Rhineland-Palatinate is a state of Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate is located in western Germany covering an area of 19,846 km2 and a population of 4.05 million inhabitants, the seventh-most populous German state. Mainz is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Trier and Worms. Rhineland-Palatinate is surrounded by the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, it borders three foreign countries: France and Belgium. Rhineland-Palatinate was established in 1946 after World War II from territory of the separate regions of the Free State of Prussia, People's State of Hesse, Bavaria, by the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate became part of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, shared the country's only border with the Saar Protectorate until it was returned to German control in 1957. Rhineland-Palatinate has since developed its own identity built on its natural and cultural heritage, including the extensive Palatinate winegrowing region, its picturesque landscapes, many castles and palaces.
The state of Rhineland-Palatinate was founded shortly after the Second World War on 30 August 1946. It was formed from the southern part of the Prussian Rhine Province, from Rhenish Hesse, from the western part of Nassau and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate minus the county of Saarpfalz; the Joint German-Luxembourg Sovereign Region is the only unincorporated area of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. This condominium is formed by the rivers Moselle and Our, where they run along the border between Luxembourg and Rhineland-Palatinate or the Saarland; the present state of Rhineland-Palatinate formed part of the French Zone of Occupation after the Second World War. It comprised the former Bavarian Palatinate, the Regierungsbezirke of Koblenz and Trier of the old Prussian Rhine Province, those parts of the Province of Rhenish Hesse west of the River Rhine and belonging to the People's State of Hesse, parts of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, the former Oldenburg region around Birkenfeld. On 10 July 1945, the occupation authority on the soil of the present-day Rhineland-Palatinate transferred from the Americans to the French.
To begin with, the French divided the region provisionally into two "upper presidiums", Rhineland-Hesse-Nassau and Hesse-Palatinate. The formation of the state was ordained on 30 August 1946, the last state in the Western Zone of Occupation to be established, by Regulation No. 57 of the French military government under General Marie-Pierre Kœnig. It was called Rhenish-Palatinate; the provisional French government at that time wanted to leave the option open of annexing further areas west of the Rhine after the Saarland was turned into a protectorate. When the Americans and British, had led the way with the establishment of German federal states, the French came under increasing pressure and followed their example by setting up the states of Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Rhineland-Palatinate. However, the French military government forbade the Saarland joining Rhineland-Palatinate. Mainz was named as the state capital in the regulation. However, war damage and destruction meant that Mainz did not have enough administrative buildings, so the headquarters of the state government and parliament was provisionally established in Koblenz.
On 22 November 1946, the constituent meeting of the Advisory State Assembly took place there, a draft constitution was drawn up. Local elections had been held. Wilhelm Boden was nominated on 2 December as the minister president of the new state by the French military government. Adolf Süsterhenn submitted a draft constitution to the Advisory State Assembly, passed after several rounds of negotiation on 25 April 1947 in a final vote with the absolute majority of the CDU voting for and the SPD and KPD voting against it. One of the reasons for this was that the draft constitution made provision for separate schools based on Christian denomination. On 18 May 1947, the Constitution for Rhineland-Palatinate was adopted by 53% of the electorate in a referendum. While the Catholic north and west of the new state adopted the constitution by a majority, it was rejected by the majority in Rhenish Hesse and the Palatinate. On the same date, the first elections took place for the state parliament, the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The inaugural assembly of parliament took place on 4 June 1947 in the large city hall at Koblenz. Wilhelm Boden was elected the first minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate. Just one month Peter Altmeier succeeded him; the constitutional bodies, the Government, the Parliament and the Constitutional Court, established their provisional sea
Duchy of Lorraine
The Duchy of Lorraine Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Its capital was Nancy, it was founded in 959 following the division of Lotharingia into two separate duchies: Upper and Lower Lorraine, the westernmost parts of the Holy Roman Empire. The Lower duchy was dismantled, while Upper Lorraine came to be known as the Duchy of Lorraine; the Duchy of Lorraine was coveted and occupied by the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France. In 1737, the Duchy was given to Stanisław Leszczyński, the former king of Poland, who had lost his throne as a result of the War of the Polish Succession, with the understanding that it would fall to the French crown on his death; when Stanisław died on 23 February 1766, Lorraine was annexed by France and reorganized as a province. Lorraine's predecessor, was an independent Carolingian kingdom under the rule of King Lothair II, its territory had been a part of Middle Francia, created in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun, when the Carolingian empire was divided between the three sons of Louis the Pious.
