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History of Luxembourg

Although the region that is today known as Luxembourg exchanged hands a number of times (including between the Germans, French, and Austrians) throughout history, the modern country's history doesn't begin until the fall of Napoleon in the early 1800s. At that time there was dispute as to where Luxembourg belonged politically and eventually it was united with the Netherlands, which included at the time Belgium.

Prior to this point the region consisted of Germans, French, English and the Dutch among others. The villages and cities began growing in the 900s and 1000s, but there was little rule on a larger scale. Later the region fell under the rule of the Hapsburgs and from this point until the 1500s the region's direction was primarily determined by the Austrian-based Hapsburgs and the Hapsburg's relationships with various other countries, most notably France and Germany.

In the mid-1500s, war broke out between Spain, which was home to the Holy Roman Emperor at the time and the territories that today make up Benelux. As a result of these battles, these territories in the modern day Benelux region signed the Union of Utrecht in 1579, which merged them together to defend each other against the Spanish. Despite this document, war continued with Spain until 1648, at which time some provinces were granted full freedom.

In the mid-1600s the territories that now make up Benelux were divided into two regions, the north and south, Luxembourg falling primarily into the southern district. This territory fell under the rule of the Hapsburgs (among others) and became home to multiple battles in the 1600s and 1700s as France fought both the Austrians and Spanish. This ended in the late-1700s when France annexed much of the region under Napoleon.

After the fall of Napoleon's France in the early 1800s, Luxembourg was united with the northern section of the region to create the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, Belgium protested this and about 15 years later gained their independence as a monarchy. Due to the Belgium Revolution in the 1830s, Luxembourg lost much of their territory, but remained united with the Netherlands. In 1890 this union ended when the Dutch offered no male heir to rule over Luxembourg; at this point, power was passed to a Germanic family.

During both World War I and World War II (WWII) Luxembourg proclaimed neutrality, but was occupied by the Germans. However very little violence occurred, particularly during WWII as the Germans viewed Luxembourg as a Germanic state.

Since WWII, Luxembourg has been an active political state as they have joined the United Nations (UN), NATO, and was one of the founding members of the European Union (EU).

This page was last updated: March, 2013