Alsace-Lorraine
Overview
 
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine ' onMouseout='HidePop("82036")' href="/topics/Lotharingia">Lothringen
Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland.
Encyclopedia
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine ' onMouseout='HidePop("82036")' href="/topics/Lotharingia">Lothringen
Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

) was a territory created by the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and the Moselle region of Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east of the Vosges Mountains
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

. The Lorraine section was in the upper Moselle valley
Moselle valley
The Moselle valley is a region in north-eastern France, south-western Germany, and eastern Luxembourg, centred on the river valley formed by the Moselle...

 to the north of the Vosges Mountains.

These territories had become part of Eastern Francia
Eastern Francia
East Francia , also known as the Kingdom of the East Franks or Francia Orientalis, was the realm allotted to Louis the German by the 843 Treaty of Verdun...

 in 921 during the reign of King Henry I
Henry I
Henry I may refer to:* Henry I the Fowler, King of Germany * Henry I, Duke of Bavaria * Henry I of Austria, Margrave of Austria * Henry I of France * Henry I, Margrave of the Saxon Ostmark...

, and later were included in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Their population spoke Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 and Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 dialects. Those in Alsace spoke mostly Germanic dialects, in particular Alsatian
Alsatian language
Alsatian is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken in most of Alsace, a region in eastern France which has passed between French and German control many times.-Language family:...

, an Alemannic German
Alemannic German
Alemannic is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy...

 dialect similar to that spoken on the opposite bank of the Rhine, while those in Lorraine were divided roughly equally between those who spoke the Romance Lorrain
Lorrain language
Lorrain is a language spoken by a minority of people in Lorraine in France and in Gaume in Belgium. It is one of the Langues d'oïl. It is classified as a regional language of France, and has the recognised status of a regional language of Wallonia...

 dialect and those who spoke Franconian German
West Central German
West Central German belongs to the Central, High German dialect family in the German language. Its dialects are thoroughly Franconian including the following sub-families:* Central Franconian...

 dialects. The area had gradually become part of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 between 1552, when Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

 was ceded to the Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was one of the most powerful states to exist in Europe during the second millennium.It originated from the Western portion of the Frankish empire, and consolidated significant power and influence over the next thousand years. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, developed a...

, and 1798, when the Republic of Mulhouse
Mulhouse
Mulhouse |mill]] hamlet) is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 110,514 and 278,206 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2006, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, and the second largest in the Alsace region after...

 joined the French Republic. After the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870, the area was annexed by the newly created German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871 by the Treaty of Frankfurt
Treaty of Frankfurt (1871)
The Treaty of Frankfurt was a peace treaty signed in Frankfurt on 10 May 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.- Summary :The treaty did the following:...

 and became a Reichsland.

French troops entered Alsace-Lorraine in November 1918 at the end of the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

; the territory reverted to France at the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 of 1919.

The area was de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

annexed by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in 1940 (although no official de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

annexation took place). It reverted to France in 1944-1945 at the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 with the defeat of Germany and it has remained a part of France since.

In 1871, the Reichsland of Elsaß-Lothringen was made up of 93% of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 (7% remained French) and 26% of Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 (74% remained French). For historical reasons, specific legal dispositions are still applied in the territory in form of a local law. In relation to its special legal status, since its reversion to France following World War I, the territory has been referred to administratively as Alsace-Moselle.

Geography

The Imperial Province of Alsace-Lorraine had a land area of 14496 km² (5,596.9 sq mi). Its capital was Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

. It was divided in three districts (Bezirke in German):
  • Upper Alsace (Oberelsaß), whose capital was Colmar
    Colmar
    Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....

    , had a land area of 3,525 km² and corresponds exactly to the current department of Haut-Rhin
    Haut-Rhin
    Haut-Rhin is a département of the Alsace region of France, named after the Rhine river. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departements of Alsace, although is still densely populated compared to the rest of France.-Subdivisions:The department...

    .
  • Lower Alsace (Unterelsaß), whose capital was Strasbourg
    Strasbourg
    Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

    , had a land area of 4,755 km² and corresponds exactly to the current department of Bas-Rhin
    Bas-Rhin
    Bas-Rhin is a department of France. The name means "Lower Rhine". It is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the Alsace region, with 1,079,013 inhabitants in 2006.- History :...

    .
  • Lorraine (Lothringen), whose capital was Metz
    Metz
    Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

    , had a land area of 6,216 km² and corresponds exactly to the current department of Moselle
    Moselle
    Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

    .

Towns and cities

The largest urban areas in Alsace-Lorraine at the 1910 census were:
  • Strasbourg
    Strasbourg
    Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

     (Straßburg): 220,883 inhabitants
  • Mulhouse
    Mulhouse
    Mulhouse |mill]] hamlet) is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 110,514 and 278,206 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2006, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, and the second largest in the Alsace region after...

     (Mülhausen): 128,190 inhabitants
  • Metz
    Metz
    Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

    : 102,787 inhabitants
  • Thionville
    Thionville
    Thionville , is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. The city is located on the left bank of the river Moselle, opposite its suburb Yutz.-Demographics:...

     (Diedenhofen): 69,693 inhabitants
  • Colmar
    Colmar
    Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....

     (Kolmar): 44,942 inhabitants

Ancient and medieval history

Always closely tied to the Rhine River, which forms its eastern boundary, Alsace has been a border region for most of its history. It was first conquered by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in the first century BC and remained a part of the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 province of Prima Germania for the following six centuries. The region was conquered by the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe, in the fifth century AD and then by Clovis
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

 and the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in 496. Under his Merovingian successors, the inhabitants were Christianized.

In the ninth century, this region became part of the heartland of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 (Charles the Great). When Charlemagne's grandsons divided his empire at the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

 of 843, the region was in the middle of Lorraine (Lotharingia), part of a narrow middle strip granted to Lothar with German- and French-speaking kingdoms to either side. Buffeted on both sides, the new kingdom did not last long and the region that was to become Alsace fell to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 as part of the duchy of Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 in the Treaty of Meersen in 870. At about this time the entire region began to fragment into secular and ecclesiastical lordships, a situation that lasted into the 17th century and was a common process in Europe.

