Ourthe (department)

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Department of Ourthe
Département de l'Ourthe (French)
Departement Ourte (Dutch)
Departement der Urt (German)
Flag of Ourthe
Ourthe and other annexed departments
Ourthe and other annexed departments
StatusDepartment of the French First Republic and the French First Empire
50°27′N 3°57′E / 50.450°N 3.950°E / 50.450; 3.950
Official languagesFrench
Common languagesDutch, German
Historical eraFrench Revolutionary Wars
• Creation
1 October 1795
• Treaty of Paris, disestablished
30 May 1814
• 1796[1]
• 1800[2]
• 1812[3]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Austrian Netherlands
Prince-Bishopric of Liège
Princely Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy
Province of Liege
Today part of

Ourthe (French: [uʁt], Dutch: Ourte, German: Urt) was a department of the French First Republic and French First Empire in present-day Belgium and Germany. It was named after the river Ourthe (Oûte). Its territory corresponded more or less with that of the present-day Belgian province of Liège and a small adjacent region in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It was created on 1 October 1795, when the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège were officially annexed by the French Republic.[4] Before this annexation, the territory included in the department had lain partly in the Bishopric of Liège, the Abbacy of Stavelot-Malmedy, the Duchies of Limburg and Luxembourg, and the County of Namur.

After Napoleon was defeated in 1814, most of the department became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands as the province of Liège. The easternmost part (Eupen, Malmedy, Sankt Vith, Kronenburg, Schleiden) became part of the Prussian Rhine Province; part of this (Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith) was taken back into Liège province after the First World War, under the Treaty of Versailles.


Administrative divisions

The Chef-lieu of the department was Liège. The department was subdivided into the following three arrondissements and cantons:


The Prefect was the highest state representative in the department.

Term start Term end Office holder
2 March 1800[5] 17 April 1806 Antoine François Ehrard Marie Catherine Desmousseaux de Givre
17 April 1806[6] 30 May 1814 Charles Emmanuel Micoud d'Umons


The Secretary-General was the deputy to the Prefect.

Term start Term end Office holder
2 March 1800 ?? ?? 1806 Rémy Victor Gaillard
?? ?? 1806 ?? ?? 1809 Aubert
?? ?? 1809 ?? ?? 1811 Caselli
?? ?? 1811 30 May 1814 Georges Bénigne Liegeard

Subprefects of Huy[edit]

Term start Term end Office holder
11 May 1800[7] 5 August 1810 Robinot-Varin
5 August 1810[7] 30 May 1814 Collomb d’Arcine

Subprefects of Liège[edit]

The office of Subprefect of Liège was held by the Prefect until 1811.

Term start Term end Office holder
11 January 1811[7] 30 May 1814 Charles Bouziès de Rouvroy

Subprefects of Malmedy[edit]

Term start Term end Office holder
25 April 1800[7] 3 February 1804 Jean Thomas Lambert Bassenge
3 February 1804[7] 30 May 1814 Taillevis de Périgny


  1. ^ Massin, Antoine (1801). Almanach du département de l'Ourte. J.F. Desoer. p. 149.
  2. ^ Oudiette, Charles (1804). Dictionnaire géographique et topographique des treize départements de la Belgique et de la rive gauche du Rhin. Imprimerie de Cramer. p. XIII.
  3. ^ Almanach Impérial. Imprimerie de Sa Majesté. 1812. p. 396.
  4. ^ Duvergier, Jean-Baptiste (1835). Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, réglemens et avis du Conseil d'état, t. 8. p. 300.
  5. ^ Archives Nationales. "DESMOUSSEAUX DE GIVRE, Antoine François Ehrard Marie Catherine". francearchives.fr. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  6. ^ Archives Nationales. "MICOUD D'UMONS, Charles Emmanuel". francearchives.fr. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Tulard, Jean & Marie-José (2014). Napoléon et 40 millions de sujets: La centralisation et le premier empire. p. 291.