Jesuit Church, Molsheim
The former Jesuit Church is the parish church Sainte-Trinité-et-Saint-Georges, the main Roman Catholic sanctuary of Molsheim and the principal 17th-century church building in the Rhine Valley. The church was built between 1615 and 1617 by the German architect Christoph Wamser, consecrated on 26 August 1618. Molsheim's Jesuit church is considered one of the foremost examples of Gothic Survival architecture or, as it is called in German, Nachgotik, it is listed as a Monument historique since 1939 by the French Ministry of Culture. Molsheim's Jesuit College was founded in 1580 and dissolved in 1765, it served as Alsace's main university between 1618 and 1704, preceding the Lutheran Strasbourg University in importance. The church's construction was funded by the bishop of Strasbourg, Archduke Leopold V of Austria, who made a donation on his name saint's day, 15 November 1614. Although a chapel inside is dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the church was dedicated from the start to the Holy Trinity, it became the parish church of Molsheim and was dedicated to Saint-George in 1791, after the demolition of the city's former parish church, the previous Église Saint-Georges, on what is now the town's current market square.
The church's dimensions are considerable in relation to the small size of the town: 61.5 m long and 21.5 m wide, the nave 20 m high, the choir measuring 19.5 m by 11 m, the spire 45 m high. Among the many features inside the richly ornate building, the Baroque Saint Ignatius' Chapel in the north transept and the Rococo Our Lady's Chapel in the south transept stand out as the most visually striking. Another pride of the church are the 1781 pipe organ by Johann Andreas Silbermann and the monumental Late Gothic cross, 4.5 m high and 2.5 m wide, from the former Carthusian monastery of the town
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition
The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication; some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia, containing 40,000 entries, is now in the public domain, many of its articles have been used as a basis for articles in Wikipedia. However, the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic; some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The 1911 eleventh edition was assembled with the management of American publisher Horace Everett Hooper. Hugh Chisholm, who had edited the previous edition, was appointed editor in chief, with Walter Alison Phillips as his principal assistant editor. Hooper bought the rights to the 25-volume 9th edition and persuaded the British newspaper The Times to issue its reprint, with eleven additional volumes as the tenth edition, published in 1902.
Hooper's association with The Times ceased in 1909, he negotiated with the Cambridge University Press to publish the 29-volume eleventh edition. Though it is perceived as a quintessentially British work, the eleventh edition had substantial American influences, not only in the increased amount of American and Canadian content, but in the efforts made to make it more popular. American marketing methods assisted sales; some 14% of the contributors were from North America, a New York office was established to coordinate their work. The initials of the encyclopedia's contributors appear at the end of selected articles or at the end of a section in the case of longer articles, such as that on China, a key is given in each volume to these initials; some articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time, such as Edmund Gosse, J. B. Bury, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Peter Kropotkin, T. H. Huxley, James Hopwood Jeans and William Michael Rossetti. Among the lesser-known contributors were some who would become distinguished, such as Ernest Rutherford and Bertrand Russell.
Many articles were carried over from some with minimal updating. Some of the book-length articles were divided into smaller parts for easier reference, yet others much abridged; the best-known authors contributed only a single article or part of an article. Most of the work was done by British Museum scholars and other scholars; the 1911 edition was the first edition of the encyclopædia to include more than just a handful of female contributors, with 34 women contributing articles to the edition. The eleventh edition introduced a number of changes of the format of the Britannica, it was the first to be published complete, instead of the previous method of volumes being released as they were ready. The print type was subject to continual updating until publication, it was the first edition of Britannica to be issued with a comprehensive index volume in, added a categorical index, where like topics were listed. It was the first not to include long treatise-length articles. Though the overall length of the work was about the same as that of its predecessor, the number of articles had increased from 17,000 to 40,000.
It was the first edition of Britannica to include biographies of living people. Sixteen maps of the famous 9th edition of Stielers Handatlas were translated to English, converted to Imperial units, printed in Gotha, Germany by Justus Perthes and became part this edition. Editions only included Perthes' great maps as low quality reproductions. According to Coleman and Simmons, the content of the encyclopedia was distributed as follows: Hooper sold the rights to Sears Roebuck of Chicago in 1920, completing the Britannica's transition to becoming a American publication. In 1922, an additional three volumes, were published, covering the events of the intervening years, including World War I. These, together with a reprint of the eleventh edition, formed the twelfth edition of the work. A similar thirteenth edition, consisting of three volumes plus a reprint of the twelfth edition, was published in 1926, so the twelfth and thirteenth editions were related to the eleventh edition and shared much of the same content.
