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Duchy of Lower Lorraine
Green: Lower Lorraine after 977
|Status||Part of East Francia until 962|
Part of Holy Roman Empire
|Common languages|| Old Dutch |
Old Low German
|Godfrey I (first)|
|Godfrey III (last)|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|Today part of|
The Duchy of Lower Lorraine, or Lower Lotharingia (also referred to as Lothier or Lottierin titles), was a stem duchy established in 959, of the medieval Kingdom of Germany, which encompassed almost all of the modern Netherlands the region of Frisia was loosely associated with the duchy, but the dukes de facto exercised no control over the territory see Frisian Freedom for details, central and eastern Belgium, Luxemburg, the northern part of the German Rhineland province and the eastern parts of France's Nord-Pas de Calais region.
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 it 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,[ citation needed ] 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 diminished 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 I of Brabant inherited the ducal title by order of Emperor Henry VI 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).
|History of the Low Countries|
Gallia Belgica (55 BC – 5th c. AD)
Germania Inferior (83 – 5th c.)
|Saxons|| Salian Franks |
| Frisian Kingdom |
|Frankish Kingdom (481–843)—Carolingian Empire (800–843)|
|Middle Francia (843–855)|| West|
| Kingdom of Lotharingia (855– 959)|
Duchy of Lower Lorraine (959–)
Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)
United States of Belgium
Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
associated with French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
|United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830)|
Gr D. L.
Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
| Gr D. of|
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):
The Duchy of Lorraine, originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Its capital was Nancy.
Henry I, named "The Courageous", was a member of the House of Reginar and first duke of Brabant from 1183/84 until his death.
Lotharingia was a medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire and a later duchy of the Ottonian Empire, comprising the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), Saarland (Germany), and Lorraine (France). It was named after King Lothair II who received this territory after the kingdom of Middle Francia of his father Lothair I was divided among his sons in 855.
The duke of Brabant was formally the ruler of the Duchy of Brabant since 1183/1184. The title was created by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I of the House of Reginar, son of Godfrey III of Leuven. The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the existing title of landgrave of Brabant. This was an Imperial fief which was assigned to Count Henry III of Leuven shortly after the death of the preceding count of Brabant, Herman II of Lotharingia. Although the corresponding county was quite small its name was applied to the entire country under control of the dukes from the 13th century on. In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I also became duke of Lotharingia. Formerly Lower Lotharingia, this title was now practically without territorial authority, but was borne by the later dukes of Brabant as an honorific title.
The Counts of Louvain were a branch of the Lotharingian House of Reginar which from the late 10th century ruled over the estates of Louvain (French) or Leuven (Dutch) in Lower Lorraine.
The County of Holland was a State of the Holy Roman Empire and from 1432 part of the Burgundian Netherlands, from 1482 part of the Habsburg Netherlands and from 1581 onward the leading province of the Dutch Republic, of which it remained a part until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. The territory of the County of Holland corresponds roughly with the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland in the Netherlands.
The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Its chief town was Limbourg-sur-Vesdre, is today located within the Belgian province of Liège, with a small part in the neighbouring province of Belgian Limburg, within the east of Voeren.
Godfrey I, called the Bearded, the Courageous, or the Great, was the landgrave of Brabant, and count of Brussels and Leuven (Louvain) from 1095 to his death and duke of Lower Lorraine from 1106 to 1129. He was also margrave of Antwerp from 1106 to his death.
Godfrey III, called the Bearded, was the eldest son of Gothelo I, Duke of Upper and Lower Lorraine. By inheritance, he was Count of Verdun and he became Margrave of Antwerp as a vassal of the Duke of Lower Lorraine. The Holy Roman Emperor Henry III authorized him to succeed his father as Duke of Upper Lorraine in 1044, but refused him the ducal title in Lower Lorraine, for he feared the power of a united duchy. Instead Henry threatened to appoint a younger son, Gothelo, as Duke in Lower Lorraine. At a much later date, Godfrey became Duke of Lower Lorraine, but he had lost the upper duchy by that point in time.
Lothier refers to the territory within the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia, governed by the dukes of Brabant and their successors after 1190 until the end of the Ancien Régime in 1796.
The Limburg-Luxemburg dynasty, one of several families from different periods known as the Luxembourg dynasty was a royal family of the Holy Roman Empire in the Late Middle Ages, whose members between 1308 and 1437 ruled as King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperors as well as Kings of Bohemia and Hungary. Their rule was twice interrupted by the rival House of Wittelsbach.
The Burgundian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1512 and significantly enlarged in 1548. In addition to the Free County of Burgundy, the Burgundian Circle roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e., the areas now known as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and adjacent parts in the French administrative region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Godfrey I 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.
The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.
The County of Luxemburg was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It arose from medieval Lucilinburhuc Castle in the present-day City of Luxembourg, purchased by Count Siegfried in 963. His descendants of the Ardennes-Verdun dynasty (Wigeriche) began to call themselves Counts of Luxembourg from the 11th century onwards. The House of Luxembourg, a cadet branch of the Dukes of Limburg, became one of the most important political forces of the 14th century, contending with the House of Habsburg for supremacy in Central Europe.
The House of Ardenne-Verdun was a branch of the House of Ardenne, one of the first documented medieval European noble families, centered on Verdun. The family dominated in the Duchy of Lotharingia (Lorraine) in the 10th and 11th centuries. All members descended from Count Palatine Wigeric of Lotharingia and his wife Cunigunda of France, a granddaughter of the West Frankish king Louis the Stammerer. The other main branches of the House of Ardennes were the House of Ardenne-Luxembourg, and the House of Ardenne-Bar.
The Reginarids or House of Reginar were a family of magnates in Lower Lotharingia during the Carolingian and Ottonian period. Their modern name is derived from the personal name which many members of the family bore, and which is seen as a Leitname of the family. At least two Dukes of Lotharingia in the 10th century belonged to this family. After a period of exile and rebellion, the two brothers who returned to power founded the first dynasties of the County of Hainault and County of Louvain. The latter were ancestors of the House of Brabant, Landgraves and later Dukes of Brabant, Lothier and Limburg. The Reginarid Brabant dynasty ended in 1355, leaving its duchies to the House of Luxembourg which in turn left them to the House of Valois-Burgundy in 1383. Junior branches of the male line include the medieval male line of the English House of Percy, Earls of Northumberland, and the German House of Hesse which ruled Hesse from 1264 until 1918 and still exists today.