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  1. The latter territories lay within the Holy Roman Empire and its borders, but were formally divided between fiefs of the German kingdom and French fiefs such as Charles's birthplace of Flanders, a last remnant of what had been a powerful player in the Hundred Years' War.

    • 28 June 1519 –, 27 August 1556
    • Maximilian I
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  3. Status. State of the Holy Roman Empire. Part of the Burgundian Netherlands (1443–1482) Part of the Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1581) Part of the Spanish Netherlands (1581–1714) Part of the Austrian Netherlands (1714–1795) Capital. Luxembourg.

    • Feudal Duchy
    • LU
    • Origins of The Franks
    • The Conquest of Roman Gaul
    • Saving Europe from Islamisation
    • Heirs of The Roman Empire
    • Founders of Western Civilisation
    • Founders of The Monarchies of France, Germany and Luxembourg
    • Establishing The European Nobility
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, Heir of The Franks
    • Belgium, The Frankish Homeland
    • Wallonia, The Base of The Frankish Court, Birthplace of The French Language

    The Franks, like other West Germanic tribes, is thought to have descended from Denmark or Schleswig-Holstein in the Early Iron Age (c. 500 BCE) through Lower Saxony. The Franks would have settled in the northeastern Netherlands, as far as the Rhine, circa 200 BCE. Around the 2nd and 3rd century C.E. they crossed the Rhine moved into Toxandria, the Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium) and the German Rhineland. By the 6th century, the Franks had expanded to Lorraine, the Palatinate and Hesse. The Franks were divided in several tribes, such as the Salian Franks in Flanders (including French Flanders) and Zealand, the Mosan Franks in Wallonia, Luxembourg and Lorraine, or the Ripuarian Franks in the Rhineland region. The Rhine and Moselle valleys in Germany are still known as "Franconia", and German dialects in this region are varieties of Franconian, direct descendants of the Old Ripuarian Frankish. Old Salian Frankish evolved into Dutch and Flemish dialects.

    Childeric's son, Clovis I (466-511), also born and raised in Tournai, conquered the neighbouring Frankish tribes in the Low Countries and Rhineland and established himself as their sole king. He defeated Syagrius, the last Roman official in northern Gaul, then the Visigoths in southwestern Gaul, thus becoming the ruler of most of the old Roman Gaul. Clovis converted to Catholicism at the instigation of his wife Clotide, a Burgundian princess, thus spreading Christianity among the pagan Franks. The Romans had been predominantly Christian since the 4th century, after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity (312 C.E.), and Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity as the official state religion of the Roman Empire (380 C.E.). Converting to Christianity was therefore a way of showing the continuity between the Roman and Frankish rules. Most importantly, it was a way of earning the acceptance of the Christian Gallo-Roman population, which greatly outnumbered the Frankish rulers. It...

    After two centuries of rule, the waning power of the Merovingian dynasty prompted Charles Martel (686-741), a native from Liège, to proclaime himself Duke of the Franks and was in all but name de factoruler of the Frankish Realms. In 732, he routed the invading Islamic Moorish armies of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours), thus saving Europe from Islamisation. This is one of the most important achievements of the Franks in the history of Europe up to this day. Without Charles Martel, Europe, or at least Western Continental Europe, would have become part of the Muslim world, an event that would almost certainly have prevented the Renaissance from happening, and would consequently also have precluded the Great Voyages, the Colonisation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and everything that follows. Without Charles Martel, Europe might well have stagnated to the medieval period to this day. As a result, modern technologies wou...

    Upon Charles Martel's death, the power passed to his two sons Pippin the Younger (714-768) and Carloman (706-754), who ruled conjointly over Francia until 747, when Carloman withdrew to monastic life. In 751, the last Merovingian puppet king, Childeric III, was deposed, and Pippin was elected King of the Franks with the blessing of the Pope, and anointed in Soissons. Pippin's son, Charles (768-814) would extend the Frankish empire to Saxony (see Paderborn), Northern Italy, Croatia, and Catalonia, and become known as Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus in Latin, i.e. "Charles the Great"). In 800, he was crowned emperor by the Pope in Rome, declaring himself heir of the Roman Empire, with his capital in Aachen, 40 km away from his native Liège. His empire was to last over 1000 years (until Napoleon dissolved it in 1806). From 962 it became known under the name of Holy Roman Empire and Holy Roman Emperors were crowned in Rome, stressing the continuity with the original Roman Empire.

    The Frankish influence over Europe was so important from the Merovingian period onwards that the term for 'European' or 'non-Muslim' became (and remains up to this day) Faranji in Arabic and Farangi in Persian, a derivative of the word "Frank". The term became used in the Indian subcontinent as well after the Muslim conquest. Firang or Farangare also used in South Asia (the latter in Thailand as well) to refer to Westerners. Since Charlemagne, Emperor of the Occident, became the symbol of the unified Christian Europe in the Muslim world, the Franks have become associated with the image of Westerners in most of southern Asia for over 1000 years. It could be said in a way that the Franks laid the foundations of Western society and culture. On a side note, understanding history makes it only natural for the modern capital of Europe, Brussels, to be located at the very heatr of the old Frankish homeland. In fact, Brussels was the historic capital of the Duchy of Brabant, which was the o...

