Lower Lorraine


Lower Lorraine
Lotharingia divided, around 1000: the pink is Lower Lorraine, while the purple is Upper Lorraine.
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The Duchy of Lower Lorraine or Lower Lotharingia (also referred to sometimes as Lothier in titles), established in 959 was a stem duchy of the medieval German kingdom, which encompassed part of modern-day Belgium, the Netherlands, the northern part of the German Rhineland and a part of northern France east of the Schelde river.

It was created out of the former Middle Frankish realm of Lotharingia under King Lothair II, that had been established in 855. Lotharingia was divided for much of the later ninth century, reunited under Louis the Younger by the 880 Treaty of Ribemont and upon the death of East Frankish king Louis the Child in 911 again joined West Francia under King Charles the Simple. It then formed a duchy in its own right, and about 925 Duke Gilbert declared homage to the German king Henry the Fowler, an act which King Rudolph of France was helpless to revert. From that time on Lotharingia (or Lorraine) remained a German stem duchy, the border with France did not change throughout the Middle Ages.

In 959 King Henry's son Duke Bruno the Great divided Lotharingia into two duchies: Lower and Upper Lorraine (or Lower and Upper Lotharingia) and granted Count Godfrey I of Mons (Hainaut) the title of a Duke of Lower Lorraine. Godfrey's lands were to the north (lower down the Rhine river system), while Upper Lorraine was to the south (further up the river system). Both duchies formed the western part of the Holy Roman Empire established by Bruno's elder brother Emperor Otto I in 962.

Both Lotharingian duchies took very separate paths thereafter: Upon the death of Godfrey's son Duke Richar, Lower Lorraine was directly ruled by the Emperor, until in 977 Otto II enfeoffed Charles, the exiled younger brother of King Lothair of France. Lower and Upper Lorraine were once again briefly reunited under Gothelo I from 1033 to 1044. After that, the Lower duchy was quickly marginalised, while Upper Lorraine came to be known as simply the Duchy of Lorraine.

Over the next decades the significance of the Duchy of Lower Lorraine diminuished and furthermore was affected by the conflict between Emperor Henry IV and his son Henry V: In 1100 Henry IV had enfeoffed Count Henry of Limburg, who Henry V, having enforced the abdication of his father, immediately deposed and replaced by Count Godfrey of Louvain. Upon the death of Duke Godfrey III in 1190, his son Duke Henry III of Brabant inherited the ducal title by order of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa at the Diet of Schwäbisch Hall. Thereby the Duchy of Lower Lorraine finally lost its territorial authority, while the remnant Imperial fief held by the Dukes of Brabant was later called the Duchy of Lothier (or Lothryk).

Successor states

After the territorial power of the duchy was shattered, many fiefdoms came to independence in its area. The most important ones of these were:

The following successor states remained under the authority of the titular dukes of Lower Lorraine (Lothier):

See also


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  • Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Godfrey III [He is sometimes counted as Godfrey II of Lower Lorraine and Godfrey I of Tuscany.] (c. 997 ndash;1069), called the Bearded, was the eldest son of Gothelo I, duke of Upper and Lower Lorraine. By inheritance, he was count of Verdun and …   Wikipedia

  • Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Lithograph printed in circa 1850 with the caption Founder of Brussels, circa 976 …   Wikipedia

  • Gothelo II of Lower Lorraine — Gothelo II, also Gozelo (1008 ndash; 1046), variously called the Coward , the Sluggard , the Indolent , or the Lazy (Latin ignavus ), has been often said to be duke of Lower Lorraine after the death of his father Gothelo I, duke of both Lower and …   Wikipedia

  • Otto, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Otto (c. 970–1012) was the duke of Lower Lorraine from 993 until his death. He was the son of Charles, son of King Louis IV, and his first wife, a daughter of Robert de Vermandois, count of Meaux and Troyes. When his father left the duchy to… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Henry I (c. 1059 ndash; c. 1119) was the count of Limburg and Arlon from 1082 to his death and duke of Lower Lorraine between 1101 to 1106. He was the son of Waleran I of Limburg and Jutta, daughter of Frederick, Duke of Lower Lorraine. He… …   Wikipedia

  • Godfrey I, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Godfrey I (died 964) was the count of Hainault from 958 and margrave or vice duke of Lower Lorraine from 959, when that duchy was divided by Duke Bruno, who remained duke until his death in 965. HistoryGodfrey was the son of Godfrey, Count… …   Wikipedia

  • Richar, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Richar or Richer (d. 973) was the count of Mons from 963 or 964 and vice duke of Lower Lorraine from 968. HistoryAfter the death of Godfrey I, count of Hainault and vice duke of Lower Lorraine, the Emperor Otto I gave Richar half of the county of …   Wikipedia

  • Waleran, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Waleran II or Walram II (c. 1085 ndash;1139), called Paganus meaning the Pagan , probably due to a late baptism, was the Duke of Limburg and Count of Arlon from his father s death in about 1119 until his own twenty years later. He was given the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gerberga of Lower Lorraine — Gerberga of Lower Lorraine, Countess of Louvain, was the daughter of Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, himself the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony. She married Lambert I, Count of Louvain …   Wikipedia

  • Godfrey II, Duke of Lower Lorraine — Godfrey II (965 ndash; 1023), called the Childless, son of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun, was the count of Verdun from his father s death in 1002 and duke of Lower Lorraine after the death in 1012 of the Carolingian Otto, who left no sons. He was… …   Wikipedia


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