Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Grand Duchy of Frankfurt
The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt was a German satellite state of Napoleonic creation. It came into existence in 1810 through the combination of the former territories of the Archbishopric of Mainz along with the Free City of Frankfurt itself. Frankfurt lost its status as a free imperial city in 1806 with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire; the city was granted to the former Archbishop of Mainz, Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg, became the Principality of Frankfurt. When Dalberg was forced by Napoleon to relinquish his Principality of Regensburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1810, his remaining territories of Aschaffenburg, Fulda and Frankfurt were combined into the new Grand Duchy of Frankfurt. Although the grand duchy was named after Frankfurt, the city was administered by French commissioners while Dalberg resided in the city of Aschaffenburg. According to the constitution of the grand duchy, upon Dalberg's death, the state would be inherited by Napoleon's stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais.
Dalberg abdicated in favour of Eugene on 26 October 1813, following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Leipzig. The grand duchy ceased to exist after December 1813. While Frankfurt itself once again became a free city, most of the territory of the grand duchy was annexed by the Kingdom of Bavaria
Grand Duchy of Hesse
The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy formed on the basis of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1806 as the Grand Duchy of Hesse. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, it changed its name in 1816 to distinguish itself from the Electorate of Hesse, which had formed from neighboring Hesse-Kassel. Colloquially, the grand duchy continued to be known by its former name of Hesse-Darmstadt, it joined the German Empire in 1871 and became a republic after German defeat in World War I in 1918. Hesse-Darmstadt was a member of Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine during the Napoleonic Wars. Expanding during the mediatizations, Hesse-Darmstadt became an amalgamation of smaller German states, such as the Electorate of Cologne; the legal patchwork of the state culminated in a decree issued on 1 October 1806 by Louis I. The old territorial estates were abolished, which altered Hesse-Darmstadt "from a mosaic of patrimonial fragments into a centralized, absolute monarchy."
The Duchy of Westphalia, which Hesse-Darmstadt had received in 1803, was ceded to the Kingdom of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna. However, Hesse-Darmstadt was compensated with some territory on the western bank of the Rhine, including the important federal fortress at Mainz; the neighboring Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel had backed Prussia against Napoleon and was absorbed into the Kingdom of Westphalia. At the Congress of Vienna, Hesse-Kassel was reestablished as the Electorate of Hesse. To distinguish the two Hessian states, the grand duchy changed its name to the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine in 1816. In 1867, the northern half of the Grand Duchy became a part of the North German Confederation, while the half of the Grand Duchy south of the Main remained outside. In 1871, it became a constituent state of the German Empire; the last Grand Duke, Ernst Ludwig, was forced from his throne at the end of World War I, the state was renamed the People's State of Hesse. After World War II, the majority of the state combined with Frankfurt am Main, the Waldeck area and the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau to form the new state of Hesse.
Excluded were the Montabaur district from Hessen-Nassau and that part of Hessen-Darmstadt on the left bank of the Rhine, which became part of the Rhineland-Palatinate state. Wimpfen—an exclave of Hessen-Darmstadt—became part of Baden-Württemberg, in the district of Sinsheim. After a plebiscite on 29 April 1951, Bad Wimpfen was transferred from Sinsheim district to Heilbronn District; this change to Heilbronn was carried out on 1 May 1952. Because of the disjointed nature of the state, it did not develop its own state railway to begin with, but set up joint railway projects with its neighbouring states: These were the: Main-Neckar Railway with Frankfurt and Baden Main-Weser Railway with Frankfurt and Kurhessen Frankfurt-Offenbach Local Railway with the Free City of FrankfurtIn addition the state encouraged numerous other projects by the owned Hessian Ludwig Railway Company. In 1876 the state founded its own company, the Grand Duchy of Hesse State Railways, which continued to expand the network until it was merged into the Prussian-Hessian Railway Company in 1897.
