BERG (Ducatus Montensis), a former duchy of Germany, on the right bank of the Rhine, bounded N. by the duchy of Cleves, E. by the countship of La Marck and the duchy of Westphalia, and S. and W. by the bishopric of Cologne. Its area was about 1120 sq. m. The district was raised in 1108 to the rank of a countship, but did not become a duchy till 1380, after it had passed into the possession of the Jülich family. In 1423 the duchy of Jülich fell to Adolf of Berg, and in 1437 the countship of Ravensberg was united to the duchies. The male line of the dukes of Jülich-Berg-Ravensberg became extinct in 1511, and the duchy passed by marriage to John III. (d. 1539), duke of Cleves and count of La Marck, whose male line became extinct with the death of John William, bishop of Münster, in 1609. Of the latter's four sisters, the eldest (Marie Eleonore) was married to Albert Frederick, duke of Prussia, the second (Anna) to Philip Louis, count palatine of Neuburg, the third (Magdalena) to John, count palatine of Zweibrücken, and the fourth (Sybille) to Charles of Habsburg, margrave of Burgau. The question of the succession led to a prolonged contest, which was one of the causes of the Thirty Years' War. It was settled in 1614 by a partition, under which Berg, with Jülich, was assigned to the count palatine of Neuburg, in whose line it remained till 1742, when it passed to the Sultzbach branch of the house of Wittelsbach. On the death of Charles Theodore, the last of this line, in 1799, Jülich and Berg fell to Maximilian Joseph of Zweibrücken (Maximilian I. of Bavaria), who ceded the duchies in 1806 to Napoleon. Berg was bestowed by Napoleon, along with the duchy of Cleves and other possessions, on Joachim Murat, who bore the title of grand-duke of Berg; and after Murat's elevation to the throne of Naples, it was transferred to Louis, the son of the king of Holland. By the congress of Vienna in 1815 it was made over to Prussia.
See B. Schönneshöfer, Geschichte des Bergischen Landes (Elberfeld, 1895); Stokvis, Manuel d'histoire, etc. vol. iii. (Leiden, 1890-1893); and R. Göcke, Das Grossherzogtum Berg unter Joachim Murat, Napoleon Ier und Louis Napoleon, 1806-1813 (Cologne, 1877).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)