Fürst is a German word for a ruler and is a princely title. Fürsten were, since the Middle Ages, members of the highest nobility who ruled over states of the Holy Roman Empire and its former territories, below the ruling Kaiser or König. A Prince of the Holy Roman Empire was the reigning sovereign ruler of an Imperial State that held imperial immediacy in the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire; the territory ruled is referred to in German as a Fürstentum, the family dynasty referred to as a Fürstenhaus, the descendants of a Fürst are titled and referred to in German as Prinz or Prinzessin. The English language uses the term prince for both concepts. Latin-based languages employ a single term, whereas Dutch as well as the Scandinavian and Slavic languages use separate terms similar to those used in German. Since the Middle Ages, the German designation and title of Fürst refers to: the highest members of the nobility who ruled over the Holy Roman Empire, below the ruling Kaiser or König; the title Fürst is used for the heads of princely houses of German origin.
From the Late Middle Ages, it referred to any vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor ruling over an immediate estate. Unless he holds a higher title, such as grand duke or king, he will be known either by the formula "Fürst von + ", or by the formula "Fürst zu + "; these forms can be combined, as in "...von und zu Liechtenstein". The rank of the title-holder is not determined by the title itself, but by his degree of sovereignty, the rank of his suzerain, or the age of the princely family; the Fürst ranked below the Herzog in the Holy Roman Empire's hierarchy, but princes did not rank below dukes in non-German parts of Europe. The style associated with the title of Fürst in post-medieval Europe, was considered inferior to Hoheit in Germany, though not in France; the present-day rulers of the sovereign principality of Liechtenstein bear the title of Fürst, the title is used in German when referring to the ruling princes of Monaco. The hereditary rulers of the one-time principalities of Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania were all referred to in German as Fürsten before they assumed the title of "king".
Fürst is used more in German to refer to any ruler, such as a king, a reigning duke, or a prince in the broad sense. Before the 12th century, counts were included in this group, in accordance with its usage in the Holy Roman Empire, in some historical or ceremonial contexts, the term Fürst can extend to any lord; the descendants of a Fürst, when that title has not been restricted by patent or custom to male primogeniture, is distinguished in title from the head of the family by use of the prefix Prinz. A nobleman whose family is non-dynastic, i.e. has never reigned or been mediatised, may be made a Fürst by a sovereign, in which case the grantee and his heirs are deemed titular or nominal princes, enjoying only honorary princely title without commensurate rank. In families thus elevated to princely title in or after the 18th century, the cadets hold only the title of Graf, such as in the families of the princes of Bismarck and Hardenberg. However, in a few cases, the title of Fürst was shared by all male-line descendants of the original grantee.
Several titles were derived from the term Fürst: Reichsfürst was a ruling Prince whose territory was part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was entitled to a vote, either individually or as a member of a voting unit, in the Imperial Diet. Reichsfürst was used generically for any ruler who cast his vote in either of the Reichstag's two upper chambers, the Electoral College or the College of Princes: Their specific title might be king, grand duke, margrave, count palatine, Imperial prince or Imperial count. Included in this group were the reichsständisch Personalisten, Imperial princes and counts whose small territories did not meet the Fürstenrat's criteria for voting membership as an Imperial estate, but whose family's right to vote therein was recognised by the Emperor. A Prince of the Church who voted in the Electoral or Princely College, along with a handful of titular princes might be referred to as Reichsfürsten. Kirchenfürst was a hierarch who held an ecclesiastic fief and Imperial princely rank, such as prince-bishops, prince-abbots, or Grand Masters of a Christian military order.
Landesfürst is a princely head of state, i.e. not just a titular prince
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
History of Germany
The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul, which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest prevented annexation by the Roman Empire, although the Roman provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior were established along the Rhine. Following the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks conquered the other West Germanic tribes; when the Frankish Empire was divided among Charles the Great's heirs in 843, the eastern part became East Francia. In 962, Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval German state. In the Late Middle Ages, the regional dukes and bishops gained power at the expense of the emperors. Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church after 1517, as the northern states became Protestant, while the southern states remained Catholic.
The two parts of the Holy Roman Empire clashed in the Thirty Years' War, ruinous to the twenty million civilians living in both parts. The Thirty Years' War brought tremendous destruction to Germany. 1648 marked the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire and the beginning of the modern nation-state system, with Germany divided into numerous independent states, such as Prussia, Saxony and other states, which controlled land outside of the area considered as "Germany". After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803–1815, feudalism fell away and liberalism and nationalism clashed with reaction; the German revolutions of 1848–49 failed. The Industrial Revolution modernized the German economy, led to the rapid growth of cities and to the emergence of the socialist movement in Germany. Prussia, with its capital Berlin, grew in power. German universities became world-class centers for science and humanities, while music and art flourished; the unification of Germany was achieved under the leadership of the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with the formation of the German Empire in 1871 which solved the Kleindeutsche Lösung, the small Germany solution, or Großdeutsche Lösung, the greater Germany solution, the former prevailing.
The new Reichstag, an elected parliament, had only a limited role in the imperial government. Germany joined the other powers in colonial expansion in the Pacific. By 1900, Germany was the dominant power on the European continent and its expanding industry had surpassed Britain's, while provoking it in a naval arms race. Germany led the Central Powers in World War I against France, Great Britain and the United States. Defeated and occupied, Germany was forced to pay war reparations by the Treaty of Versailles and was stripped of its colonies as well as of home territory to be ceded to Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Poland; the German Revolution of 1918–19 put an end to the federal constitutional monarchy, which resulted in the establishment of the Weimar Republic, an unstable parliamentary democracy. In the early 1930s, the worldwide Great Depression hit Germany hard, as unemployment soared and people lost confidence in the government. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.
The Nazi Party began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hitler established a totalitarian regime. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if they were not met. First came the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the annexing of Austria in the Anschluss and parts of Czechoslovakia with the Munich Agreement in 1938. On 1 September 1939, Germany initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland. After forming a pact with the Soviet Union in 1939, Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe. After a "Phoney War" in spring 1940, the Germans swept Denmark and Norway, the Low Countries and France, giving Germany control of nearly all of Western Europe. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the Nazi regime. In Germany, but predominantly in the German-occupied areas, the systematic genocide program known as The Holocaust killed 11 million including Jews, German dissidents, disabled people, Romanies and others.
In 1942, the German invasion of the Soviet Union faltered, after the United States had entered the war, Britain became the base for massive Anglo-American bombings of German cities. Germany fought the war on multiple fronts through 1942–1944, however following the Allied invasion of Normandy, the German Army was pushed back on all fronts until the final collapse in May 1945. Under occupation by the Allies, German territories were split up, Austria was again made a separate country, denazification took place, the Cold War resulted in the division of the country into democratic West Germany and communist East Germany. Millions of ethnic Germans were deported or fled from Communist areas into West Germany, which experienced rapid economic expansion, became the dominant economy in Western Europe. West Germany was rearmed in the 1950s under the auspices of NATO, but without access to nuclear weapons; the Franco-German friendship became the basis for the political integration of Western Europe in the European Union.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall was destroye
Hesse or Hessia the State of Hesse, is a federal state of the Federal Republic of Germany, with just over six million inhabitants. The state capital is Wiesbaden; as a cultural region, Hesse includes the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The German name Hessen, like the name of other German regions is derived from the dative plural form of the name of the inhabitants or eponymous tribe, the Hessians, short for the older compound name Hessenland; the Old High German form of the name is recorded as Hessun, in Middle Latin as Hassia, Hassonia. The name of the Hessians continues the tribal name of the Chatti; the ancient name Chatti by the 7th century is recorded as Chassi, from the 8th century as Hassi or Hessi. An inhabitant of Hesse is called a "Hessian"; the American English term Hessian for 18th-century British auxiliary troops originates with Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Cassel hiring out regular army units to the government of Great Britain to fight in the American Revolutionary War.
The English form Hesse is in common use by the 18th century, first in the hyphenated names Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, but the latinate form Hessia remains in common English usage well into the 19th century. The German term Hessen is used by the European Commission in English-language contexts because their policy is to leave regional names untranslated; the synthetic element hassium, number 108 on the periodic table, was named after the state of Hesse in 1997, following a proposal of 1992. The territory of Hesse was delineated only as Greater Hesse, under American occupation, it corresponds only loosely to the medieval Landgraviate of Hesse. In the 19th century, prior to the unification of Germany, the territory of what is now Hesse comprised the territories of Grand Duchy of Hesse, the Duchy of Nassau, the free city of Frankfurt and the Electorate of Hesse; the Central Hessian region was inhabited in the Upper Paleolithic. Finds of tools in southern Hesse in Rüsselsheim suggest the presence of Pleistocene hunters about 13,000 years ago.