The Grand Duchy of Hesse was divided into three provinces: Starkenburg: Right bank of the Rhine, south of the Main. Rhenish Hesse: Left bank of the Rhine, territory gained from the Congress of Vienna. Upper Hesse: North of the Main, separated from Starkenburg by the Free City of Frankfurt. List of rulers of Hesse Line of succession to the former Hessian throne Hessenlager Constitution of Hesse Das Großherzogtum Hessen 1806–1918 Großherzogtum Hessen 1910
Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective; the initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy. Like medieval England and medieval France, medieval Germany consolidated from a conglomerate of smaller tribes, nations or polities by the High Middle Ages; the term rex teutonicorum first came into use in Italy around the year 1000. It was popularized by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy as a political tool against Emperor Henry IV. In the twelfth century, in order to stress the imperial and transnational character of their office, the emperors began to employ the title rex Romanorum on their election.
Distinct titulature for Germany and Burgundy, which traditionally had their own courts and chanceries dropped from use. After the Imperial Reform and Reformation settlement, the German part of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Reichskreise, which defined Germany against imperial territories outside the Imperial Circles: imperial Italy, the Bohemian Kingdom, the Old Swiss Confederacy. There are few references to a German realm distinct from the Holy Roman Empire; the eastern division of the Treaty of Verdun was called the regnum Francorum Orientalium or Francia Orientalis: the Kingdom of the Eastern Franks or East Francia. It was the eastern half of the old Merovingian regnum Austrasiorum; the "east Franks" themselves were the people of Franconia, settled by Franks. The other peoples of East Francia were Saxons, Frisians and the like, referred to as Teutonici and sometimes as Franks as ethnic identities changed over the course of the ninth century. An entry in the Annales Iuvavenses for the year 919 contemporary but surviving only in a twelfth-century copy, records that Baiuarii sponte se reddiderunt Arnolfo duci et regnare ei fecerunt in regno teutonicorum, i.e. that "Arnulf, Duke of the Bavarians, was elected to reign in the Kingdom of the Germans".
Historians disagree on. Beginning in the late eleventh century, during the Investiture Controversy, the Papal curia began to use the term regnum teutonicorum to refer to the realm of Henry IV in an effort to reduce him to the level of the other kings of Europe, while he himself began to use the title rex Romanorum or King of the Romans to emphasise his divine right to the imperium Romanum; this title was employed most by the German kings themselves, though they did deign to employ "Teutonic" titles when it was diplomatic, such as Frederick Barbarossa's letter to the Pope referring to his receiving the coronam Theutonici regni. Foreign kings and ecclesiastics continued to refer to the regnum Alemanniae and règne or royaume d'Allemagne; the terms imperium/imperator or empire/emperor were employed for the German kingdom and its rulers, which indicates a recognition of their imperial stature but combined with "Teutonic" and "Alemannic" references a denial of their Romanitas and universal rule.
The term regnum Germaniae begins to appear in German sources at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Therefore, throughout the Middle Ages, the convention was that the king of Germany was Emperor of the Romans, his title was royal from his election to his coronation in Rome by the Pope. After the death of Frederick II in 1250, the trend toward a "more conceived German kingdom" found no real consolidation; the title of "king of the Romans" became less and less reserved for the emperor-elect but uncrowned in Rome. The reign was dated to begin either on the day of the coronation; the election day became the starting date permanently with Sigismund. Maximilian I changed the style of the emperor in 1508, with papal approval: after his German coronation, his style was Dei gratia Romanorum imperator electus semper augustus; that is, he was "emperor elect": a term that did not imply that he was emperor-in-waiting or not yet emperor, but only that he was emperor by virtue of the election rather than papal coronation.
At the same time, the custom of having the heir-apparent elected as king of the Romans in the emperor's lifetime resumed. For this reason, the title "king of the Romans" came to mean heir-apparent, the successor elected while the emperor was still alive; the Archbishop
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with 47,624 km2, fourth-largest in population among the 16 Länder federated as the Federal Republic of Germany. In rural areas, Northern Low Saxon and Saterland Frisian are still spoken, but the number of speakers is declining. Lower Saxony borders on the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia, the Netherlands. Furthermore, the state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony, one being the city of Bremen, the other, its seaport city of Bremerhaven. In fact, Lower Saxony borders more neighbours than any other single Bundesland; the state's principal cities include the state capital Hanover, Braunschweig, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Hildesheim, Wolfenbüttel, Göttingen. The northwestern area of Lower Saxony, which lies on the coast of the North Sea, is called East Frisia and the seven East Frisian Islands offshore are popular with tourists.
