the right bank of the Scheldt and the centre of a small ecclesiastical principality coinciding with the shire of Brabant, including the central part of the Low Countries; the bishopric had some limited secular power and depended on the Holy Roman Empire until annexation to France in 1678.
Fénelon, nicknamed the "Swan of Cambrai", was the most renowned of the archbishops. The fertile lands which surround it and the textile industry gave it prosperity in the Middle Ages, but in modern times it is less industrialised than its neighbours of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Cambrai was the Duke of Wellington's headquarters, for the British Army of Occupation, from 1815 to 1818. Occupied and destroyed by the German army during World War I, Cambrai saw unfold in its vicinity the Battle of Cambrai where tanks were massively and used for the first time. A second Battle of Cambrai took place between 8 and 10 October 1918 as part of the Hundred Days Offensive. World War II was followed by reconstructions and a developing economy and population, abruptly reversed by the 1973 oil crisis. Cambrai today is a lively city and, despite the past destruction, maintains a rich monumental heritage. Cambrai is affirmed as the urban centre of Cambrésis, its economic life is strengthened by its position on river. The town of Cambrai is located in the south of the Nord Department, of which it is chef-lieu of the arrondissement.
It belongs to the dense network of the cities of the area which are separated by a few tens of kilometres: Douai is only 24 kilometres, Valenciennes is 29 kilometres, Arras is 36 kilometres and Saint-Quentin 37 kilometres as the crow flies. The regional capital of Lille is 52 kilometres away. Cambrai is not far from several European capitals: Brussels is 108 kilometres, Paris is 160 kilometres and London is 280 kilometres; the city was developed on the right bank of the Scheldt river. Locally known as the Escaut, the river has its source in the department of Aisne, any more than 20 kilometres away. Cambrai is located on chalk bedrock of the Cretaceous period, which forms the northern boundary of the Paris Basin, between, to the east, the hills for Thiérache and Avesnois, the foothills of the Ardennes, northwest, the hills of Artois, it is at a point, lower than these two regions, called the "Cambrai threshold" or the "Bapaume threshold", which facilitates the passage between the south and the north: Bapaume is 100 metres above sea level, Avesnes-sur-Helpe is at 143 metres and Cambrai only 41 metres.
The Saint-Quentin canal, the Canal du Nord, the A1, A2 and A26 autoroutes all borrow all this passage between the basin of the Seine and the plains of the Nord department. The chalky subsoil allowed, as in many medieval cities, the digging of a network of cellars and quarries under the city; the poor quality of the Cambrai chalk was reserved for use in the manufacture of lime or filling, as well as common constructions. For prestigious buildings, stone from the nearby villages of Noyelles-sur-Escaut, Rumilly or Marcoing was used; the city is bordered in its western part, as well as to the north and the south, by the alluvial zones of the Scheldt Valley. Cambrai is built on the right bank of the Scheldt; the river, still of a modest flow in Cambrai, played a crucial role in the history of the city by providing multiple functions, including allowing the transportation of men and goods since antiquity. However, it was crossed by numerous marshes, it was with the discovery of coal at Anzin in 1734 that the Scheldt was expanded and declared navigable in 1780, from Cambrai to the North Sea.
The Scheldt is today the Canal de l'Escaut downstream of Cambrai. In addition, the river served as the boundary between the bishoprics of Tournai on its left bank and Cambrai on its right bank, from the 6th century; when the division of Charlemagne's Empire in 843, this border was retained to delimit the kingdoms of Lothair I and Charles the Bald, making Cambrai a city of the Holy Roman Empire until 1677. The Scheldt was indispensable to many economic activities, such as the tanning, the manufacture of salt and soap, as well as for retting of linen, the weaving of, one of the main activities of the city; the river was used in the Middle Ages and by Vauban, for the defence of the city by the establishment of flood defensive areas. Despite its important role in the history of the city, the Scheldt is little integrated into the present urban landscape. Main article: Climate of Nord-Pas-de-CalaisClimate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, there is adequate rainfall year round.