However, it became apparent that a more thorough update of the work was required. The fourteenth edition, published in 1929, was revised, with much text eliminated or abridged to make room for new topics; the eleventh edition was the basis of every version of the Encyclopædia Britannica until the new fifteenth edition was published in 1974, using modern information presentation. The eleventh edition's articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars as a cultural artifact: the British Empire was at its maximum, imperialism was unchallenged, much of the world was still ruled by monarchs, the tragedy of the modern world wars was still in the future, they are an invaluable resource for topics omitted from modern encyclopedias for biography and the history of science and technology. As a literary text, the encyclopedia has value as an example of early 20th-century prose. For example, it employs literary devices, such as pathetic fallacy, which are not as common in modern reference texts.
In 1917, using the pseudonym of S. S. Van Dine, the US art critic and author Willard Huntington Wright published Misinforming a Nation, a 200+
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Avolsheim is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Avolsheimoises; the commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. Avolsheim is located some 22 km west by 18 km north of Obernai. Access to the commune is by the D422 from Odratzheim in the north which passes through the centre of the commune and the town and continues south to Molsheim; the D127 goes east from the town to Dachstein. Apart from the significant sized urban area the commune is mixed farmland; the Bruche river flows north through the east of the commune and abruptly turns right near the northern border of the commune before continuing east to join a branch of the Rhine at Strasbourg. The Mossig river flows from the north-west forming the northern border of the commune before joining the Bruche; the first written record of the name of a village in the current commune dates from the year 788 and is called Hunzolfesheim.
It was found in 1051 spelled Avelsheim Afelsheim in 1350 with a dialectal form Âfelse. In 1496 it was written Afeltzheim and in 1589 Avelssheim again but with two "s". Since the village has had its present name and its spelling has not changed; the prefix offe was the origin of the name Avolsheim and therefore means "Open Town". It is possible that this name was given to the village since it was devoid of walls, which in the Middle Ages was rare. There is an old local saying in dialect: Es steht offe wie Âfelse suggesting that at one time the steeple at Avolsheim, which remained so long in ruins so was "open to the sky", that this could have been the origin of its name; this argument, with the previous one, are confirmed by the popular phrase, Fescht wie Landau un Offe wie Âfelse meaning "A Fort like Landau or open like Avolsheim". Avolsheim is located on the Gallo-Roman road linking Molsheim to Saverne. Many objects dating from this period were excavated in 1930. In the 10th century the area had two distinct hamlets: Avelsheim one hand, corresponding to the current village, Tumpfieter, Dompieter, or Domphietenheim, a village consisting of a group of a few farms and a mill located at a church called the Dompeter.
The last mention of this hamlet was in the 16th century. It died as a village by the end of the same century. For some historians doubt remains: it may have disappeared in the 17th century, its destruction following the Siege of Dachstein by the armies of Turenne. According to the papal bull of Leo IX in 1051 Avolsheim, including the Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey, was part of the possessions of the bishopric of Strasbourg. Avolsheim was put in vassalage to the Counts of Ostoffen to von Murnhart in 1384, remained with von Beger until 1521. From 1534 until the Revolution, the area was a fief of the dignitaries of the diocese; the village has been linked to the sub-prefecture of Molsheim since the Revolution. Avolsheim was once on the Sélestat to Saverne railway line before the section from Molsheim to Saverne was removed in 1967 and replaced with a bicycle path. List of Successive Mayors In 2010 the commune had 728 inhabitants; the evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793.
From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The commune has many buildings that are registered as historical monuments: A Vineyard Farmhouse at 3 Rue de la Boucherie A Vineyard Farmhouse at 4 Rue de Dompeter The Audéoud House or Maison des Soeurs at 1 place de l'Ecole A Stonemason's House at 2 place de l'Ecole A Vineyard Farmhouse at 4 Place de l'Eglise A Guardhouse at 16 Rue de la Paix A Vineyard Farmhouse at 2 Rue de la Paix A Boatman's House at 5 Rue de la Paix A former Presbytery now Town Hall at 8 Rue de la Paix A Fisherman's House at 9 Rue de la Paix A Stonemason's House at 2 bis Rue Saint-Ullrich A Farmhouse at 5 Route du Vin Houses and FarmsOther sites of interestThe Avolsheim Dam was built in 1682 on the Bruche Canal, built by Vauban; this canal was used to transport blocks of sandstone to Strasbourg from quarries at Soultz-les-Bains and Wolxheim which were necessary for the construction of the Citadel of Strasbourg.
