I. A Territory Of Europe, formerly constituting a province of the Netherlands. Before its division in 1830 it extended between lat. 50° 42' and 51° 45' N., and lon. 4° 57' and 6° 15' E., and was bounded by the provinces of North Brabant, Gelderland, Rhenish Prussia, Liege, South Brabant, and Antwerp. It was a county at an early date. Among its rulers at the close of the 11th century was Count Henry, son-in-law of Frederick of Luxemburg, duke of Lower Lorraine. His son Henry inherited large estates in Luxemburg, was made duke of Lower Lorraine by the emperor Henry IV., and seems to have been the first titular duke of Limburg. He died in 1119. At the close of the 13th century one of his descendants ceded the province to Duke John I. of Brabant, and the battle of Woeringen (1288) confirmed the latter in his possession. Early in the 16th century it was a duchy, and included several districts now belonging to the province of Liege. The city of Maestricht was added to the duchy in 1530. By the treaty of Westphalia in 1648 Limburg was divided between Austria and the states general, the latter receiving the counties of Daelhem and Falkenberg. Under the French, Limburg with other territory constituted the departments of Ourthe and Basse-Meuse. After the Belgian revolution of 1830 Limburg was divided between Holland and Belgium, but the boundaries were not definitely settled till 1839.
II. The Dutch Province, bounded by North Brabant, Gelderland, Rhenish Prussia, and Belgian Limburg, being partly separated from the latter by the Maas or Meuse; area, 851 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 225,-702, chiefly Roman Catholics. It is generally level, and the northwest portion contains many heaths and marshes. The most fertile soil is found in the valleys of the Maas, Roer, and other rivers; elsewhere the land is generally poor. Cereals, hemp, and flax are raised. Gin is the staple manufacture, and among the others are tobacco, soap, leather, paper, and glass. The principal towns are Maestricht, the capital, Venloo, Roermond, and Weert. From 1839 to 1866 Dutch Limburg belonged in a military sense to the German confederation, as a compensation for that part of Luxemburg which had been ceded by Holland to Belgium.
III. The Belgian Province, bounded N. E. and E. by the preceding, S. by Liege, W. by Brabant and Antwerp, and N. by North Brabant; area, 931 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 200,336. The surface is flat, underlaid with fossiliferous limestone. The portion bordering on the Maas affords good pasturage, and the south and central parts contain much arable land, but the other portions are mainly barren heath. Cattle and swine are raised; iron, lead, calamine, and other minerals are mined; and brandy, beet sugar, and straw hats are manufactured. The principal towns are Hasselt, the capital, St. Trond, Tongern, and Maaseyck.
IV. A Town Of Belgium, once the capital of the territory of Limburg, now in the province and 16 m. E. of the city of Liege; pop. about 3,000. It was once populous and strongly fortified, but is now almost a ruin, its most important part being Dolhain, a suburb of the old city. It is on the Vesdre river, and is finely situated on an eminence. The church of St. George, damaged by fire in 1833, but since restored, contains a Gothic tabernacle and a monument to a princess of Baden. Cloth is manufactured, and zinc and coal mines are worked in the vicinity. The celebrated Limburg cheese is mostly made in the neighboring town of Herve.