History of Alsace / Histoire de l'Alsace

While reading books or articles concerning the history of Alsace I always feel a need for some historical context. A map and a timeline close by always help me keep spatial and temporal context when reading about events in the past. I am more likely to remember "when and where" if I see it visually as I read. The chart below I put together when I started my study of Alsace in earnest. I place events in a rough chronological order and approximately located in time (its a spreadsheet). I give a few events for Roman Gaul, the Frankish Kingdoms, the French Monarchy, and the Holy Roman Empire first. These are the larger geographical context within which the history of Alsace played out. Then I do the same for Alsace, capturing a few of the principal players, the founding dates for Abbeys and Castles, dates for the construction of churches and cathedrals, various wars, etc.

The chart is far from complete. For example, I include eight Abbeys although I know of some 61 total that were founded in Alsace. Even so, the chart gives some immediate impressions. One sees quickly that there was an early period of Abbey construction during the 7th to the 9th centuries. Castles were built from the 11th through the 13th centuries for the most part. These kinds of insights are important. The early abbey period was one where the Frankish lords were consolidating their realms, Christianizing and exercising control. Early monasteries were mostly founded by Irish and/or iro-mérovingian monks with a missionary focus and more itinerant in their rule. Benedictine sedentary rule came only later as feudal lords clamped down on movement and emphasized the development of agriculture over evangelization.

The 11th centuries onwards were a more mature period where conflicts between nobles become common. And so things go. Enjoy!

Alsace Timeline


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