Place:Territoire de Belfort, France

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NameTerritoire de Belfort
Alt namesBelfortsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
TypeDépartement
Coordinates47.633°N 6.867°E
Located inFrance
Also located inFranche-Comté, France    
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Territoire de Belfort is a department in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The administrative district Territoire de Belfort was created under the terms of the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt. The German Empire annexed almost all of Alsace, but the French were able to negotiate retention of the Territoire de Belfort which thereby was separated from the rest of Alsace. There were three principal reasons for this exceptional treatment:

  • The population in and around Belfort was French-speaking.
  • Belfort had demonstrated heroic resistance, under Colonel Pierre Denfert-Rochereau, to the German invasion. Belfort's left-wing Catholic Deputy Émile Keller now conducted a similarly forceful political campaign in the National Assembly. He argued that ceding heroic Belfort to Germany after the war would be unthinkable, his nationalist passion persuasively encapsulating several of the most politically powerful currents of the age.
  • With the loss of Alsace and the department of Moselle in Lorraine, France lost a number of well fortified and naturally favoured military positions that would otherwise have deterred future military aggression from the east. Belfort, on steep ground and lined up with the Vosges Mountains, would form part of a natural line of defence for France's newly imposed eastern frontier. This encouraged the politicians in Paris to hold out for its retention.

After retaining its unique status as a territoire for just over half a century, Belfort officially received recognition as France's 90th département in 1922. France had recovered Alsace three years earlier, but the decision was taken not to reintegrate Belfort into its former department. There was talk of giving it a new departmental name, with suggestions that included "Savoureuse" or "Mont-Terrible" (a name which recalled the name of a former Napoleonic department embracing parts of Switzerland), but there was no consensus for a name change and the department continues to be known as the Territoire de Belfort.

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