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a nationality comprising the inhabitants of Alsace; a French national minority. According to a 1975 estimate, the Alsatians number 1,400,000. Their literary languages are French and German. About three-fourths of religious believers are Roman Catholics; the rest are Lutherans and Calvinists.
The Alsatians developed from Celtic tribes influenced by the Germans, especially the Alamanni. Their ethnographic uniqueness is explained by their location on the border between France and Germany, to both of which they have belonged in the course of history. The democratic principles of the French Revolution played a decisive role in the formation of the Alsatian ethnic consciousness. From 1871 to 1918, when Alsace belonged to Germany, the Alsatians resisted enforced germanization; from 1940 to 1945 they joined with the French in their struggle against the fascist German invaders.
The Alsatians have preserved their traditional culture, including its folklore and festivals at which national costumes and dances are demonstrated. About 50 percent of the Alsatians are employed in various industries, and about 11 percent in agriculture.