List of German monarchs

This is about monarchs ruling over all of Germany; for the much more extensive number of monarchs ruling territories within Germany, see List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, List of historic states of Germany.
HRR 10Jh
German kingdom (blue) in the Holy Roman Empire around 1000

This is a list of monarchs who ruled over East Francia, and the Kingdom of Germany (Regnum Teutonicum), from the division of the Frankish Empire in 843 until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.

The title used by the early rulers was Rex Francorum orientalium, "King of the East Franks", or Rex Francorum "King of the Franks". During the later medieval period (11th to 15th centuries), the title was "King of the Romans" (Rex Romanorum), and sometimes, interchangeably, "King of the Germans" (Rex Teutonicorum). From 1508 until 1806, "King of the Romans" continued to be used by the emperor, while Rex Germaniae "King of Germany" or Rex in Germania "King in Germany" was used by the emperor's heir-apparent.

Also listed are the heads of the various German confederations between the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (of which Germany was a part) in 1806 until the collapse of the German Empire in 1918.

Note on titles

  1. The Kingdom of Germany started out as the eastern section of the Frankish kingdom, which was split by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. The rulers of the eastern area thus called themselves rex Francorum, king of the Franks, and later just rex. A reference to the "Germans", indicating the emergence of a German nation of some sort, did not appear until the eleventh century, when the pope referred to his enemy Henry IV as rex teutonicorum, king of the Germans, in order to brand him as a foreigner. The kings reacted by consistently using the title rex Romanorum, King of the Romans, to emphasize their universal rule even before becoming emperor. This title remained until the end of the Empire in 1806, though after 1508 Emperors-elect added "king in Germany" to their titles. (Note: in this and related entries, the kings are called kings of Germany, for clarity's sake)
  2. The Kingdom of Germany was never entirely hereditary; rather, ancestry was only one of the factors that determined the succession of kings. During the 10th to 13th centuries, the king was formally elected by the leading nobility in the realm, continuing the Frankish tradition. Gradually the election became the privilege of a group of princes called electors, and the Golden Bull of 1356 formally defined election proceedings.[1]
  3. In the Middle Ages, the king did not assume the title "Emperor" (since 982 the full title was Imperator Augustus Romanorum, Venerable Emperor of the Romans) until crowned by the pope. Moving to Italy, he was usually first crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, after which he assumed the title of rex Italiae, King of Italy. After this he would ride on to Rome and be crowned emperor by the pope. See Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor for more details.
  4. The title of "King of the Germans" (rex teutonicorum) was in use from the 11th until the 18th centuries, in origin a derogatory replacement of King of the Romans (rex romanorum) imposed on Henry IV by Pope Gregory VII, in the later period a nominal title given to the heir apparent of the ruling emperor.
  5. Maximilian I was the first king to bear the title of Elected Emperor. After the failure in 1508 of his attempt to march to Rome and be crowned by the pope, he had himself proclaimed Elected Emperor with papal consent. His successor Charles V also assumed that title after his coronation in 1520 until he was crowned emperor by the pope in 1530. From Ferdinand I onwards, all emperors were Elected Emperor, although they were normally referred to as emperors. At the same time, chosen successors of the emperors held the title of king of the Romans, if elected by the college of electors during their predecessor's lifetime. See King of the Romans for more details.

Emperors are listed in bold. Rival kings, anti-kings, and junior co-regents are italicized.

East Francia, 843–962


Seal/Portrait Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Ludwig der Deutsche Louis the German
Ludwig der Deutsche
Carolingian 11 August 843 23 August 876 Son of Emperor Louis the Pious and grandson of Charlemagne
Carloman of Bavaria Carloman
Carolingian 28 876 22 March 880 Son of Louis the German; ruled in Bavaria; from 877, also King of Italy
Louis the Younger of Saxony Louis the Younger
(Ludwig III. der Jüngere)
Carolingian 28 August 876 20 January 882 Son of Louis the German; ruled in East Francia, Saxony; from 880, also Bavaria
Sceau de Charles le gros Charles the Fat
(Karl III. der Dicke)
Carolingian 28 August 876 12 February 881 11 November 887 Son of Louis the German; ruled in Alemannia, Raetia, from 882 in the entire Eastern Kingdom; from 879, also King of Italy
Seal of Arnulph of Carinthia (896) Arnulf of Carinthia
(Arnulf von Kärnten)
Carolingian 30 November 887 25 April 896 8 December 899 Son of Carloman
Reichsschwert ludwig das kind.jpg Louis the Child
(Ludwig IV. das Kind)
Carolingian 21 January 900 20/24 September 911 Son of Arnulf of Carinthia


Seal Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
KonradSiegel Conrad I
(Konrad I.)
Conradine (Franconian) 10 November 911 23 December 918  

Ottonian dynasty

Seal Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Siegel Heinrich I Posse Henry I the Fowler
(Heinrich I. der Vogler)
Liudolfing (Saxon) 23 April 919 2 July 936  
Arnulf the Bad
(Arnulf der Böse, Herzog von Bayern)
Luitpolding (Bavarian) 919 921 Rival king to Henry I

Holy Roman Empire, 962–1806

The title "King of the Romans", used under the Holy Roman Empire, is considered equivalent to King of Germany. A king was chosen by the German electors and would then proceed to Rome to be crowned emperor by the pope.

