Lorraine (province)

Lorraine (province)

Lorraine ( _fr. Lorraine, _de. Lothringen) is a historical area in present-day northeast France. Some of the main cities are Metz, Nancy and Verdun.



Lorraine was originally an independent kingdom. It was created in 843, when the Carolingian empire was divided between the three sons of Louis the Pious. Named after the new ruler, Holy Roman Emperor Lothar, the area and other territories controlled by Lothar became known as Lotharingia. In France, this became known as "Lorraine", while in Germany, it was eventually known as "Lothringen". In the Alemannic language once spoken in Lorraine, the -ingen suffix signified a property; thus, in a figurative sense, "Lotharingen" can be translated as "Land belonging to Lothar".

Upper Lorraine

In 959, the duchy was divided into Upper and Lower regions which became permanent following the death of Duke Bruno. The upper Duchy was further "up" the river system, that is, it was inland and to the south. Upper Lorraine was first denominated as the Duchy of the Moselle, both in charters and narrative sources, and its duke was the "dux Mosellanorum". The usage of "Lotharingia Superioris" and "Lorraine" in official documents begins later, around the fifteenth century.

Duchy of Lorraine

The dukes of Upper Lorraine gradually came to be known simply as the dukes of Lorraine, because the significance of the Lower duchy declined greatly in the latter half of the eleventh century.

In the 17th century, the French kings began to covet Lorraine, which lay between France proper and its possessions in Alsace. Lorraine, after siding with the Emperor in the Thirty Years' War, was largely occupied by France in 1641. In 1670, the French invaded again, forcing Duke Charles IV to flee to a Viennese exile. The French continued to occupy Lorraine for almost thirty years, only giving it up to Charles's heir by the Treaty of Ryswick which ended the Nine Years War in 1697. The Duchy was again occupied by France during the War of the Spanish Succession, although Duke Leopold Joseph continued to reign. Leopold's son and successor, Francis Stephen, was forced to give up the Duchy in 1737, after the War of the Polish Succession, in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Francis Stephen was betrothed to Archduchess Maria Theresa, daughter and heir to Charles VI, and the French would only approve the marriage if Francis gave up his rights to Lorraine. Francis and Maria Theresa's marriage resulted in the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Replacing Francis Stephen in Lunéville was the last Duke of Lorraine, Stanislaus Leszczynski, former king of Poland, Louis XV's father-in-law, with the understanding that it would revert to the French crown upon his death. With Stanislas's death in 1766, Lorraine became part of France in 1766 and was reorganized by the French government.

French and German provinces

Lorraine, along with Alsace, has long been contested territory between France and Germany. After being annexed by Louis XIV, there was opposition to efforts to have the French language and customs imposed upon them, a process which Stanislaus I effectively ended during his reign but which was resumed afterwards. A part of Lorraine, along with Alsace, was united with Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 causing a large number of French people to emigrate into France (including Algeria). Under Bismarck's German Empire Alsace-Lorraine had (unlike other German states that were monarchies or free cities) virtually no autonomy and was ruled by a governor appointed by the Reichskanzler. The use of the French language was proscribed. In 1911, some degree of autonomy was granted.

This part of Lorraine remained a part of Germany after the end of World War I, when the Kaiser abdicated and the Republic of Alsace-Lorraine declared itself independent, with support of the United States. France occupied the area after a few days and annexed it. Policies forbidding the use of German and requiring that of French were then begun.

The region was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940 during World War II. Lorraine was combined with the Saarland, and Alsace with Baden. The French language was again proscribed and education at German schools made compulsory. The war-torn area returned to France in November 1944. Because of the fighting in the area, Lorraine is home to the largest American cemetery in France, the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial.


Despite the French government's 'single language' policy, the local Germanic dialect still survives in the northern part of the region. It is known as Lorraine Franconian in English, "francique" or "platt (lorrain)" in French (not to be confused with "lorrain", the Romance dialect spoken in the region). This is distinct from the neighbouring Alsatian language, although the two are often confused. Neither has any form of official recognition.

Like most of France's regional languages (such as Breton, Provençal and Alsatian) Lorraine Franconian was largely replaced by French with the advent of mandatory public schooling in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Foodstuffs and dishes associated with Lorraine include quiche lorraine, Mirabelle plum, baba au rhum, bergamotes, macarons, and madeleines.

Further reading

Publications in English

*Herrick, Linda & Wendy Uncapher. "Alsace-Lorraine: The Atlantic Bridge to Germany". Janesville, WI: 2003.
*Hughes, S. P. (2005) "Bilingualism in North-East France with specific reference to Rhenish Franconian spoken by Moselle Cross-border (or frontier) workers." [http://www.ruc.dk/isok/skriftserier/mobility/mobility2/Hughes/]
*Putnam, Ruth. "Alsace and Lorraine: From Cæsar to Kaiser, 58 B.C.-1871 A.D." New York: 1915.

ee also

*List of rulers of Lorraine
*Lorraine (region)

External links

* [http://www.alsace-lorraine.info/ Alsace-Lorraine.info]
* [http://www.lotharingia.de/ Lotharingia]

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