Alsace (Ger. Elsass), formerly a province of France, bounded by Lorraine, the Palatinate, Baden, Switzerland, and Franche-Comte, and constituting the departments of Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin; since the treaty of May 10, 1871, the main part of the German Reichsland (im-perial territory) of Alsace-Lorraine. it is now divided into the departments of Lower Alsace and Upper Alsace, and embraces an area of 3,175 sq. m., and a population of 1,083,886, exclusive of Belfort, formerly in Haut-Rhin, and some other portions of territory, which have been restored to France, and inclusive of some minor portions annexed from Lorraine. The Vosges mountains extend along its west-ern side, and the northeastern offshoots of the Jura cross its southern limits; but the central and eastern part consists of a fertile plain lying along the western side of the Rhine, which here forms the boundary between it and Ba-den. The Ill and its tributaries are the other principal streams. There are several canals. of which the Rhone canal is the largest. The manufactures are important, comprising cloth of various kinds, cotton yarn, paper, beet-root sugar, beer, brandy, and oil.

The principal cities are Strasburg, Muhlhausen, and Colmar. - As attested by monuments still extant, Alsace had a dense population of Celts sev-eral years before the Christian era. It was occupied by the Rauraci, the Tribocci, and the Nemetes at the time of the Roman invasion: was the theatre of the defeat of Ariovistus by Julius CAesar, 58 B. C, and formed part of Celtic Gaul, as the Roman province of Ger-mania Superior, called afterward Germania Prima. The Alemanni first invaded Alsace in the 3d century, and after the close of their long struggle with the Romans, the population, decimated by war, was rapidly filled up in the 5th century by Germanic settlers, who were called Ill-Sassen, i. e., dwellers on the I11. the main Al-satian affluent of the Rhine. After the defeat of the Alemanni near Zulpich in 496, Alsace be-came known under Frankish rulers as the duchy of Alsatia. In the 7th century, under the Frank-ish duke Adalric (Etticho) and his daughter Odilia, who became the patron saint of Alsace, great progress was made in Christianizing the country. In the 9th century it was part of Lothaire's empire.

In 924 it was annexed to Germany by Henry the Fowler, but it was continually claimed as a Frankish possession until the extinction of the Carlovingian dynasty in 987. It then remained for several centuries in the undisputed possession of Germany as an Alemannian or Swabian duchy, under various rulers and subjected to many vicissitudes. The revolt of the Alsatian peasantry, the most violent outbreak during the religious conflicts of the 16th century, was quelled May 17, 1525, by the bloody victory achieved by Duke Anthony III. over the peasants. Part of Alsace was allotted to France by the treaty of Westphalia (1648). Strasburg was seized by Louis XIV. in 1681, and the whole country came under French authority by the treaty of Ryswick in 16!)7, with the exception of Montbeliard and Muhlhausen, which were acquired by France subsequently. In 1814 Saarlouis and Saar-briick were ceded to Prussia, and Landau and the adjoining localities to Bavaria. The French made strenuous efforts to Gallicize their Alsatian possessions, but German continued to be the language of the masses, except in the large cities, where the speech and modes of life of the upper classes were generally French. According to Bockh, in his work on the German-speaking nationalities in Europe (Berlin, 1870), there are hardly 100,000 out of the whole population who do not speak German. In the Franco-German war the recovery of the old German possessions of Alsace and Lorraine became a strong national aspiration.

On July 22, 1870, the Rhine bridge at Kehl, opposite Strasburg, was blown up by the Germans. Weissenburg was stormed by them Aug. 4, and the battle of Worth was fought Aug. 6. Strasburg surrendered Sept. 27, 1870; Schlettstadt, Oct. 24; Neu Breisach, Nov. 10; and Belfort, Feb. 16, 1871. Alsace was formally ceded to the German empire by the treaty of peace of Frankfort, concluded May 10, 1871. W. Menzel, A. Schmidt, and Wagner wrote in 1870 on Alsace and Lorraine. Among recent French historians of Alsace are Boyer (Paris, 1862) and Baquol (3d ed., Paris, 1866).

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