Wednesday, January 24, 2007

History of Luxembourg

History of Luxembourg. This is a brief history of the European country of Luxembourg. It may be small but it has been a member of NATO since the beginning. It also survived two German occupations during the World Wars.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , French Grand-Duché de Luxembourg , German Grossherzogtum Luxemburg country in northwestern Europe. It is one of the world's smallest countries. It is bordered by Belgium on the west and north, France on the south, and Germany on the northeast and east. Luxembourg has come under the control of many states and ruling houses in its long history, but it has been a separate, if not always autonomous, political unit since the 10th century. The ancient Saxon name of its capital city, Lucilinburhuc (Little Fortress), symbolized its strategic position as the Gibraltar of the north, astride a major military route linking Germanic and Frankish territories.

From the site:

The language of Luxembourg is Luxembourgish, a blend of Dutch, old German, and Frankish elements. The official language of the civil service, law, and parliament is French, although criminal and legal debates are conducted partly in Luxembourgish and police case files are recorded in German. German is the primary language of the press. French and German are taught in the schools, with German spoken mainly at the primary level and French at the secondary level.

The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia wrote, "The first written account of this country and people is found in the fifth book of Cæsar's "Commentarii de Bello Gallico". On the Lower Moselle and its tributaries dwelt at that time (53 B.C.) the powerful race of the Treviri, who, in alliance with the people under their protection (for example the Eburones under Ambiorix), at first gave the Romans great trouble, but they were soon compelled to yield to superior numbers and gradually attained the highest civilization. Under Emperor Constantine (323-337) Trier (Augusta Trevirorum) became the capital of the province Belgica prima, and later the residence of the prefects of Gaul. The Christian Faith was introduced at a very early period. Since 316 the town was the see of a bishop. As more than half of the subsequent Duchy of Lorraine belonged for centuries to the Diocese of Trier, it is a logical conclusion that the Christianization of the Ardennes proceeded principally from there. During the Germanic migration the north-eastern provinces of the Roman Empire suffered greatly. Devastated and depopulated, they were occupied by the victorious Franks. In the division of Charlemagne's empire (843) the provinces in question fell to the share of the Emperor Lothair. In the middle of the tenth century (963?) the feudal lord, Siegfried, who held rich possessions in the Forest of Ardennes, acquired the Castellum Lucilini (supposed to have been built by the Romans) with the lands in its vicinity, and styled himself Graf von Lützelburg. From the marriage of this great and good man descended Empress Saint Cunigunde, wife of Henry II, the Saint."

"The last of Siegfried's male descendents, Conrad II, died about 1126. His dominions passed first to the counts of Namur and subsequently to Ermesinde, who reigned from 1196 to 1247. She was especially noted for the impulse she gave to religious life by the foundation of monasteries. Her son and successor, Henry V (1247-81), showed the influence of his noble mother. He took part in Saint Louis's crusade against Tunis. His successor, Henry VI, remained until nearly 1288 at war near Woringen. His wife, Beatrice, had borne him two sons, both of whom attained the highest honours and excellence: Baldwin, afterwards Archbishop of Trier, and Henry, who obtained the Roman imperial crown as Henry VII (1309). The advancement of the reigning family brought no advantage to the country, as the counts wandered farther and farther from home, and concerned themselves only with the affairs of the Empire or the Kingdom of Bohemia. They endeavoured to compensate for this in a measure by raising Luxemburg to a duchy, but could not prevent part of it from crumbling away and the whole (1444) falling to Burgundy by conquest. From the House of Valois, which became extinct on the death of Charles the Bold, in 1477, the country passed to Austria, and was subject to the Spanish Habsburgs (1556-1714); then to the German Habsburgs (1714-95), and finally to the French (until 1814)."

1 comment:

hank_F_M said...

The language situation there is an interesting example of how people on a cultural border adapt. The signs are in French. So I would go in the store and ask the clerk something in French. They would respond in German, which is apparently the normal conversational language. This written in French, spoken in German seemed to be the norm.

But after determining that my German is even more incompetent than my French they would respond in English. A delightful place with friendly people.