LIMBURG, one of the many small feudal states into which the duchy of Lower Lorraine was split up in the second half of the 11th century. The first count was Walram of Arlon, who married Judith, the daughter of Frederick of Luxembourg, duke of Lower Lorraine (d. Io65), who bestowed upon him a portion of his possessions lying upon both sides of the river Meuse. The possession of the ducal title was for generations disputed between the rival houses of Limburg and Louvain. In 1288 after the com plete victory of John of Brabant (q.v.) at Woeringen, the duchies of Brabant and Limburg passed under the rule of a common sovereign. By the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) the duchy was divided into two portions, the counties of Daelhem and Falken berg with the town of Maastricht being ceded by Spain to the United Provinces, where they formed what was known as a "Gen erality-Land." At the peace of Rastatt (1714) the southern portion passed under the dominion of the Austrian Habsburgs and formed part of the Austrian Netherlands until the French con quest in 1794. In 1814 the old name of Limburg was restored to one of the provinces of the newly created kingdom of the Nether lands. At the revolution of 1830 Limburg, with the exception of Maastricht, threw in its lot with the Belgians, but when in 1839 the Dutch king suddenly announced his intention of accepting the terms of the settlement proposed by the Treaty of London, as drawn up by representatives of the great Powers in 1831, the part of Limburg that lay on the right bank of the Meuse, to gether with the town of Maastricht and a number of communes on the left bank of the river, was restored to the king of Holland and became a sovereign duchy under his rule. In exchange for the cession of the rights of the Germanic confederation over the portion of Luxembourg which was annexed by the treaty to Bel gium, the duchy of Limburg (excepting the communes of Maas tricht and Venloo) was declared to belong to the Germanic con federation. This somewhat unsatisfactory condition of affairs
continued until 1866, when at a conference of the great Powers, held in London to consider the Luxembourg question (see LUX EMBOURG), it was agreed that Limburg should be freed from every political tie with Germany. Limburg became henceforth an integral part of Dutch territory.
In Dec. 1918, indignation was expressed by Belgium at the authorization by the Dutch Government of the passage of the retreating German army through Limburg, which enabled the Ger mans to save 70,000 to 120,000 men and to carry away the pro ceeds of their exactions in Belgium, and a large quantity of war material. Feeling in Belgium was the more inflamed because the Dutch Government had refused to liberate the Belgians interned in Holland until the consent of Germany had been obtained; an attitude which should have had its logical counterpart in the in ternment of the retreating Germans. It was felt that Holland had created a precedent affecting the security of Belgium. In 1918-19 a proposal was brought before the Peace Conference in Paris for the revision of the treaty of 1839, in order to place Dutch 'Limburg under Belgian rule. This was not favourably re ceived in Paris and was strenuously opposed in Holland. It was finally vetoed.