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History[edit | edit source]
In 1308 the Count of Luxembourg became Holy Roman Emperor Henry XII, and in 1354 Luxembourg was raised to a duchy. In 1445 it was incorporated into the Duchy of Burgundy, and in 1482 the area passed to the vast Habsburg domains. From the 15th to the 18th centuries, Luxembourg's history was shared with that of southern Netherlands as Spain and Austria alternately dominated the country until 1795 when Napoleon seized the area of Luxembourg and established French institutions.
In 1815 at the close of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna elevated Luxembourg to a Grand duchy and placed it under the rule of William I, King of the Netherlands, and the northeastern portion surrounding Bitburg was given to Prussia. At the same time, Luxembourg joined the German Confederation, and was garrisoned by Prussian troops. When Belgium rebelled against the Netherlands in 1830, Luxembourg supported the Belgians. After Belgium gained independence in 1839, it claimed the entire country of Luxembourg. Luxembourg remained a member of the German Confederation.
In 1866 the King of the Netherlands decided to sell Luxembourg to France; this action nearly brought about a war between France and Prussia. In 1867 the European powers at the Treaty of London declared Luxembourg an independent, neutral country. It became a parliamentary democracy under a constitution adopted in 1868.
The Grand duchy was occupied by German troops in both world wars, and was liberated both times with the arrival of American forces. At Hamm, outside Luxembourg city, more than 5,000 American soldiers lie buried, including General George S. Patton, Jr.
On 26 June 1945 the country became an original member of the United Nations. An agreement establishing a customs union among Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, known as Benelux, took effect on 1 January 1948. Under the terms of a constitutional amendment adopted in 1948, Luxembourg abrogated its traditional neutrality and became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1815 - After the defeat of Napoleon, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands
1838 – 1839 Treaty of London. Under the treaty, the European powers recognized and guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium and established the full independence of the German-speaking part of Luxembourg
1871 - As a result of Germany's victory over France, Luxembourg's boundary with Lorraine, containing Metz and Thionville, changed from being a frontier with a part of France to a frontier with territory annexed to the German Empire as Alsace-Lorraine under the Treaty of Frankfurt
1914 - Imperial Germany violated Luxembourg's neutrality in WW I by invading it in the war against France
1940 - After the outbreak of World War II, Luxembourg's neutrality was again violated when the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany entered the country, entirely without justification and under the German occupation of Luxembourg during World War II, the country was treated as German territory and informally annexed to the adjacent province of the Third Reich
1944 - Luxembourg was liberated