The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for
Gascony is an area of southwest France, part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined, the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear. Most definitions put Gascony south of Bordeaux, it is divided between the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the region of Occitanie. Gascony was inhabited by Basque-related people who appear to have spoken a language similar to Basque; the name Gascony comes from the same root as the word Basque. From medieval times until today, the Gascon language has been spoken, although it is classified as a regional variant of the Occitan language. Gascony is the land of d'Artagnan, who inspired Alexandre Dumas's character d'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, as well as the land of Cyrano de Bergerac, who inspired the play of the same name by Edmond Rostand, it is home to Henry III of Navarre, who became king of France as Henry IV. In pre-Roman times, the inhabitants of Gascony were the Aquitanians, who spoke a non-Indo-European language related to modern Basque.
The Aquitanians inhabited a territory limited to the north and east by the Garonne River, to the south by the Pyrenees mountain range, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Romans called this territory Aquitania, either from the Latin word aqua, in reference to the many rivers flowing from the Pyrenees through the area, or from the name of the Aquitanian Ausci tribe, in which case Aquitania would mean "land of the Ausci". In the 50s BC, Aquitania was conquered by lieutenants of Julius Caesar and became part of the Roman Empire. In 27 BC, during the reign of Emperor Augustus, the province of Gallia Aquitania was created. Gallia Aquitania was far larger than the original Aquitania, as it extended north of the Garonne River, in fact all the way north to the Loire River, thus including the Celtic Gauls that inhabited the regions between the Garonne and the Loire rivers. In 297, as Emperor Diocletian reformed the administrative structures of the Roman Empire, Aquitania was split into three provinces.
The territory south of the Garonne River, corresponding to the original Aquitania, was made a province called Novempopulania, while the part of Gallia Aquitania north of the Garonne became the province of Aquitanica I and the province of Aquitanica II. The territory of Novempopulania corresponded quite well to; the Aquitania Novempopulana or Novempopulania suffered like the rest of the Western Roman Empire from the invasions of Germanic tribes, most notably the Vandals in 407–409. In 416–418, Novempopulania was delivered to the Visigoths as their federate settlement lands and became part of the Visigoth kingdom of Toulouse, while other than the region of the Garonne river their actual grip on the area may have been rather loose; the Visigoths were defeated by the Franks in 507, fled into Spain and Septimania. Novempopulania became part of the Frankish Kingdom like the rest of southern France. However, Novempopulania was far away from the home base of the Franks in northern France, was only loosely controlled by the Franks.
During all the troubled and obscure period, starting from early 5th-century accounts, the bagaudae are cited, social uprisings against tax exaction and feudalization associated to Vasconic unrest. Old historical literature sometimes claims the Basques took control of the whole of Novempopulania in the Early Middle Ages, founding its claims on the testimony of Gregory of Tours, on the etymological link between the words "Basque" and "Gascon" – both derived from "Vascones" or "Wasconia", the latter being used to name the whole of Novempopulania. Modern historians reject this hypothesis, sustained by no archeological evidence. For Juan José Larrea, Pierre Bonnassie, "a Vascon expansionism in Aquitany is not proved and is not necessary to understand the historical evolution of this region"; this Basque-related culture and race is, whatever the origin, attested in Medieval documents, while their exact boundaries remain unclear. The word Vasconia evolved into Wasconia, into Gasconia; the gradual abandonment of the Basque-related Aquitanian language in favor of a local Vulgar Latin was not reversed.
The replacing local Vulgar Latin evolved into Gascon. It was influenced by the original Aquitanian language. Interestingly, the Basques from the French side of the Basque Country traditionally call anyone who does not speak Basque a "Gascon". Meanwhile, Viking raiders conquered several Gascon towns, among them Bayonne in 842–844, their attacks in Gascony may have helped the political disintegration of the Duchy until their defeat against William II Sánchez of Gascony in 982. In turn, the weakened ethnic polity known as Duchy of Wasconia/Wascones, unable to get round the general spread of feudalization, gave way to a myriad of counties founded by Gascon lords, his 1152 marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine allowed the future Henry II to gain cont
Béarn is one of the traditional provinces of France, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, Labourd, the principality of Bidache, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms in the southwest the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques; the capitals of Béarn were Beneharnum, Morlaàs, Orthez Pau. Béarn is bordered by Basque provinces Soule and Lower Navarre to the west, by Gascony to the north, by Bigorre to the east, by Spain to the south. Today, the mainstays of the Béarn area are the petroleum industry, the aerospace industry through the helicopter turboshaft engine manufacturer Turbomeca and agriculture. Pau was the birthplace of Elf Aquitaine, which has now become a part of the Total S. A. petroleum company. In Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers series, the protagonist d'Artagnan came from Béarn; that d'Artagnan is referred to as a Gascon is neither surprising nor incorrect, as Béarn forms part of Gascony.