One of the most powerful secular families of Swabia was that of the Staufen or Hohenstaufen. In 1152, this family placed its leading member on the German throne as Friedrich I Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

. Frederick was instrumental in the recovery of the monarchy from its dissipation following the Investiture Contest
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

. Part of the reason was his policy of building up imperial lands in support of the monarchy and in 1212, Alsace was organized for the first time as we know it today as one of those lands. Frederick set up Alsace as a province (though not provincia but procuratio was used) to be ruled by ministeriales, a non-noble class of civil servants. The idea was that such men would be more tractable and less likely to alienate the fief from the crown out of their own greed. The province had a single provincial court (Landgericht) and a central administration, with its seat at Haguenau
Haguenau
-Economy:The town has a well balanced economy. Centuries of troubled history in the buffer lands between France and Germany have bequeathed to Haguenau a rich historical and cultural heritage which supports a lively tourist trade. There is also a thriving light manufacturing sector centred on the...

.

During his reign, Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 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 Friedrich's son Conrad IV
Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

. Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, which had been an episcopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 since the fourth century, began to grow, becoming the most populous and commercially important town in the region. In 1262, after a long struggle with the ruling bishops, its citizens gained for it 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
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, England and Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, it became the political and economic center of the region. Cities such as Colmar
Colmar
Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....

 and Haguenau
Haguenau
-Economy:The town has a well balanced economy. Centuries of troubled history in the buffer lands between France and Germany have bequeathed to Haguenau a rich historical and cultural heritage which supports a lively tourist trade. There is also a thriving light manufacturing sector centred on the...

 also began to grow in economic importance and gained a kind of autonomy within the "Decapole" or "Dekapolis", a federation of ten free towns.

Around this time, German central power declined following years of imperial adventures in Italian lands, which ceded hegemony in Europe to France, long a centralized power. Now France began an aggressive policy of expanding eastward, first to the Rhône
Rhône River
The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in Switzerland and running from there through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone and the Little Rhone...

 and Meuse
Meuse
Meuse is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse.-History:Meuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 Rivers, and when those borders were reached, to the Rhine. In 1299, France even proposed a marriage alliance between Philip IV of France
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

's sister and Albrecht of Austria
Albert I of Germany
Albert I of Habsburg was King of the Romans and Duke of Austria, the eldest son of German King Rudolph I of Habsburg and his first wife Gertrude of Hohenburg.-Life:...

's son, with Alsace to be the dowry; however, the deal never materialized. In 1307, the town of Belfort
Belfort
Belfort is a commune in the Territoire de Belfort department in Franche-Comté in northeastern France and is the prefecture of the department. It is located on the Savoureuse, on the strategically important natural route between the Rhine and the Rhône – the Belfort Gap or Burgundian Gate .-...

 was first chartered by the counts of Montbéliard
Montbéliard
Montbéliard is a city in the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France. It is one of the two subprefectures of the department.-History:...

.

During the next century, France was militarily shattered by the Hundred Years War with England, which prevented for a time any further tendencies in this direction. After the conclusion of the war, France was again free to pursue its desire to reach the Rhine, and in 1444 a French army appeared in Lorraine and Alsace, where it took up winter quarters, demanded the submission of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

 and Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, and launched an attack on Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

.

Modern history

In 1469, following the Treaty of St. Omer, Upper Alsace was sold by Duke Sigismund of Habsburg to Charles of Burgundy who also ruled over the Netherlands and Burgundy. Although Charles was the nominal landlord, taxes were paid to the German Emperor. The Emperor was able to use this tax and a dynastic marriage to regain full control of Upper Alsace (apart from the free towns, but including Belfort) in 1477 when it became part of the particular demesne of the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 family, who were the hereditary rulers of the Empire. Later, in 1515, the town of Mulhouse
Mulhouse
Mulhouse |mill]] hamlet) is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 110,514 and 278,206 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2006, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, and the second largest in the Alsace region after...

 joined the Swiss Confederation, where it remained until 1798.

By the time of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 in the 16th century, Strasbourg was a prosperous community, and its inhabitants accepted Protestantism at an early date (1523). The reformer Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer was a Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Bucer was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but after meeting and being influenced by Martin Luther in 1518 he arranged for his monastic vows to be annulled...

 was a prominent Protestant reformer in the region. His efforts were countered by the Roman Catholic Habsburgs who tried to eradicate Protestant heresy in Upper Alsace. As a result, Alsace was transformed into a mosaic of Catholic and Protestant territories.

This situation prevailed until 1639, when most of Alsace was conquered by France to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Spanish Habsburgs who wanted a clear road to their valuable and rebellious possessions in the Netherlands. This occurred in the context of the Thirty Years War. So, in 1646, beset by enemies and to gain a free hand in Hungary, the Habsburgs sold their Sundgau territory (mostly in Upper Alsace) to France, for the sum of 1.2 million thaler
Thaler
The Thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in various currencies as the dollar or tolar. Etymologically, "Thaler" is an abbreviation of "Joachimsthaler", a coin type from the city of Joachimsthal in Bohemia, where some of the first such...

s. Thus, when the hostilities ceased in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia, most of Alsace went to France with some towns remaining independent. The treaty stipulations regarding Alsace were extremely confusing; it is thought that this was done purposely so that neither the French king nor the German Emperor could gain tight control, but that one would play off the other, thereby assuring Alsace some measure of autonomy. Supporters of this theory point out that the treaty stipulations were authored by Imperial plenipotentiary Isaac Volmar, the former chancellor of Alsace.

The Thirty Years War (1618–1648) had been one of the worst periods in the history of Alsace and other parts of Southern Germany. It caused large numbers of the population (mainly in the countryside) to die or to flee when the land was successively invaded and devastated by many armies (Imperials, Swedes, French, etc.). After 1648 and until the mid-18th century, numerous immigrants arrived from Switzerland, Germany, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Lorraine, Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

 and other areas. Between 1671 and 1711, Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 refugees came from Switzerland, especially from Bern. Strasbourg became a center of the early Anabaptist movement.

