Treaty of Verdun

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The Treaty of Verdun (Verdun-sur-Meuse, August 843) which ended the three years of the Carolingian Civil War, was a treaty of the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the territories of the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms between the grandsons of Charles the Great.

When Louis the Pious died in 840, the eldest son, Lothair I, claimed overlordship over his brothers' kingdoms and supported the claim of his nephew Pepin II as king of Aquitaine, a large province in western France. After his brothers Louis the German and Charles the Bald defeated his forces at the Battle of Fontenay (841) and sealed their alliance with the Oaths of Strasbourg (842), Lothair became willing to negotiate instead of continuing the warfare.

Each of the brothers was already established in one kingdom - Lothair in Italy, Louis the German in Bavaria, and Charles the Bald in Aquitaine. In the settlement, Lothair (who'd been named co-Emperor some five years earlier) retained title as emperor and:

  • Lothair received the central portion of the empire - what later became from north to south: the Low Countries, Lorraine, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, and the Kingdom of Italy (which covered only the northern half of the Italian Peninsula), collectively called Middle Francia. He also received the two imperial cities, Aachen and Rome. In addition, he received the imperial title, but it conferred only nominal overlordship of his brothers' lands.[1]
  • Louis the German received the eastern portion. Louis was guaranteed the kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, which was called East Francia which was the precursor to the Medieval conglomeration of disparate states known as the Holy Roman Empire and thence to modern Germany.
  • Charles the Bald received the western portion, which later became France. Pepin II was granted the kingdom of Aquitaine, but only under the authority of Charles. Charles received all lands west of the Rhône, which was called West Francia.

Lothair ceded Italy to his eldest son Louis II in 844, making him co-Emperor in 850. Lothair died in 855, dividing his kingdom into three parts: the territory already held by Louis remained his, the territory of the former Kingdom of Burgundy was granted to his third son Charles of Provence, and the remaining territory to his second son Lothair II, after whom the hitherto nameless territory was called Lotharingia.

Louis II, dissatisfied with having received no additional territory with his father's death, allied with his uncle Louis the German against his brother Lothair and his uncle Charles the Bald in 858. Lothair was reconciled with his brother and uncle shortly after, though Charles was so unpopular he could not raise an army to fight the invasion and fled to Burgundy; he was only saved when the bishops refused to crown Louis the German King. Charles the Bald invaded Charles of Provence's Kingdom of Burgundy in 860, but was repulsed. Lothair II ceded lands to Louis II in 862 for support of a divorce from his wife, which caused repeated conflicts with the Pope and his uncles. Charles of Burgundy died in 863, and his kingdom was inherited by Louis II.

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