Middle Francia was allotted to Emperor Lothair I, therefore called Lotharii Regnum. On his death in 855, it was further divided into three parts, of which his son Lothair II took the northern one, his realm comprised a larger territory stretching from the County of Burgundy in the south to the North Sea. In French, this area became known as Lorraine, while in German, it was known as Lothringen. In the Alemannic language once spoken in Lorraine, the -ingen suffix signified a property; as Lothair II had died without heirs, his territory was divided by the 870 Treaty of Meerssen between East and West Francia and came under East Frankish rule as a whole by the 880 Treaty of Ribemont. After the East Frankish Carolingians became extinct with the death of Louis the Child in 911, Lotharingia once again attached itself to West Francia, but was conquered by the German king Henry the Fowler in 925. Stuck in the conflict with his rival Hugh the Great, in 942 King Louis IV of France renounced all claims to Lotharingia.
In 953, the German king Otto. In 959, Bruno divided the duchy into Lower Lorraine; the Upper Duchy was further "up" the river system. Upper Lorraine was first denominated as the Duchy of the Moselle, both in charters and narrative sources, its duke was the dux Mosellanorum; the usage of Lotharingia Superioris and Lorraine in official documents begins around the fifteenth century. The first duke and deputy of Bruno was Frederick I of Bar, son-in-law of Bruno's sister Hedwig of Saxony. Lower Lorraine disintegrated into several smaller territories and only the title of a "Duke of Lothier" remained, held by Brabant. After the duchy of the Moselle came into the possession of René of Anjou, the name "Duchy of Lorraine" was adopted again, only retrospectively called "Upper Lorraine". At that time, several territories had split off, such as the County of Luxembourg, the Electorate of Trier, the County of Bar and the "Three Bishoprics" of Verdun and Toul; the border between the Empire and the Kingdom of France remained stable throughout the Middle Ages.
In 1301, Count Henry III of Bar had to receive the western part of his lands as a fief by King Philip IV of France. In 1475, the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold campaigned for the Duchy of Lorraine, but was defeated and killed at the 1477 Battle of Nancy. In the 1552 Treaty of Chambord, a number of insurgent Protestant Imperial princes around Elector Maurice of Saxony ceded the Three Bishoprics to King Henry II of France in turn for his support. Due to the weakening of Imperial authority during the 1618-1648 Thirty Years' War, France was able to occupy the duchy in 1634 and retained it until 1661 when Charles IV was restored. In 1670, the French invaded again. France returned the Duchy in the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick ending the Nine Years' War and Charles' son Leopold, became duke and was known as'Leopold the Good. In 1737, after the War of the Polish Succession, an agreement between France, the Habsburgs and the Lorraine House of Vaudémont assigned the Duchy to Stanisław Leszczyński, former king of Poland.
He was father-in-law to King Louis XV of France, who lost out to a candidate backed by Russia and Austria in the War of the Polish Succession. The Lorraine duke Francis Stephen, betrothed to the Emperor's daughter Archduchess Maria Theresa, was compensated with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where the last Medici ruler had died without issue. France promised to support Maria Theresa as heir to the Habsburg possessions under the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. Leszczyński received Lorraine with the understanding that it would fall to the French crown on his death; the title of Duke of Lorraine was of course given to Stanisław, but retained by Francis Stephen, it figures prominently in the titles of his successors, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. When Stanisław died on 23 February 1766, Lorraine was annexed by France and reorganized as a province by the French government. Two regional languages survive in the re
Regensburg is a city in south-east Germany, at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regensburg is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria after Munich and Augsburg; the city is the political and cultural centre and capital of the Upper Palatinate. The medieval centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2014, Regensburg was among the top sights and travel attractions in Germany; the first settlements in Regensburg date from the Stone Age. The Celtic name Radasbona was the oldest given to a settlement near the present city. Around AD 90, the Romans built a fort there. In 179, a new Roman fort Castra Regina was built for Legio III Italica during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, it was an important camp on the most northerly point of the Danube. It is believed that as early as in late Roman times the city was the seat of a bishop, St Boniface re-established the Bishopric of Regensburg in 739. From the early 6th century, Regensburg was the seat of a ruling family known as the Agilolfings.