France consolidated its hold on Alsace with the 1679 Treaties of Nijmegen
Treaties of Nijmegen
The Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen were a series of treaties signed in the Dutch city of Nijmegen between August 1678 and December 1679...

, which brought the towns under its control. In 1681, France occupied Strasbourg in an unprovoked action. These territorial changes were reinforced at the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick
Treaty of Ryswick
The Treaty of Ryswick or Ryswyck was signed on 20 September 1697 and named after Ryswick in the Dutch Republic. The treaty settled the Nine Years' War, which pitted France against the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Provinces.Negotiations started in May...

 which ended the War of the Palatinate (also known as the War of the Grand Alliance or War of the League of Augsburg), although the Holy Roman Empire did not accept and sign the document until 1697. Thus was Alsace drawn into the orbit of France. However, Alsace had a somewhat exceptional position in the kingdom. The German language was still used in local government, school and education and the German (Lutheran) university of Strasbourg was attended by students from Germany. The Edict of Fontainebleau
Edict of Fontainebleau
The Edict of Fontainebleau was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes of 1598, had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state...

, which legalized the brutal suppression of French Protestantism, was not applied in Alsace, and in contrast to the rest of France there was a relative religious tolerance (although the French authorities tried to promote Catholicism and the Lutheran Strasbourg Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely consideredSusan Bernstein: , The Johns Hopkins University Press to be among the finest...

 had to be handed over to the Catholics in 1681). There was a customs boundary along the Vosges mountains
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

 against the rest of France, while there was no such boundary against Germany. For these reasons Alsace remained culturally and economically oriented towards Germany until the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

.

The year 1789 brought the French Revolution and with it the first division of Alsace into the départements of Haut-
Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin is a département of the Alsace region of France, named after the Rhine river. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departements of Alsace, although is still densely populated compared to the rest of France.-Subdivisions:The department...

 and Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin is a department of France. The name means "Lower Rhine". It is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the Alsace region, with 1,079,013 inhabitants in 2006.- History :...

. Alsatians played an active role in the French Revolution. On July 21, 1789, after receiving news of the Storming of the Bastille
Storming of the Bastille
The storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris on the morning of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. While the prison only contained seven inmates at the time of its storming, its fall was the flashpoint...

 in Paris, a crowd stormed the Strasbourg city hall, forcing the city administrators to flee and putting a symbolic end to the feudal system in Alsace. In 1792, Rouget de Lisle
Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle , was a French Army officer of the Revolutionary Wars. He is known for writing the words and music of the Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin in 1792, which would later be known as La Marseillaise and become the French national anthem.- Biography :Rouget de Lisle was...

 composed in Strasbourg the Revolutionary marching song "La Marseillaise
La Marseillaise
"La Marseillaise" is the national anthem of France. The song, originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" was written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795...

", which later became the anthem of France. "La Marseillaise" was played for the first time in April of that year in front of the mayor of Strasbourg Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich. Some of the most famous generals of the French Revolution also came from Alsace, notably Kellermann
François Christophe Kellermann
François Christophe Kellermann or de Kellermann, 1st Duc de Valmy was a French military commander, later the Général d'Armée, and a Marshal of France...

, the victor of Valmy
Battle of Valmy
The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the French Revolution. The action took place on 20 September 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris...

, and Kléber
Jean Baptiste Kléber
Jean Baptiste Kléber was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. His military career started in Habsburg service, but his plebeian ancestry hindered his opportunities...

, who led the armies of the French Republic in Vendée
Revolt in the Vendée
The War in the Vendée was a Royalist rebellion and counterrevolution in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. The uprising was closely tied to the Chouannerie, which took place in...

.

At the same time, some Alsatians were in opposition to the Jacobins
Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin , in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques ,...

 and sympathetic to the invading forces of Austria
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 and Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 who sought to crush the nascent revolutionary republic. Many of the residents of the Sundgau
Sundgau
Sundgau is a geographical territory on the eastern edge of France that was once a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. The name Sundgau derives from Alemannic German, which means "South County" ....

 made "pilgrimages" to places like Mariastein Abbey
Mariastein Abbey
Mariastein Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Metzerlen-Mariastein in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland.Mariastein, after Einsiedeln, is the second most important place of pilgrimage in Switzerland. Over the Chapel of Grace now stands a late Gothic three-aisled basilica...

, near Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

, in Switzerland, for baptisms and weddings. When the French Revolutionary Army
French Revolutionary Army
The French Revolutionary Army is the term used to refer to the military of France during the period between the fall of the ancien regime under Louis XVI in 1792 and the formation of the First French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. These armies were characterised by their revolutionary...

 of the Rhine was victorious, tens of thousands fled east before it. When they were later permitted to return (in some cases not until 1799), it was often to find that their lands and homes had been confiscated. These conditions led to emigration by hundreds of families to newly vacant lands in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1803-4 and again in 1808. A poignant retelling of this tale based on what he had himself witnessed can be found in Goethe's
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 Hermann und Dorothea.

In response to the restoration of Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, in 1814 and 1815, Alsace was occupied by foreign forces, including over 280,000 soldiers and 90,000 horses in Bas-Rhin alone. This had grave effects on trade and the economy of the region, since former overland trade routes were switched to newly opened Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 and Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 seaports.

The population grew rapidly, from 800,000 in 1814 to 914,000 in 1830 and 1,067,000 in 1846. The combination of factors meant hunger, housing shortages and a lack of work for young people. Thus, it is not surprising that people left Alsace, not only to Paris, where the Alsatian community grew in numbers, with famous members such as Baron Haussmann
Baron Haussmann
Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann , was a French civic planner whose name is associated with the rebuilding of Paris...

