Luxemburg (Fr. Luxembourg), a territory of Europe, now constituting the southernmost province of Belgium and a detached dependency of the Netherlands (but ranking as an independent grand duchy), bounded E. by Rhenish Prussia and S. W. by France; area, 2,705 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 403,312. It is traversed by branches of the Ardennes highlands, and watered by the Meuse and Moselle and their affluents. It was originally called Lutzelburg, and was governed for some generations by German princes, whose progenitor was Count Sigfried of the Ardennes. It subsequently became a possession of the counts of Lim-burg, one of whom assumed the name of count of Luxemburg. To this house belonged the emperors Henry VII., Charles IV., son of King John of Bohemia, Wenceslas, and Sigis-mund, in the 14th and 15th centuries, all of whom but the first also reigned in Bohemia. Charles IV. elevated Luxemburg to the rank of a duchy. .Wenceslas gave it to his niece Elizabeth, who ceded it to Philip the Good of Burgundy. With Mary, the daughter of Charles the Bold, it came into the hands of Maximilian of Austria. Philip II. of Spain received it from his father, the emperor Charles V. By the peace of Utrecht in 1713 it was restored to Austria, and in 1794-15 it was conquered by France. In 1815, at the congress of Vienna, it was made a member of the German confederation, as a grand duchy, and the king of the Netherlands was selected as its ruler, under the title of grand duke of Luxemburg. In consequence of the revolution of 1830 Luxemburg was divided between Belgium and Holland, but the latter retained little beyond the fortress of Luxemburg, until April 19, 1839, when a new treaty was signed in London, by which Belgium resigned a portion of Limburg, to be united with the part of the king of Holland, as a member of the German confederation.
The territory abounds so much with woods and forests, that under the French administration it was appropriately called de-partement des Forets. Agriculture flourishes to some extent in the lower part of the country, and wine of an inferior quality is produced along the banks of the rivers. - The present Belgian province of Luxemburg forms the S. E. division of the kingdom, bounded N. and W. by Liege and Namur, and comprises the arrondissements of Arlon, Bastogne, Marche, Neufchateau, and Virton, including the old duchy of Bouillon; area, 1,706 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 205,784. The great Luxemburg railway from Brussels to Treves traverses the whole province. The industry of Belgian Luxemburg comprises iron works, slate quarries, potteries, tanneries, cloth factories, and paper mills. Capital, Arlon. - The grand duchy of Luxemburg lies E. of the Belgian territory, and is bounded S. by the German Reichsland of Alsace-Lorraine; area, 999 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 197,528, nearly all Roman Catholics. All the inhabitants are of German nationality, with the exception of two villages on the Belgian frontier, which are Walloon. The number of persons who exclusively speak French is estimated at about 4,000; all the others speak German. The grand duchy is divided into the districts of Luxemburg, Diekirch, and Grevenmachern. The principal manufactures are iron, leather, gloves, porcelain, and earthenware; there are also some textile manufac-tures, nearly 2,000 distilleries, and a large number of breweries.
Luxemburg is a representative monarchy, the king of the Netherlands being the grand duke and sharing the legislative functions with a diet which consists of 40 deputies, elected in 13 electoral districts by a direct vote for a term of six years. Every third year one half of the members are elected. The chamber meets annually and elects its own president and vice presidents. The grand duke is represented by a prince of his family, who bears the title of stadtholder; and a special secretary for the affairs of the grand duchy is employed in the royal cabinet at the Hague. The highest administrative board is the "government," in the city of Luxemburg, consisting of a president and three directors general. The revenue in 1871 amounted to $1,064,000, the expenditure to $988,000. The public debt, exclusively consisting of railroad loans, amounts to about $2,280,000. The armed force numbers about 500 men. The aggregate length of railroads is about 105 m. The king of the Netherlands was by virtue of this possession a member of the German confederation, had a vote in the diet, and furnished for Luxemburg and Limburg a contingent of about 3,000 men to the federal army; but in 1866 the dissolution of the confederation put an end to the connection of Luxemburg with Germany. The state of public affairs in the duchy for some time gave rise to serious complications, the German diet having authorized the king in 1839 to rule it according to the political principles which prevail in other parts of the Netherlands, while the Luxemburgers demanded a more liberal form of government.
Hassenpflug, the minister in Luxemburg, was at length compelled to resign in 1840. After the accession of King William II. some privileges were granted to the grand duchy (Oct, 12, 1841), and in 1842 it joined the German Zollverein. Until 1848, however, the country was agitated by political and religious strife, in which the Roman Catholic bishop Laurent took a conspicuous part. The revolution of 1848 put an end to this agitation, and introduced parliamentary government, which however has since been modified. The conflict between the liberal and the government party ended in 1858 in favor of the latter, and the royal civil list was raised in the same year from 100,000 to 200,000 francs. In 1867 Napoleon III. entered into secret negotiations with the king of the Netherlands for the sale of the grand duchy, and an agreement would have been arrived at but for the protest of the North German confederation, which, supported by the South German states, notified France that the transfer of the grand duchy to that power would be opposed if necessary by force of arms.
In order to find a peaceable solution for the threatening complication, a conference of the powers which had signed the treaty of 1839 met in London on May 7, 1867, which on May 11 agreed upon the following treaty: "Luxemburg remains with the house of Nassau-Orange, and forms for ever a neutral state, which is placed under the joint guarantee of all the signers of the treaty with the exception of the neutral Belgium. The grand duchy continues to belong to the German customs union; the fortress is evacuated by the Prussian troops, razed by the king of the Netherlands, and cannot be restored."
Luxemburg, a city, capital of the grand duchy of Luxemburg, on the Elze or Alzette, 76 m. S. S. E. of Liege; pop. in 1871, 14,440. Its situation has been frequently compared with that of Jerusalem; it is completely surrounded by high escarped rocks. The upper town occupies a plateau, joined to the neighboring country only on the west. On the other three sides are precipices nearly 200 ft. deep. Similar rocks rise opposite to these, enclosing a valley, in whose depths the lower town nestles. The communication between the upper and lower towns is by flights of steps, or by streets carried up in zigzags, so as to make them passable for carriages. The fortifications of Luxemburg, which gave the town a remarkably picturesque appearance, were successively increased and improved by the Spaniards, Austrians, French, and Dutch, and entirely repaired and much strengthened after 1830 by the German diet, but were razed in 1867 and the following years, in accordance with the stipulation of the treaty of London. The most remarkable part of the fortifications was that called Le Bouc, a projecting headland of rock, hollowed out from top to bottom, and commanding with its loopholes and embrasures the valley up and down; its casemates resembled those of Gibraltar. Carnot declared Luxemburg to be "the strongest fortress in Europe, next to Gibraltar; the only point for an attack upon France from the direction of the Moselle." In spite of its strength, however, none of the many sieges of Luxemburg was particularly remarkable.
It was one of the principal fortresses of the German confederation, and garrisoned by 6,000 Prussian troops. Luxemburg has a fine cathedral and other churches, and various public institutions. The industry is carried on in the lower town, where are many mills, dye works, and manufacturing establishments. An international bank with a capital of 40,000,000 francs was established here in 1856. The great Luxemburg railway connects it with Brussels and Treves, and diligences with Metz, the journey to the latter city leading over some of the most favorite hunting grounds and the wildest regions of the Ardennes.