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The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities (which is roughly the current size of England and Wales). Thus Neustria formed the western part of the kingdom of the Franks[1] under the rule of the Merovingian dynasty during the sixth to eighth centuries.

The distinct area originated at the time of the death of Clovis I (as well as the conquered territories over Syagrius), when his sons divided his lands between them. It later became a term for the region between the Seine and the Loire rivers known as the regnum Neustriae, a constituent subkingdom of the Carolingian Empire and then West Francia. The Carolingian kings also created a March of Neustria which was a frontier duchy against the Bretons and Vikings that lasted until the Capetian monarchy in the late tenth century.

Neustria was also employed as a term for northwestern Italy during the period of Lombard domination. It was contrasted with the northeast, which was likewise called Austrasia, the same term as given to eastern Francia.


Merovingian kingdom

Constant re-divisions of territories by Clovis's descendants resulted in many rivalries that, for more than two hundred years, kept Neustria in almost constant warfare with Austrasia, the eastern portion of the Frankish kingdom.

Despite the wars, Neustria and Austrasia re-united briefly on a few occasions, the first time under Clotaire I during his reign from 558 to 562. The struggle for power continued with Queen Fredegund of Neustria (the widow of King Chilperic I (reigned 566-584) and the mother of the new king Clotaire II (reigned 584-628)) unleashing a bitter war.

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