From about 530 to the first half of the 13th century, it was the capital of Bavaria. Regensburg remained an important city during the reign of Charlemagne. In 792, Regensburg hosted the ecclesiastical section of Charlemagne's General Assembly, the bishops in council who condemned the heresy of adoptionism taught by their Spanish counterparts, Elipandus of Toledo and Felix of Urgel. After the partition of the Carolingian Empire in 843, the city became the seat of the Eastern Frankish ruler, Louis II the German. Two years fourteen Bohemian princes came to Regensburg to receive baptism there; this was the starting point of Christianization of the Czechs, the diocese of Regensburg became the mother diocese of that of Prague. These events had a wide impact on the cultural history of the Czech lands, as they were part of the Roman Catholic and not the Slavic-Orthodox world. A memorial plate at St John's Church was unveiled a few years ago, commemorating the incident in the Czech and German languages.
In 800 the city had 23,000 inhabitants and by 1000 this had doubled to 40,000 people. On 8 December 899 Arnulf of Carinthia, descendant of Charlemagne, died at Regensburg, Germany. In 1096, on the way to the First Crusade, Peter the Hermit led a mob of crusaders that attempted to force the mass conversion of the Jews of Regensburg and killed all those who resisted. Between 1135 and 1146, the Stone Bridge across the Danube was built at Regensburg; this bridge opened major international trade routes between northern Europe and Venice, this began Regensburg's golden age as a residence of wealthy trading families. Regensburg became the cultural centre of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics. In 1245 Regensburg became a Free Imperial City and was a trade centre before the shifting of trade routes in the late Middle Ages. At the end of the 15th century in 1486, Regensburg became part of the Duchy of Bavaria, but its independence was restored by the Holy Roman Emperor ten years later.
The city adopted the Protestant Reformation in 1542 and its Town Council remained Lutheran. From 1663 to 1806, the city was the permanent seat of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, which became known as the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg. Thus, Regensburg was one of the central towns of the Empire, attracting visitors in large numbers. A minority of the population remained Roman Catholic, Roman Catholics were denied civil rights, but the town of Regensburg must not be confused with the Bishopric of Regensburg. Although the Imperial city had adopted the Reformation, the town remained the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop and several abbeys. Three of the latter, St. Emmeram, Niedermünster and Obermünster, were estates of their own within the Holy Roman Empire, meaning that they were granted a seat and a vote at the Imperial Diet. So there was the unique situation that the town of Regensburg comprised five independent "states": the Protestant city itself, the Roman Catholic bishopric, the three monasteries.
