Alsace (Alsatian and German: Elsass, pre-1996 German: Elsaß) was an administrative region of France. It is now part of the administrative region of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine. Alsace was on the eastern border of France. It was on the west bank of the Upper Rhine, next to Germany and Switzerland.
About 1.7 million people lived there.[when?] Its capital was Strasbourg, the largest city. It changed hands between France and Germany many times. The people living there had an attitude and set of social values that was closer to the German ones, than the French. Language, cuisine, music, dress and customs were very close to the Swabian ones across the Rhine.
The overall culture was generally more German than French, being somewhere between German and French. The language, cuisine, music, dress and customs were Germanic, and nearly similar with Swabian ones. Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire and was still inhabited by people speaking a dialect of Upper German. In the 17th century, all of Alsace was annexed (in steps) under King Louis XIV of France. He made it one of the provinces of France. Alsace is frequently mentioned in conjunction with Lorraine, because the possession of these two régions (as Alsace-Lorraine) was often contested in the 19th and 20th centuries. This was after a division among the successors of Charlemagne in the 9th century.