Luxembourg’s history dates back to 963, when the castle of Luxembourg was fortified and a city community developed around it. In 1354 the country became a duchy, and from 1443 Luxembourg came under various European countries and dominions.
In 1830, Luxembourg was divided and the Walloon part became subject to Belgium. When Belgium disbanded from the Netherlands in 1839, Luxembourg lost more than half its area, but became more independent. In 1867, Luxembourg’s independence and neutrality was declared in the London Convention. The country achieved full independence in 1890, when the Dutch king William III died.
Luxembourg was occupied by Germany in 1914–1918 (World War I) and in 1940–1944 (World War II). See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Luxembourg. This led to the country abandoning the principle of neutrality in 1948 and becoming one of the founding nations of the UN, EU and NATO. Luxembourg is one of the 3 members of the Benelux.
Luxembourg became an independent political entity in 963, when the castle of Luxembourg was fortified and a city community developed around it. The country was then a county that included both the present Grand Duchy and the Belgian province of Luxembourg, as well as some neighboring parts of France and Germany. From 963, Luxembourg emerged as an independent political entity, and the country became a duchy in 1354.
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In 1443, Luxembourg came under Burgundy, and together with much of this principality, the land was inherited by the Habsburg House in 1477. From then on, Luxembourg was administered together with the rest of the Netherlands (roughly today’s Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands). The duchy was part of Karl V’s kingdom until 1555, and then joined the rest of the Netherlands to his son Philip II, who administered the area from Spain. During the 1980 war, the Netherlands broke out of this union, while the southern Netherlands continued under Spanish rule. During the Spanish regime, France didseveral conquests at Spain’s expense, including capturing part of Luxembourg in 1659. France invaded the Principality in 1684, but had to give it back to the Habsburg House after the subsequent Palatinate War.
After the Spanish succession war, Luxembourg came under Austria, along with the rest of the southern Netherlands, and the country remained under Austrian rule until revolutionary France conquered it in 1795.
In 1815, Luxembourg became Grand Duchy and German federal state under William 1 of the Netherlands. When Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands in 1830, Luxembourg followed, but the country was divided by the Treaty of London in 1839: The western, Walloon-speaking part came under Belgium, while the eastern part got its present boundaries, and became a sovereign grand duchy in the personal union with the Netherlands.. In 1866, Luxembourg was separated by the German Federation, but was still in the German Customs Union, and in 1867 was declared neutral.
When King William 3 of the Netherlands died in 1890, the relationship with the Netherlands ceased, because the Salian heirs of Luxembourg put male heirs ahead of women. Luxembourg now became independent. While the Netherlands inherited Vilhelm 3’s daughter Wilhelmina, Luxembourg passed to the distant relative Adolf of Nassau. His line is still the head of state in the country.
Adolf was Grand Duke in the period 1890-1905, and was succeeded by his son Vilhelm. Grand Duke Vilhelm had no sons, so Elder Marie Adelheid was declared heir in 1907. She ruled from 1912 to 1919, when she resigned in favor of Sister Charlotte.
World War I and World War II
Luxembourg was occupied by German troops throughout the First World War. A referendum in 1919 showed a large majority to uphold the Grand Duke’s constitution. There was also a majority for an economic union with France, which however rejected such a scheme. Luxembourg then entered into an agreement on economic union with Belgium which entered into force on 1 May 1922.
During World War II, during the German offensive in the west on May 10, 1940, Luxembourg was again occupied by German troops. Grand Duchess Charlotte fled with her government to London. The Allies liberated Luxembourg in the years 1944–1945, and Duchess Charlotte returned.
After reigning for 45 years, in 1964 Grand Duchess Charlotte transferred her post of head of state to her eldest son, Prince Jean. He reigned until 2000, when his son Henri took over as Grand Duke.
Luxembourg’s economy and foreign policy are closely linked to Belgium and the Netherlands through the Benelux Union, and the country has played a very active role in the creation of the EU, NATO and other Western European and Atlantic cooperation organizations after the Second World War. The country’s important steel industry was hit hard by the economic crisis of the mid-1970s. However, it has succeeded in keeping unemployment at the lowest level in Western Europe, which is partly due to the establishment of new high-tech industry.
Luxembourg is also one of the most important financial centers in Europe, and several international organizations are based in the country, including the European Court of Justice. The country has been involved in the euro since its inception, and a referendum in 2005 provided a majority for the new EU constitution – a few weeks after it was rejected by French and Dutch voters.
The capital of Luxembourg was the European Capital of Culture in 2007, together with Sibiu.
Luxembourg has stable political conditions, and for a long time a coalition of the two major parties, the liberal and the Christian social, has been in power. Xavier Bettel has been prime minister since 2013.