Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Alsace Lorraine

Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen), a province of the German Empire, made up of the two French provinces, which, with the exception of the district of Belfort, were ceded to Germany after the war of 1870-71. Alsace, originally part of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia, had been incorporated in the German Empire in the 10th century, and was gradually united to France by the treaties of Nimeguen, Ratisbon, and Ryswick (1697). It then formed the departments of Haut and Bas Rhin. The inhabitants, though Teutonic by blood and speech, became more French than the French, and in 1871, when the Germans reoccupied the territory, 45,000 of them passed over into France. The chief town is Strasburg. Lorraine first became a kingdom about 855 under Lothair, from whom the name is derived. After it had several times changed hands between France and Germany, the Emperor Otho, in 959, divided it into two duchies. Basse Lorraine passed into Brabant, but Haute Lorraine, the larger portion, was for seven centuries governed by hereditary dukes, and proved a perpetual bone of contention between the greater powers until in 1737 it was bestowed for life on Stanislas, the dethroned King of Poland. Oh his decease it became part of France, and with additions made up four departments - Moselle, Meurthe. Meuse, and Vosges. Nancy is the chief town of the section retained by France in 1871, and Metz is the capital of the ceded moiety. The united German province has an area of 5,580 square miles. It lies wholly to the west of the Rhine, and, though mountainous in certain districts, is one of the most fertile regions in Central Europe, besides possessing valuable industries and rich mines. The government is conducted by a Statthalter appointed by the Emperor, Strasburg being his residence. Mulhausen is the seat of the great spinning and weaving manufactures. Metz and Thionville are strong fortresses. Altkirch, Colmar, Saarburg, and Mezieres are towns of importance.