Thedinghausen is a municipality in the district of Verden, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of approx. 15 km west of Verden, 20 km southeast of Bremen. Thedinghausen is the seat of the Samtgemeinde Thedinghausen
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
Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council. The granting of immediacy began in the Early Middle Ages, for the immediate bishops and cities the main beneficiaries of that status, immediacy could be exacting and meant being subjected to the fiscal and hospitality demands of their overlord, the Emperor. However, with the gradual exit of the Emperor from the centre stage from the mid-13th century onwards, holders of imperial immediacy found themselves vested with considerable rights and powers exercised by the emperor; as confirmed by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the possession of imperial immediacy came with a particular form of territorial authority known as territorial superiority.
In today's terms, it would be understood as a limited form of sovereignty. Several immediate estates held the privilege of attending meetings of the Reichstag in person, including an individual vote: the seven Prince-electors designated by the Golden Bull of 1356 the other Princes of the Holy Roman Empire secular: Dukes, Landgraves et al. ecclesiastical: Prince-Bishops, Prince-Abbots and Prince-Provosts. They formed the Imperial Estates, together with 100 immediate counts, 40 Imperial prelates and 50 Imperial Cities who only enjoyed a collective vote. Further immediate estates not represented in the Reichstag were the Imperial Knights as well as several abbeys and minor localities, the remains of those territories which in the High Middle Ages had been under the direct authority of the Emperor and since had been given in pledge to the princes. At the same time, there were classes of "princes" with titular immediacy to the Emperor but who exercised such privileges if at all. For example, the Bishops of Chiemsee and Seckau were subordinate to the prince-bishop of Salzburg, but were formally princes of the Empire.
Additional advantages might include the rights to collect taxes and tolls, to hold a market, to mint coins, to bear arms, to conduct legal proceedings. The last of these might include the so-called Blutgericht through which capital punishment could be administered; these rights varied according to the legal patents granted by the emperor. As pointed out by Jonathan Israel in 1528 the Dutch province of Overijssel tried to arrange its submission to Emperor Charles V in his capacity as Holy Roman Emperor rather than as his being the Duke of Burgundy. If successful, that would have evoked Imperial immediacy and would have put Overijssel in a stronger negotiating position, for example given the province the ability to appeal to the Imperial Diet in any debate with Charles. For that reason, the Emperor rejected and blocked Overijssel's attempt. Disadvantages might include direct intervention by imperial commissions, as happened in several of the south-western cities after the Schmalkaldic War, the potential restriction or outright loss of held legal patents.
Immediate rights might be lost if the Emperor and/or the Imperial Diet could not defend them against external aggression, as occurred in the French Revolutionary wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The Treaty of Lunéville in 1801 required the emperor to renounce all claims to the portions of the Holy Roman Empire west of the Rhine. At the last meeting of the Imperial Diet in 1802–03 called the German Mediatisation, most of the free imperial cities and the ecclesiastic states lost their imperial immediacy and were absorbed by several dynastic states; the practical application of the rights of immediacy was complex. Such contemporaries as Goethe and Fichte called the Empire a monstrosity. Voltaire wrote of the Empire as something neither Holy nor Roman, nor an Empire, in comparison to the British Empire, saw its German counterpart as an abysmal failure that reached its pinnacle of success in the early Middle Ages and declined thereafter. Prussian historian Heinrich von Treitschke described it in the 19th century as having become "a chaotic mess of rotted imperial forms and unfinished territories".
For nearly a century after the publication of James Bryce's monumental work The Holy Roman Empire, this view prevailed among most English-speaking historians of the Early Modern period, contributed to the development of the Sonderweg theory of the German past. A revisionist view popular in Germany but adopted elsewhere argued that "though not powerful politically or militarily, was extraordinarily diverse and free by the standards of Europe at the time". Pointing out that people like Goethe meant "monster" as a compliment in modern understanding, The Economist has called the Empire "a great place to live... a union with which its subjects identified, whose loss distressed them greatly" and praised its cultural and religious diversity, saying that it "allowed a degree of liberty and diversity, unimaginable in the neighbouring kingdoms" and that "ordinary folk, including women, had
The Saxons were a Germanic people whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country near the North Sea coast of what is now Germany. Earlier, in the late Roman Empire, the name was used to refer to Germanic inhabitants of what is now England, as a word something like the "Viking", as a term for raiders. In Merovingian times, continental Saxons were associated with the coast of what became Normandy. Though sometimes described as fighting inland, coming in conflict with the Franks and Thuringians, no clear homeland can be defined. There is a single classical reference to a smaller homeland of an early Saxon tribe, but it is disputed. According to this proposal, the Saxons' earliest area of settlement is believed to have been Northern Albingia; this general area is close to the probable homeland of the Angles. In contrast, the British "Saxons", today referred to in English as Anglo-Saxons, became a single nation bringing together Germanic peoples with the Romanized populations, establishing long-lasting post-Roman kingdoms equivalent to those formed by the Franks on the continent.
