The area of today’s Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was populated by Celtic tribes before it was conquered by Roman troops (around 50 AD). In the 9th century the area belonged to the East Franconian Empire, from which the German Empire later emerged.
Foundation of the Luxembourg Dynasty
The founder of the Luxembourg dynasty was Count Siegfried, who in 963 built the “Lucilinburhuc” castle over the Alzette river, where the capital Luxembourg is today.
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The Luxembourg family rose to a powerful noble family in the following centuries and was able to expand its possessions. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the house represented several German kings and emperors. Emperor Charles IV (1346 to 1378) raised his homeland to the duchy in 1354.
Changing foreign rule
After the Luxembourg dynasty ended with Emperor Sigismund in 1437, the area came to the Dukes of Burgundy. From 1477 the Burgundian Empire was taken over by the House of Habsburg, which split into a Spanish and an Austrian line in 1556. Luxembourg fell to King Philip II of Spain.
In the 17th century, Luxembourg fell into the hands of absolutist France several times. After the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (Friede von Rastatt 1714), the Austrian Habsburgs again ruled. From 1794 to 1814, France ruled again over what is now Luxembourg.
After the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was reorganized at the “Vienna Congress” (1814/15). According to AbbreviationFinder, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was created and affiliated to the newly founded “Kingdom of the United Netherlands”. This meant that the Dutch regent was also the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. At the same time, the Grand Duchy joined the “German Confederation” and the city of Luxembourg became a federal fortress with a Prussian occupation. In 1831 Belgium broke away from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and became independent, causing Luxembourg to lose its larger Walloon part in the west to the new Kingdom.
The independence of the Grand Duchy
In 1866 the “German Confederation” dissolved, whereupon the Dutch regent Wilhelm III. the Grand Duchy wanted to sell to France. Both the Dutch Parliament and Prussia, which saw Luxembourg as part of a future German nation state, firmly opposed this project. The “Grand Duchy” gained independence through the “London Treaty” of 1867, but in return committed to permanent neutrality. The personal union with the Netherlands also initially remained. In 1868, Luxembourg received a parliamentary constitution that is essentially still valid today.
The Dutch regent Wilhelm III died in 1890. without male descendants, and through the then inheritance law provisions in Luxembourg, which did not allow a female succession to the throne, the royal family lost the claims to Luxembourg. Adolf von Nassau and Oranien (until 1912) became the new Grand Duke.
During the First World War, Luxembourg was occupied by German troops despite its neutral status. In 1918 the parliament spoke out in favor of the continued existence of the Grand Duchy and against a connection to Belgium, as required by various parties. A year later, a census showed an overwhelming majority for the continued existence of the constitutional monarchy as a form of government (around 66,000 voted for it, about 16,000 for a republic).
Luxembourg after the Second World War
German troops occupied the Grand Duchy also during the Second World War. After the war ended, the country gave up its status of permanent neutrality and in 1949 was one of the founding members of the western defense alliance NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
In 1958 the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the state treaty of the BENELUX countries as the basis for a trade and customs union. A year earlier, the Grand Duchy co-founded the European Economic Community (EEC). The city of Luxembourg became the official seat of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The anchoring of the small state in the North Atlantic Defense Alliance and in the European Community was supported uniformly by all governments.
In 1997, debt-free Luxembourg was the first EU country to meet all the criteria for joining the European Monetary Union. In October 2000 Henri II of Luxembourg officially took over the office of head of state from his father Jean I and became the new monarch of the Grand Duchy. The corresponding ceremony was held in April 2001.