Republic of Liège

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Republic of Liège

République liégeoise  (French)
Verenigde Nederlandse Staten 1790.jpg
Map of the republic's territories (white) between the United Belgian States (salmon), the Dutch Republic (yellow) and other entities (grey)
Status Revolutionary republic
Capital Liège
Common languages French, Walloon
Historical era Early modern period
18 August 1789
 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of Franchimont
16 September 1789
 Restoration of the prince-bishopric
12 January 1791
Preceded by
Succeeded by
LuikVlag.svg Prince-Bishopric of Liège
Prince-Bishopric of Liège LuikVlag.svg

The Republic of Liège (French : République liégeoise) was a short-lived state centred on the town of Liège in modern-day Belgium. The republic was created in August 1789 after the Liège Revolution led to the destruction of the earlier ecclesiastical state which controlled the territory, the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. It coexisted with the even more short-lived revolutionary state, the United States of Belgium, created by the Brabant Revolution of 1789, to the north. By 1791, the forces of the republic had been defeated by Prussian and Austrian forces and the Prince-Bishop was restored.



On 18 August 1789, Jean-Nicolas Bassenge and other democrats arrived at the Hôtel de Ville of Liège. They demanded the dismissal of current magistrates in favour of two popular burgomasters : Jacques-Joseph Fabry and Jean-Remy de Chestret. The citadel of Saint Walburge fell into the hands of the rebels. The Prince-Bishop, César-Constantin-François de Hoensbroeck, was brought back from his Summer Palace in Seraing to ratify the nomination of the new officials and to abolish the unpopular Règlement de 1684. Several days later, the Prince-Bishop fled to the city of Trier in modern Germany. The Holy Roman Empire condemned the Liège revolution and demanded the restoration of the Ancien régime in the prince-bishopric.

The radical mood in Liège led to the proclamation of a republic, two years before France.


One of the first acts of the republic was the introduction of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of Franchimont" on 16 September 1789. The document was heavily influenced by the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen introduced in August 1789 but contained several important differences:

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