Ottonian dynasty (continued)

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
017 otto siegel 2 Otto I the Great
(Otto I. der Große)
Ottonian 7 August 936 2 February 962 7 May 973 Son of Henry I; first king crowned in Aachen Cathedral since Lothair I; crowned as Otto by the grace of God King;[2] crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 961
Otton2 Otto II the Red
(Otto II.)
Ottonian 26 May 961 25 December 967 7 December 983 Son of Otto I;
Otto by the grace of God King[2] under his father 961–973;
also crowned Emperor in his father's lifetime
Meister der Reichenauer Schule 002 Otto III
(Otto III.)
Ottonian 25 December 983 21 May 996 21 January 1002 Son of Otto II; Otto by the grace of God King[2]
Kronung Heinrich II Henry II
(Heinrich II. der Heilige)
Ottonian 7 June 1002 26 April 1014 13 July 1024 Great-grandson of Henry I

Salian dynasty

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Drittes Kaisersiegel Konrads II. mit dem sogenannten Adlerszepter Conrad II
(Konrad II.)
Salian (Frankish) 8 September 1024 26 March 1027 4 June 1039 Great-great-grandson of Otto I
Heinrich III. Henry III
(Heinrich III.)
Salian 14 April 1028 25 December 1046 5 October 1056 Son of Conrad II;
King (of the Germans?)[2] under his father 1028–1039
Heinrich 4 g Henry IV
(Heinrich IV.)
Salian 17 July 1054 21 March 1084 31 December 1105 Son of Henry III;
King of Germany under his father, 1054–1056
Grabplatte Rudolf von Rheinfelden Detail Rudolf of Rheinfelden
(Rudolf von Rheinfelden)
Rheinfeld 15 March 1077 15 October 1080 Rival king to Henry IV
Town Hall Eisleben-Smaller Detail Hermann of Salm
(Hermann von Luxemburg, Graf von Salm)
Salm 6 August 1081 28 September 1088 Rival king to Henry IV
Conrad II of Italy Conrad
Salian 30 May 1087 27 July 1101 Son of Henry IV;
King of Germany under his father, 1087–1098,
King of Italy, 1093–1098, 1095–1101 in rebellion.
Herrschaftsübergabe von Heirich IV. an Heinrich V Henry V
(Heinrich V.)
Salian 6 January 1099 13 April 1111 23 May 1125 Son of Henry IV;
King of Germany under his father, 1099–1105, forced his father to abdicate

Supplinburger dynasty

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Siegel Lothar III Lothair II
(Lothar II.)
Supplinburger 30 August 1125 4 June 1133 4 December 1137 He was Lothair II of Germany, but Lothair III of Italy

Hohenstaufen and Welf

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Konrad III Miniatur 13 Jahrhundert Conrad III
(Konrad III.)
Hohenstaufen 7 March 1138 15 February 1152 Grandson of Henry IV (through his mother);
Previously Rival King to Lothair III 1127–1135
Henry Berengar
(Heinrich (VI.))
Hohenstaufen 30 March 1147 August? 1150 Son of Conrad III;
King of Germany under his father 1147–1150
Friedrich-barbarossa-und-soehne-welfenchronik 1-1000x1540 Frederick I Barbarossa
(Friedrich I. Barbarossa)
Hohenstaufen 4 March 1152 18 June 1155 10 June 1190 Nephew of Conrad III
Kaiser Heinrich VI. im Codex Manesse Henry VI
(Heinrich VI.)
Hohenstaufen 15 August 1169 14 April 1191 28 September 1197 Son of Frederick I;
King of Germany under his father 1169–1190
Frederick II and eagle Frederick II
(Friedrich II.)
Hohenstaufen 1197 1197 Son of Henry VI;
King of Germany under his father, 1196
Vad-0321 040 Philipp von Schwaben Philip of Swabia
(Philipp von Schwaben)
Hohenstaufen 6 March 1198 21 August 1208 Son of Frederick I; rival king to Otto IV
OttoIVgb Otto IV
(Otto IV. von Braunschweig)
Welf 29 March 1198 4 October 1209 5 July 1215 Rival king to Philip of Swabia; later opposed by Frederick II; deposed, 1215; died 19 May 1218
Frederick II and eagle Frederick II
(Friedrich II.)
Hohenstaufen 5 December 1212 22 November 1220 26 December 1250 Son of Henry VI;
Rival king to Otto IV until 5 July 1215
Henry 7 of Germany Henry
(Heinrich (VII.))
Hohenstaufen 23 April 1220 15 August 1235 Son of Frederick II;
King of Germany under his father, 1220–1235
Seal of Conrad IV of Germany.jpeg Conrad IV
(Konrad IV.)
Hohenstaufen May 1237 1 May 1254 Son of Frederick II;
King of Germany under his father, 1237–1250


Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Heinrich Raspe Die lantgreue van Hessen Henry Raspe
(Heinrich Raspe)
Thuringia 22 May 1246 16 February 1247 Rival King to Frederick II and great-great-great grandson of Henry IV
Seal of William II of Holland, King of the H.R. Empire Holland wapen William of Holland
(Wilhelm von Holland)
Holland 3 October 1247 28 January 1256 Rival King to Frederick II and Conrad IV, 1247–1254
RisaCornwall Richard of Cornwall Arms (alternate) Richard of Cornwall
(Richard von Cornwall)
Plantagenet 13 January 1257 2 April 1272 Brother-in-law of Frederick II; rival king to Alfonso of Castile; held no real authority.
AlfonsX Royal Coat of Arms of the Crown of Castile (1230-1284) Alfonso of Castile
(Alfons von Kastilien)
House of Ivrea 1 April 1257 1275 Grandson of Philip; rival king to Richard of Cornwall; held no authority; later opposed by Rudolf I; relinquished claims 1275, died 1284

Habsburg and Nassau

Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Kaiser Rudolf I. 1275 Arms of Counts of Habsbourg Rudolf I
(Rudolf I. von Habsburg)
Habsburg 29 September 1273 15 July 1291 First of the Habsburgs
Siegel König Adolf von Nassau Wapen Nassauw Adolf of Nassau
(Adolf von Nassau)
Nassau 5 May 1292 23 June 1298 According to some historians, Adolf's election was preceded by the short-lived kingship of Conrad, Duke of Teck. See his article for details.
Albecht1 Arms of the Archduchy of Austria Albert I
(Albrecht I. von Habsburg)
Habsburg 24 June 1298 1 May 1308 Son of Rudolf I; Rival king to Adolf of Nassau, 1298

Luxembourg and Wittelsbach

Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Henry Lux head Henric van Lusenborch Henry VII
(Heinrich VII., Luxemburger)
Luxembourg 27 November 1308 13 June 1311 24 August 1313 Holy Roman Emperor
Ludovico il Bavaro.jpeg Bavaria Wittelsbach coa medieval Louis IV
(Ludwig IV. der Bayer, Wittelsbacher)
Wittelsbach 20 October 1314 17 January 1328 11 October 1347 Grandson of Rudolf I; rival king to Frederick the Fair, 1314–1322
Slicny2 Arms of the Archduchy of Austria Frederick the Fair
(Friedrich der Schöne, Habsburger)
Habsburg 19 October 1314/
5 September 1325
28 September 1322/
13 January 1330
Son of Albert I;
rival king to Louis IV, 1314–1322;
associate king with Louis IV, 1325–1330
Charles IV-John Ocko votive picture-fragment Insigne Cechicum Charles IV
(Karl IV. von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 11 July 1346 5 April 1355 29 November 1378 Grandson of Henry VII; rival king to Louis IV, 1346–1347;
also King of Bohemia, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor
Guenther von schwarzburg CoA Schwarzburg County Günther von Schwarzburg
(Günther von Schwarzburg)
Schwarzburg 30 January 1349 24 May 1349 Rival king to Charles IV
Vasikzfrkronik Arms of the Counts of Luxembourg Wenceslaus
(Wenzel von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 10 June 1376 20 August 1400 Son of Charles IV; king of Germany under his father 1376–1378; deposed 1400;
also by inheritance King of Bohemia; died 1419
Ruprecht III (Pfalz) Armoiries Bavière-Palatinat Rupert of the Palatinate
(Ruprecht von der Pfalz, Wittelsbacher)
Wittelsbach 21 August 1400 18 May 1410 Great-grandnephew of Louis IV
Pisanello 024b Sigismund Arms Hungarian Czech per pale Sigismund
(Sigismund von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 20 September 1410
/21 July 1411
3 May 1433 9 December 1437 Son of Charles IV
Jošt Lucemburský Armoiries Josse de Luxembourg Jobst of Moravia
(Jobst von Mähren, Luxemburger)
Luxembourg 1 October 1410 8 January 1411 Nephew of Charles IV; rival king to Sigismund


Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Albrecht II. von Habsburg Arms of Albert II of Habsbourg (Variant) Albert II
(Albrecht II.)
Habsburg 18 March 1438 27 October 1439 4th in descent from Albert I;
son-in-law of Sigismund
Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. 005 Arms of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III
(Friedrich III.)
Habsburg 2 February 1440 16 March 1452 19 August 1493 4th in descent from Albert I; 2nd cousin of Albert II
Ambrogio de Predis - Maximilian I Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I Arms Maximilian I
(Maximilian I.)
Habsburg 16 February 1486 4 February 1508
12 January 1519 Son of Frederick III; King of Germany under his father, 1486–1493; assumed the title "Elected Emperor" in 1508 with the pope's approval
Carlos V pintado por Arias Fernández Charles V Arms-imperial Charles V
(Karl V.)
Habsburg 28 June 1519 28 June 1519
3 August 1556 Grandson of Maximilian I; died 21 September 1558
Bemberg Fondation Toulouse - Portrait paintings of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen Inv.1056 Arms of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Ferdinand I
(Ferdinand I.)
Habsburg 5 January 1531 14 March 1558
25 July 1564 Grandson of Maximilian I; brother of Charles V; King of Germany under his brother Charles V 1531–1556; last king to be crowned in Aachen Cathedral. Emperor
Nicolas Neufchâtel 002 Arms of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Maximilian II
(Maximilian II.)
Habsburg 22 November 1562 25 July 1564
12 October 1576 Son of Ferdinand I;
King of Germany under his father 1562–1564
Joseph Heintz d. Ä. 002 Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Rudolf II
(Rudolf II.)
Habsburg 27 October 1575 2 November 1576
20 January 1612 Son of Maximilian II;
King of Germany under his father, 1575–1576
Lucas van Valckenborch - Emperor Matthias as Archduke, with baton Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Matthias
Habsburg 13 June 1612 13 June 1612
20 March 1619 Son of Maximilian II
Kaiser Ferdinand II. 1614 Arms of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Ferdinand II
(Ferdinand II.)
Habsburg 28 August 1619 28 August 1619
15 February 1637 Grandson of Ferdinand I
Frans Luycx 002 - Emperor Ferdinand III Arms of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Ferdinand III
(Ferdinand III.)
Habsburg 22 December 1636 15 February 1637
2 April 1657 Son of Ferdinand II;
King of Germany under his father 1636–1637
Anselmus-van-Hulle-Hommes-illustres MG 0432 Arms of Ferdinand III and Ferdinand VI as Kings of the Romans Ferdinand IV
(Ferdinand IV.)
Habsburg 31 May 1653 9 July 1654 Son of Ferdinand III;
King of Germany under his father
Benjamin von Block 001 Arms of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Leopold I
(Leopold I.)
Habsburg 18 July 1658 18 July 1658
5 May 1705 Son of Ferdinand III
Joseph I Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (variant) Joseph I
(Joseph I.)
Habsburg 23 January 1690 5 May 1705
17 April 1711 Son of Leopold I; King of Germany under his father 1690–1705
Johann Gottfried Auerbach 004 Arms of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Charles VI
(Karl VI.)
Habsburg 27 October 1711 27 October 1711
20 October 1740 Son of Leopold I


Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor Arms of Charles VII Albert, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Charles VII
(Karl VII.)
Wittelsbach 14 January 1742 14 January 1742
20 January 1745 Great-great-grandson of Ferdinand II; Husband of Maria Amalia, daughter of Joseph I


Image Coat of arms Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Martin van Meytens 006 Arms of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Francis I
(Franz I.)
Lorraine 13 September 1745 13 September 1745
18 August 1765 Great-grandson of Ferdinand III; Husband of Maria Theresa, daughter of Charles VI
Anton von Maron 006 Arms of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor-Or shield variant Joseph II
(Joseph II.)
Habsburg-Lorraine 27 March 1764 18 August 1765
20 February 1790 Son of Francis I and Maria Theresa; King of Germany under his father 1764–1765
Johann Daniel Donat, Emperor Leopold II in the Regalia of the Golden Fleece (1806) Arms of Leopold II and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperors-Or shield variant Leopold II
(Leopold II.)
Habsburg-Lorraine 30 September 1790 30 September 1790
1 March 1792 Son of Francis I and Maria Theresa
Friedrich von Amerling 003a Arms of Leopold II and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperors-Or shield variant Francis II
(Franz II.)
Habsburg-Lorraine 7 July 1792 7 July 1792
6 August 1806 Son of Leopold II; Dissolved the Holy Roman Empire; also Emperor of Austria 1804–1835; President of the German Confederation (1815-1835), died 1835

Modern Germany, 1806–1918

Confederation of the Rhine, 1806–1813

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Emperor of the French
King of Italy
Napoleon crop Protector of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Insigne Francum Napoleonis
12 July 1806 19 October 1813
Karl Theodor von Dalberg,
Prince-Archbishop of Regensburg
Grand Duke of Frankfurt
Portrait of Karl Theodor von Dalberg by Franz Stirnbrand Prince Primate of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Wappen Großherzogtum Frankfurt
25 July 1806 26 October 1813
Eugène de Beauharnais,
Grand Duke of Frankfurt
EugeneBeau Prince Primate of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Blason Eugène de Beauharnais (1781-1824)
26 October 1813 December

German Confederation, 1815–1866

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Francis I,
Emperor of Austria
(Franz I., Kaiser von Österreich)
Friedrich von Amerling 003a Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria[3] Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815)
20 June 1815 2 March 1835
Ferdinand I,
Emperor of Austria
(Ferdinand I., Kaiser von Österreich)
Ferdinand I; Keizer van Oostenrijk Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria[3] Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815)
2 March 1835 12 July 1848
Archduke John of Austria
(Erzherzog Johann von Österreich)
Leopold Kupelwieser 001 Imperial Vicar (Reichsverweser) of the revolutionary German Empire[4] Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815)
12 July 1848 20 December 1849
Frederick William IV, King of Prussia
(Friedrich Wilhelm IV., König von Preußen)
FWIV Emperor of the Germans elect[5] Preußen1817 Wappen
28 March 1849 28 April 1849
Presidium of the Union (Unionsvorstand) of the
Erfurt Union[6]
26 May 1849 29 November 1850
Francis Joseph I,
Emperor of Austria
(Franz Joseph I., Kaiser von Österreich)
Franz joseph1 Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815)
1 May 1850 24 August 1866

North German Confederation, 1867–1871

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Wilhelm I,
King of Prussia
(Wilhelm I, König von Preußen)
Holder of the Bundespräsidium of the
North German Confederation
Preußen1817 Wappen
1 July 1867 1 January 1871[7]

German Empire, 1871–1918

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Wilhelm I,
German Emperor
(Wilhelm I., Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern Reichswappen Kleines
1 January 1871[7] 9 March 1888
Friedrich III,
German Emperor
(Friedrich III., Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern Reichswappen Kleines
9 March 1888 15 June 1888
Wilhelm II,
German Emperor
(Wilhelm II., Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern Reichswappen Kleines
15 June 1888 9/28 November 1918[8]

See also


  1. ^ Germany - Britannica Educational Publishing
  2. ^ a b c d Medieval Europeans: studies in ethnic identity and national perspectives in medieval Europe By Alfred P. Smyth, Palgrave Macmillan (1998), p. 64
  3. ^ a b Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Vol. I: Reform und Restauration 1789 bis 1830. 2nd edition, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [] 1967, p. 589.
  4. ^ Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Vol. I: Reform und Restauration 1789 bis 1830. 2nd edition, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [] 1967, p. 625–627, 808.
  5. ^ Elected Emperor of the Germans by the Frankfurt National Assembly on 28 March 1849, but refused the crown on 28 April 1849. Manfred Botzenhart: Deutscher Parlamentarismus in der Revolutionszeit 1848–1850. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1977, pp. 697/698.
  6. ^ Anlage II: Additional-Akte zu dem Entwurf der Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs. In: Thüringer Landtag Erfurt (ed.): 150 Jahre Erfurter Unionsparlament (1850–2000) (= Schriften zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus in Thüringen. H. 15) Wartburg Verlag, Weimar 2000, ISBN 3-86160-515-5, S. 27–44, here pp. 185–187.
  7. ^ a b Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Band III: Bismarck und das Reich. 3. Auflage, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1988, S. 750/751.
  8. ^ His abdication was announced by the Chancellor on 9 November, and the Emperor went into exile in the Netherlands. He did not formally abdicate until 28 November.
Confederation of the Rhine

The Confederation of the Rhine (German: Rheinbund; French: officially États confédérés du Rhin ("Confederated States of the Rhine"), but in practice Confédération du Rhin) was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted from 1806 to 1813.The members of the confederation were German princes (Fürsten) formerly within the Holy Roman Empire. They were later joined by 19 others, altogether ruling a total of over 15 million subjects providing a significant strategic advantage to the French Empire on its eastern frontier by providing a separation between France and the two largest German states, Prussia and Austria, to the east, which were not members of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Napoleon sought to consolidate the modernizing achievements of the revolution, but he wanted the soldiers and supplies these subject states could provide for his wars. Napoleon required it to supply 63,000 troops to his army. The success of the Confederation depended on Napoleon's success in battle; it collapsed when he lost the Battle of Leipzig in 1813.

East Francia

East Francia (Latin: Francia orientalis) or the Kingdom of the East Franks (regnum Francorum orientalium) was a precursor of the Holy Roman Empire. A successor state of Charlemagne's empire, it was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911. It was created through the Treaty of Verdun (843) which divided the former empire into three kingdoms.The east–west division, enforced by the German-Latin language split, "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms", with East Francia becoming the Kingdom of Germany and West Francia the Kingdom of France.

German Emperor

The German Emperor (German: Deutscher Kaiser [ˈdɔʏtʃɐ ˈkaɪzɐ]) was the official title of the head of state and hereditary ruler of the German Empire. A specifically chosen term, it was introduced with the 1 January 1871 constitution and lasted until the official abdication of Wilhelm II on 28 November 1918. The Holy Roman Emperor is sometimes also called "German Emperor" when the historical context is clear, as derived from the Holy Roman Empire's official name of "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" from 1512.

Following the revolution of 1918, the function of head of state was succeeded by the President of the Reich (German: Reichspräsident), beginning with Friedrich Ebert.

German Empire

The German Empire (German: Deutsches Kaiserreich, officially Deutsches Reich), also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, and Otto, Prince of Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government. As these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War.

The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families. They included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies (six before 1876), seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, and one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory. Prussian dominance had also been established constitutionally.

After 1850, the states of Germany had rapidly become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron (and later steel), chemicals, and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people; by 1913, this had increased to 68 million. A heavily rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial, technological, and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States.From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms, and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory that was yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones. As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers, especially the British Empire.

Germany became a great power, boasting a rapidly developing rail network, the world's strongest army, and a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that ultimately contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex, shifting, and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated. This period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were often perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882. It also retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.

In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris quickly in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate. The Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; it occupied a large amount of territory to its east following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war.

The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff increasingly controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, and Bulgaria had surrendered. The Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which later led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism.


Graf (male) or Gräfin (female) is a historical title of the German nobility, usually translated as "count". Considered to be intermediate among noble ranks, the title is often treated as equivalent to the British title of "earl" (whose female version is "countess").

Holy Roman Emperor

The Holy Roman Emperor (also "German-Roman Emperor", German: Römisch-deutscher Kaiser "Roman-German emperor"; historically Imperator Romanorum, "Emperor of the Romans") was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire (considered by itself to be the successor of the Roman Empire) during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany (rex teutonicorum) throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.From an autocracy in Carolingian times (AD 800–924) the title by the 13th century evolved into an elected monarchy chosen by the prince-electors.

Various royal houses of Europe, at different times, became de facto hereditary holders of the title, notably the Ottonians (962–1024) and the Salians (1027–1125). Following the late medieval crisis of government, the Habsburgs kept possession of the title without interruption from 1440–1740. The final emperors were from the House of Lorraine (Habsburg-Lorraine), from 1765–1806. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved by Emperor Francis II, after a devastating defeat to Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz.

The Holy Roman Emperor was widely perceived to rule by divine right, though he often contradicted or rivaled the Pope, most notably during the Investiture controversy.

In theory, the Holy Roman Emperor was primus inter pares (first among equals) among other Catholic monarchs. In practice, a Holy Roman Emperor was only as strong as his army and alliances, including marriage alliances, made him. There was never a Holy Roman Empress regnant, though women such as Theophanu and Maria Theresa of Austria served as de facto Empresses regnant.

Throughout its history, the position was viewed as a defender of the Roman Catholic faith. Until the Reformation, the Emperor elect (imperator electus) was required to be crowned by the Pope before assuming the imperial title. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the last to be crowned by the Pope in 1530. Even after the Reformation, the elected Emperor always was a Roman Catholic. There were short periods in history when the electoral college was dominated by Protestants, and the electors usually voted in their own political interest.

Interregnum (Holy Roman Empire)

There were many imperial interregna in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, when there was no emperor. Interregna in which there was no emperor-elect (king of the Romans) were rarer. Among the longest periods without an emperor were between 924 and 962 (38 years), between 1245 and 1312 (67 years), and between 1378 and 1433 (55 years). The crisis of government of the Holy Roman Empire and the German kingdom thus lasted throughout the late medieval period, and ended only with the rise of the House of Habsburg on the eve of the German Reformation and the Renaissance. The term Great Interregnum is occasionally used for the period between 1250 (death of Frederick II) and 1273 (accession of Rudolf I).


