The Almanach de Gotha was a directory of Europes royalty and higher nobility, also including the major governmental, military and diplomatic corps, as well as statistical data by country. First published in 1763 by C. W and it was published from 1785 annually by Justus Perthes Publishing House in Gotha, until 1944 when the Soviets destroyed the Almanach de Gothas archives. In 1998, a London-based publisher acquired the rights for use of the title of Almanach de Gotha from Justus Perthes Verlag Gotha GmbH, Perthes regard the resultant volumes as new works, and not as a continuation of the editions which Perthes had published from 1785 to 1944. It also named the highest incumbent officers of state, members of the diplomatic corps, although always published in French, other almanacs in French and English were more widely sold internationally. The almanacs structure changed and its scope expanded over the years, the second portion, called the Annuaire diplomatique et statistique, provided demographic and governmental information by nation, similar to other almanacs. The first section always listed Europes sovereign houses, whether they ruled as emperor, king, grand duke, duke, in 1812, these entries began to be listed in groups. First were German sovereigns who held the rank of duke or prince elector. Listed next were Germanys reigning ducal and princely dynasties under the heading College of Princes, e. g. Hohenzollern, Isenburg, Leyen, Liechtenstein and they were followed by heads of non-German monarchies, i. e. Austria, Brazil, Great Britain, etc. Fourthly were listed non-reigning dukes and princes, whether mediatized or not, including Arenberg, Croy, Furstenberg alongside Batthyany, Jablonowski, Sulkowski, Porcia, in 1841 a third group was added to those of the sovereign dynasties and the non-reigning princely and ducal families. The almanac added a third section consisting exclusively of mediatized families of comital rank, in 1877, the mediatized comital families were moved from section III to section II A, where they joined the princely mediatized families. No other families whose highest title was count were admitted to any section of the almanac, moreover, other deposed European dynasties did not benefit vis-a-vis the almanac from a similar interpretation of their historical status. Even in the early 19th century the almanacs retention of deposed dynasties evoked objections, the elected Emperor Napoleon protested in writing to his foreign minister, Champagny, Monsieur de Champagny, this years Almanach de Gotha is badly done. First comes the Comte de Lille, followed by all the princes of the Confederation as if no change has made in the constitution of Germany. Summon the Minister of Gotha, who is to be made to understand that in the next Almanach all of this is to be changed and you are to insist that the article be transmitted to you prior to publication. In 1887 the Almanach began to include non-European dynasties in its first section, when Soviet troops entered Gotha in 1945, they systematically destroyed all archives of the Almanach de Gotha. In 1951 a different publisher, C. A, starke, began publication of a multi-volume German-language publication entitled the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. However, no single volume of the Fürstliche Häuser includes all the families included in the Hofkalender or Almanach de Gotha and it is necessary to use multiple volumes to trace the majority of European royal families. In 1989 the family of Justus Perthes re-established its right to the use of the name Almanach de Gotha, the family then sold these rights in 1995 to a new company, Almanach de Gotha Limited, formed in London
The Almanach de Gotha 1851
London Library's copy of Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der Freiherrlichen Häuser, 1910.