1450-1648 1697-1789

Alsace, 1648-1697

Note : in German, the region is spelled ELSASS

For Spain the Alsace had critical importance, as it formed part of the SPANISH ROAD connecting the SPANISH NETHERLANDS with northern Italy (the port of Genova). This was the logistical supply line for the Spanish troops in the Netherlands (the sea route no longer being an option ever since the defeat of the Armada in 1588). Late in the 30 YEARS WAR French troops occupied the Alsace and cut that road; in the TREATY OF WESTPHALIA 1648, France was ceded the Habsburg territories in the Alsace as well as invested with the Emperor's sovereignty over the 10 free imperial cities (technically, the area remained part of the Empire, the King of France only exercising the Emperor's authority in the region).
King Louis XIV. introduced a standing army and pursued an amibitious policy of expansion, in gross violation of treaties and right (the so-called REUNIONS). In 1673 (during Louis XIV.'s Dutch War), Louis XIV. 'visited' the Alsace and forced the Decapolis to submit to French sovereignty. French Marshal Turenne won the Battle of Türkheim 1675. The city of STRASSBURG fell to French troops in 1681. Im 1687 the Lutheran community of Strassburg was 'reunited' with the Catholic Church (Ouvrage de Pere Dez). The TREATY OF RIJSWIJK 1697 recognized the French acquisition of the Alsace, except the city of MÜLHAUSEN (which, since 1515, was a member of the Swiss Confederation).
The French administration, by attracting immigrants from French-speaking areas, attempted to turn the Alsace into a francophone region.
At the time of the French acquisition of the Alsace, the COUNTERREFORMATION had prevailed (Jesuit university at MOLSHEIM since 1608), only small communities within the Alsace, mainly within the cities of Strassburg and Mülhausen, remaining protestant.

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Das Elsass und seine Geschichte, by Hans Rainer Soppa in German
History of Strasbourg, from strasbourg.com
L'Alsace sous la premiere periode francaise (1648-1870), from elsassnet.com
History of Elsass-Lothringia : 1648-1680 the Reunions, from National Forum of Elsass-Lothringia, detailed chronology
Article Strasbourg, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Reformed Protestantism, from utoronto, scroll down for Strasbourg
History of Belfort, from LISA
Histoire de Strasbourg : Renaissance, from Ville de Strasbourg, in French, click : la Renaissance
DOCUMENTS Map : French conquest of Elsass-Lothringen 1648, 1659, 1680, 1681, 1697
The surrender of Strassburg in 1681, posted by Philippe Nithard, in French
REFERENCE Coins of the Alsace, 1601-1700, in Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Seventeenth Century 1601-1700, 2nd ed., 2000, pp.258-263
Philippe Dollinger (ed.), Histoire de l'Alsace (History of the Alsace), Toulouse : Edouard Privat, 1970, in French

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 3rd 2002, last revised on January 15th 2007

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