Friday, November 03, 2017

Timeline Luxembourg, Sigismund, Order of the Dragon, Crusading Against Ottomans

 Out of the constant battling of the 14th Century as the Ottomans advanced, retreated, advanced again, emerges a triangle:  Consider the pitting (think bear pit?) of two religious fervors against each other:  Two angles -- Christian  Sigismund of Luxembourg, fostering the Wallachians Dragonists, on crusade;  and Muslims, Ottomans under Murad and Mehmet.   The third angle of the triangle is the 'secular humanist'  Janos Hunyadi, see that characterization at

This timeline spans several cultures, so will be repeated essentially at 

I have tried to follow the genealogies of Wiki and Britannica and get lost in the II's and III's and brothers and half brothers.  I choose instead to to follow two other sites mainly when matters confuse:

There are three Vlads.  Vlad I, whose existence derives from his son becoming Vlad II, see  See also See

This son Vlad II Dracul son of Vlad I joined the Society of Dragonists in Luxembourg in about 1431, of Wallachia.  He had three sons Mircea, the eldest; then Vlad III Dracul who became the Impaler or Tepes, and a younger son, Radu. See  

More detail on their lives:  see

Although most timelines begin with Luxembourg in 1914, look into history for origins:  founded in 963.  A portion of Luxembourg known as Belgium became part of the Netherlands.  See

1346-1378 -- Charles IV of Luxembourg, elected emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor and then King of Bohemia.  This was an area of importance. 

1378-1400 -- Wenceslas, King of the Romans, ruled the House of Luxembourg, see

Vianden Castle, mountain view, Luxembourg

1408 --   Sigismund, 1387-1437 ,  King of Hungary and then Holy Roman Emperor, then became Sigismund of Luxembourg.

1410 --- Sigismund of Luxembourg founded an Order similar to the Crusading orders, the Order of the Dragon, the Society of the Dragonists, here see

1436-1422; Vlad II rules Wallachia with approval of Sigismund. 

1437 -- Sigismund died 
1438 -- Murad II invades Wallachia 

Hereafter: Not of specific Luxembourg concern, except for concept that this small European area as a whole, see map, had such an early interest on Ottoman progress and need for defense, carrying over to Serbia, Czech, Hussite war veterans, and others moving to the east to fight. Do we forget how mobile this era was.   Continuation:  See  

Best history of the region, in short: See

1441 -- John Hunyadi, voivode (prince)) of Transylvania convinces Vlad to join in an effort against the Ottomans, defeats an Ottoman army in Transylvania, then Murad convinces Vlad to come to Edirne (east Thrace, near borders of Greece and Bulgaria, Turkish. Hone in at map.

Janos Hunyadi:  See castle at Hunedoara, Romania, in excellent condition, a factory next door, packed area of industrialization, which perhaps prevented its destruction.  See

1442 -- Vlad is captured in Edirne by Murad.  Hunyadi invades Wallachia.  Made the cousin of Vlad, Basarab II, voivode.   Hunyadi begins a 1442-1443 engagement against Ottomans (the "Long Campaign"), with help of Venice and the Papacy, see 

  • Inter-group involvements. Janos Hunyadi: among the first rulers to maintain a standing army rather than rely on feudal levies. Hired Czechs, Serbs, veterans. See site. Crossed the Danube, into Serbia (Sofia is now Bulgaria) to fortified Turkish garrisons. Got to the Balkans, were forced back by winter weather, and regrouped in Buda, Montenegro. 
 Note the Czech connection with Luxembourg:  King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia  ruling House of Luxembourg 1378-1400

1453 -- Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans under Mehmed II.  In Europe, the Order declines, but remained vital to Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary still confronting Ottomans.  

1463 -- Vlad Dracul takes Wallachia with help of Hungarians.

1477 -- Luxembourg and some 16-17 other provinces (mostly the 'low countries') became property of the Habsburgs, Austria. 

1638 - France joined the 30 years war, Luxembourg big battleground. French prevailed; then to Spain.1697, then back to France 

1840 -- Willem II of the Netherlands became Grand Duke of Luxembourg

1867 -- Luxembourg independent, etc. see site. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celts in Luxembourg. Following Migrations.

Follow cultural groups, ethnicities, invaders, movements, to get a grasp on European history.

Cultural groups reappear in so many countries that it is helpful to isolate and follow their migrations.

