|Conventional short name:|
|Currency:||Convention Thaler = 20 Neuegroschen = 240 Pfennige|
|Official||Standard German, Francien|
|Other||Walon, Lorrain, Jovian, Latin (the last official throughout HRE)|
|Grand Duchess:||H.G.D.H. Haedrana Nassau-Weilburg-Kastelnow|
|Organizations:||Holy Roman Empire, Deutscher Bund|
GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMBURG
Luxemburg is a member of the Holy Roman Empire and the Deutscher Bund. The national language, Lëtzebuergesch or Luxemburgish, is a branch of central High German, also known as Franconian. In general, Luxemburg is oriented more toward its Western neighbors than its fellow German states. More so than other members of the Empire, it frequently behaves as if it were a small, independent country rather than a part of Germany.
Today, Luxemburg is renowned for its banks and financial stability. Very little industry remains in the country, and most farmers are heavily subsidized by the government. The only export of note is wine from vineyards. [DH]
Luxemburg also shares CERN, a particle physics supercollider with France and the rest of the Conseil Européenne de la Recherche Nucléaire near the border between France and Jervaine. The supercollider actually straddles the borders of the three nations.
The northern and western parts of the country form part of the Ardennen, a rugged, heavily wooded plateau. The area is sparsely populated, but throughout the history of Europe has been highly strategic, sought by many of the continent's great powers. Today, castles and fortresses dot the landscape, a few still occupied by the Lëtzebuerger Arméi. Most of the country's 150,000 French speakers live in the western Ardennes, mostly in small villages and rural settlements. The southeastern part of the grand duchy is a fertile wine-producing region called the Gutland (Goodland). The area is more densely populated and is home to the capital, Stad Lëtzebuerg.
Luxemburg's main river is the Moselle (290 m3/s, as the Louisianans measure it). The Luxemburgers call it the Musel normally, but when they're being poetic or sentimental they use the much more lyrical-sounding Jovian name, Moseola. (Luxemburgers usually find themselves resorting to Jovian whenever they want to talk about pretty things, their own language being so ill-equipped to handle them.)
Please see Grand Dukes of Luxemburg for more details.
See also: The Luxemburgian Kings of Bohemia
- 963: Siegfried I, a minor Ardennes nobleman, acquires a highly defensible fief in the HRE called Lucilinburhuc. His descendents become the House of Luxemburg. (just like *here*)
- 1309-1312: Heirich VII of Luxemburg and his son Jang (John) the Blind secure the respective posts of Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemian King. Luxemburg itself is thenceforth ruled as an appenage by a junior branch of the family.
- 1346-1378: Karel of Luxemburg is one of the strongest Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors in history, acquiring Lusatia, Silesia, Upper Pfalz, and Brandenburg and diplomatically outmaneuvering his Habsburg and Venedic rivals. As a sign of his prestige, Luxemburg itself is elevated to a duchy under his half-brother, Duke Wenzel I. After Karel's reign, Bohemia again becomes relatively decentralized, close to civil war.
- 1414-1418: Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary and the Romans (and soon to be King of Bohemia), summons the Council of Konstanz. The Council accepts the writings of Jan Hus, paving the way for a more moderate Reformation and a more conciliatory attitude toward the Eastern Christians. Notwithstanding these momentous reforms, that Council is perhaps best remembered for Sigismund's immortal rebuke of a bishop correcting his grammar: "Ego sum rex Romanus et super grammaticam".
- 1429: Sigismund grants control of Luxemburg to his neice Elisabeth von Görlitz.
- 1437: After the death of Sigismund, the male line of the Luxemburg family is extinct. The election of Albrecht II von Habsburg to the imperial throne signals the rise of the Habsburgs as the HRE's strongest family.
- 1441: Elisabeth sells the inheritance of Luxemburg to Philippe le Bon of Burgundy. An impatient man, he invades and takes over the duchy two years later, cementing Burgundian control over the entire Netherlands region.
- 1477: Mary of Burgundy marries Maximilian von Habsburg, Archduke of Austria. Luxemburg and its neighbors pass to the Habsburgs.
- 1556: Luxemburg passes to Felip II of the Aragonese branch of the Habsburgs.
- Early XVIJth century: the northern Habsburg provinces revolt to form the nation of Batavia.
- 1704: After the War of the Aragonese Succession, the Aragonese Netherlands are ceded to Austro-Dalmatia.
Located inland and off major trade routes, Luxemburg was only a minor part of the Habsburgian Netherlands, and the Habsburgs considered selling it several times. Its main use was as a bulwark against the ever-increasing power of France. The Fortress was continually improved and strengthened, becoming one of the strongest in Europe.
France occupied and annexed Luxemburg in 1795 along with the rest of the Austrian Netherlands. Napoleon was fighting in Italy at the time. In 1804, Napoleon decided to use Luxemburg as a springboard for gaining control of Germany. He declared that Luxembourg would be restored, this time as a grand duchy, with himself as Grand Duke. When Holy Roman Emperor Francis II of Austria abdicated his imperial title in 1806, Napoleon forced the German Diet to elect him as King of the Romans. At the same time that he crowned himself Emperor of France, the Pope also crowned him Emperor of the Romans.
For Napoleon, this move was more than logical. His coronation made his dream a reality: the resurrection of the Roman Empire, with himself at its head. En passant it also allowed him to keep an eye on Prussia, which also controlled territory within the Empire.
Napoleon's rule, in general, greatly improved the economic and social well-being of the little country. He instituted a new law code. He moved the Imperial capital of Germany to Luxemburg and had the splendid Groussherzogleche Plädse (Grand Ducal Palace) built to his specifications outside the city, modeled on the ruins of palaces on the Palatine Hill in Rome.