In addition, it was seen as the traditional capital of the region Bavaria, acted as functional co-capital of the Empire due to the presence of the Perpetual Diet, it was residence of the Emperor's Commissary-Principal to the same diet, who with one brief exception was a prince himself. In 1803 the city lost its status as an imperial city following its incorporation into the Principality of Regensburg, it was handed over to the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz and Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire Carl von Dalberg in compensation for the territory of the Electorate of Mainz located on the left bank of the Rhine, annexed by France under the terms of the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. The Archbishopric of Mainz was formally transferred to Regensburg. Dalberg united the bishopric, the monasteries, the town itself, making up the Principality of Regensburg. Dalberg modernized public life. Most he awarded equal rights to Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. In 1810 Dalberg ceded Regensburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria, he himself being compensated by t
The County Palatine of the Rhine the Electorate of the Palatinate or Electoral Palatinate, was a territory in the Holy Roman Empire administered by the Count Palatine of the Rhine. Its rulers served as prince-electors from time immemorial, were noted as such in a papal letter of 1261, were confirmed as electors by the Golden Bull of 1356; the fragmented territory stretched from the left bank of the Upper Rhine, from the Hunsrück mountain range in what is today the Palatinate region in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the adjacent parts of the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine to the opposite territory on the east bank of the Rhine in present-day Hesse and Baden-Württemberg up to the Odenwald range and the southern Kraichgau region, containing the capital cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim. The Counts Palatine of the Rhine held the office of imperial vicars in the territories under Frankish law and ranked among the most significant secular Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1541 elector Otto Henry converted to Lutheranism. Their climax and decline is marked by the rule of Elector Palatine Frederick V, whose coronation as King of Bohemia in 1619 sparked the Thirty Years' War. After the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the ravaged lands were further afflicted by the "Reunion" campaigns launched by King Louis XIV of France, culminating in the Nine Years' War. Ruled in personal union with the Electorate of Bavaria from 1777, the Electoral Palatinate was disestablished with the German mediatization in 1803; the comital office of Count Palatine at the Frankish court of King Childebert I was mentioned about 535. The Counts Palatine were the permanent representatives of the King, in particular geographic areas, in contrast to the semi-independent authority of the dukes. Under the Merovingian dynasty, the position had been a purely appointed one, but by the Middle Ages had evolved into an hereditary one. Up to the 10th century, the Frankish empire was centered at the royal palace in Aachen, in what had become the Carolingian kingdom of Lotharingia.
The Count Palatine of Lotharingia became the most important of the Counts Palatine. Marital alliances meant that, by the Middle Ages, most Count Palatine positions had been inherited by the duke of the associated province, but the importance of the Count Palatine of Lotharingia enabled it to remain an independent position. In 985, Herman I, a scion of the Ezzonids, is mentioned as count palatine of Lotharingia. While his Palatine authority operated over the whole of Upper Lorraine, the feudal territories of his family were instead scattered around south western Franconia, including parts of the Rhineland around Cologne and Bonn, areas around the Moselle, the Nahe Rivers. In continual conflicts with the rivalling Archbishops of Cologne, he changed the emphasis of his rule to the southern Eifel region and further to the Upper Rhine, where the Ezzonian dynasty governed several counties on both banks of the river; the southernmost point was near Alzey. From about 1085/86, after the death of the last Ezzonian count palatine Herman II, Palatinate authority ceased to have any military significance in Lotharingia.
In practice, the Count Palatinate's Palatine authority had collapsed, reducing his successor to a mere feudal magnate over his own territories - along the Upper Rhine in south-western Franconia. From this time on, his territory became known as the County Palatine of the Rhine. Various noble dynasties competed to be enfeoffed with the Palatinate by the Holy Roman Emperor - among them the House of Ascania, the House of Salm and the House of Babenberg; the first hereditary Count Palatine of the Rhine was Conrad, a member of the House of Hohenstaufen and younger half-brother of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The territories attached to this hereditary office in 1156 started from those held by the Hohenstaufens in the Donnersberg, Haardt, Bergstraße and Kraichgau regions. Much of this was from their imperial ancestors, the Salian emperors, apart from Conrad's maternal ancestry, the Counts of Saarbrücken; these backgrounds explain the composition of Upper and Rhenish Palatinate in the inheritance centuries onwards.
About 1182, Conrad moved his residence from Stahleck Castle near Bacharach up the Rhine River to Heidelberg. Upon Conrad's death in 1195, the Palatinate passed to the House of Welf through the—secret—marriage of his daughter Agnes with Henry of Brunswick; when Henry's son Henry the Younger died without heirs in 1214, the Hohenstaufen king Frederick II enfeoffed the Wittelsbach duke Louis I of Bavaria. The Bavarian House of Wittelsbach held the Palatinate territories until 1918. During a division of territory among the heirs of Duke Louis II, Duke of Upper Bavaria, in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in the Bavarian Nordgau with the centre around the town of Amberg; as this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate became common from the early 16th century in contrast to the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine. With the Treaty of
The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders. The regions without access to the sea have linked themselves politically and economically to those with access to form various unions of ports and hinterland, stretching inland as far as parts of the German Rhineland; that is why nowadays some parts of the Low Countries are hilly, like Luxembourg and the south of Belgium. Within the European Union the region's political grouping is still referred to as the Benelux. During the Roman empire the region contained a militarised frontier and contact point between Rome and Germanic tribes. With the collapse of the empire, the Low Countries were the scene of the early independent trading centres that marked the reawakening of Europe in the 12th century.