This dam enabled the keeping of the water level high enough to supply the canal located a little further down. The commune has two religious buildings that are registered as historical monuments: The Chapel of Saint-Ullrich; the original building dates back to the end of the 10th century. In 1774 the chapel was transformed to become the new church adopting the facade, seen today; the chapel consists of an original Tetraconch, the oldest still existing in Alsace located along the ancient Roman road in the foothills of the Vosges. Taking the form of a clover leaf covered by a dome, the chapel is surmounted by an unusual octagonal tower. In 1774 a church was built next to the chapel to replace the Dompeter, too far away; the church was demolished in 1911 because the building was too small. The central dome and mural paintings were revealed in 1968; the chapel contains two items that are registered as historical objects: A Monumental Painting An Altar (18
Grand Est Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, is an administrative region in eastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform, passed by the French legislature in 2014. Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order. France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016; the administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg. The provisional name of the region was Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, formed by combining the names of the three present regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—in alphabetical order with hyphens; the formula for the provisional name of the region was established by the territorial reform law and applied to all but one of the provisional names for new regions. The ACAL regional council, elected in December 2015, was given the task of choosing a name for the region and submitting it to the Conseil d'État—France's highest authority for administrative law—by 1 July 2016 for approval.
The provisional name of the region was retired on 30 September 2016, when the new name of the region, Grand Est, took effect. In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet. Like the name Région Hauts-de-France, the name Région Grand Est contains no reference whatsoever to the area's history or identity, but describes its geographical location within metropolitan France. In a poll conducted in November 2014 by France 3 in Champagne-Ardenne, Grand Est and Austrasie were the top two names among 25 candidates and 4,701 votes. Grand Est topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Républicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes; the names which received a moderate amount of discussion were: Grand Est français, a term used to refer to the northeast quarter of Metropolitan France, although this term refers to a geographic region larger than just ACAL. The term has been used and topped the polls mentioned above. Grand Est Europe, a variant of Grand Est that alludes to the region being a gateway to Europe both through trade and since Strasbourg is home to several European institutions.
However, the name was mocked for. Austrasie, which refers to an historical region spanning parts of present-day northeast France, the Benelux, northwest Germany. Quatre frontières. Grand Est is the sixth-largest of the regions of France. Grand Est borders four countries—Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland—along its northern and eastern sides, it is the only French region to border more than two countries. To the west and south, it borders the French regions Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Grand Est contains ten departments: Ardennes, Bas-Rhin, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges; the main ranges in the region include the Vosges to the Ardennes to the north. The region is bordered on the east by the Rhine. Other major rivers which flow through the region include the Meuse, Marne, Saône. Lakes in the region include lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock and lac de Pierre-Percée.
Grand Est climate depends of the proximity of the sea. In Champagne and Western Lorraine, the climate is oceanic, with mild summers, but Moselle and Alsace climates are humid continental, characterized by cold winters with frequent days below the freezing point, hot summers, with many days with temperatures up to 32°C. Grand Est is the result of territorial reform legislation passed in 2014 by the French Parliament to reduce the number of regions in Metropolitan France—the part of France in continental Europe—from 22 to 13. ACAL is the merger of three regions: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine; the merger has been, still is opposed by some groups in Alsace, a large majority of Alsatians. The territorial reform law allows new regions to choose the seat of the regional councils, but made Strasbourg the seat of the Grand Est regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians; the region has an official population of 5,555,186. The regional council has limited administrative authority concerning the promotion of the region's economy and financing educational and cultural activities.
The regional council has no legislative authority. The seat of the regional council will be Strasbourg; the regional council, elected in December 2015, is controlled by The Republicans. The elected inaugural president of the Grand Est Regional Council is Philippe Richert, the President of the Alsace Regional Council; the current president is Jean Rottner. The region has five tram networks: Strasbourg tramway Reims tramway Nancy Guided Light Transit Mulhouse tramway Saarbahn The region has four airports: EuroAirport Basel M
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine