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Breisgau is the name of an area in southwest Germany, placed between the river Rhine and the foothills of the Black Forest around Freiburg im Breisgau in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The district Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, which partly consists of the Breisgau, is named after that area. Parts of the Breisgau are also situated in the political districts of Freiburg im Breisgau and of Emmendingen.
The earliest historically attested inhabitants were Celts. In Roman times, the area was part of the province of Germania superior. But after the rupture of the limes Germanicus in 260, the area was settled by the Alemanni. It remained a part of Alemannia throughout the Early Middle Ages and was a buffer zone between the central Alemannic lands and Alsace, which was less strongly colonised by the Alemanni.
In the mid-9th century it was a march-like county guarding the frontier with southern Lotharingia and Alsace. In 859, it was bestowed on Charles the Fat, the son of King Louis I, a sign of its importance. In the 10th century, Breisgau was a county within the duchy of Swabia, ruled by the Zähringer family, who by the 12th century detached themselves from Swabia, establishing the Margraviate of Baden. The dukes founded Freiburg in it, which became their chief city.
From the 13th/14th century until 1797, the area was part of the Vorlande, the area in southwest Germany ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs, but the Breisgau, along with the rest of the Vorlande, was ceded by them to the former Duke of Modena, a relation, as compensation for his loss of his hereditary lands to the French Cisalpine Republic. In 1805, by the Treaty of Pressburg, the area was ceded to the Grand Duchy of Baden.
Borders and area
The Breisgau includes the flat area around river Rhine, the foothills of the Black Forest and the western faces of the southern Black Forest mountains and the Kaiserstuhl hills.
The climate of the Breisgau is warm; in fact, it is the warmest region in Germany. The average annual temperature is 11 degrees Celsius, the average rainfall is 900 mm.
Places in the Breisgau
A noted mountain is the Schauinsland (1,284 m).
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