Nineteenth and twentieth centuries
After Napoleon's death in 1821, Napoleon II allowed the empire to disintegrate. The German princes restored Francis II of Austria to the Imperial throne. In 1830 Napoleon II was overthrown in a revolution and fled to Andorra. Luxemburg, however, remained in dispute. During the Napoleonic period it had been de jure a grand duchy and a part of the Holy Roman Empire, in personal union with France via the Napoleons. However, it was de facto administered as part of France.
After 1830, France under King Louis-Philippe continued to administer it as it had during the Napoleonic period, although Louis never actually claimed the title of Grand Duke. Officially, Luxemburg remained a grand duchy with a vacant throne. Many people, especially the Lëtzebuergesch speakers in the state's eastern half, resented French rule and unsuccessfully pursued independence, most notably in 1848 with the establishment of the short-lived Luxemburger Republic.
In 1848, Napoleon III came to power as Emperor of France. He gave Luxemburg the same status as it had under Napoleon I. He restored some measure of autonomy, but much of the administration continued to come from Paris. There was talk of outright annexation. Anti-French feeling continued to grow.
Expansionist Prussia encouraged nationalism among the Lëtzebuergers. During the Franco-Prussian War Prussia helped sponsor another popular revolt. Rebels seized control of the imposing fortress in Luxemburg City and were reinforced by Prussian troops. As part of the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, all of Luxemburg, including the Francophone western region, was guaranteed independence and neutrality. Six months later, Luxemburg voted to rejoin the Holy Roman Empire.
King Guillaume III of Batavia was made Grand Duke of Luxemburg to placate him for the loss of lands in Nassau, and to ensure that neither France nor Prussia would be able to dominate the country. In 1890 the king died, leaving only his daughter Guillaumine. Luxemburg passed to a related dynasty, the House of Nassau-Weilburg, to fulfill the Salic Law of male-only succession. The unexpected extinction of the dynasty, combined with Luxemburg's decision to join the Empire, gave Prussia the opportunity to exert more and more influence over it.
During the Second Great War Luxemburgers came to greatly resent Prussia's increasingly overbearing policies. The grand duchy welcomed its increased autonomy following the Second Great War. During the 55-year reign of Grand Duchess Tréis, its policies began to look outward beyond Germany. This manifested itself in a number of ways: written Luxemburgish began to be printed in Antiqua rather than Fraktur, for example. When the ice hockey teams of the German states merged into a single team, the Luxemburgish hockey team opted to remain separate. Diplomatically, Luxemburg was instrumental in convincing the Deutscher Bund, central and southern Germany's economic bloc, to attend the first European Federation meeting in 1981. Thus it led the way toward a united currency system in Western Europe.
In 2005, Tréis died and was succeeded by her oldest daughter Haedrana.
The Grand Duchy hosted the Small States Games of Europe in June of 2008, and carried a total of 5 golds (Archery, football, 100-meter dash, racing, and swimming) and 3 silvers (Archery, tug-of-war, and the half-marathon run). The nearest competitor was Xliponia, with 3 golds (tug-of-war, half-marathon, and the distance jump) and 4 silvers (100-meter dash, swimming, racing, and football).
Luxemburg City is home to what has long been considered the strongest fortress in continental Europe. This combined with its strategic location has earned it the nickname "the Gibraltar of the North." Under the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, Luxemburg was officially declared neutral and did not fortify the city. Prussia, however, semi-illegally maintained a garisson in the fortress by taking advantage of a loophole in the treaty.
After the First Great War, the Allies acknowledged Luxemburg City as a de facto Prussian military outpost. The Second Great War essentially rendered the fortifications obsolete, but it remained important as a strategically located base.
After the war, Prussia was expressly forbidden to occupy Luxemburg. The Allied Powers encouraged Luxemburg to fortify the city to forestall any potential future Prussian designs on the grand duchy. With Allied aid, Luxemburg became the smallest postwar German state to have a full-fledged (albeit diminutive) standing army, the Lëtzebuerger Arméi.
After GW2 Luxemburg also created a small air force, the Groussherzogesch Loftwaff. It adopted for its insignia a roundel rather than a typical German cross.
The national language, Lëtzebuergesch or Luxemburgish, is a branch of central High German, also known as Middle Franconian. It is similar to Luxembourgish *here*, except that much of the French influence is replaced with influence from Jovian. It differs from many other German dialects in that it has been standardized for use in literature and administration.
Luxemburg is divided along a roughly north-south line between Lëtzebuergesch speakers in the east and French speakers in the west. Walon is the French dialect in the northwest, while Lorain predominates in the southwest. The Francophone parts are more sparsely populated, and many French speakers have left for France or America since 1821, so Lëtzebuergesch is spoken by a large majority. Only about 20% of the people speak one of the French dialects.
Note that although Luxemburgish is designated the national language, it does not have sole status as the official language: standard Francien can also used for official purposes such as civil courts and contracts, though few speakers are monolingual.
Standard German is another official language in Luxemburg. As throughout the empire, the standard is largely heard in the cities and used for commerce and business. Some urban Luxemburgers speak the standard as a first language. These are mainly immigrants from elsewhere in Germany and reside mainly in the capital and the largest towns.
Déifferdeng and Esch-Uelzecht are highly multilingual, home to many native Jovian speakers as well as speakers of Luxemburgish and German. Luxemburgers as a whole are among Europe's most multilingual citizens.
*There*, Luxemburg has a top-notch ice hockey team that competes separate from the German team in international competition.
The westernmost of the German states in attitude as well as geography, Luxemburg straddles the divide between Germanic and Romance, beer and wine, Empire and independence, feudal past and modernizing present. As it continues to prove to the world that it is a different sort of place, change is the only thing certain in the future of this petit grand duchy.
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