, but also to far away places like Russia and the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 to take advantage of new opportunities offered there. Austria had conquered lands in Eastern Europe from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and offered generous terms for colonists in order to consolidate their hold on the lands. Many Alsatians also began to sail for the United States and Canada.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871

The newly created German Empire's
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 demand of territory from France in the aftermath of its victory in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 was not simply a punitive measure. The transfer was controversial even amongst the Germans themselves - German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 was strongly opposed to a transfer of territory that he knew would provoke permanent French enmity towards the new state. However, German Emperor
German Emperor
This article is about the emperors of the German Empire. For full list of German monarchs before 1871, see List of German monarchs.The German Emperor was the official title of the Head of State and ruler of the German Empire, beginning with the proclamation of Wilhelm I as emperor during the...

 Wilhelm I eventually sided with Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field...

 and other Prussian generals and others who argued that a westward shift in the new Franco-German border was necessary and desirable for a number of reasons. From a nationalistic
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 perspective, the transfer seemed justified, since most of the lands that were annexed were populated by people who spoke Alemannic German
Alemannic German
Alemannic is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy...

 dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s. From a military perspective, shifting the Franco-German frontier away from the Rhine would give the Germans a strategic advantage over the French, especially by early 1870s military standards and thinking. Indeed, thanks to this annexation, the Germans took control of the fortifications of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

, which was at the time a French-speaking town, and also of most of the iron resources available in the region.

However, domestic politics of the new Empire might have been the decisive factor. Although it was effectively led by Prussia, the German Empire was a new and highly decentralized creation. The new arrangement left many senior Prussian generals with serious misgivings about leading diverse military forces to guard a pre-war frontier that, except for the northernmost section was part of two other states of the new Empire – Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

 and Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

. As recently as the 1866 Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

, these states had been Prussia's enemies. Both states, but especially Bavaria had been given substantial concessions with regards to local autonomy in the new Empire's constitution, including a great deal of autonomy over military matters. For this reason, the Prussian General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

 argued that it was prudent and necessary that the new Empire's frontier with France be under their direct control. Creating a new Imperial Territory (Reichsland) out of formerly French territory would achieve this goal: although a Reichsland would not be part of the Kingdom of Prussia, being governed directly from Berlin it would be under Prussian control. Thus, by annexing territory, Berlin was able to avoid delicate negotiations with Baden and Bavaria on such matters as construction and control of new fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

s, etc. The governments of Baden and Bavaria, naturally, were in favour of moving the French border away from their territories.

It is important to note that memories of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 were still quite fresh in the 1870s. Right up until the Franco-Prussian War, the French had maintained a long-standing desire to establish their entire eastern frontier on the Rhine, and thus they were viewed by most 19th century Germans as an aggressive, war-mongering people. In the years prior to 1870, it is arguable that the Germans feared the French more than the French feared the Germans. Many Germans at the time thought creation of the new Empire in itself would be enough to earn permanent French enmity
French-German enmity
French–German hereditary enmity is the idea of unavoidably hostile relations and mutual revanchism between Germany and France that became popular with the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871...

, and thus desired a defensible border with their old enemy. Any additional enmity that would be earned from territorial concessions was downplayed as marginal and insignificant in the overall scheme of things.
The annexed area consisted of the northern part of Lorraine, along with Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

. The town of Belfort
Belfort
Belfort is a commune in the Territoire de Belfort department in Franche-Comté in northeastern France and is the prefecture of the department. It is located on the Savoureuse, on the strategically important natural route between the Rhine and the Rhône – the Belfort Gap or Burgundian Gate .-...

 and the area around it (now the French département of Territoire de Belfort
Territoire de Belfort
The Territoire de Belfort is a department in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.-Administration:Its departmental code is 90, and its prefecture is Belfort...

) were generally unaffected, because their inhabitants were predominantly native French speakers and because Belfort has been heroically defended
Siege of Belfort
The Siege of Belfort was a 103-day military assault and blockade of the city of Belfort, France by Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War...

 by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau
Pierre Philippe Denfert-Rochereau
Pierre Philippe Marie Aristide Denfert-Rochereau, , was a French serviceman and politician...

, who surrendered only after receiving orders from Paris. The town of Montbéliard
Montbéliard
Montbéliard is a city in the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France. It is one of the two subprefectures of the department.-History:...

 and its surrounding area to the south of Belfort, which have been part of the Doubs department since 1816, and therefore were not considered part of Alsace, were not included, despite the fact that they were a Protestant enclave, as it belonged to Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

 from 1397 to 1806. This area corresponded to the French départements of Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin is a department of France. The name means "Lower Rhine". It is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the Alsace region, with 1,079,013 inhabitants in 2006.- History :...

 (in its entirety), Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin is a département of the Alsace region of France, named after the Rhine river. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departements of Alsace, although is still densely populated compared to the rest of France.-Subdivisions:The department...

 (except the area of Belfort and Montbéliard), and a small area in the northeast of the Vosges
Vosges
Vosges is a French department, named after the local mountain range. It contains the hometown of Joan of Arc, Domrémy.-History:The Vosges department is one of the original 83 departments of France, created on February 9, 1790 during the French Revolution. It was made of territories that had been...

 département, all of which made up Alsace, and the départements of Moselle
Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 (four-fifths of it) and the northwest of Meurthe
Meurthe
Meurthe is a former département of France. Its préfecture was Nancy. It ceased to exist following the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany in 1871.-General characteristics:...

 (one-third of Meurthe), which were the eastern part of Lorraine.

The remaining département of Meurthe was joined with the westernmost part of Moselle which had escaped German annexation to form the new département of Meurthe-et-Moselle
Meurthe-et-Moselle
Meurthe-et-Moselle is a department in the Lorraine region of France, named after the Meurthe and Moselle rivers.- History :Meurthe-et-Moselle was created in 1871 at the end of the Franco-Prussian War from the parts of the former departments of Moselle and Meurthe which remained French...

