West Francia  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

West Francia, also known as the West Frankish Kingdom or Francia Occidentalis, was a short-lived kingdom encompassing the lands of the western part of the Carolingian Empire that came under the undisputed control of Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, as a result of the Treaty of Verdun of 843.

The Frankish Empire, the great realm united by Charlemagne that consisted of a large part of Western Europe, was partitioned after a three-year-long civil war between his grandsons (840-843), during which Charles the Bald allied himself with his half-brother Louis the German to dispute the inheritance of his brother Lothair I, the nominal Carolingian Emperor of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans (this had been Charlemagne's title, a title also used much later by the Holy Roman Emperors from Otto I and afterwards).

The Carolingian Empire of the Franks founded by their grandfather lasted only one generation through their father Louis the Pious. His realm, the great demesne which had covered most of northern Italy (Lombardy), France (excepting Brittany), the Low Countries, Switzerland, and most of modern Austria and Germany, was split after some skirmishing to little effect into East Francia, West Francia or the Western Realm, and Middle Francia. The West Frankish Kingdom is however the precursor of both medieval France and modern France, though West Francia would have to pass to the less quarrelsome House of Capet before it achieved steady growth and stability.

The western realm was divided into the following great fiefs: Aquitaine, Brittany, Burgundy, Catalonia, Flanders, Gascony, Gothia, the Île-de-France, and Toulouse.

The Carolingians were subsequently to share the fate of their predecessors: after an intermittent power struggle between the two families, the accession (987) of Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, established the Capetian dynasty on the throne which with its Valois and Bourbon offshoots was to rule France for more than 800 years.

The transition from "West Francia" to "France" cannot be pinned down to any specific date, but rather represented a gradual evolution from an early medieval feudal land into a modern nation state. Some historians consider the election and crowning of Hugh Capet to represent the transition from West Francia to the Kingdom of France, though Capet himself, and his descendents, were crowned "Rex Francorum" or "King of the Franks" until Philip II Augustus adopted the style "Franciae Rex" or "King of France" in the late 12th century.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "West Francia" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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