Their earliest weapons and clothing south of the Thames were based on late Roman military fashions, but immigrants north of the Thames showed a stronger North German influence. The term "Anglo-Saxon" came into use by the 8th century to distinguish English Saxons from continental Saxons, but the Saxons of Britain and those of Old Saxony continued to be referred to as'Saxons' in an indiscriminate manner in the languages of Britain and Ireland. However, while the English Saxons were no longer raiders, the political history of the continental Saxons is unclear until the time of the conflict between their semi-legendary hero Widukind and the Frankish emperor Charlemagne. While the continental Saxons are no longer a distinctive ethnic group or country, their name lives on in the names of several regions and states of Germany, including Lower Saxony, as well as the two states that make up Upper Saxony, known today as Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony; the latter have their names from dynastic history, not their ethnic history.
The Saxons may have derived their name from a kind of knife for which they were known. The seax has a lasting symbolic impact in the English counties of Essex and Middlesex, both of which feature three seaxes in their ceremonial emblem, their names, along with those of Sussex and Wessex, contain a remnant of the word "Saxon". The Elizabethan era play Edmund Ironside suggests the Saxon name derives from the Latin saxa: Their names discover what their natures are, More hard than stones, yet not stones indeed. In the Celtic languages, the words designating English nationality derive from the Latin word Saxones; the most prominent example, a loanword in English, is the Scottish word Sassenach, used by Scots- or Scottish English-speakers in the 21st century as a jocular term for an English person. The Oxford English Dictionary gives 1771 as the date of the earliest written use of the word in English, it derives from the Scottish Gaelic Sasannach. The Gaelic name for England is Sasann, Sasannach means "English" in reference to people and things, though not to the English Language, Beurla.
Sasanach, the Irish word for an Englishman, has the same derivation, as do the words used in Welsh to describe the English people and the language and things English in general: Saesneg and Seisnig. Cornish terms the English Sawsnek, from the same derivation. In the 16th century Cornish-speakers used the phrase Meea navidna cowza sawzneck to feign ignorance of the English language."England" in Scottish Gaelic is Sasann. Other examples include the Welsh Saesneg, Irish Sasana, Breton saoz, Cornish Sowson and Pow Sows for'Land of Saxons'; the label "Saxons" became attached to German settlers who migrated during the 13th century to southeastern Transylvania. From Transylvania, some of these Saxons migrated to neighbouring Moldavia, as the name of the town Sas-cut shows. Sascut lies in the part of Moldavia, today part of Romania. During Georg Friederich Händel's visit to Italy, much was made of his origins in Saxony; the Finns and Estonians have changed their usage of the root Saxon over the centuries to apply now to the whole country of Germany and the Germans.
The Finnish word sakset reflects the name of the old Saxon single-edged sword - seax - from which the name "Saxon" derives. In Estonian, saks means "a nobleman" or, colloquially, "a wealthy or powerful person"; the word survives as the surnames of Saß/Sass and Sachs. The Dutch female first name, Saskia meant "A Saxon woman". Following the downfall of Henry the Lion, the subsequent splitt
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, the duchies of which he held until 1180. He was one of the most powerful German princes of his time, until the rival Hohenstaufen dynasty succeeded in isolating him and deprived him of his duchies of Bavaria and Saxony during the reign of his cousin Frederick I Barbarossa and of Frederick's son and successor Henry VI. At the height of his reign, Henry ruled over a vast territory stretching from the coast of the North and Baltic Seas to the Alps, from Westphalia to Pomerania. Henry achieved this great power in part by his political and military acumen and in part through the legacies of his four grandparents. Born in Ravensburg, in 1129 or 1131, he was the son of Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, the son of Duke Henry the Black and an heir of the Billungs, former dukes of Saxony. Henry's mother was Gertrude, only daughter of the Emperor Lothair III and his wife Richenza of Northeim, heiress of the Saxon territories of Northeim and the properties of the Brunones, counts of Brunswick.
Henry's father died in 1139, aged 32. King Conrad III had dispossessed Henry the Proud of his duchies in 1138 and 1139, handing Saxony to Albert the Bear and Bavaria to Leopold of Austria; this was because Henry the Proud had been his rival for the Crown in 1138. Henry III, did not relinquish his claims to his inheritance, Conrad returned Saxony to him in 1142. A participant in the 1147 Wendish Crusade, Henry reacquired Bavaria by a decision of the new Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1156. However, the East Mark was not returned. Henry was the founder of Lübeck. Augsburg, Stade, Kassel, Güstrow, Lüneburg, Salzwedel and Brunswick. In Brunswick, his capital, he had a bronze lion, his heraldic animal, erected in the courtyard of his castle Dankwarderode in 1166 — the first bronze statue north of the Alps, he had Brunswick Cathedral built close to the statue. In 1147, Henry married Clementia of Zähringen, he divorced her in 1162 under pressure from the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who did not cherish Guelphish possessions in his home area and offered Henry several fortresses in Saxony in exchange.
In 1168, Henry married Matilda, the daughter of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine and sister of King Richard I of England. Henry faithfully supported his older cousin, the Emperor Frederick I, in his attempts to solidify his hold on the Imperial Crown and his repeated wars with the cities of Lombardy and the Popes, several times turning the tide of battle in Frederick's favor with his Saxon knights. During Frederick's first invasion of northern Italy, Henry took part, among the others, in the victorious sieges of Crema and Milan. In 1172, Henry took a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, meeting with the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller, spending Easter of that year in Constantinople. By December 1172, he was back in Bavaria and in 1174, he refused to aid Frederick in a renewed invasion of Lombardy because he was preoccupied with securing his own borders in the East, he did not consider these Italian adventures worth the effort, unless Barbarossa presented Henry with the Saxon imperial city Goslar: a request Barbarossa refused.
Barbarossa's expedition into Lombardy ended in failure. He bitterly resented Henry for failing to support him. Taking advantage of the hostility of other German princes to Henry, who had established a powerful and contiguous state comprising Saxony and substantial territories in the north and east of Germany, Frederick had Henry tried in absentia for insubordination by a court of bishops and princes in 1180. Declaring that Imperial law overruled traditional German law, the court had Henry stripped of his lands and declared him an outlaw. Frederick invaded Saxony with an Imperial army to bring his cousin to his knees. Henry's allies deserted him, he had to submit in November 1181 at an Imperial Diet in Erfurt, he was exiled from Germany in 1182 for three years, stayed with his father-in-law in Normandy before being allowed back into Germany in 1185. He was exiled again in 1188, his wife Matilda died in 1189. When Frederick Barbarossa went on the Crusade of 1189, Henry returned to Saxony, mobilized an army of his faithful, conquered the rich city of Bardowick as punishment for its disloyalty.
Only the churches were left standing. Barbarossa's son, Emperor Henry VI, again defeated the Duke, but in 1194, with his end approaching, he made his peace with the Emperor, returned to his much diminished lands around Brunswick, where he finished his days as Duke of Brunswick, peacefully sponsoring arts and architecture. Henry had the following known children: By his first wife, Clementia of Zähringen, daughter of Conrad I, Duke of Zähringen and Clemence of Namur: Gertrude of Bavaria, married firstly to Frederick IV, Duke of Swabia, secondly to King Canute VI of Denmark. Richenza of Bavaria Henry of Bavaria, died young. By his second wife, Matilda of England, daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine:Matilda, married firstly to Godfrey, Count of Perche, secondly to Enguerrand III, Lord of Coucy. Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine Lothar of Bavaria Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Duke of Swabia William of Winchester, Lord
Town privileges or borough rights were important features of European towns during most of the second millennium. The city law customary in Central Europe dates back to Italian models, which in turn were oriented towards the traditions of the self-administration of Roman cities Judicially, a borough was distinguished from the countryside by means of a charter from the ruling monarch that defined its privileges and laws. Common privileges involved the establishment of guilds; some of these privileges were permanent and could imply that the town obtained the right to be called a borough, hence the term borough rights. Some degree of self-government, representation by diet, tax-relief could be granted. Multiple tiers existed.
