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Over the centuries, the City and Fortress of Luxembourg, of great strategic importance situated between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg territories, was gradually built up to be one of the most reputed fortifications in Europe.
After belonging to both the France of Louis XIV and the Austria of Maria Theresia, Luxembourg became part of the First French Republic and Empire under Napoleon.
The steel industry exploiting the Red Lands' rich iron-ore grounds in the beginning of the 20th century drove the country's industrialisation.The history of Luxembourg is considered to begin in 963, when count Siegfried I acquired a rocky promontory and its Roman-era fortifications known as Lucilinburhuc, ′little castle′, and the surrounding area from the Imperial Abbey of St. In 1308, Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg became King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor.The House of Luxembourg produced four Holy Roman Emperors at the high time of the Middle Ages.The present-day state of Luxembourg first emerged at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.The Grand-Duchy, with its powerful fortress, became an independent state under the personal possession of William I of the Netherlands with a Prussian garrison to guard the city against another invasion from France.
With an area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi), it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, about the same size as the US state of Rhode Island or the English county of Northamptonshire.