/lim"berrg/; Du. /lim"buerddkh/, n.a medieval duchy in W Europe: now divided into a province in the SE Netherlands (Limburg) and a province in NE Belgium (Limbourg).
* * *▪ historical region, Europehistoric region of the Low Countries that was one of many small states resulting from the division of the duchy of Lower Lorraine in the second half of the 11th century.The name Limburg was finally applied when the rival houses of Limburg (heirs of the first count, Walram of Arlon) and Leuven made peace in 1155. The territory along the Meuse River became known as Limburg, and the much larger territory to the west became known as Brabant.The direct male line of the house of Arlon continued to rule Limburg until 1282. When war broke out between Count Reinald of Guelders (who had married into the rights of Limburg) and Adolph V of Berg (who had been granted those same rights by the Holy Roman emperor), Adolph was not strong enough to contest his rights militarily and sold them to John I of Brabant. After five years of war against Reinald and his ally, John was victorious. Limburg was united with Brabant under his rule but maintained its separate institutions and laws. In 1430 the duchy of Limburg was united with the rest of the Netherlands under Philip III, duke of Burgundy. As a part of the Burgundian inheritance, Limburg passed to the house of Habsburg in 1482.With the Peace of Westphalia (1648), Limburg was divided in two—the northern part being ceded by Spain to the United Provinces of the Netherlands. In 1714, when the Peace of Rastatt was effected, the southern part of Limburg passed to the Austrian Habsburgs and formed part of the Austrian Netherlands until the French conquest in 1795. While under French rule, Limburg became a section of two départements, Ourthe and Meuse-Inferieure. Its name was restored in 1815 when it, with a few additions, formed a province of the new Kingdom of The Netherlands. The territory was traded off several times in the ensuing diplomatic discussions between The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In 1866 Limburg was finally integrated into The Netherlands.▪ province, The Netherlandsprovincie, southeastern Netherlands. It is bounded on the northwest by Noord-Brabant provincie, on the north by Gelderland provincie, on the east by Germany, and on the south and southwest by the Belgian provinces of Limburg and Liège. It is drained by the Geul, Gulp, Roer, and Maas (Meuse) rivers, the latter forming part of the province's southwestern boundary and bisecting its northern portion.Formerly part of the duchy of Limburg, which was divided in 1648 between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Spanish Netherlands, the area was united in 1815 to the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The Dutch-Belgian treaty of 1839 divided the territory into the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg.The province's hilly southern part, extending to Sittard, is a loess-covered rock plateau with a coalfield under some parts. Wheat, rye, sugar beets, and fruit are cultivated, and there is some dairy farming. Until the early 1970s, coal mining was important around Heerlen, Kerkrade, and Geleen; Born and Stein are river ports. Maastricht, the provincial capital, is the chief industrial centre. In the sandy regions of the rest of the province, farming is mostly mixed, although there is more arable land (mostly producing rye). Pigs and poultry production are also important, and there is market gardening around Venlo. Industry is mainly concentrated around the larger centres, such as Roermond, Sittard, Venlo, and Weert, and includes the manufacture of light metals, clothing, hosiery, and chemicals. East of the Maas, between Venlo and Roermond, is an important brick-making and tile-making district. Area 838 square miles (2,170 square km). Pop. (2008 est.) 1,123,735.
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