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been challenged; the negotiation process was complex. Talks took place in two different cities, as each side wanted to meet on territory under its own control. A total of 109 delegations arrived to represent the belligerent states, but not all delegations were present at the same time. Three treaties were signed to end each of the overlapping wars: the Peace of Münster, the Treaty of Münster, the Treaty of Osnabrück; these treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, battling the Protestant powers allied with France.
The treaties ended the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognising the independence of the Dutch. The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peace established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power, a norm was established against interference in another state's domestic affairs; as European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian principles the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order. Peace negotiations between France and the Habsburgs began in Cologne in 1641; these negotiations were blocked by Cardinal Richelieu of France, who insisted on the inclusion of all his allies, whether sovereign countries or states within the Holy Roman Empire. In Hamburg and Lübeck and the Holy Roman Empire negotiated the Treaty of Hamburg with the intervention of Richelieu.
The Holy Roman Empire and Sweden declared the preparations of Cologne and the Treaty of Hamburg to be preliminaries of an overall peace agreement. The main peace negotiations took place in Westphalia, in the neighboring cities of Münster and Osnabrück. Both cities were maintained as demilitarized zones for the negotiations. In Münster, negotiations took place between the Holy Roman Empire and France, as well as between the Dutch Republic and Spain. Münster had been, since its re-Catholicisation in 1535, a mono-denominational community, it housed the Chapter of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. Only Roman Catholic worship was permitted, while Lutheranism were prohibited. Sweden preferred to negotiate with the Holy Roman Empire in Osnabrück, controlled by the Protestant forces. Osnabrück was a bidenominational Lutheran and Catholic city, with two Lutheran churches and two Catholic churches; the city council was Lutheran, the burghers so, but the city housed the Catholic Chapter of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück and had many other Catholic inhabitants.
Osnabrück had been subjugated by troops of the Catholic League from 1628 to 1633 and taken by Lutheran Sweden. The peace negotiations had no exact beginning and ending, because the 109 delegations never met in a plenary session. Instead, various delegations arrived between 1643 and 1646 and left between 1647 and 1649; the largest number of diplomats were present between January 1646 and July 1647. Delegations had been sent by 16 European states, 66 Imperial States representing the interests of 140 Imperial States, 27 interest groups representing 38 groups; the French delegation was headed by Henri II d'Orléans, Duke of Longueville and further comprised the diplomats Claude d'Avaux and Abel Servien. The Swedish delegation was headed by Count Johan Oxenstierna and was assisted by Baron Johan Adler Salvius; the Imperial delegation was headed by Count Maximilian von Trautmansdorff. His aides were: In Münster, Johann Ludwig von Nassau-Hadamar and Isaak Volmar. In Osnabrück, Johann Maximilian von Lamberg and Reichshofrat Johann Krane.
Philip IV of Spain was represented by two delegations: The Spanish delegation was headed by Gaspar de Bracamonte y Guzmán, notably included the diplomats and writers Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, Bernardino de Rebolledo. The Franche Comté and the Spanish Netherlands were represented by Antoine Brun; the papal nuncio in Cologne, Fabio Chigi, the Venetian envoy Alvise Contarini acted as mediators. Various Imperial States of the Holy Roman Empire sent delegations. Brandenburg sent several representatives, including Vollmar; the Dutch Republic sent a delegation of six, including two delegates from the province of Holland and Willem Ripperda from one of the other provinces. The Swiss Confederacy was represented by Johann Rudolf Wettstein. Three separate treaties constituted the peace settlement; the Peace of Münster was signed by the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of Spain on 30 January 1648, was ratified in Münster on 15 May 1648. Two complementary treaties were signed on 24 October 1648: The Treaty of Münster, between the Holy Roman Emperor and France, along with their respective allies The Treaty of Osnabrück, between the Holy Roman Empire and Sweden, along with their respective allies.
The power asserted by Ferdinand III was stripped from him and re