In that period, they rivalled northern Italy as one of the most densely populated regions of Western Europe. Most of the cities were governed by councils along with a figurehead ruler. All of the regions depended on trade and the encouragement of the free flow of goods and craftsmen. Dutch and French dialects were the main languages used in secular city life; the term Low Countries arose at the Court of the Dukes of Burgundy, who used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for the Duchy of Burgundy and the Free County of Burgundy, which were part of their realm but geographically disconnected from the Low Countries. Governor Mary of Hungary used both the expressions les pays de par deça and Pays d'Embas, which evolved to Pays-Bas or Low Countries. Today the term is fitted to modern political boundaries and used in the same way as the term Benelux; the name of the country of the Netherlands has the same etymology and origin as the name for the region Low Countries, due to "nether" meaning "low".
In the Dutch language itself De Lage Landen is the modern term for Low Countries, De Nederlanden is in use for the 16th century domains of Charles V, the historic Low Countries, while Nederland is in use for the country of the Netherlands. However, in official use, the name of the Dutch kingdom is still Kingdom of the Netherlands, Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; this name derives from the 19th-century origins of the kingdom which included present-day Belgium. In Dutch, to a lesser extent in English, the Low Countries colloquially means the Netherlands and Belgium, sometimes the Netherlands and Flanders—the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium. For example, a Low Countries derby, is a sports event between Belgium and the Netherlands. Belgium separated in 1830 from the Netherlands; the new country took its name from Belgica, the Latinised name for the Low Countries, as it was known during the Eighty Years' War. The Low Countries were in that war divided in two parts. On one hand, the northern Federated Netherlands or Belgica Foederata rebelled against the Spanish king.
This divide laid the early foundation for the modern states of Belgium and the Netherlands. The region politically had its origins in the Carolingian empire. After the disintegration of Lower Lotharingia, the Low Countries were brought under the rule of various lordships until they came to be in the hands of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. Hence, a large part of the Low Countries came to be referred to as the Burgundian Netherlands. After the reign of the Valois Dukes ended, much of the Low Countries were controlled by the House of Habsburg; this area was referred to as the Habsburg Netherlands, called the Seventeen Provinces up to 1581. After the political secession of the autonomous Dutch Republic in the north, the term "Low Countries" continued to be used to refer collectively to the region; the region was temporarily united politically between 1815 and 1839, as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, before this split into the three modern countries of the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Low Countries were part of the Roman provinces of Germania Inferior.
They were inhabited by Germanic tribes. In the 4th and 5th century, Frankish tribes had entered this Roman region and came to run it independently, they came to be ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, under which dynasty the southern part was re-Christianised. By the end of the 8th century, the Low Countries formed a core part of a much expanded Francia and the Merovingians were replaced by the Carolingian dynasty. In 800, the Pope appointed Charlemagne Emperor of the re-established Roman Empire. After the death of Charlemagne, Francia was divided in three parts among his three grandsons; the middle slice, Middle Francia, was ruled by Lothair I, thereby came to be referred to as "Lotharingia" or "Lorraine". Apart from the original coastal County of Flanders, within West Francia, the rest of the Low Countries were within the lowland part of this, "Lower Lorrain
Free imperial city
In the Holy Roman Empire, the collective term free and imperial cities worded free imperial city, was used from the fifteenth century to denote a self-ruling city that had a certain amount of autonomy and was represented in the Imperial Diet. An imperial city held the status of Imperial immediacy, as such, was subordinate only to the Holy Roman Emperor, as opposed to a territorial city or town, subordinate to a territorial prince – be it an ecclesiastical lord or a secular prince; the evolution of some German cities into self-ruling constitutional entities of the Empire was slower than that of the secular and ecclesiastical princes. In the course of the 13th and 14th centuries, some cities were promoted by the emperor to the status of Imperial Cities for fiscal reasons; those cities, founded by the German kings and emperors in the 10th through 13th centuries and had been administered by royal/imperial stewards gained independence as their city magistrates assumed the duties of administration and justice.
The Free Cities were those, such as Basel, Cologne or Strasbourg, that were subjected to a prince-bishop and progressively gained independence from that lord. In a few cases, such as in Cologne, the former ecclesiastical lord continued to claim the right to exercise some residual feudal privileges over the Free City, a claim that gave rise to constant litigation until the end of the Empire. Over time, the difference between Imperial Cities and Free Cities became blurred, so that they became collectively known as "Free Imperial Cities", or "Free and Imperial Cities", by the late 15th century many cities included both "Free" and "Imperial" in their name. Like the other Imperial Estates, they could wage war, make peace, control their own trade, they permitted little interference from outside. In the Middle Ages, a number of Free Cities formed City Leagues, such as the Hanseatic League or the Alsatian Décapole, to promote and defend their interests. In the course of the Middle Ages, cities gained, sometimes — if — lost, their freedom through the vicissitudes of power politics.
Some favored cities gained a charter by gift. Others purchased one from a prince in need of funds; some won it by force of arms during the troubled 13th and 14th centuries and others lost their privileges during the same period by the same way. Some cities became free through the void created by the extinction of dominant families, like the Swabian Hohenstaufen; some voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of a territorial ruler and therefore lost their independence. A few, like Protestant Donauwörth, which in 1607 was annexed to the Catholic Duchy of Bavaria, were stripped by the Emperor of their status as a Free City — for genuine or trumped-up reasons. However, this happened after the Reformation, of the sixty Free Imperial Cities that remained at the Peace of Westphalia, all but the ten Alsatian cities continued to exist until the mediatization of 1803. There were four thousand towns and cities in the Empire, although around the year 1600 over nine-tenths of them had fewer than one thousand inhabitants.
During the late Middle Ages, fewer than two hundred of these places enjoyed the status of Free Imperial Cities, some of those did so only for a few decades. The military tax register of 1521 listed eighty-five such cities, this figure had fallen to sixty-five by the time of the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. From the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 to 1803, their number oscillated at around fifty. Unlike the Free Imperial Cities, the second category of towns and cities, now called "territorial cities" were subject to an ecclesiastical or lay lord, while many of them enjoyed self-government to varying degrees, this was a precarious privilege which might be curtailed or abolished according to the will of the lord. Reflecting the extraordinarily complex constitutional set-up of the Holy Roman Empire, a third category, composed of semi-autonomous cities that belonged to neither of those two types, is distinguished by some historians; these were cities whose size and economic strength was sufficient to sustain a substantial independence from surrounding territorial lords for a considerable time though no formal right to independence existed.
These cities were located in small territories where the ruler was weak. They were the exception among the multitude of territorial towns and cities. Cities of both latter categories had representation in territorial diets, but not in the Imperial Diet. Free imperial cities were not admitted as own Imperial Estates to the Imperial Diet until 1489, then their votes were considered only advisory compared to the Benches of the electors and princes; the cities divided themselves into two groups, or benches, in the Imperial Diet, the Rhenish and the Swabian Bench. The following list contains the 50 Free imperial cities that took part in the Imperial Diet of 1792, they are listed according to their voting order on the Swabian benches. These same cities were among the 85 free imperial cities listed on the Reichsmatrikel of 1521: the federal civil and military tax-schedule used for more than a century to assess the contributions of all the Imperial Estates in case
Lower Lusatia is a historical region in Central Europe, stretching from the southeast of the German state of Brandenburg to the southwest of Lubusz Voivodeship in Poland. Like adjacent Upper Lusatia in the south, Lower Lusatia is a settlement area of the West Slavic Sorbs whose endangered Lower Sorbian language is related to Upper Sorbian and Polish; the sparsely inhabited area within the North European Plain is characterised by extended pine forests and meadows. In the north it is confined by the middle Spree River with Lake Schwielochsee and its eastern continuation across the Oder at Fürstenberg to Chlebowo. In the glacial valley between Lübben and Cottbus, the Spree River branches out into the Spreewald riparian forest. Other rivers include the Berste and Oelse tributaries as well as the Schlaube and the Oder–Spree Canal opened in 1891. In the east, the Bóbr River from Łagoda via Krzystkowice down to the historic town of Żary forms the border with the lands of Lower Silesia. In the west the course of the upper Dahme River down to Golßen separates it from the former Electoral Saxon lands of Saxe-Wittenberg.