The expanse of Celtic culture is known, but its origins are more obscure.  It appears, however, that the Romanized Celtic era of some 500-400 BC is late.  Earlier is the Celtic culture of 1500-1000 BC, in eastern France, to somewhere south of Geneva, and parts of Western Germany, and what is now Luxembourg. See Celtic Guide, Historical Background, at It was from that group, that the Celts so familiar in the British Isles and other parts of Europe evolved.

Germanic and Roman cultural groups pushed them -- also known as Gauls in France by the time of the Roman legions --  off the continent into refuge areas in the British Isles.

With the mountains there, Luxembourgers -- how much Celtic is left? -- survived, see Luxembourgers, Development of a Nation, at

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Luxembourg City - Bock Casemates

Casemates, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Deep cave systems, defensive. 

Luxembourg City was originally a cliff fortress, then a city behind walls, with the famous "Bock Casemates" at the ravine side, a warren of caves and tunnels. For defense, there is enough room for herds of animals, an army and citizens, plus cannon and storehouses. If you need convincing, go to - a site with highlights of many major European cities. Find the casemates - the cave areas are huge.

The formations that enable the excavation and use of caves, as here, would be excellent geo-tourism sites because of the geological sites and attractions. See book "Geotourism" by Ross Dowling at this site:

See the fortress history at The system of tunnels and caves is known as the Luxembourg Casemates. Find the history of Luxembourg at I understand that Luxembourg was a large geographic area years ago. They simply could not be defeated at the City, with their defenses, and their location was so important for trade. So the other countries diminished them when they could not defeat them - gradually chipping territory away around them by other wars, finally leaving little Luxembourg as it is now. Proud people, their own heritage.

In WWII, the Casemates served as a bomb shelter for - say the guidebooks - some 35,000 people. When you leave, Waterloo is a good destination point back in Belgium, leaving late afternoon the next day.

Diekirche - Military Museum

Large National Museum of Military History in Diekirch. See it at, and at See the exhibits here,

All is not benign.  They also were selling reproductions of American soldier dog tags there - we hope they were only reproductions. Even seeing fakes for sale is unsettling. Families, be prepared.

There is also a General Patton Memorial Museum, see This is open seasonally, July 1-September 15 - now, surely someone can sponsor longer open times. Take up a collection. Patton deserves better. July 1!  We were there in May. Check these dates out, but there is plenty else.


Dan Widing with General Patton, Ettelbruck, Luxembourg
Ettelbruck. The statue of Patton is off to the side, a busy road in front - poor location for parking and seeing. Take the time to see the view he has. He is facing back to Belgium and the Bastogne, binoculars in hand. See

Ettelbruck means "Attila's Bridge" - Attila dealt the final blow to the Roman legions here. Luxembourg: from old German, Lucilinburhuc or "little fortress" - a castle overlooking the Alzetter River. See ://

Do take time to read the history of Luxembourg - its location in the mountains put it at trade crossroads, Paris to Triere, Metz to Aachen, and the surrounding areas were determined to safeguard their economic interests. Charlemagne brought in the Franks, Luxembourg's territory was whittled away until finally nobody could conquer their castle-cave-cliff stronghold. That remained. Read the detailed history at at://

History overview to Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg - The Grand Duchy

Luxembourg had been within the sovereignty of other nations/ rulers for centuries (Burgundy, Spain even, France, Austria). Its origins go back to "Magdalenian" (what is that?) and Celtic tribes, see :// The Celts fell to Rome in the 1st Century.

1839. The Congress of Vienna granted it Grand Duchy status, and awarded it to the Netherlands, William I of Orange-Nassau, as personal property and that relationship extended until 1890. The Grand Duchy was declared to be perpetually neutral.

1867. Treaty of London affirmed Luxembourg 's "territorial integrity" as a Grand Duchy

1890. The crown of the Duchy passed to the House of Nassau.

World War II. Battle of the Bulge. See the military overview here at :// This is why General Patton is buried in Luxembourg. See posts here on Hamm Military Cemetery.

"Letzebuergesch" - The native language. Germany's policy forbad use of this language during its Occupation, but it now is used freely and with great pride. Many languages now are used, so a knowledge of French or German and English will see any tourist through. See ://

1948. Luxembourg had been occupied by the Germans in both World Wars,. It remains off the usual tourist track. It is now no longer neutral, part of the European Union and other economic and political alliances.

