31 Facts About Alsace


Until 1871, Alsace included the area now known as the Territoire de Belfort, which formed its southernmost part.

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From 1982 to 2016, Alsace was the smallest administrative region in metropolitan France, consisting of the Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin departments.

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For more than 300 years, from the Thirty Years' War to World War II, the political status of Alsace was heavily contested between France and various German states in wars and diplomatic conferences.

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Name Alsace can be traced to the Old High German or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain".

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Alsace is a plain surrounded by the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest mountains (east).

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Alsace remained under Frankish control until the Frankish realm, following the Oaths of Strasbourg of 842, was formally dissolved in 843 at the Treaty of Verdun; the grandsons of Charlemagne divided the realm into three parts.

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Alsace was united with the other Alemanni east of the Rhine into the stem duchy of Swabia.

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Alsace experienced great prosperity during the 12th and 13th centuries under Hohenstaufen emperors.

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In 1349, Jews of Alsace were accused of poisoning the wells with plague, leading to the massacre of thousands of Jews during the Strasbourg pogrom.

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In 1469, following the Treaty of St Omer, Upper Alsace was sold by Archduke Sigismund of Austria to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.

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Alsace's efforts were countered by the Roman Catholic Habsburgs who tried to eradicate heresy in Upper Alsace.

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When hostilities were concluded in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia, most of Alsace was recognized as part of France, although some towns remained independent.

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Unlike other member states of the German federation, which had governments of their own, the new Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine was under the sole authority of the Kaiser, administered directly by the imperial government in Berlin.

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Only in 1911 was Alsace-Lorraine granted some measure of autonomy, which was manifested in a flag and an anthem.

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Alsace-Lorraine was occupied by Germany in 1940 during the Second World War.

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Alsace was merged with Baden, and Lorraine with the Saarland, to become part of a planned Westmark.

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Alsace is the part of the plain of the Rhine located at the west of the Rhine, on its left bank.

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Alsace has a semi-continental climate at low altitude and a continental climate at high altitude.

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Since 2021, Alsace is a territorial collectivity called the European Collectivity of Alsace.

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European Collectivity of Alsace is divided into 2 departmental constituencies, 9 departmental arrondissements, 40 cantons, and 880 communes.

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Alsace is generally seen as the most religious of all the French regions.

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Alsace became one of the French regions boasting a thriving Jewish community, and the only region with a noticeable Anabaptist population.

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Alsace historically was part of the Holy Roman Empire and the German realm of culture.

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Between 1870 and 1918, Alsace was annexed by the German Empire in the form of an imperial province or Reichsland, and the mandatory official language, especially in schools, became High German.

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Southern Alsace, called the Sundgau, is characterized by carpe frite.

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Alsace is well known for its foie gras made in the region since the 17th century.

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Alsace is the main beer-producing region of France, thanks primarily to breweries in and near Strasbourg.

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Stork is a main feature of Alsace and was the subject of many legends told to children.

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Alsace is furthermore famous for its vineyards and the Vosges mountains with their thick and green forests and picturesque lakes.

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Vosges are surmountable only by the Col de Saverne and the Belfort Gap, it has been suggested that Alsace needs to open up and get closer to France in terms of its rail links.

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Alsace is the most well equipped region of France, with 2000 kilometres of cycle routes.

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