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Alsace, France- "An Alsatian musician" (page 75)

Alsatians are the inhabitants of the French region of Alsace, located on the border with Germany. Alsatians are considered to be the “German-speaking” individuals whom inhabit the country, but also have their own dialect. Before Alsace became a part of France, it’s former homes were the Rhineland, Lotharingia, and then the duchy of Swabia. Alsatians’ culture and heritage are well defined by the customs related to Germany, due to the close locations of the two areas.

Map showing the Alsace region on the eastern edge of France, on the border with Germany.

Map source URL: http://winefornormalpeople.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-confusing-but-refreshing-wine.html

In the 16th century the region became a centre of Humanism and the Reformation. During the Renaissance, Alsace grew rich; this can be seen in the magnificent architecture of the public buildings and bourgeois mansions.

The period of rising prosperity was brutally interrupted by the Thirty Years War. Alsace was laid waste. The Peace of 1648 resulted in the province’s steady incorporation into the Kingdom of France. Louis XIV captured Strasbourg in 1681; the Rhine became the frontier with Germany. Reconstruction and the reconversion of Alsace by the Catholic Church led to a growing prosperity. This was the highpoint of the Baroque and Classical periods, with French and German influences to be seen in both religious and lay building. It was also the golden age of organ building which left the region a unique heritage.

The French Revolution of 1789 completed Alsace’s integration into the French Nation. Under Napoleon, Alsace supplied the armies with a great many soldiers and provisions. Following the 1815 defeat at Waterloo and the subsequent occupation, the region went through a serious economic crisis. Middle class businessmen subsequently modernised and transformed the local economy, finally overcoming the recession around 1850 thanks to increasing investment in industry. Modernisation of the local economy and towns continued...

Since 1871, Alsace and northern Lorraine have been part of a special territory that once belonged to the German Empire. Returned to France in 1918, Alsace retained its own special laws, German labour laws in particular.

Second map, showing Alsace as part of the conflict in the Franco-German war of 1870-71.

Map source URL: http://www.dcstamps.com/?p=474

For further information, go to:

http://www.everyculture.com/Europe/Alsatians.html

http://www.french-property.com/regions/alsace/heritage.htm

 

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