2000. By now, there is a Constitution, Parliament, Cabinet, and His Royal Highness of the Grand Duchy and Executive is the Grand Duke Henri. He and his wife have five children. All this going on with Luxembourg and you and I could not even find it on a map.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

General Patton buried here -Hamm Military Cemetery

Hamm Military Cemetery, outside Luxembourg City

Dan Widing at Hamm Military Cemetery, Luxembourg. General Patton's resting place.

It is near 5:00 PM, closing time. Dan is helping lower the flag.

General George S. Patton. World War II. After all his war activity,  many disagreed with his manner and methods. He is revered in Normandy (see France Road Ways), and we expected him to have been buried there. See his biography at Or see the movie, "Patton."

The General is with thousands of American troops right here in Luxembourg, however. Without him, perhaps people like us, just driving around, would not make the side trip to Luxembourg at all. And we would have missed learning so much about this linchpin area. The location is so strategic, and has been for centuries.

Grave, General Patton, Luxembourg: Hamm Military Cemetery

We followed General Patton wherever we could find - and his final resting place is in this Hamm Military Cemetery just outside Luxembourg City.

 This had been his headquarters for a period of time. See"> American Cemetery, Luxembourg His grave is set apart at the front, facing the 8000 graves of his troops.

Christmas 2006: When we read of the trucks of wreaths going to Arlington Cemetery this Christmas, 2006, and saw the pictures of them on the graves there, we thought of all the American service people buried in the huge European graveyards and no wreath program that we could find. Perhaps a few less for Arlington, and a few more to Europe's memorials. We are forgetting.

If you arrive at Hamm just before 5PM, maybe the caretaker will let you help lower the flag.

Patton died in a car accident. I understand that many people disagreed with him, and that he set his own course, but this looks like an exile. Attention should be paid.

Salute, General Patton. Off to the side now, but a giant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Patton Liberated Plzen, the Czech Republic

Plzn, Pilsen, Pilzen CZ.  Tribute to General Patton,
We find so many tributes to the Americans liberating and fighting in France, Belgium, on and on. See France Road Ways.

Here is the monument at Plzen, the Czech Republic: Thank you, America, it says. But there were few wreaths in 2007. See

See Czech Republic Road Ways; and The Places of Petr Ginz.
Eastern Europe. Can or do you feel loss of that image of Americans as willing to give their all for the downtrodden, without other motives overwhelming.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Luxembourg History - an Abstract through Coins

Here is a numismatist whose fine site focuses on the stories of money in many places, and explains the history of Luxembourg well - go to

Most of the site is in Italian, but click on "Abstract" when you have the opportunity and English will appear. the site person's objective --

"This work wants to show how Coinage can explain the History of a Country, showing how and when it was independent and when, on the contrary, he was subjected."

Summary from the site's abstract, for those who like to see the mixes that make modern cosmopolitan areas:

Luxembourg was occupied (Gauls, Germans, Caesar), became an Earldom, was upgraded to a Grand Duchy after the Earl became an Emperor and the Earldom passed to his heir, and the heir upgraded (Dukes being higher than Earls, Duke of Earl notwithstanding). "Engagistes" took over - French for people charged as governors for the sovereign (as when the sovereign is a minor?) and this often followed who owed whom which debts; then sovereigns gave-sold-gave-sold the country. So far we have Bohemians and Burgundians mostly. Then enter wars, ravaging, and a new player, Spain, who also held the Netherlands I think. Then it was passed by Spain to Austria, then Austria to France. Then to William of Orange, as part of the Netherlands. Then independence. Not for long. Occupied by Germany in WWI. After, Belgium wanted to annex Lux, but instead Lux established economic and not political union with Belgium. German Nazi occupation WWII. Freed (General Patton, buried there at Hamm Military Cemetary) and continuing independence (as a Grand Duchy??).

"Sometimes coins could explain it better than historiography, which is always written by the winners..."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Vianden Castle, and a regular house today.

Vianden Castle, Luxembourg

Home, Luxembourg.

We saw many castles as we drove around, then chose Vianden for lunch - the town is post-card quaint, and the castle is beautifully restored. We sat at leisure just below the castle, and watched all the bikers who also happened along. For a site on the castles in Luxembourg, see

Castles anywhere:  originated for defense. Choose any castle anywhere for a time of refreshment and watching the world. Luxembourg is a favorite spot for bikers - big machines on those winding roads, so be careful going around corners. Big boots stomping in the pubs for lunch. Pubs are best for inexpensive, fresh food, smaller portions than restaurants, and faster.

Regular modern houses: Orderly, and all very tidy. Is this a country where people are on time? T
hey seem very organized.