In the extreme west of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a traditionally poor and sparsely populated area, once dominated by inaccessible swamps. The northern half of Lower Saxony known as the North German Plains, is invariably flat except for the gentle hills around the Bremen geestland. Towards the south and southwest lie the northern parts of the German Central Uplands: the Weser Uplands and the Harz mountains. Between these two lie the Lower Saxon Hills, a range of low ridges. Thus, Lower Saxony is the only Bundesland that encompasses both mountainous areas. Lower Saxony's major cities and economic centres are situated in its central and southern parts, namely Hanover, Osnabrück, Salzgitter, Göttingen. Oldenburg, near the northwestern coastline, is another economic centre; the region in the northeast is called the Lüneburg Heath, the largest heathland area of Germany and in medieval times wealthy due to salt mining and salt trade, as well as to a lesser degree the exploitation of its peat bogs until about the 1960s.
To the north, the Elbe River separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg. The banks just south of the Elbe are known as Altes Land. Due to its gentle local climate and fertile soil, it is the state's largest area of fruit farming, its chief produce being apples. Most of the state's territory was part of the historic Kingdom of Hanover, it was created by the merger of the State of Hanover with three smaller states on 1 November 1946. Lower Saxony has a natural boundary in the north in the North Sea and the lower and middle reaches of the River Elbe, although parts of the city of Hamburg lie south of the Elbe; the state and city of Bremen is an enclave surrounded by Lower Saxony. The Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region is a cooperative body for the enclave area. To the southeast, the state border runs through the Harz, low mountains that are part of the German Central Uplands; the northeast and west of the state, which form three-quarters of its land area, belong to the North German Plain, while the south is in the Lower Saxon Hills, including the Weser Uplands, Leine Uplands, Schaumburg Land, Brunswick Land, Untereichsfeld and Lappwald.
In northeast, Lower Saxony is Lüneburg Heath. The heath is dominated by the poor, sandy soils of the geest, whilst in the central east and southeast in the loess börde zone, productive soils with high natural fertility occur. Under these conditions—with loam and sand-containing soils—the land is well-developed agriculturally. In the west lie the County of Bentheim, Osnabrück Land, Oldenburg Land, Oldenburg Münsterland, on the coast East Frisia; the state is dominated by several large rivers running northwards through the state: the Ems, Weser and Elbe. The highest mountain in Lower Saxony is the Wurmberg in the Harz. For other significant elevations see: List of hills in Lower Saxony. Most of the mountains and hills are found in the southeastern part of the state; the lowest point in the state, at about 2.5 m below sea level, is a depression near Freepsum in East Frisia. The state's economy and infrastructure are centred on the cities and towns of Hanover, Celle, Wolfsburg and Salzgitter. Together with Göttingen in southern Lower Saxony, they form the core of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region.
Lower Saxony has clear regional divisions that manifest themselves geographically, as well as and culturally. In the regions that used to be independent the heartlands of the former states of Brunswick, Hanover and Schaumburg-Lippe, a marked local regional awareness exists. By contrast, the areas surrounding the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg are much more oriented towards those centres. Sometimes and transition areas happen between the various regions of Lower Saxony. Several of the regions listed here are part of other, larger regions, that are included in the list. Just under 20% of the land area of Lower Saxony is designated as nature parks, i.e.: Dümmer, Elbhöhen-Wendland, Elm-Lappwald, Harz, Lüneburger Heide, Münden, Terra.vita, Solling-Vogler, Lake Steinhude, Südheide, Weser Uplands, Wildeshausen Geest, Bourtanger Moor-Bargerveen. L