In the eastern part of the province are two small exclaves belonging to Bigorre. They are the result of how early Béarn grew to its traditional boundaries: some old lesser viscounties were added by marriage, absorbed into Béarn: Oloron to the south/southwest ca. 1050, Montanérès in the east in 1085, Dax in the west in 1194. When Montanérès was added, five communities or parishes did not form part of the dowry, their attachment to Bigorre continues to the present, as they followed it into Hautes-Pyrénées, rather than being incorporated into the surrounding Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The name Béarn derives from Beneharnum, the capital city of the ancient Venarni people, destroyed by Vikings by 840; the modern town of Lescar is built on the site of Beneharnum. Agriculture and metallurgy were first practiced in the region around 4,000 years ago. Many dolmens and megaliths have been found in Béarn dating to this era, suggesting that ancestor worship was an important religious activity in neolithic Béarn.
Construction of cromlêhs in Béarn continued into the Bronze Age. Fortified villages were constructed in Neolithic Béarn, remains of these have been found near Asson and Lacq. Béarn was occupied by Ligurians around 3000 years ago. By 500 BC, Iberians appear to have replaced the Ligurians; the names of several towns in Béarn end in - os. The region became part of the Roman Empire in the first century BC. Diocletian included Bearn in the Roman province of Novempopulania. Roman influence in the region waned in the fifth century AD, Béarn experienced multiple barbarian invasions. Béarn was successively conquered by the Vandals, the Visigoths, the Merovingians and the Carolingians; the fifth century AD saw the arrival of Christianity in Béarn. The rural character of Béarn meant that Christianity took longer to become established there than elsewhere in France. Béarn is served by two autoroutes; the A64 was built in 1977 and links Pau and Bayonne. In Béarn, the A64 has junctions serving the towns of Salies-de-Béarn, Artix and Soumoulou.
The A65 links Pau with Langon. It serves the Béarnese towns of Thèze and Garlin. At Langon, the A65 joins on to the A62; the A65 was opened in 2010, was at the time France's most expensive autoroute. Several more minor routes serve Béarn; the Route Nationale 134 links the south of Pau with Somport in the Aspe Valley. Several mountain roads link Somport with Spain. Three railway lines serve Béarn; the first of these is the Toulouse to Bayonne railway, opened in stages between 1861 and 1867. Several rail stations are located on this line, including those of Coarraze-Nay, Pau, Artix and Puyoô; the Puyoô to Dax railway line enables trains to run from Béarn to Bordeaux. Both these railway lines are served by TGV, Intercités and TER; the third railway line, the Pau to Canfranc line, serves the south of Béarn. It was put into service between 1883 and 1928. However, the railway line been closed since 1970; this is because in 1970, a bridge carrying this rail line over the Gave d'Aspe was destroyed by a train derailment.
An additional section of the line, between Oloron-Sainte-Marie and Bedous, was reopened by SNCF in 2016. Canfranc Railway Station is located within Spain and is served by the Spanish Jaca to Canfranc railway. International rail transport between Béarn and Aragon was thus possible using this route. In 2013, the regional governments of Aragon and Aquitaine agreed to take steps to further the economic links between their two regions, including reopening the Pau-Canfranc railway line all the way to Canfranc Station; the two governments hope to have the line reopened by 2020. A fourth railway line once linked Puyoô rail station to that of Mauléon-Licharre; this line opened in two stages between 1884 and 1887. The line was abandoned in 1991. A branch of this line ran from Autevielle to Saint-Palais; this branch is also
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 French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere