Kingdom of Westphalia

The Kingdom of Westphalia was a kingdom in Germany, with a population of 2.6 million, that existed from 1807 to 1813. It included territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire and was ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte. It was named after Westphalia, but this was a misnomer since the kingdom had little territory in common with that area; rather the kingdom mostly covered territory formerly known as Eastphalia.

Napoleon imposed the first written modern constitution in Germany, a French-style central administration, and agricultural reform. The Kingdom liberated the serfs and gave everyone equal rights and the right to a jury trial. In 1808 the Kingdom passed Germany's first laws granting Jews equal rights, thereby providing a model for reform in the other German states. Westphalia seemed to be progressive in immediately enacting and enforcing the new reforms.

The country was relatively poor but Napoleon demanded heavy taxes and payments and conscripted soldiers. Few of the men who marched into Russia with Napoleon in 1812 ever returned. The Kingdom was bankrupt by 1812. When Napoleon was retreating in the face of Allied advances in 1813, the Kingdom was overrun by the Allies and (in 1815) most of its territories became Prussian ruled. Most of the reforms, however, remained in place.[1]

Kingdom of Westphalia

Royaume de Westphalie  (French)
Königreich Westphalen  (German)
1807–1813
Flag of Westphalia
Flag
Coat of arms of Westphalia
Coat of arms
Motto: Character und Aufrichtigkeit
"Character and Honesty"
The Kingdom of Westphalia in 1812
The Kingdom of Westphalia in 1812
StatusClient state of the French Empire
CapitalCassel
Common languagesGerman, French (official)
Low German (regional)
Religion
Roman Catholic
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
King 
• 1807-1813
Jérôme Bonaparte
Prime minister 
• 1807-1813
Joseph Jérôme, Comte Siméon
LegislatureReichsstände
Historical eraNapoleonic Wars
9 July 1807
7 December 1807
19 October 1813
Area
180937,883 km2 (14,627 sq mi)
181063,652 km2 (24,576 sq mi)
181245,427 km2 (17,539 sq mi)
Population
• 1809
1,950,724
• 1810
2,612,000
• 1812
2,065,970
CurrencyWestphalian frank
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Electorate of Hesse
Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Kingdom of Hanover
Electorate of Hesse
Kingdom of Prussia
Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Today part of Germany

Formation

Map-RB-1812-Westphalia
Location of the Kingdom of Westphalia within the Confederation of the Rhine, 1812.

The Kingdom of Westphalia was created in 1807 by merging territories ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia in the Peace of Tilsit, among them the region of the Duchy of Magdeburg west of the Elbe River, the Brunswick-Lüneburg territories of Hanover and Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and the Electorate of Hesse. Hesse's capital Cassel (modern spelling Kassel) then fulfilled the same function for Westphalia, and the king kept the court at the palace of Wilhelmshöhe, renamed Napoleonshöhe. The state was a member of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Since it was intended as a Napoleonic "model state", a constitution was written and enacted by King Jérôme on 7 December 1807, the day after he had arrived in Cassel, making Westphalia the first monarchy in Germany with a modern-style constitution. The constitution made all male residents citizens with equal rights. Thus serfs were liberated and Jews emancipated, and soccage was abolished. The Napoleonic code was enacted, doing away with guilds and providing for the right of capitalism. A metric system of weights and measures was introduced.

The organisers used French terms to designate the regional territories within the kingdom: departments received names based on watercourses (Elbe, Saale, Weser, Fulda, Leine, Oker) and mountains (Harz), regardless of their traditional names. These departments were generally composed of territories taken from a number of petty states. Compared to the departments of France itself the Westphalian departments were relatively small and sparsely populated.[2]

While administrative divisions (departments, districts and cantons) were certainly less unequal than the previous territorial divisions, uniformity does not appear to have been a determining factor in their creation. The desire to break from the past, and not just from the random territorial divisions of the former manorial justices, especially influenced the cantonal distribution.[2] Just as before the conquest, freedom of expression remained curtailed and censorship was instituted. In 1810 the coastal and northern départements North (capital: Stade) and Lower Elbe (capital: Lunenburg) had to be ceded to the French Empire.

Jews

Following the French example, Jewish congregations were reorganised and a Consistory (Royal Westphalian Consistory of the Israelites) supervising them was established. The former Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel merchant and man of letters, Israel Jacobson, became its consistorial president, assisted by a board of officers. Jacobson did his best to exercise a reforming influence upon the various congregations of the country. He opened a house of prayer in Cassel, with a ritual similar to that introduced in Seesen. Napoléon's inglorious so-called décret infâme, again restricting the rights of many French Jews, did not apply in Westphalia.

Russian conquest

A significant burden on the kingdom was the requirement to supply troops and financial support for the Napoleonic wars. Large numbers of Westphalian troops fought in the Russian campaign of 1812; the Westphalian Guards heroically but unsuccessfully charged the Raevski Redoubt during the Battle of Borodino.

In September 1813, Russian troops surrounded Cassel, defeated the French completely and retook the city. By October 1 they had conquered the whole Kingdom, but three days later Jérôme returned with French soldiers and managed to recapture Cassel. The Elector of Hesse-Cassel arrived soon after and the Russians besieged the city again. After France lost the Battle of the Nations on 19 October 1813, the Russians dissolved the Kingdom and restored the status quo of 1806 except for Rietberg and Stolberg-Wernigerode, with Prussia regaining control.

Coat of arms

Grandes Armes Jérôme Bonaparte (1784-1860)

The arms reflect the incorporated territories. The first quarter shows the silver horse of Westphalia; the second the lion of Hesse over the counties of Dietz, Nidda, Ziegenhain and Katzenelnbogen; the third was newly designed for non-specified territories around Magdeburg; and the fourth combined Brunswick, Diepholz, Lüneburg and Lauterburg. Around the shield are the Order of the Crown of Westphalia and the French Grand Aigle of the Légion d'honneur. Above is Napoleon's star. Typical of Napoleonic heraldry are the crossed sceptres.

See also

References

  1. ^ Connelly, Owen (1966). Napoleon's satellite kingdoms. Free Press.
  2. ^ a b Todorov, N. P. (2012). "The Napoleonic Administrative System in the Kingdom of Westphalia". In Broers, Michael; Hicks, Peter; Guimera, Agustin (eds.). The Napoleonic Empire and the New European Political Culture. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-230-24131-2.

External links

Coordinates: 51°18′30.45″N 9°29′58.60″E / 51.3084583°N 9.4996111°E

Battle of Ölper (1809)

The Battle of Ölper is a battle that took place on 1 August 1809 in Ölper, currently a district of the town of Brunswick, as part of the War of the Fifth Coalition. It pitched troops of the Kingdom of Westphalia against the Black Brunswickers under Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, but ended in a tactical draw.

Breddorf

Breddorf is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Breddorf belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Breddorf, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Bötersen

Bötersen is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Bötersen belonged to the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Bishopric was transformed into the Principality of Verden, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Principality, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Principality was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Principality in a real union and the Princely territory, including Bötersen, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

County of Rietberg

The County of Rietberg (German: Grafschaft Rietberg) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the present German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It was situated on the upper Ems in Westphalia between the Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn and the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. It existed as an independent territory from 1237 to 1807, when it was mediatised to the Kingdom of Westphalia.

Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg

The Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (German: Kurfürstentum Braunschweig-Lüneburg) was an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany. It was colloquially known as the Electorate of Hanover (German: Kurfürstentum Hannover or simply German: Kurhannover), after its capital city of Hanover. For most of its existence, the electorate was ruled in personal union with Great Britain.

The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg had been split in 1269 between different branches of the House of Welf. The Principality of Calenberg, ruled by a cadet branch of the family, emerged as the largest and most powerful of the Brunswick-Lüneburg states. In 1695, the Holy Roman Emperor elevated the Prince of Calenberg to the College of Electors, creating the new Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The fortunes of the Electorate were tied to those of Great Britain by the Act of Settlement 1701 and Act of Union 1707, which settled the succession to the British throne on Queen Anne's nearest Protestant relative, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, and her descendants.

The Prince-Elector of Hanover became King of Great Britain in 1714. As a consequence, a reluctant Britain was forced time and again to defend the King's German possessions. However, Hanover remained a separately ruled territory with its own governmental bodies, and the country had to sign a treaty with Great Britain whenever Hanoverian troops fought on the British side of a war. Merged into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, it was re-established as the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814, and the personal union with the British crown lasted until 1837.

Electorate of Hesse

The Electorate of Hesse (German: Kurfürstentum Hessen), also known as Hesse-Kassel or Kurhessen, was a state elevated by Napoleon in 1803 from the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel. When the Holy Roman Empire was abolished in 1806, the Prince-Elector of Hesse chose to remain an Elector, even though there was no longer an Emperor to elect. In 1807, with the Treaties of Tilsit, the area was annexed to the Kingdom of Westphalia, but in 1814, the Congress of Vienna restored the electorate.

The state was the only electorate within the German Confederation. It consisted of several detached territories to the north of Frankfurt, which survived until the state was annexed by Prussia in 1866 following the Austro-Prussian War. It comprised a total land area of 3,699 square miles (9,580 km2), and its population in 1864 was 745,063.

F. C. D. Wyneken

Friedrich Conrad Dietrich Wyneken (May 13, 1810 in Verden an der Aller – May 4, 1876 in San Francisco, California) was a missionary pastor in the United States. He also served for fourteen years as the second president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and helped found and was the first president of Concordia Theological Seminary.

