Treaty of Verdun
Overview
 
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, the son and successor 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...

, which divided 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...

 into three kingdoms. It ended the three year long Carolingian Civil War
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...

.
When Louis the Pious died in 840, his eldest son, Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

, claimed overlordship over his brothers' kingdoms and supported the claim of his nephew Pepin II
Pepin II of Aquitaine
Pepin II, called the Younger , was King of Aquitaine from 838 as the successor upon the death of his father, Pepin I. Pepin II was eldest son of Pepin I and Ingeltrude, daughter of Theodobert, count of Madrie...

 as king of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, a large province in western France. After his brother Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

 and his half-brother Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

 defeated his forces at the Battle of Fontenay (841)
Battle of Fontenay (841)
The three year Carolingian Civil War culminated in the decisive Battle of Fontenay-en-Puisaye, also called the Battle of Fontenoy, fought at Fontenoy, near Auxerre, on the 25 June 841...

 and sealed their alliance with the Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
The Oaths of Strasbourg were several historical documents which included mutual pledges of allegiance between Louis the German , ruler of East Francia, and his brother Charles the Bald , ruler of West Francia...

 (842), Lothair became willing to negotiate instead of continuing the warfare.
Each of the three brothers was already established in one kingdom: Lothair in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Louis the German in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, and Charles the Bald in Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, the son and successor 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...

, which divided 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...

 into three kingdoms. It ended the three year long Carolingian Civil War
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...

.

Background

When Louis the Pious died in 840, his eldest son, Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

, claimed overlordship over his brothers' kingdoms and supported the claim of his nephew Pepin II
Pepin II of Aquitaine
Pepin II, called the Younger , was King of Aquitaine from 838 as the successor upon the death of his father, Pepin I. Pepin II was eldest son of Pepin I and Ingeltrude, daughter of Theodobert, count of Madrie...

 as king of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

, a large province in western France. After his brother Louis the German
Louis the German
Louis the German , also known as Louis II or Louis the Bavarian, was a grandson of Charlemagne and the third son of the succeeding Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious and his first wife, Ermengarde of Hesbaye.He received the appellation 'Germanicus' shortly after his death in recognition of the fact...

 and his half-brother Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

 defeated his forces at the Battle of Fontenay (841)
Battle of Fontenay (841)
The three year Carolingian Civil War culminated in the decisive Battle of Fontenay-en-Puisaye, also called the Battle of Fontenoy, fought at Fontenoy, near Auxerre, on the 25 June 841...

 and sealed their alliance with the Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
The Oaths of Strasbourg were several historical documents which included mutual pledges of allegiance between Louis the German , ruler of East Francia, and his brother Charles the Bald , ruler of West Francia...

 (842), Lothair became willing to negotiate instead of continuing the warfare.

Provisions

Each of the three brothers was already established in one kingdom: Lothair in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Louis the German in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, and Charles the Bald in Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

. In the settlement, Lothair (who had been named co-emperor in 817) retained his title as emperor and:
  • Lothair received the central portion of the empire which later became, from north to south: the Low Countries
    Low Countries
    The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

    , Lorraine
    Lorraine (province)
    The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

    , 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...

    , Burgundy, Provence
    Provence
    Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

    , and the Kingdom of Italy
    Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
    The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

     (which covered only the northern half of the Italian Peninsula), collectively called Middle Francia
    Middle Francia
    Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious...

    . He also received the two imperial cities, Aachen and Rome. In addition, he received the imperial title, but it conferred only nominal overlordship of his brothers' lands.
  • Louis the German received the eastern portion. Louis was guaranteed the kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, which was called East Francia which was the precursor to the Medieval conglomeration of disparate states known as 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...

     and thence to modern Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    .
  • Charles the Bald
    Charles the Bald
    Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia , was the youngest son of the Emperor Louis the Pious by his second wife Judith.-Struggle against his brothers:He was born on 13 June 823 in Frankfurt, when his elder...

     received the western portion, which later became 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...

    . Pepin II was granted the kingdom of Aquitaine, but only under the authority of Charles. Charles received all lands west of the Rhône, which was called West Francia.


After the death of Lothair in 855, Upper and Lower Burgundy (Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

 and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

) passed to his third son Charles of Provence
Charles of Provence
Charles of Provence was the Carolingian King of Provence from 855 until his early death in 863.Charles was the youngest son of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours....

, and the remaining territory north of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 to his second son Lothair II, after whom the hitherto nameless territory was called Lotharingia
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...

, which name in English eventually evolved into the modern Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

. Lothair's eldest son, Louis II inherited Italy and his father's claim to the Imperial title.

Legacy

The division reflected an adherence to the old Frankish
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...

 custom of partible or divisible inheritance
Partible inheritance
Partible inheritance is a general term applied to systems of inheritance in which property may be apportioned among heirs. It contrasts in particular with primogeniture, which requires that the whole inheritance passes to the eldest son, and with agnatic seniority where the succession passes to...

 amongst a ruler's sons, rather than primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, i.e., inheritance by the eldest son, which would soon be adopted by both Frankish kingdoms.

The division of the Frankish realm by the Treaty of Verdun, carried out without any regard to linguistic and cultural continuities, induced conflicts in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 until the 20th century. Since the Middle Frankish Kingdom combined lengthy and vulnerable land borders with poor internal communications as it was severed by the Alps, it was not a viable entity and soon fragmented. This made it difficult for a single ruler to reassemble Charlemagne's empire. Only Charles the Fat achieved this briefly. In 855, the northern section became fragile Lotharingia, which became disputed
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...

 by the more powerful states that evolved out of West Francia and East Francia (i.e., 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...

 and various Germanic states that united as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in the 19th century). The collapse of the Middle Frankish Kingdom also compounded the disunity of the Italian Peninsula, which persisted into the 19th century.

Generations of kings of France and Germany were unable to establish a firm rule over Lothair’s kingdom. Throughout the middle ages, and for some even until today, the lands of Lothair (i.e., Old Lorraine) were made up of self-governing republics of farmers, independent counties controlled by burghers, or city republics. It has been claimed that capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

originates from here, and that this region became very prosperous because of the high degree of self-governance with little interference from greedy princes.

External links

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