The Duchy of Luxemburg (French: Luxembourg, Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerg) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, the ancestral homeland of the noble House of Luxembourg. The House of Luxembourg, now Duke of Limburg, became one of the most important political forces in the 14th century, competing against the House of Habsburg for supremacy in Central Europe. They would be the heirs to the Přemyslid dynasty in the Kingdom of Bohemia, succeeding the Kingdom of Hungary and contributing four Holy Roman Emperors until their own line of male heirs came to an end and the House of Habsburg got the pieces that the two Houses had originally agreed upon in the Treaty of Brünn in 1364.
In 1411, Sigismund of Luxembourg lost the duchy to his niece Elisabeth because he defaulted on a loan. Elizabeth later sold the duchy to the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good of the House of Valois-Burgundy, who paid her off in 1444. The dukes of Burgundy had previously acquired a number of other possessions in the Low Countries, including Flanders, Artois, Hainaut, Brabant, Zeeland, Holland, and Namur; Luxembourg and these other Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries are collectively referred to during this period (1384-1482) as the Burgundian Netherlands. The male line of the dukes of Burgundy died out in 1477 when Philip's son Charles the Bold died at the Battle of Nancy, leaving Mary of Burgundy, his only child, as his heiress. After his death, Mary married Archduke Maximilian I of the House of Habsburg, who later became Holy Roman Emperor. The Burgundian Netherlands then came under the rule of the House of Habsburg, beginning the period of the Habsburg Netherlands (1482-1581).
With the abdication in 1555 of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (also King of Spain Charles I), the Habsburg Netherlands passed to his son King Philip II of Spain. During the Dutch Revolt, or Eighty Years War, the seven northern provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands broke away from Spain to form the Dutch Republic in 1581, while the remaining ten southern provinces (including Luxembourg) remained under Spanish rule until 1714. During this time, the remaining southern provinces were referred to as the Spanish Netherlands (or Southern Netherlands, a name that continued under Austrian rule). The War of Spanish Succession, which was fought after the Spanish Habsburg line died out in 1700, resulted in the Spanish Netherlands coming under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1714, thereby beginning the period of the Austrian Netherlands. The area remained under Austrian rule until the French Revolution, when it was taken over by France in 1795.
Luxembourg lost a small amount of its territory to Prussia in 1813. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Luxembourg was elevated to a grand duchy and came under the rule of William I of the Netherlands, who was also the first king of the newly created United Kingdom of the Netherlands (which included present-day Belgium until it broke away from the Netherlands in 1830). The resulting personal union between Luxembourg's throne and the Dutch throne continued until 1890. Unlike the Netherlands, however, Luxembourg was part of the German Confederation established in 1815, and a garrison of the Kingdom of Prussia was stationed there. After the Kingdom of Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, Luxembourg was partitioned in 1839, with the larger western portion of the grand duchy going to Belgium, so that the grand duchy comprised only the smaller eastern portion. The personal union between Luxembourg's throne and the Dutch throne continued until the death of William III in 1890, at which time the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina and the Luxembourg throne passed to Adolph of Nassau-Weilburg.