.
The new border between France and Germany mainly followed the geolinguistic divide between Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 and Germanic dialects, except in a few valleys of the Alsatian side of the Vosges mountains
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

, the city of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

 and in the area of Château-Salins
Château-Salins
Château-Salins is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.-See also:*Communes of the Moselle department...

 (formerly in the Meurthe département), which were annexed by Germany despite the fact that people there spoke French. In 1900, 11.6% of the population of Alsace-Lorraine spoke French as mother language (11.0% in 1905, 10.9% in 1910).
The fact that small francophone areas were affected was used in France to denounce the new border as hypocrisy, since Germany had justified them by the native Germanic dialects and culture of the inhabitants, which was true for the majority of Alsace-Lorraine. However, the German administration was tolerant of the use of the French language, and French was permitted as an official language and school language in those areas where it was spoken by a majority (this relatively tolerant policy contrasted with the policy of French authorities against the use of German after World War I).

The Treaty of Frankfurt
Treaty of Frankfurt (1871)
The Treaty of Frankfurt was a peace treaty signed in Frankfurt on 10 May 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.- Summary :The treaty did the following:...

 gave the residents of the region until October 1, 1872 to choose between emigrating to France or remaining in the region and having their nationality legally changed to German. By 1876, about 100,000 or 5% of the residents of Alsace-Lorraine had emigrated to France.

The "being French" feeling stayed strong at least during the first sixteen years of the annexation. During the Reichstag elections, the fifteen deputies of 1874, 1881, 1884 (but one) and 1887 were called protester deputies (fr: députés protestataires) because they expressed to the Parliament their opposition to the annexation by means of the 1874 motion in French language: « May it please the Reichstag to decide that the populations of Alsace-Lorraine that were annexed, without having been consulted, to the Germanic Empire by the treaty of Frankfurt have to come out particularly about this annexation. »

Under the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 of 1871-1918, the territory constituted the Reichsland or Imperial Province of Elsass-Lothringen. The area was administered directly by the imperial government in Berlin and was granted some measure of autonomy in 1911. This included its own flag, and the Elsässisches Fahnenlied
Elsässisches Fahnenlied
The Elsässisches Fahnenlied was written by Emil Woerth in German when Alsace was part of the German Empire...

 as its anthem. The infamous Saverne Affair
Saverne Affair
The Saverne Affair was a crisis of domestic policy which occurred in the German Empire at the end of 1913. It was caused by political unrest in Saverne in Alsace, where two battalions of Prussian Infantry Regiment 99 were garrisoned, after a second lieutenant insulted the Alsatian population...

 (1913), however, showed that this status was of no high value in the eyes of the Berlin government.

Reichstag election results 1874-1912

|- align="center"
!
!1874
!1877
!1878
!1881
!1884
!1887
!1890
!1893
!1898
!1903
!1907
!1912
|-
! align="left" | Inhabitants (in 1,000)
|1550
|1532
|
|1567
|
|1564
|
|1604
|1641
|1719
|1815
|1874
|-
! align="left" | Eligible voters (in %)
|20.6
|21.6
|21.0
|19.9
|19.5
|20.1
|20.3
|20.3
|21.0
|21.7
|21.9
|22.3
|-
! align="left" | Turnout (in %)
|76.5
|64.2
|64.1
|54.2
|54.7
|83.3
|60.4
|76.4
|67.8
|77.3
|87.3
|84.9
|-
! align="left" | Conservatives
German Conservative Party
The German Conservative Party was a right-wing political party of the German Empire, founded in 1876.- Policies :It was generally seen as representing the interests of the German nobility, the East Elbian Junkers and the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union, and had its political stronghold...

 (K)
|
|0.0
|0.2
|2.8
|0.0
|
|12.5
|14.7
|10.0
|4.8
|
|
|-
! align="left" | Deutsche Reichspartei
Free Conservative Party
The Free Conservative Party was a right-wing political party in Prussia and the German Empire, which emerged from the Conservatives in the Prussian Landtag in 1866...

 (R)
|
|0.2
|12.0
|0.8
|1.5
|6.6
|7.6
|6.1
|4.1
|3.5
|2.7
|2.1
|-
! align="left" | National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Germany)
The National Liberal Party was a German political party which flourished between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by Prussian liberals who put aside their differences with Bismarck over domestic policy due to their support for his highly successful foreign policy, which resulted in the unification of...

 (N)
|2.1
|0.0
|
|1.9
|
|0.7
|11.5
|8.5
|3.6
|10.3
|
|
|-
! align="left" | Liberals
|
|
|
|0.2
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|-
! align="left" | Freeminded Union (FVg)
|
|
|
|
|0.0
|
|
|
|0.1
|6.2
|6.4
|
|-
! align="left" | Progressive People's Party
Progressive People's Party (Germany)
The Progressive People's Party was a liberal party of late Imperial Germany. It was formed in 6 March, 1910 as a merger of Freeminded People's Party, Freeminded Union, and German People's Party in order to unify the various liberal groups represented in parliament...


|
|1.4
|
|
|0.0
|
|
|1.8
|
|0.5
|
|14.0
|-
! align="left" | Centre Party (Zentrum)
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 (Z)
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|0.0
|0.6
|7.1
|31.1
|5.4
|-
! align="left" | Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (S)
|0.3
|
|0.1
|0.4
|1.8
|0.3
|10.7
|19.3
|22.7
|24.2
|23.7
|31.8
|-
! align="left" | Regional Parties (Autonomists) (Aut)
|96.9
|97.8
|87.5
|93.3
|95.9
|92.2
|56.6
|47.7
|46.9
|36.1
|30.2
|46.5
|-
! align="left" | Others
|0.7
|0.6
|0.2
|0.6
|0.8
|0.2
|1.1
|1.9
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! style="border-top:2px" | 1874
! style="border-top:2px" | 1877
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! style="border-top:2px" | 1881
! style="border-top:2px" | 1884
! style="border-top:2px" | 1887
! style="border-top:2px" | 1890
! style="border-top:2px" | 1893
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! style="border-top:2px" | 1903
! style="border-top:2px" | 1907
! style="border-top:2px" | 1912
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FVp: Progressive People's Party
Progressive People's Party (Germany)
The Progressive People's Party was a liberal party of late Imperial Germany. It was formed in 6 March, 1910 as a merger of Freeminded People's Party, Freeminded Union, and German People's Party in order to unify the various liberal groups represented in parliament...