Kaiser is the German word for "emperor". Like the Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian word Tsar, it is directly derived from the Roman emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens (clan) Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar, the forebear of the first imperial family, belonged. In general the german title was only used for rulers over

kings (König).

Although the British monarchs styled "Emperor of India" were also called Kaisar-i-Hind in Hindi and Urdu, this word, although ultimately sharing the same Latin origin, is derived from the Greek: Καῖσαρ (kaisar), not the German Kaiser.In English, the term "the Kaiser" is usually reserved for the emperors of the German Empire and the emperors of the Austrian Empire. During the First World War, anti-German sentiment was at its zenith; the term Kaiser—especially as applied to Wilhelm II of Germany—thus gained considerable negative connotations in English-speaking countries.

Still this title has high historical respect in German-speaking regions.

King of the Romans

King of the Romans (Latin: Rex Romanorum; German: König der Römer) was a title used by Syagrius, then by the German king following his election by the princes from the time of Emperor Henry II (1014–1024) onward. The title was predominantly a claim to become Holy Roman Emperor and was dependent upon coronation by the Pope.

The title originally referred to any elected king who had not yet been granted the Imperial Regalia and title of "Emperor" at the hands of the Pope. Later it came to be used solely for the heir apparent to the Imperial throne between his election (during the lifetime of a sitting Emperor) and his succession upon the death of the Emperor.

Their actual title varied over time. During the Ottonian period it was King of the Franks (German: König der Franken, Latin: Rex Francorum), from the late Salian period it was Roman King (Römischer König) or King of the Romans (German: König der Römer, Lat.: Rex Romanorum). In the Modern Period, the title King in Germania (German: König in Germanien, Lat.: Germaniae Rex) came into use. Finally, modern German historiography established the term Roman-German King (Römisch-deutscher König) to differentiate it from the ancient Roman Emperor as well as from the modern German Emperor.

Line of succession to the former German throne

The German Empire and Kingdom of Prussia were abolished in 1918. The current head of the former ruling House of Hohenzollern is Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia. The Law of Succession used is Agnatic Primogeniture.The Head of the House of Hohenzollern is styled His Imperial and Royal Highness the Prince of Prussia. The house is smaller now than it was in 1918 because after the monarchy was deposed, many princes married morganatically, excluding their descendants from the list of dynastic princes. For example, the two eldest sons of Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia married morganatically.

Members of this family compose the Prussian Royal Family. There was no German Imperial Family as the only individuals with German imperial titles were the emperor, his consort, empresses dowager, the crown prince and the crown princess. There were no Princes of Germany, only princes of Prussia.

List of German monarchs in 1918

The term German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich) commonly refers to Germany, from its foundation as a unified nation-state on 18 January 1871, until the abdication of its last Kaiser, Wilhelm II, on November 9, 1918. Germans, when referring to the Reich in this period under the Kaisers, 1871 to 1918, typically use the term Kaiserreich.Federal prince (Bundesfürst) was the generic term for the royal heads of state (monarchs) of the various states making up the German Empire. The empire was a federal state, with its constituent states remaining sovereign states. In total, there were 22 federal princes of the German Empire and additionally three republican heads of state and the steward of the imperial territory ruled by Alsace-Lorraine. The states became part of the Kaiserreich by an 1871 treaty. The Kaiser as head of the empire was granted the title German Emperor (the style "Emperor of Germany" being deliberately avoided), and was simultaneously a federal prince as King of Prussia, the sovereign of its largest federal state. Of the princely heads of state, 4 held the title King (König) (the Kings of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Württemberg), 6 held the title Grand Duke (Großherzog), 5 held the title Duke (Herzog), and 7 held the title Prince (i.e. Sovereign Prince, Fürst).

Following the abdication of Wilhelm II on 9 November 1918 and German Revolution of 1918–19, the German nobility and royalty as legally defined classes were abolished on 11 August 1919 with the promulgation of the Weimar Constitution, under which all Germans were made equal before the law, and the legal rights and privileges, and all following German Houses, titles, insignia and ranks of nobility were abolished.

List of chancellors of Germany

The chancellor of Germany is the political leader of Germany and the head of the federal government. The office holder is responsible for selecting all other members of the government and chairing cabinet meetings.The office was created in the North German Confederation in 1867, when Otto von Bismarck became the first chancellor. With the unification of Germany and establishment of the German Empire in 1871, the Confederation evolved into a German nation-state and its leader became known as the chancellor of Germany.Originally, the chancellor was only responsible to the emperor. This changed with the constitutional reform in 1918, when the Parliament was given the right to dismiss the Chancellor. Under the 1919 Weimar Constitution the chancellors were appointed by the directly elected president, but were responsible to Parliament. The constitution was set aside during the 1933–1945 Nazi dictatorship. During Allied occupation, no independent German government and no chancellor existed; and the office was not reconstituted in East Germany. The 1949 Basic Law made the chancellor the most important office in West Germany, while diminishing the role of the president.

