Lower Lotharingia

(Redirected from Lower Lorraine)

The Duchy of Lower Lotharingia,[1] also called Northern Lotharingia,[2][3] Lower Lorraine or Northern Lorraine (and also referred to as Lothier or Lottier[4] in titles), was a stem duchy established in 959, of the medieval Kingdom of Germany, which encompassed almost all of the modern Netherlands (the region of Frisia was loosely associated with the duchy, but the dukes exercised no de facto control over the territory), central and eastern Belgium, Luxemburg, the northern part of the German Rhineland province and the eastern parts of France's Nord-Pas de Calais region.

Duchy of Lower Lotharingia
Neder-Lotharingen (Dutch)
Green: Lower (Northern) Lotharingia in 977 (borders of current states in purple)
Green: Lower (Northern) Lotharingia in 977 (borders of current states in purple)
StatusPart of East Francia until 962
Part of Holy Roman Empire
Common languages
GovernmentFeudal Duchy
• 959–964
Godfrey I (first)
• 1142–1190
Godfrey III (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Prince-Bishopric of Liège
Electorate of Cologne
Bishopric of Cambrai
Duchy of Cleves
Duchy of Limburg
County of Namur
Landgraviate of Brabant
County of Holland
Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht
Counts of Louvain
Duchy of Guelders
County of Hainaut
Duchy of Jülich
Duchy of Berg
County of Loon

History edit

It was created out of the former Middle Frankish realm of Lotharingia under King Lothair II, that had been established in 855. Lotharingia was divided for much of the later ninth century, reunited under Louis the Younger by the 880 Treaty of Ribemont and upon the death of East Frankish king Louis the Child in 911 it joined West Francia under King Charles the Simple. It then formed a duchy in its own right, and about 925 Duke Gilbert declared homage to the German king Henry the Fowler, an act which King Rudolph of France was helpless to revert. From that time on Lotharingia (or Lorraine) remained a German stem duchy, the border with France did not change throughout the Middle Ages.

In 959 King Henry's son Duke Bruno the Great divided Lotharingia into two duchies: Lower and Upper Lorraine (or Lower and Upper Lotharingia) and granted Count Godfrey I of Mons (Hainaut) the title of a duke of Lower Lorraine. Godfrey's lands were to the north (lower down the Rhine river system), while Upper Lorraine was to the south (further up the river system). Both duchies formed the western part of the Holy Roman Empire established by Bruno's elder brother Emperor Otto I in 962.

Both Lotharingian duchies took very separate paths thereafter: Upon the death of Godfrey's son Duke Richar, Lower Lotharingia was directly ruled by the emperor, until in 977 Otto II enfeoffed Charles, the exiled younger brother of King Lothair of France. Lower and Upper Lorraine were once again briefly reunited under Gothelo I from 1033 to 1044. After that, the Lower duchy was quickly marginalised,[citation needed] while Upper Lorraine came to be known as simply the Duchy of Lorraine.

Over the next decades the significance of the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia diminished and furthermore was affected by the conflict between Emperors Henry IV and Henry V: In 1100 Henry IV had enfeoffed Count Henry of Limburg, whom Henry V, having enforced the abdication of his father, immediately deposed and replaced by Count Godfrey I of Louvain. Upon the death of Duke Godfrey III in 1190, his son Duke Henry I of Brabant inherited the ducal title by order of Emperor Henry VI at the Diet of Schwäbisch Hall. Thereby the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia finally lost its territorial authority, while the remnant Imperial fief held by the dukes of Brabant was later called the Duchy of Lothier (or Lothryk).

History of the Low Countries
Frisii Belgae
Gallia Belgica (55 BC–c. 5th AD)
Germania Inferior (83–c. 5th)
Salian Franks Batavi
(4th–c. 5th)
Saxons Salian Franks
(4th–c. 5th)
Frisian Kingdom
(c. 6th–734)
Frankish Kingdom (481–843)Carolingian Empire (800–843)
Austrasia (511–687)
Middle Francia (843–855) West

Kingdom of Lotharingia (855– 959)
Duchy of Lower Lorraine (959–)


County of

Bishopric of

Duchy of

Duchy of

County of

County of

County of

of Liège

Duchy of

Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)
Dutch Republic
Spanish Netherlands
Austrian Netherlands
United States of Belgium
R. Liège
Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
associated with French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830)  
Gr D. L.
Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
Gr D. of


Successor states edit

After the territorial power of the duchy was shattered, many fiefdoms came to imperial immediacy in its area. The most important ones of these were:

The following successor states remained under the authority of the titular dukes of Lower Lotharingia (Lothier):

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Baedeker, Jarrold; Court, Alec (1992). Netherlands. Pearson Education Canada. ISBN 978-0-13-063611-9.
  2. ^ The Numismatic Chronicle. Royal Numismatic Society. 2006.
  3. ^ Bachrach, David S. (2014). Warfare in Tenth-Century Germany. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84383-927-9.
  4. ^ "Treaty of Joinville". (in French) In Davenport, Frances G. European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2004.