Treaty of Verdun: Definition, History & Consequences

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Treaty of Verdun: Meaning, History & Origin

Treaty of Verdun – Treaty signed by the descendants of the Emperor Charlemagne.

What was the Treaty of Verdun?

The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty signed in August 843 AD by the descendants of the Emperor Charlemagne, after the death of his son Luis, the Pious. The objective of this was to end the succession struggles between the grandsons of Charlemagne, Lotario, Luis and Carlos, for the Crown of the Carolingian Empire.

Thus, in the treaty, the division of the territory of the empire between the grandsons of Charlemagne was agreed and, in this way, its dissolution was finalized.

The terms of the treaty established that Lothario would be recognized as emperor and would receive the territories of the middle of the Empire, corresponding to Italy and the valleys of the Rhone, Saone, Meuse and Rhine rivers. To Luis would correspond Germania, the region to the east of the empire; and, to Carlos, the region to the west of the empire, which roughly corresponded to modern France.

In this way, the treaty established 3 kingdoms, one for each brother, under the figure of an empire whose head was Lotario.

Treaty of Verdun: Verdun Treaty Map

Division of the European territory from the signing of the Treaty of Verdun. In light blue the Carlos region, in brown the Lotario region and in red the Luis region.

Background to the Treaty of Verdun

When Charlemagne died in 814, the Carolingian Empire passed into the hands of his son Luis I, the Pious (known as Ludovico Pío, in a version of the name closer to Latin).

His reign was weaker than that of his father and he could not cope with the pressures of the Church and the aristocracy to obtain spaces of power. This situation, added to the disputes of his children over the territory of the empire, caused it to begin to disintegrate already during the emperor’s life.

On the death of Luis I, in 840, the war between his sons, Lotario, Luis and Carlos, deepened. In an attempt to overcome the conflict, on February 14, 842, they met in Strasbourg to pledge allegiance and establish conditions for a satisfactory agreement between the three. The final treaty was signed at Verdun in August 843 AD.

Consequences of the Treaty of Verdun

The main consequences of the Treaty of Verdun were the following:

  • The treaty deepened the destructuring of the Carolingian Empire and ultimately led to its.
  • The Carolingian kings progressively lost their authority. The nobles began to increase their power. With the arrival of successive invasions of Normans, Magyars and Saracens, together with the need to organize forces to confront them, these came to have in practice the autonomy of the monarch.
  • The figure of the papacy was strengthened as the symbolic head of a unified Europe under Christianity.

Importance of the Verdun Treaty

The division of the Carolingian Empire between the heirs of Luis I, from the Treaty of Verdun, marked the structuring of a good part of the European territory until today, since the territories awarded to Carlos and Luis were the bases of France and Germany, respectively.

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