1902 Encyclopedia > Louis the German

Louis the German
King of Bavaria (from 817), then King of East Francia (from 843)

LOUIS THE GERMAN, son of the emperor Louis I., was born in 804. In the first partition of the empire in 817 he received Bavaria, Bohemia, Carinthia, and the subject territories on his eastern frontier. Displeased by later schemes of partition in favour of his half-brother Charles, he associated himself with his brothers Lothair and Pippin against the emperor, and he was in the field in defence of his rights when his father died. After the emperor's death in 840, Louis and Charles united against Lothair, whom they defeated in the battle of Pontenay, and in 843 Louis received by the treaty of Verdun the whole of Germany to the east of the Rhine, with Mainz, Spires, and Worms on the left bank. He was a wise and vigorous ruler, but his forces were inadequate to protect the northern part of his kingdom against the Norsemen, and he was not always successful in his wars with Slavonic tribes. In 858 he invaded West Francia, which he hoped to unite with East Francia, his own state ; but Charles the Bald proved to be stronger than Louis had supposed, and he was obliged to retreat. When Lothair of Lorraine died in 869, his king-dom was seized by Charles, who caused himself to be crowned at Metz ; but in the following year, by the treaty of Mersen, the eastern half of the country was ceded to Louis. Louis expected to receive the imperial crown after the death of the emperor Louis II. Charles, however, outwitted him, and Louis was attempting to avenge this supposed wrong when he died at Frankfort on August 28, 876. East Francia and West Francia were again united under Charles the Fat ; but, as Louis was the first sovereign who ruled over the Germans, and over no other Western people, he is generally considered the founder of the German kingdom.

See Dùmmler, Geschichte des Ostfrdnkischen Reichs, 1862.

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