A fossil hominid skull, found in northern Hesse, just outside the village of Rhünda, has been dated at 12,000 years ago. The Züschen tomb is a prehistoric burial monument, located between Lohne and Züschen, near Fritzlar, Germany. Classified as a gallery grave or a Hessian-Westphalian stone cist, it is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Central Europe. Dating to c. 3000 BC, it belongs to the Late Neolithic Wartberg culture. An early Celtic presence in what is now Hesse is indicated by a mid-5th-century BC La Tène-style burial uncovered at Glauberg; the region was settled by the Germanic Chatti tribe around the 1st century BC, the name Hesse is a continuation of that tribal name. The ancient Romans had a military camp in Dorlar, in Waldgirmes directly on the eastern outskirts of Wetzlar was a civil settlement under construction; the provincial government for the occupied territories of the right bank of Germania was planned at this location. The governor of Germania, at least temporarily had resided here.
The settlement appears to have been abandoned by the Romans after the devastating Battle of the Teutoburg Forest failed in the year AD 9. The Chatti were involved in the Revolt of the Batavi in AD 69. Hessia, from the early 7th century on, served as a buffer between areas dominated by the Saxons and the Franks, who brought the area to the south under their control in the early sixth century and occupied Thuringia in 531. Hessia occupies the northwestern part of the modern German state of Hesse, its geographic center is Fritzlar. To the west, it occupies the valleys of the Rivers Lahn, it measured 90 kilometers north-south, 80 north-west. The area around Fritzlar shows evidence of significant pagan belief from the 1st century on. Geismar was a particular focus of such activity. Excavations have produced bronze artifacts. A possible religious cult may have centered on a natural spring in Geismar, called Heilgenbron; the village of Maden, now a part of Gudensberg near Fritzlar and less than ten miles from Geismar, was an ancient religious center.
By the mid-7th century, the Franks had established themselves as overlords, suggested by archeological evidence of burials, they built fortifications in various places, including Christenberg. By 690, they took direct control over Hessia to counteract expansion by the Saxons, who built fortifications in Gaulskopf and Eresburg across the River Diemel, the northern boundary of Hessia; the Büraburg
The town of Wächtersbach is part of the Main-Kinzig-Kreis in Hesse, Germany. In 1982, the town hosted the 22nd Hessentag state festival. Wächtersbach lies between the Spessart and the Vogelsberg Mountains in the middle Kinzig valley at the edge of the Büdingen Forest, not far from the towns of Gelnhausen, Bad Orb and Bad Soden-Salmünster. To the north, Wächtersbach borders on the communities of Brachttal. To the east it abuts the town of Bad Soden-Salmünster, in the south the town of Bad Orb and the community of Biebergemünd. In the west it borders the community of Gründau. Wächtersbach is well known for its retail fair, the Wächtersbacher Messe, held yearly for end customers in the week around Ascension Day. Retail business and the electrical engineering industry underpin the town's economic life. Over the last few years, many shops have located in Wächtersbach bringing many people in from outlying towns and communities to do their shopping; the town is famous for the brightly colored porcelain coffee cups and other dinnerware that are made there at the Wächtersbach Ceramic Factory, founded in 1832.
The Wächtersbach Ceramic Factory coffee cups are noted for being superbly designed—they have unusually thick circular porcelain walls that allow them to keep the coffee hot longer than regular coffee cups. They have larger than normal handles, making them easy to grasp. Heated open-air swimming pool 48 km marked hiking trails Bowling Bicycle rental Tennis courts Horseback riding Angling Südbahn bicycle path The Kinzig Valley Railway with the Wächtersbach station leads through the town. Website Wächtersbach
County of Isenburg
Isenburg was a region of Germany located in southern present-day Hesse, located in territories north and south of Frankfurt. The states of Isenburg emerged from the Niederlahngau, which partitioned in 1137 into Isenburg-Isenburg and Isenburg-Limburg-Covern; these countships were partitioned between themselves many times over the next 700 years. The House of Isenburg was an old aristocratic family of medieval Germany, named after the castle of Isenburg in Rhineland-Palatinate. Referred to as the House of Rommersdorf before the 12th century, the house originated in the Hessian comitatus of the Niederlahngau in the 10th century, it partitioned into the lines of Isenburg-Isenburg and Isenburg-Limburg-Covern in 1137, before partitioning again into smaller units, but by 1500 only the lines of Isenburg-Büdingen and Lower Isenburg remained. In 1664 the Lower Isenburg branch died out; the Büdingen line continued to partition, by the beginning of the 19th century the lines of Isenburg-Büdingen, Isenburg-Birstein, Isenburg-Meerholz and Isenburg-Wächtersbach existed.