. formed in 1910 as a merger of all leftist liberal parties.

During World War I

[Translation of Pendant la Grande Guerre]
Alsace-Lorraine, during this time, was a geo-political prize contested between the French and German powers. The increased militarization of Europe, coupled with the lack of negotiation between major powers, led to harsh and rash actions taken by both parties in respect to Alsace-Lorraine.

As soon as war was declared, both French and German sides made mistakes and insults towards Alsace-Lorraine people, who were used as pawns in the growing conflict between France and Germany.

Alsatians living in France were arrested and dragged into camps with popular French support; besides, when Frenchmen got into a village, they indiscriminately arrested people, sometimes taking old medallist veterans of 1870.
The Germans responded with worse atrocities: the Saverne Affair had convinced the high command that the whole population was intensely hostile to the German Reich and that it should be terrorized into submission.

Due to the proximity of the front, German troops confiscated homes. The German military were highly suspicious of French patriots.

Whereas German authorities usually had been relatively tolerant with the use of French, they started to develop policies aimed at reducing the influence of French. French street names in Metz, which were displayed before in both languages, were suppressed on January 14, 1915. Six months later, on July 15, 1915, German became the only official language in the region, leading to the Germanification of the towns’ names by an order of September 2, 1915.

Prohibiting the speaking of French in public further increased the exasperation of the natives, who were long accustomed to mixing their conversation with French language (see code-switching
Code-switching
In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or language variety, in conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other...

); however, the use even of one word, as innocent as "bonjour", could incur a fine.

The non-native Germans believed to show patriotism while taking part in the hunting: they had fine hearing to denounce to the police all that they heard in the cursed language.
Thus, the population was divided between an all-powerful minority and a majority which could only keep its fist in its pocket and wait for the hour of revenge.

German authorities became increasingly worried about this renewed French patriotism, as Reichslands governor stated in February 1918: "Sympathies towards France and repulsion for Germans have penetrated to a scary depth the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry".

Regarded as suspect, the Alsatian or Lorraine soldiers were sent to the Russian front where the most dangerous missions were assigned to them.
Permissions were granted to them less easily than to other German soldiers.

Even if he obtained his permission, the Alsatian-Lorraine soldier had to wait three weeks to let the local police investigate his family.

If he lived too close to the Swiss border, it was feared too much that he would try to desert and he had to remain in Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, where his family was liberally given the right to come and see him.

After World War I

See also Alsace Soviet Republic

In order to spare them possible confrontations with relatives in France, the soldiers from Alsace-Lorraine were mainly sent to the Eastern front, or the Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

.

In October 1918, the German Imperial Navy, which had spent most of the war since the Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only...

 in ports, was ordered to fight, in order to weaken the British Royal Navy for the time after the war. However, the sailors refused to obey. At that time, about 15,000 Alsatians and Lorrainers had been incorporated into the Kaiserliche Marine. Some of them joined the insurrection and the German Revolution
German Revolution
The German Revolution was the politically-driven civil conflict in Germany at the end of World War I, which resulted in the replacement of Germany's imperial government with a republic...

, and decided to rouse their homeland to revolt against the monarchy of the Emperor.

Independent Republic of Alsace-Lorraine

On 8 November 1918, the proclamation of a Soviet Republic in Bavaria
Bavarian Soviet Republic
The Bavarian Soviet Republic, also known as the Munich Soviet Republic was, as part of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the short-lived attempt to establish a socialist state in form of a council republic in the Free State of Bavaria. It sought independence from the also recently proclaimed...

 was aired in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, the capital city of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

. The next day, on November 9, thousands of demonstrators protested at the local bakers square in Strasbourg, to acclaim the first soldiers returning home from northern Germany. A train controlled by insurgents was blocked on the Kehl
Kehl
Kehl is a town in southwestern Germany in the Ortenaukreis, Baden-Württemberg. It is located on the river Rhine, directly opposite the French city of Strasbourg.-History:...

 bridge, and a loyal commander ordered to fire on the train. One insurgent was killed, but his fellows took control of the city of Kehl.

The same day, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and Philipp Scheidemann
Philipp Scheidemann
Philipp Scheidemann was a German Social Democratic politician, who proclaimed the Republic on 9 November 1918, and who became the second Chancellor of the Weimar Republic....

 declared Germany a republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 in a speech from the Reichstag
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

. As Alsace-Lorraine had been administered by Berlin and the Emperor, and had no state government and monarch like other German states, the departure of the Emperor left an even larger vacuum of power.

Similar to other areas of Germany, the former seamen established a Soldiers' Council of Strasbourg, and took control of the city. A council of workers and soldiers was then established and presided by the leader of the brewery workers' union. Their motto was: 'Neither German nor French nor neutral.'

On 11 November, the Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

 was signed, ending the war. The same day, the Diet of Strasbourg proclaimed an Independent Republic of Alsace-Lorraine. The Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

 (parliament) proclaimed itself the "National Council of Alsace-Lorraine" and the sole legal authority there. The next day, the National Council took over all functions of the Statthalter and of the Secretary of state, and proclaimed the sovereignty of Alsace-Lorraine. Eugène Ricklin
Eugène Ricklin
- Biography :Eugène Ricklin was born in Dannemarie from a sundgauvian hotelier father and an Alsatian mother, Catherine Kayser. After his secondary education in a school in Belfort, he frequented the colleges of Altkirch and Colmar...

 and Jacques Peirotes
Jacques Peirotes
Jacques Peirotes was a French politician, mayor of Strasbourg from 1919 to 1929.- Biography :The young Jacques Peirotes, son of a carpenter working at the locomotives factory of Graffenstaden, learned the job of typographer while entering into politics.Since 1900, he was editor of the Freie Presse...

 were in charge.

