Metz, a fortified city of the German Reichs-land of Alsace-Lorraine, at the confluence of the Seille and Moselle, 80 m. W. N. W. of Strasburg; pop. in 1871, 51,388, which has been much diminished by French emigration since the cession to Germany. The city is surrounded by a regular system of fortifications, and entered by nine gates with drawbridges. The most important works were commenced by Vauban and Belle-Isle and completed by Cormontaigne; and since the German occupation the fortifications have been improved and extended. The esplanade in the centre of the city is a beautiful promenade; the quarter on the right side of the Moselle contains many steep and narrow streets. Among the principal public buildings are the arsenal, the cathedral, the churches of Notre Dame de la Ronde and of the abbey of St. Vincent, both of great antiquity, the military hospital, the hall of justice, and the public library. Besides many Roman Catholic churches and convents, it contains a Calvinist church and several synagogues. It has manufactories of woollen goods, hosiery, plush, embroidery, beer, tiles, and nails.
Its manufacture of silk plush for hats is very extensive. - Metz was known to the Romans under the name of Divodurum changed subsequently to that of Mediomatrici' having been the capital of that tribe of Bel-gic Gaul; in the 5th century it was called Mettis or Metis. It became celebrated as the capital of Austrasia, which was afterward called the kingdom of Metz, and which in the middle of the 9th century assumed the name of Lorraine. Early in the 10th century Metz fell into the power of Henry the Fowler of Germany, and subsequently became a free imperial city, famous for its commerce, its brilliant society, and its love of letters and art. As the seat of one of the three bishoprics of Lorraine, it witnessed many commotions caused by the rivalries of the citizens and clergy. In 1552 it was occupied by Henry II. of France, besieged several months by Charles V., and successfully defended by the duke of Guise. It was annexed to France by the treaty of Westphalia (1648). At the beginning of the war of 1870 the third corps of the French army was stationed at Metz under Marshal Bazaine. Napoleon III. arrived there on July 28 and assumed the chief command.
After the defeats at Worth and Forbach, Aug. 6, about half of the French army was concentrated here, and on the 8th Marshal Bazaine assumed command. On the 14th the emperor with the vanguard left Metz and crossed the Moselle, and on the same day the first attempt of Bazaine to prepare for retreat was checked by the battle of Courcelles. The immediately succeeding battles of Mars-la-Tour on the 16th, and Gravelotte, 18th, drove the French within their fortifications, and Metz was now closely besieged by the Germans under Prince Frederick Charles. The subsequent attempts of Bazaine to break out were defeated, the more important sorties being repulsed on Aug. 26, 31, Sept. 1, 22-23, 27, Oct. 2, and 7-8. On Oct. 27 Metz capitulated, Bazaine surrendering his entire force to Prince Frederick Charles. (See Bazaine.) By the treaty of Frankfort, May 10, 1871, Metz was included in the cession of the Alsace-Lorraine territory to Germany. For the surrender at Metz Marshal Bazaine was tried by court martial at Versailles, the duke d'Aumale presiding. At the conclusion of the trial, Dec. 10, 1873, the judges declared Bazaine guilty of the capitulation of Metz and of the army in the open field without doing all that was prescribed by honor and duty to avoid the surrender.
He was unanimously condemned to death, and to degradation from his rank previous to his execution; but all the members of the court signed an appeal for mercy, which the duke d'Aumale in person presented to President MacMahon, who commuted Bazaine's sentence to 20 years' seclusion. He was sent to the island of Ste. Marguerite, but escaped Aug. 9, 1874. - See Die Operationen der zweiten Armee vom Beginn des Kriegs bis zur Capitulation Don Metz, by the baron von der Goltz (Berlin, 1873).