Today still exist the princes of Isenburg, the princes of Ysenburg and the counts of Ysenburg-Philippseich. Isenburg, the original countship was divided in 1137 into: Isenburg, 1137–1199 dividing c. 1210 into: Isenburg-Braunsberg, 1210–1388, when it was renamed Isenburg-Wied. Isenburg-Wied, in turn, existed from 1388–1454, when it passed by marriage to the Lords of Runkel and was superseded by the Countship of Wied in 1462. Nieder-Isenburg, 1218–1502 when it was divided into: Isenburg-Grenzau, 1502–1664. After the death of Count Ernest in 1664 without direct heirs, his territories were claimed back as feudal tenures by the Archbishoprics of Cologne and Trier, the Abbey-principality of Fulda; the core territories including Isenburg were passed on by Fulda to the Counts of Walderdorff. They had to share them according to a agreement with the Counts of Wied, by a cadet branch of the Isenburgs. Isenburg-Neumagen, 1502–1554, when it passed by marriage to the Counts of Sayn-Homburg. Isenburg-Kempenich, 1137–1424, when it passed to the Lords of Schöneck.
In 1434, it passed to the Archbishop of Trier. Isenburg-Limburg-Covern, 1137–1158, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Covern, 1158–1306, when it passed to Isenburg-Cleberg. Isenburg-Grenzau, 1158–1258, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Limburg, 1258–1406, when it was annexed by the Archbishopric of Trier Isenburg-Grenzau, 1258–1287, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Grenzau, 1287–1290, when it passed to Isenburg-Cleberg. Isenburg-Arnfels, 1286–1379, when it passed to Isenburg-Wied. Isenburg-Cleberg, 1287–1340, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Grenzau, 1340–1439, when it passed to Nassau-Beilstein, it subsequently passed to the Archbishopric of Trier in 1446, was purchased by the Counts of Nieder-Isenburg in 1460. Isenburg-Büdingen, 1340–1511, when it was divided into: Isenberg-Büdingen-Ronneburg, or Isenburg-Ronneburg, 1511–1601, when it was annexed by Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein, 1511–1628, divided into: Isenburg-Birstein, 1628–1664, when it passed to Isenburg-Offenbach Isenburg-Büdingen, 1628–1685, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Büdingen, 1685–1806, when it was mediatized to the Principality of Isenburg Isenburg-Wächtersbach, 1685–1806, when it was mediatized to the Principality of Isenburg Isenburg-Meerholz, 1685–1806, when it was mediatized to the Principality of Isenburg Isenburg-Marienborn, 1685–1725 Isenburg-Offenbach, 1628–1711, when it was divided into: Isenburg-Birstein, 1711–1744, when it became the Principality of Isenburg-Birstein.
The Principality existed from 1744-1806, when it was renamed the Principality of Isenburg, 1806–1814/5 Isenburg-Eisenberg, 1711–1758, when it was absorbed back into the Principality of Isenburg-Birstein Isenburg-Philippseich, 1711–1806, when it was mediatized to the Principality of Isenburg It was not until 1806 that there was a state called "Isenburg". When the Holy Roman Empire was defeated by Napoleon I of France in that year, the empire was abolished and the Confederation of the Rhine was established amongst the various German states; as an incentive to join the Confederation, it was stated that any state which joined could mediatise their neighbours. Prince Charles of Isenburg-Birstein joined the Confederation and was granted the mediatized Isenburgian Countships of Isenburg-Büdingen, Isenburg-Meerholz, Isenburg-Philippseich, Isenburg-Wächtersbach, his Principality was renamed to Isenburg. The Principality continued under the rule of Prince Charles through the Napoleonic era, but was mediatised by the Congress of Vienna for being too keen an ally of Napoleon.