Between Lower and Upper Lusatia is a hill region called the Grenzwall, the eastern continuation of the Fläming Heath. In the Middle Ages this area had dense forests, so it represented a major obstacle to civilian and military traffic. Today it is congruent of the border between Brandenburg and the state of Saxony. In the course of much of the 19th and the entire 20th century, Lower Lusatia was shaped by the lignite industry and extensive open-pit mining, by which more than 100 of the region's villages—many of them within the Sorbian settlement area—were damaged or destroyed by order of East German authorities. While this process is still going on, most notably around Jänschwalde Power Station, run by EPH, some now exhausted open-pit mines are being converted into artificial lakes, in the hope of attracting tourism, the area is now referred to as the Lusatian Lake District. Today the area comprises the Brandenburg districts of Oberspreewald-Lausitz and Spree-Neiße with the unitary authority of Cottbus, as well as parts of Elbe-Elster, Dahme-Spreewald, Oder-Spree.
Important towns beside Cottbus and the historic capitals Lübben and Luckau include Calau, Doberlug-Kirchhain, Forst, Guben/Gubin, Lauchhammer, Lübbenau, Spremberg, Żary in present-day Poland. Since 1945, when a small part of Lusatia east of the Oder–Neisse line was incorporated into Poland, Żary,has been touted as the capital of Polish Lusatia; the area of Lower Lusatia corresponds with the eastern March of Lusatia or Saxon Eastern March between the Saale and Bóbr rivers, which about 965 was severed from the vast Marca Geronis, conquered by the Saxon count Gero in the course of his campaigns against the Polabian Slavs from 939 onwards. Odo I became the first margrave. Emperor Conrad II reconquered the territories in 1031. In 1136 Conrad the Great of the mighty House of Wettin, margrave of Meissen since 1123 received the March of Lusatia; this remained under the rule of the Wettin dynasty until in 1303 it was acquired by the Ascanian margraves of Brandenburg. With Brandenburg the march was inherited by the House of Wittelsbach in 1320.
Charles' father King John of Bohemia had acquired the adjacent territory to the south around Bautzen and Görlitz, which became known as Upper Lusatia. The former Lordship of Cottbus was acquired by Brandenburg in 1455 and remained an exclave within the Bohemian kingdom. Both Lusatias formed separate Bohemian crown lands under the rule of the Luxembourg, Jagiellon and—from 1526—Habsburg dynasties. In the course of the Reformation the vast majority of the population turned Protestant; the Bohemian era came to an end when Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg ceded the Lusatias to Elector John George I of Saxony under the 1635 Peace of Prague in return for his support in the Thirty Years' War. As the Kingdom of Saxony had sided with Napoleon it had to cede Lower Lusatia to Prussia in the 1815 Congress of Vienna, whereafter the territory became part of the Province of Brandenburg. With the implementation of the Oder–Neisse line by the 1945 Potsdam Conference, the lands east of the Neisse river fell to Poland.
The Lower Lusatian bull is first documented in 1363. In contrast to the Luckau bull, the bull of Lower Lusatia is however not armed. After over 600 years it is still valid today as Lower Lusatia's coat of arms. Spreewald biosphere reserve Lusatian Lake District Lower Lusatian Heath Nature Park Lower Lusatian Ridge Nature Park List of regions of Saxony