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Definition: Alsace-Lorraine from Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Area, eastern France. It is now usually considered to include the present-day French departments of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, and Moselle. The area was ceded by France to Germany in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War. It was returned to France after World War I, occupied by the Germans in World War II, then again restored to France. French prewar governmental policies that had clashed with the region’s particularism have since been modified. The German dialect known as Alsatian remains the lingua franca, and both French and German are taught in the schools.

Place: Alsace-Lorraine

Location: territory, France

Type: Current sociographic region

Related Place: Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, France, Moselle, Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin

Keywords: Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, France, region, Moselle, Haut-Rhin, Alsace-Lorraine, Bas-Rhin


Summary Article: Alsace-Lorraine
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Area of northeast France, lying west of the River Rhine. It forms the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine, and corresponds to the three French départements of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Moselle. As a political entity, Alsace-Lorraine was created by the Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The former iron and steel industries are being replaced by electronics, chemicals, and precision engineering. Although the official language is French and most place names have been gallicized, much of Alsace's population and part of Lorraine's are still German-speaking. The German dialect spoken there is not considered on a par with French, and there is autonomist sentiment.

History Alsace-Lorraine formed part of Celtic Gaul in Julius Caesar's time, was invaded by the Alemanni and other Germanic tribes in the 5th century, and remained part of the German Empire until the 17th century. In 1648 part of the territory was ceded to France; in 1681 Louis XIV seized Strasbourg. The few remaining districts were seized by France after the French Revolution. The region was conquered by Germany 1870–71, chiefly for its iron ores); the great prosperity and power built up by Germany after 1871 was largely due to its exploitation of the iron mines of Alsace-Lorraine. Without these resources Germany would, long before 1918, have exhausted its capacity for turning out the essential materials of war. Alsace-Lorraine was regained by France in 1919, then again annexed by Germany from 1940 to 1944, when it was liberated by the Allies.

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