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The newly created kingdom covered a wide strip of land which stretched from the North Sea coast southwards to Italy, and included present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany west of the river Rhine, the French provinces of Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy and Provence, Switzerland and parts of northern Italy, as well as the imperial cities of Aachen, Pavia and Rome.The kingdom was divided between the sons of Emperor Lothaire after he abdicated in 855, the territory called Lotharingia then being restricted to present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany west of the Rhine, the French provinces of Alsace, Lorraine, and Switzerland.Lotharingia was an entirely artificial political creation and its name an artificial composition.
The counties in the Lower Lotharingian duchy are set out in several different documents in Medieval Lands, being too numerous for a single file.
The northern-most counties, in the ancient duchy of Frisia, the county of Holland and its neighbouring counties, all located in the territory of what is now The Netherlands, are described in the document HOLLAND.
The 870 treaty which divided the territory between the east and west Frankish kingdoms provides the best starting point for identifying the counties which developed within the kingdom of Lotharingia.
The treaty sets out an apparently exhaustive list of the administrative entities which were allocated to the brothers Ludwig II "der Deutsche" King of the East Franks and Charles II "le Chauve" King of the West Franks, cathedral towns, abbeys and counties.
After the deposition of King Charles III in 923, German influence in the territory of Lotharingia predominated.
According to Thietmar of Merseburg, Heinrich I King of Germany secured the release of King Charles from prison and in return was rewarded with "the right hand of St Denis and the entire kingdom of the Lotharingians"The duchies of Upper and Lower Lotharingia were created in 959 in response to local rebellions and in order to assert greater local control from Germany.
Research into the early pagi/counties in neighbouring Saxony and Franconia (see the documents GERMANY EARLY NOBILITY, SAXONY DUKES & ELECTORS, and FRANCONIA, NOBILITY) suggests that more than one count ruled at the same time in the larger counties, the counties of Grabfeld and Wormsgau being the obvious examples.
This suggests that calling the local divisions "counties", as if they constituted fully functioning administrative units under a single central authority, may misrepresent the situation.
This division proved to be a temporary arrangement, but it set the scene for conflict between France and Germany over Lotharingia which was to last many years.