The lands of the principality were divided between the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt and the Electorate of Hesse-Kassel. Charles of Isenburg, 1806–1814/5
German mediatisation was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number of Imperial Estates. Most ecclesiastical principalities, free imperial cities, secular principalities, other minor self-ruling entities of the Holy Roman Empire lost their independent status and were absorbed into the remaining states. By the end of the mediatisation process, the number of German states had been reduced from 300 to just 39. In the strict sense of the word, mediatisation consists in the subsumption of an immediate state into another state, thus becoming mediate, while leaving the dispossessed ruler with his private estates and a number of privileges and feudal rights, such as low justice. For convenience, historians use the term mediatisation for the entire restructuring process that took place at the time, whether the mediatized states survived in some form or lost all individuality.
The secularization of ecclesiastical states took place concurrently with the mediatisation of free imperial cities and other secular states. The mass mediatisation and secularisation of German states that took place at the time was not initiated by Germans, it came under diplomatic pressure from revolutionary France and Napoleon. It constituted the most extensive redistribution of property and territories in German history prior to 1945; the two highpoints of the process were the secularization/annexation of ecclesiastical territories and free imperial cities in 1802–03, the mediatisation of secular principalities and counties in 1806. Although most of its neighbors coalesced into centralized states before the 19th century, Germany did not follow that path. Instead, the Holy Roman Empire maintained its medieval political structure as a "polyglot congeries of hundreds of nearly sovereign states and territories ranging in size from considerable to minuscule". From a high of nearly 400 – 136 ecclesiastical and 173 secular lords plus 85 free imperial cities – on the eve of the Reformation, this number had only reduced to a little less than 300 by the late-18th century.
The traditional explanation for this fragmentation has focused on the gradual usurpation by the princes of the powers of the Holy Roman Emperor during the Staufen period, to the point that by the Peace of Westphalia, the Emperor had become a mere primus inter pares. In recent decades, many historians have maintained that the fragmentation of Germany – which started out as a large polity while its neighbors started small – can be traced back to the geographical extent of the Empire – the German part of the Empire being about twice the size of the realm controlled by the king of France in the second half of the 11th century – and to the vigor of local aristocratic and ecclesiastical rule from early on in the medieval era. In the 12th century, the secular and spiritual princes did not regard themselves as the Emperor's subordinates, still less his subjects, but as rulers in their own right - and they jealously defended their established sphere of predominance. At the time of Emperor Frederick II's death in 1250, it had been decided that the regnum teutonicum was "an aristocracy with a monarchical head".
Among those states and territories, the ecclesiastical principalities were unique to Germany. The Ottonian and early Salian Emperors, who appointed the bishops and abbots, used them as agents of the imperial crown - as they considered them more dependable than the dukes they appointed and who attempted to establish independent hereditary principalities; the emperors expanded the power of the Church, of the bishops, with land grants and numerous privileges of immunity and protection as well as extensive judicial rights, which coalesced into a distinctive temporal principality: the Hochstift. The German bishop became a "prince of the Empire" and direct vassal of the Emperor for his Hochstift, while continuing to exercise only pastoral authority over his larger diocese; the personal appointment of bishops by the Emperors had sparked the investiture controversy in the 11th century, in its aftermath the emperor‘s control over the bishops' selection and rule diminished considerably. The bishops, now elected by independent-minded cathedral chapters rather than chosen by the emperor or the pope, were confirmed as territorial lords equal to the secular princes.
Having to face with the territorial expansionism of the powerful secular princes, the position of the prince-bishops became more precarious with time. In the course of the Reformation, several of the bishoprics in the north and northeast were secularized to the benefit of Protestant princes. In the sixteenth century the Counter-Reformation attempted to reverse some of these secularizations, the question of the fates of secularized territories became an important one in the Thirty Years' War. In the end, the Peace of Westphalia confirmed the secularization of a score of prince-bishoprics, including the archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg and six bishoprics with full political powers, which were assigned to Sweden and Mecklenburg. On the other hand and Paderborn – under Protestant administration for decades and given up for lost – were restored as prince-bishoprics. In addition, the Peace conclusively reaffirmed the imperial immediacy, therefore the de facto independence, of the prince-bishops and imperial abbots, free imperial cities, imperial counts, as well as the imperial knights.
According to one authority, the sixty-five ecclesiastical rulers cont