List of monarchs of Prussia

The monarchs of Prussia were members of the House of Hohenzollern who were the hereditary rulers of the former German state of Prussia from its founding in 1525 as the Duchy of Prussia. The Duchy had evolved out of the Teutonic Order, a Roman Catholic crusader state and theocracy located along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Teutonic Knights were under the leadership of a Grand Master, the last of whom, Albert, converted to Protestantism and secularized the lands, which then became the Duchy of Prussia.

The Duchy was initially a vassal of the Kingdom of Poland, as a result of the terms of the Prussian Homage whereby Albert was granted the Duchy as part of the terms of peace following the Prussian War. When the main line of Prussian Hohenzollerns died out in 1618, the Duchy passed to a different branch of the family, who also reigned as Electors of Brandenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. While still nominally two different territories, Prussia under the suzerainty of Poland and Brandenburg under the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire, the two states are known together historiographically as Brandenburg-Prussia.

Following the Second Northern War, a series of treaties freed the Duchy of Prussia from vassalage to any other state, making it a fully sovereign Duchy in its own right. This complex situation (where the Hohenzollern ruler of the independent Duchy of Prussia was also a subject of the Holy Roman Emperor as Elector of Brandenburg) laid the eventual groundwork for the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. For diplomatic reasons, the rulers of Prussia called themselves King in Prussia from 1701 to 1772. They still nominally owed fealty to the Emperor as Electors of Brandenburg, so the "King in Prussia" title (as opposed to "King of Prussia") avoided offending the Emperor. Additionally, calling themselves "King of Prussia" implied sovereignty over the entire Prussian region, parts of which were still part of Poland.

As the Prussian state grew through several wars and diplomatic moves throughout the 18th century, it became apparent that Prussia had become a Great Power in its own right. By 1772, the pretense was dropped, and the style "King of Prussia" was adopted. The Prussian kings continued to use the title "Elector of Brandenburg" until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, reflecting the legal fiction that their domains within the empire were still under the ultimate overlordship of the Emperor. Legally, the Hohenzollerns ruled Brandenburg in personal union with their Prussian kingdom, but in practice they treated their domains as a single unit. The Hohenzollerns gained de jure sovereignty over Brandenburg when the empire dissolved in 1806, and Brandenburg was formally merged into Prussia.

In 1871, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was formed, and the King of Prussia, Wilhelm I was crowned German Emperor. From that point forward, though the Kingdom of Prussia retained its status as a constituent state of the empire (albeit by far the largest and most powerful), all subsequent Kings of Prussia also served as German Emperor, and that title took precedence.

List of years in Germany

This is a list of years in Germany. See also the timeline of German history. For only articles about years in Germany that have been written, see Category:Years in Germany.

Monarchy of Germany

The Monarchy of Germany (the German Monarchy) was the system of government in which a hereditary monarch was the sovereign of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918.


The Reichsadler ("Imperial Eagle") is the heraldic eagle, derived from the Roman eagle standard, used by the Holy Roman Emperors and in modern coats of arms of Germany, including those of the Second German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945).

The same design has remained in use by the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945, albeit under the name Bundesadler ("Federal Eagle").

Timeline of German history

This is a timeline of German history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Germany and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Germany. See also the list of German monarchs and list of Chancellors of Germany and the list of years in Germany.

Year of the Three Emperors

The Year of the Three Emperors, or the Year of the Three Kaisers, (German: Dreikaiserjahr) refers to the year 1888 during the German Empire in German history. The year is considered to have memorable significance because of the deaths of two German Emperors, or Kaisers, leading to a rapid succession of three monarchs within one year. The three different emperors who ruled over Germany during this year were Wilhelm I, Frederick III, and Wilhelm II. The mnemonic “drei Achten, drei Kaiser” (English: "three eights, three emperors") is still used today in Germany by children and adults alike to learn the year in question.

(c. 9 BCE – 21 CE)
(c. 9 BCE – 37 CE, c. 166–c. 172)
Monarchs of Germany
East Francia within the
Carolingian Empire (843–911)
East Francia (911–962)
Kingdom of Germany within the
Holy Roman Empire (962–1806)
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)
German Confederation (1815–1848)
German Empire (1848/1849)
German Confederation (1850–1866)
North German Confederation (1867–1871)
German Empire (1871–1918)

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