Montbéliard (; archaic ) is a city in the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France, about from the border with Switzerland. It is one of the two subprefectures of the department.
Montbéliard is mentioned as early as 983 as Mons Beliardae. In 1283, it was granted rights under charter by Count Renaud of Chalon-Bourgogne. Under its charter, the county was guaranteed perpetual liberties and franchises which lasted until the French Revolution in 1789.
Montbéliard's original municipal institutions included the Magistracy of the Nine Bourgeois, the Corp of the Eighteen and the Notables, a Mayor, and Procurator, and appointed "Chazes", all who participated in the administration of the county as provided by the charter. Also Under the 1283 charter, the Count and the people of Montbéliard were required by law to defend Montbéliard, while citizens of Montbéliard were not required to fight in any wars outside of the county. Altogether, the charter lent to Montbéliard, a democratic air remarkable for its time.
In 1520, Duke Ulrich of Württemberg was ousted from the duchy by the Swabian League. As a result, he retreated to Montbéliard, the only territory he still possessed. From there on, Ulrich used Montbéliard as a base of operations to raise troops to retake Württemberg, but in dire need of funds, he decided to lease Montbéliard to his half-brother, George. In 1534, still in need of funds, Ulrich simply sold Montbéliard to Francis I of France, though with right to repurchase, which Ulrich exercised after his restoration to Württemberg in 1536. Still governing Montbéliard as its count, George attempted to strengthen Lutheranism in the county, eventually succeeding in suppressing the other confessions fully.
From 1598 to 1608, the architect Heinrich Schickhardt built several landmarks of the city, like St. Martin, a castle, a bridge, a college and several hotels.
After the French Revolution, Montbéliard was briefly incorporated into the Rauracian Republic. In 1793 the town was annexed to France, which was confirmed in 1796 and by the German Mediatisation of 1806, when Württemberg was compensated with other areas, and became a kingdom.
As a consequence of the former rule under the dukes of Württemberg, it has been for centuries one of the few Protestant enclaves in France. The Württemberg coat of arms from 1495 represents Montbéliard as two jumping fishes on a red field.