    In 840, Charlemagne's only surviving son, Louis the Pious, passed away. His eldest son, Lothair, was to inherit the empire. However, the Frankish tradition was to divide the land between the male heirs, and Lothair's brothers Charles and Louis, claimed their part. After 3 years of internecine conflict, Lothair was forced to cede two thirds of the empire. Charles the Bald inherited Western Francia, which would become known simply as France. Louis the German received East Francia, making up most of present-day Germany. Lothair kept the title of emperor (which is indivisible), but his domain was now restricted to Middle Francia, a strip of land covering the present-day Benelux, Rhineland, Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy, Switzerland, Provence, and the northern half of Italy as far as Rome. Middle Francia, also known as Lotharingia, encompassed the old Frankish homeland, Clovis' original kingdom, where the Imperial capital of Aachen was located. It is due to this symbolic value of Old Franci...

    The European nobility, born in the Middle Ages and surviving to this day, has its roots in the Frankish nobility system. The Franks were in fact the first to use the Latin titles of dux (duke) and comes (count) to mean "feudal lord" ruling over a duchy or county. The Romans did not have any duchies or counties. For the Romans, a dux was merely a "military leader", while comesmeant "imperial companion", such as courtiers and provincial officials. The Franks used these terms for the military rulers of their provinces, who later became sovereign rulers after the parcelling of the Carolingian Empire. In the Carolingian era, a new title was created for the military governors of a March (from the Old Frankish marka, meaning "border"). This title was that of Markgrave (from German Markgraf, "border count"), which would later become Marquis in French and in American English, then Marquess in British English. As the European population grew and fiefs multiplied, a need for lower titles emerg...

    Napoleon Bonaparte often compared himself to Charlemagne and wanted to be seen as the heir of the Frankish kings and emperors. He went on a "pilgrimage" to Aachenshortly before becoming emperor, to pay homage to his role model and see his legendary crown and sword. When he became emperor, Napoleon long hesitated between the bee and the eagle for his coat of arms and symbol of his empire. The bee was the symbol of the Merovingian kings, and 300 golden bees were also found in the tomb of King Childeric I (Clovis's father) in Tournai. Napoleon was well aware of this. The eagle was the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire, to mark the continuity with Ancient Rome. Eventually, Napoleon opted for the eagle to represent his empire, but integrated golden bees on the imperial coat.

    The kingdom of France, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (later Germany), and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg all have Frankish origins in their foundations. Belgium was not founded as a modern, unified state until 1830, mostly because of was a key component of the Empire before that, the Frankish homeland which possession justified and legitimised the title of emperor. It is therefore less obvious that Belgium is the sole nation (along with Luxembourg) where the whole indigenous population can claim to descend in great part from the Franks. Modern genetic studieshave determined that over half of all Belgian paternal lineages are of Germanic origin, which in Belgium's case means almost exclusively of Frankish origin. Modern Belgium owes its name to the ancient Gallia Belgica, which, at the time of the conquest of Julius Caesar, comprised today's country as well as the south of the present Netherlands, the modern French regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy, Champagne-Ardenne...

    It may be surprising that Wallonia and Northern France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie) is the only part of the original Frankish kingdom where a Romance language is now spoken, and not one descended from Old Frankish, like in Flanders or the Rhineland. What is more, Wallonia has never belonged to France in its history (apart from 26 years during the French Revolution, like most of Europe), and the Nord departmentof France did not belong to France until Louis XIV's conquest in the late 17th century, eventhough the southern half of the region was already French-speaking. So the presence of the French language in Wallonia can only predate the creation of the Kingdom of France in 843. It is known that the Salian Franks (at least the nobility) spoke Latin since the 4th century, at the time when they settled in the Roman Empire. The Merovingian ruling class continued to use Latin, as they considered themselves the heirs of the Romans (after providing many Roman generals, consuls and senato...

  4. May 21, 2011 · Kleinstaaterei. Kleinstaaterei (German: [ˌklaɪnʃtaːtəˈʁaɪ], "small-state-ery") is a German word used, often pejoratively, to denote the territorial fragmentation in Germany and neighboring regions during the Holy Roman Empire (especially after the end of the Thirty Years' War), and during the German Confederation in the first half of the 19th century.

  5. Holy Roman King Henry VII had himself crowned Holy Roman Emperor, but failed to establish his authority in (northern) Italy. His successor Louis of Bavaria did the same but was even less successful of reinstating Rome as the Holy Roman City. Eventually some of the differences were put aside and in 1377 Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome.

  6. The Holy Roman Empire had been multilingual from the start, even though most of its emperors were native German-speakers. The language issue within the Empire became gradually more salient as the non-religious use of Latin declined and that of national languages gained prominence during the High Middle Ages .

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