Independence was short-lived as the French occupied Mülhausen
Mulhouse
Mulhouse |mill]] hamlet) is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 110,514 and 278,206 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2006, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, and the second largest in the Alsace region after...

 on 17 November. They took Colmar and Metz on the next days, and, on 21 November 1918, French troops arrived in Strasbourg.

After the Republic of Alsace-Lorraine

After eleven days of independence, Alsace-Lorraine was occupied by and incorporated into France. The region lost its recently acquired autonomy, was returned to the centralised French system and divided into the départements of Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin is a département of the Alsace region of France, named after the Rhine river. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departements of Alsace, although is still densely populated compared to the rest of France.-Subdivisions:The department...

, Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin is a department of France. The name means "Lower Rhine". It is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the Alsace region, with 1,079,013 inhabitants in 2006.- History :...

 and Moselle
Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 (the same political structure as before the annexation and as created by the French Revolution, with slightly different limits).

Today, the territory enjoys laws in certain areas that are significantly different from the rest of France - these specific provisions are known as the local law.

The département Meurthe-et-Moselle
Meurthe-et-Moselle
Meurthe-et-Moselle is a department in the Lorraine region of France, named after the Meurthe and Moselle rivers.- History :Meurthe-et-Moselle was created in 1871 at the end of the Franco-Prussian War from the parts of the former departments of Moselle and Meurthe which remained French...

 was maintained even after France recovered Alsace-Lorraine in 1919. The area of Belfort became a special status area and was not reintegrated into Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin
Haut-Rhin is a département of the Alsace region of France, named after the Rhine river. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departements of Alsace, although is still densely populated compared to the rest of France.-Subdivisions:The department...

 in 1919 but instead was made a full-status département in 1922 under the name Territoire-de-Belfort.

Expulsion of Germans

The French Government immediately started a Francization
Francization
Francization or Gallicization is a process of cultural assimilation that gives a French character to a word, an ethnicity or a person.-French Colonial Empire:-Francization in the World:...

 campaign that included the forced deportation of all Germans who had settled in the area after 1870. For that purpose, the population was divided in four categories, A to D. German-language Alsatian newspapers were also suppressed.

World War II

After France was defeated in the spring of 1940, the area was administered from Berlin by the Germans until they were defeated in 1945.
During the occupation, all inhabitants of military age were subject to conscription into the German army (see Malgré-nous
Malgré-nous
The term Malgré-nous refers to men of the Alsace-Lorraine region who were forcibly conscripted into the German Wehrmacht or in the Waffen SS, during the Second World War....

), and in some cases engaged in repression against French citizens during the Second World War (see for instance the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane is a commune in the Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin region in west-central France.The original village was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company...

).

About 130,000 young men from Alsace-Lorraine were also drafted or volunteered to serve in the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 or the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

 during the Second World War, mostly on the eastern front (40,000 of them were killed or missing in action). This led to numerous problems and recriminations after the war.

Contemporary history

When Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France after the war, the fact that many young men from the area had served (mostly by force
Malgré-nous
The term Malgré-nous refers to men of the Alsace-Lorraine region who were forcibly conscripted into the German Wehrmacht or in the Waffen SS, during the Second World War....

) in the German Army, and even the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

, resulted in tensions between Alsace-Lorraine and other parts of France.

The French government pursued, in line with its traditional language policy
Language policy in France
France has one official language, the French language. The French government does not regulate the choice of language in publications by individuals but the use of French is required by law in commercial and workplace communications...

, a campaign to suppress the use of German. Both the German language as well as the local dialects Alsatian, Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian
Moselle Franconian is a group of West Central German dialects, part of the Central Franconian language area.It is spoken in the southern Rhineland and along the course of the Moselle River, from the Siegerland in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia throughout western Rhineland-Palatinate and...

, Lorraine Franconian
Lorraine Franconian
Lorraine Franconian is a designation, in practice ambiguous, for dialects of West Central German , a group of High German dialects spoken in the Moselle département in the north-eastern French region of Lorraine.The term Lorraine Franconian has multiple denotations...

 and Luxembourgish Franconian
Luxembourgish language
Luxembourgish is a High German language spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 320,000 people worldwide speak Luxembourgish.-Language family:...

 were for a time banned from public life (such as street and city names, official administration, and the educational system). Largely due to this policy, Alsace-Lorraine is today very French in language and culture. Few young people speak one of the Franconian
Franconian
Franconian may refer to:*anything related to Franconia , a historic region in Germany, now part of Bavaria, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg*Franconian languages*Franconian , a stage in North American stratigraphy...

 dialects today or Alsatian, though the closely related Alemannisch survives on the opposite bank of the Rhine, in Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, and especially in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. However, while French is the major language of the region, the Alsatian dialect, which is a German dialect, is increasingly influenced by French.

In recent times, official and private initiatives have been trying to reverse this process to preserve the area's unique Franco-German cultural heritage. For instance, French high schools students can apply to attend a specific class entitled "Langue régionale d'alsace et des pays mosellans" (Regional language of Alsace and Moselle countries). However, French officials chose in 2008 to suppress fundings for bilingual electoral propaganda, which had been existing since 1919. France is one of four nations (together with Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

, Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

, and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

) that has never signed the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was signed on February 1995 by 22 member States of the Council of Europe ....

. The convention calls for recognition, respect and protection of minority languages and is a central tenet of the founding values of modern Europe.

Demographics

Year Population Cause of change
1866 1,596,198 -
1875 1,531,804 After incorporation into the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, 100,000 to 130,000 people left for France and French Algeria
1910 1,874,014 0.58% population growth per year during 1875-1910
1921 1,709,749 Death of young men in the German army,
Deportation of German newcomers to Germany by the French authorities
1936 1,915,627 0.76% population growth per year during 1921-1936
1946 1,767,131 Death of young men in the French army in 1939-45,
Death of young men in the German army in 1942-45,
Death of civilians and many people still refugees in the rest of France
1999 2,756,931 0.84% population growth per year during 1946-1999
2008 2,877,000 0.48% population growth per year during 1999-2008

Languages

Both Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 and Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 dialects were traditionally spoken in Alsace-Lorraine before the 20th century.