One hundred years after fellow Hanoverian Henry Muhlenberg brought together the pastors and congregations of colonial America, Wyneken worked with C. F. W. Walther to gather scattered German Protestants into confessional Lutheran congregations and forge them into a closely knit family of churches. Wyneken's missionary experience, method, and plan influenced American Lutheran missions for many years to come. His appeals to Wilhelm Loehe and other German friends brought many German pastors including Wilhelm Sihler from Germany to America. He has been called the "thunder after the lightning." He is commemorated on the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod on May 4.

Considered a "tireless" church worker by others, Wyneken confessed, rather, that he "suffered horribly from melancholy".

Grand Duchy of Berg

The Grand Duchy of Berg (German: Großherzogtum Berg), also known as the Grand Duchy of Berg and Cleves, was a territorial grand duchy established in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon after his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) on territories between the French Empire at the Rhine river and the German Kingdom of Westphalia.

Hemsbünde

Hemsbünde is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Hemsbünde belonged to the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Bishopric was transformed into the Principality of Verden, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712-1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Principality, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Principality was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Principality in a real union and the Princely territory, including Hemsbünde, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Hipstedt

Hipstedt is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Hipstedt belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712-1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Hipstedt, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Justus Carl Hasskarl

Justus Carl Hasskarl (6 December 1811 – 5 January 1894) was a German explorer and botanist specializing in Pteridophytes, Bryophytes and Spermatophytes. He was co-founder of the Society of Natural Curiosities of India, in Bavaria and spent his time researching flora of Indonesia for years.

Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (German: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel), spelled Hesse-Cassel during its entire existence, was a state in the Holy Roman Empire that was directly subject to the Emperor. The state was created in 1567 when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half of the Landgraviate and the capital of Kassel. The other sons received the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Rheinfels and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt.

During the Napoleonic reorganisation of the Empire in 1803, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to an Electorate and Landgrave William IX became an Imperial Elector. Many members of the Hesse-Kassel House served in the Danish military gaining high ranks and power in the Oldenburg realm due to the fact that they were a cadet branch of the Oldenburg dynasty members of the family who have been known to serve Denmark-Norway are Prince Frederik of Hesse-Kassel, Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel, Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel. It was later occupied by French troops and became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, a French satellite state. The Electorate of Hesse was restored at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, though by that time there was no longer an emperor to elect.

Minden-Ravensberg

Minden-Ravensberg was a Prussian administrative unit consisting of the Principality of Minden and the County of Ravensberg from 1719–1807. The capital was Minden. In 1807 the region became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, a client state of Napoleonic France. The territory was restored to Prussia after the Napoleonic Wars and became part of the Minden Region within the new Prussian Province of Westphalia in 1815.

Oerel

Oerel is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Oerel belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Oerel, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Principality of Halberstadt

The Principality of Halberstadt (German: Fürstentum Halberstadt) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by Brandenburg-Prussia. It replaced the Bishopric of Halberstadt after its secularization in 1648. Its capital was Halberstadt. In 1807, the principality was made a state or regional capital of the Kingdom of Westphalia. In 1813, control of the principality was restored, and its sovereign rights were confirmed as the possession of the Kingdom of Prussia.

Reeßum

Reeßum is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Reeßum belonged to the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Bishopric was transformed into the Principality of Verden, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Principality, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Principality was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Principality in a real union and the Princely territory, including Reeßum, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Rhade

Rhade is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Rhade belonged - as to its government - to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In religious respect, however, Rhade formed part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Verden until after 1566 its incumbent bishops lost papal recognition, except of a last Catholic bishop from 1630 to 1631, respectively. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeric Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Rhade, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Westertimke

Westertimke is a municipality in the district of Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Westertimke belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807 the ephemeral Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813 the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which - after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 - incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Westertimke, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.

Westphalia

Westphalia (; German: Westfalen [vɛstˈfaːlən]; Low German: Westfalen [vεs(t)'fɔːln̩]) is a region in northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 20,208 km2 (7,802 sq mi) and 7.9 million inhabitants.

The region is almost identical to the Province of Westphalia, which was a part of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1918 and the Free State of Prussia from 1918 to 1946. In 1946, Westphalia merged with the Northern Rhineland, another former part of Prussia, to form the newly created state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1947, the state with its two historic parts was joined by a third one: Lippe, a former principality and free state.All of the seventeen districts and nine independent cities of Westphalia and Lippe's only district are members of the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association (Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe).Previous to the formation of Westphalia as a province of Prussia and later state part of North Rhine-Westphalia, the term "Westphalia" was applied to different territories of different sizes such as a part of the ancient Duchy of Saxony, the Duchy of Westphalia or the Kingdom of Westphalia. The Westphalian language, a variant of the German language, spreads beyond Westphalia's borders into southwestern Lower Saxony and northwestern Hesse.

Sister
republics
Napoleonic
creations
First French Empire States of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806–13)
Rank elevated
by Napoleon
States created
Pre-existing
states

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