Moselle

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Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.

Contents

History

Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the former province of Lorraine.

In 1793, the foreign enclaves of Manderen, Lixing-lès-Rouhling, Momerstroff, and Créhange (Kriechingen), all possessions of princes of the German Holy Roman Empire, were annexed by France and incorporated into the Moselle département.

By the Treaty of Paris of 1814 following the first defeat and abdication of Napoleon, France had to surrender almost all its conquests since 1792. On the northeastern border, France was not restored to its 1792 borders, but a new border was established to put an end to the convoluted nature of the border, with all its enclaves and exclaves. As a result, the French exclave of Tholey (now in Saarland, Germany) as well as a few communes near Sierck-les-Bains (both territories until then part of the Moselle département) were ceded to Austria. On the other hand, the French annexations of 1793 were confirmed, and furthermore, the south of the Napoleonic département of Sarre was ceded to France, including the town of Lebach, the city of Saarbrücken, and the rich coal basin nearby. France was thus a net beneficiary of the Treaty of Paris, all the new territories ceded to her being far larger and more strategic than the few territories ceded to Austria. All these new territories were incorporated into the Moselle department, and so Moselle had now a larger territory than ever since 1790.

However, with the return of Napoleon and his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 imposed much harsher conditions on France. Tholey and the communes around Sierck-les-Bains were still to be ceded as agreed in 1814, but the south of the Sarre department with Saarbrücken was withdrawn from France. In addition, France had to cede to Austria the area of Rehlingen (now in Saarland) as well as the strategic fort-town of Saarlouis and the territory around it, all territories and towns which had been French since the 17th century, and which were part of the Moselle department since 1790. In the end of 1815, Austria gave all these territories to Prussia, and it is from them that Prussia invaded France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

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