Germanic dialects:
  • Central German
    Central German
    Central German is a group of High German dialects spoken from the Rhineland in the west to the former eastern territories of Germany.-History:...

     dialects:
    • Luxembourgish Franconian
      Luxembourgish language
      Luxembourgish is a High German language spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 320,000 people worldwide speak Luxembourgish.-Language family:...

       in the north-west of Moselle
      Moselle
      Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

       (Lothringen) around Thionville
      Thionville
      Thionville , is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. The city is located on the left bank of the river Moselle, opposite its suburb Yutz.-Demographics:...

       (Diddenuewen in the local Luxembourgish dialect) and Sierck-les-Bains
      Sierck-les-Bains
      Sierck-les-Bains is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.-See also:*Communes of the Moselle department...

       (Siirk in the local Luxembourgish dialect)
    • Moselle Franconian
      Moselle Franconian
      Moselle Franconian is a group of West Central German dialects, part of the Central Franconian language area.It is spoken in the southern Rhineland and along the course of the Moselle River, from the Siegerland in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia throughout western Rhineland-Palatinate and...

       in the central northern part of Moselle around Boulay-Moselle
      Boulay-Moselle
      Boulay-Moselle is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.-References:*...

       (Bolchin in the local Moselle Franconian dialect) and Bouzonville
      Bouzonville
      Bouzonville is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It lies from Metz and the same distance from Thionville.-History:...

       (Busendroff in the local Moselle Franconian dialect)
    • Rhine Franconian
      Rhine Franconian
      Rhine Franconian , or Rhenish Franconian, is a dialect family of West Central German. It comprises the German dialects spoken across the western regions of the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Hesse in Germany...

       in the north-east of Moselle around Forbach
      Forbach
      Forbach is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It is located near the German border. Population : 22,784....

       (Fuerboch in the local Rhine Franconian dialect), Bitche
      Bitche
      Bitche is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It is known for its large citadel. The surrounding territory is known as le Pays de Bitche in French and Bitscherland in German.-Geography:...

       (Bitsch in the local Rhine Franconian dialect), and Sarrebourg
      Sarrebourg
      Sarrebourg is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It lies in on the upper course of the river Sarre.It should not be confused with Saarburg in Germany....

       (Saarbuerj in the local Rhine Franconian dialect), as well as in the north-west of Alsace
      Alsace
      Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

       around Sarre-Union
      Sarre-Union
      Sarre-Union is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It consists of two older towns that were unified on 16 June 1794. On the east bank of the Sarre river is the town of Bouquenom and on the west bank the town of Ville Neuve de Sarrewerden .-References:*...

  • Transitional between Central German and Upper German:
    • South Franconian in the northernmost part of Alsace around Wissembourg
      Wissembourg
      Wissembourg is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern France.It is situated on the little River Lauter close to the border between France and Germany approximately north of Strasbourg and west of Karlsruhe. Wissembourg is a sub-prefecture of the department...

       (Waisseburch in the local South Franconian dialect)
  • Upper German
    Upper German
    Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

     dialects:
    • Alsatian
      Alsatian language
      Alsatian is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken in most of Alsace, a region in eastern France which has passed between French and German control many times.-Language family:...

       in the largest part of Alsace and in a few villages in the extreme east of Moselle. Alsatian was the most spoken dialect in Alsace-Lorraine.
    • High Alemannic in the southernmost part of Alsace, around Saint-Louis
      Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin
      Saint-Louis is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.The inhabitants are called Ludoviciens.-Geography:...

       and Ferrette
      Ferrette
      Ferrette is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is situated close to the Swiss border. Its main attraction is the Château de Ferrette.-County of Ferrette:...

       (Pfirt in the local High Alemannic dialect)


Romance dialects (belonging to the langues d'oïl
Langues d'oïl
The langues d'oïl or langues d'oui , in English the Oïl or Oui languages, are a dialect continuum that includes standard French and its closest autochthonous relatives spoken today in the northern half of France, southern Belgium, and the Channel Islands...

 like French):
  • Lorrain
    Lorrain language
    Lorrain is a language spoken by a minority of people in Lorraine in France and in Gaume in Belgium. It is one of the Langues d'oïl. It is classified as a regional language of France, and has the recognised status of a regional language of Wallonia...

     in roughly the southern half of Moselle, including its capital Metz
    Metz
    Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

    , as well as in some valleys of the Vosges Mountains
    Vosges mountains
    For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

     in the west of Alsace around Schirmeck
    Schirmeck
    Schirmeck is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.-References:*...

     and Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
    Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
    Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.-Geography:Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines nestles in the massif of the Vosges Mountains, where it occupies the beautiful V-shaped valley of the Lièpvrette...

  • Franc-Comtois in 12 villages in the extreme south-west of Alsace

See also

  • Alsace
    Alsace
    Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

  • Censorship
    Censorship
    thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

  • Cultural Assimilation
    Cultural assimilation
    Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

  • Duchy of Alsace
    Duchy of Alsace
    The Duchy of Alsace was a large political subdivision of the Frankish Empire during the last decade and a half of Merovingian rule. It corresponded to the territory of Alsace and was carved out of southern Austrasia in the last decade of the reign of Dagobert I, probably to stabilise the southern...

  • Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
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Further reading

  • Putnam, Ruth. Alsace and Lorraine from Cæsar to Kaiser, 58 B.C.-1871 A.D. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1915.
  • Roth, François. Alsace-Lorraine, De 1870 À Nos Jours: Histoire D'un "pays Perdu". Nancy: Place Stanislas, 2010. ISBN 9782355780509

External links

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