Prince-elector

The Prince-electors (German: Kurfürst (listen ), pl. Kurfürsten, Czech: Kurfiřt, Latin: Princeps Elector) of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

From the 13th century onwards, the Prince-Electors had the privilege of electing the Holy Roman Emperor who would receive the Papal coronation after assuming the titles of King in Germany and King of Italy. Charles V was the last to be a crowned Emperor (elected 1519, crowned 1530); his successors were only elected Emperors by the electoral college, each being titled "Elected Emperor of the Romans" (German: erwählter Römischer Kaiser; Latin: electus Romanorum imperator). In practice, every emperor from 1440 onwards (except for Charles VII and Francis I) came from the Austrian House of Habsburg, and the Electors merely ratified the Habsburg succession.

The dignity of Elector carried great prestige and was considered to be second only to that of King or Emperor.[1] The Electors had exclusive privileges that were not shared with the other princes of the Empire, and they continued to hold their original titles alongside that of Elector. The heir apparent to a secular prince-elector was known as an electoral prince (German: Kurprinz).

Balduineum Wahl Heinrich VII
Illustration from the 1341 Codex Balduini Trevirorum showing the electors in deliberation (left to right: Archbishop of Cologne, Archbishop of Mainz, Archbishop of Trier, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Brandenburg and King of Bohemia).
Sachsenspiegel die wahl des deutschen Königs
Choosing the king. At the top: the three ecclesiastical princes choosing the king, pointing at him. At the centre: the Count Palatine of the Rhine hands over a golden bowl, acting as a servant. Behind him, the Duke of Saxony with his marshall's staff and the Margrave of Brandenburg bringing a bowl of warm water, as a valet. Below, the new king in front of the great men of the empire (Heidelberg Sachsenspiegel, around 1300)

Etymology of Kurfürst

The German element Kur- is based on the Middle High German irregular verb kiesen[2] and is related etymologically to the English word choose (cf. Old English ceosan [tʃeo̯zan], participle coren 'having been chosen' and Gothic kiusan). In English, the "s"/"r" mix in the Germanic verb conjugation has been regularized to "s" throughout, while German retains the r in Kur-. There is also a modern German verb küren which means 'to choose' in a ceremonial sense. Fürst is German for 'prince', but while the German language distinguishes between the head of a principality (der Fürst) and the son of a monarch (der Prinz), English uses prince for both concepts. Fürst itself is related to English first and is thus the 'foremost' person in his realm. Note that 'prince' derives from Latin princeps, which carried the same meaning.

Rights and privileges

Electors were reichsstände (Imperial Estates), enjoying precedence over the other princes. They were, until the 18th century, exclusively entitled to be addressed with the title Durchlaucht (Serene Highness). In 1742, the electors became entitled to the superlative Durchläuchtigste (Most Serene Highness), while other princes were promoted to Durchlaucht.

As Imperial Estates, the electors enjoyed all the privileges of the other princes enjoying that status, including the right to enter into alliances, autonomy in relation to dynastic affairs and precedence over other subjects. The Golden Bull had granted them the Privilegium de non appellando, which prevented their subjects from lodging an appeal to a higher Imperial court. However, while this privilege, and some others, were automatically granted to Electors, they were not exclusive to them and many of the larger Imperial Estates were also to be individually granted some or all those rights and privileges.[3]

Imperial Diet

The electors, like the other princes ruling States of the Empire, were members of the Imperial Diet, which was divided into three collegia: the Council of Electors, the Council of Princes, and the Council of Cities. In addition to being members of the Council of Electors, several lay electors were therefore members of the Council of Princes as well by virtue of other territories they possessed. In many cases, the lay electors ruled numerous States of the Empire, and therefore held several votes in the Council of Princes. In 1792, the King of Bohemia held three votes, the Elector of Bavaria six votes, the Elector of Brandenburg eight votes, and the Elector of Hanover six votes. Thus, of the hundred votes in the Council of Princes in 1792, twenty-three belonged to electors. The lay electors therefore exercised considerable influence, being members of the small Council of Electors and holding a significant number of votes in the Council of Princes. The assent of both bodies was required for important decisions affecting the structure of the Empire, such as the creation of new electorates or States of the Empire.

In addition to voting by colleges or councils, the Imperial Diet also voted on religious lines, as provided for by the Peace of Westphalia. The Archbishop of Mainz presided over the Catholic body, or corpus catholicorum, while the Elector of Saxony presided over the Protestant body, or corpus evangelicorum. The division into religious bodies was on the basis of the official religion of the state, and not of its rulers. Thus, even when the Electors of Saxony were Catholics during the eighteenth century, they continued to preside over the corpus evangelicorum, since the state of Saxony was officially Protestant.

Elections

Wapen 1545 Kaiserwappen des Heiligen Römischen Reichs Polychromie
Coats of arms of prince electors surround the Holy Roman Emperor's; from flags book of Jacob Köbel (1545). Left to right: Cologne, Bohemia, Brandenburg, Saxony, the Palatinate, Trier, Mainz

The electors were originally summoned by the Archbishop of Mainz within one month of an Emperor's death, and met within three months of being summoned. During the interregnum, imperial power was exercised by two imperial vicars. Each vicar, in the words of the Golden Bull, was "the administrator of the empire itself, with the power of passing judgments, of presenting to ecclesiastical benefices, of collecting returns and revenues and investing with fiefs, of receiving oaths of fealty for and in the name of the holy empire". The Elector of Saxony was vicar in areas operating under Saxon law (Saxony, Westphalia, Hanover, and northern Germany), while the Elector Palatine was vicar in the remainder of the Empire (Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine, and southern Germany). The Elector of Bavaria replaced the Elector Palatine in 1623, but when the latter was granted a new electorate in 1648, there was a dispute between the two as to which was vicar. In 1659, both purported to act as vicar, but the other vicar recognised the Elector of Bavaria. Later, the two electors made a pact to act as joint vicars, but the Imperial Diet rejected the agreement. In 1711, while the Elector of Bavaria was under the ban of the Empire, the Elector Palatine again acted as vicar, but his cousin was restored to his position upon his restoration three years later. Finally, in 1745, the two agreed to alternate as vicars, with Bavaria starting first. This arrangement was upheld by the Imperial Diet in 1752. In 1777 the question was settled when the Elector Palatine inherited Bavaria. On many occasions, however, there was no interregnum, as a new king had been elected during the lifetime of the previous Emperor.

Frankfurt regularly served as the site of the election from the fifteenth century on, but elections were also held at Cologne (1531), Regensburg (1575 and 1636), and Augsburg (1653 and 1690). An elector could appear in person or could appoint another elector as his proxy. More often, an electoral suite or embassy was sent to cast the vote; the credentials of such representatives were verified by the Archbishop of Mainz, who presided over the ceremony. The deliberations were held at the city hall, but voting occurred in the cathedral. In Frankfurt, a special electoral chapel, or Wahlkapelle, was used for elections. Under the Golden Bull, a majority of electors sufficed to elect a king, and each elector could cast only one vote. Electors were free to vote for whomsoever they pleased (including themselves), but dynastic considerations played a great part in the choice. Electors drafted a Wahlkapitulation, or electoral capitulation, which was presented to the king-elect. The capitulation may be described as a contract between the princes and the king, the latter conceding rights and powers to the electors and other princes. Once an individual swore to abide by the electoral capitulation, he assumed the office of King of the Romans.

In the 10th and 11th centuries, princes often acted merely to confirm hereditary succession in the Saxon Ottonian dynasty and Franconian Salian dynasty. But with the actual formation of the prince-elector class, elections became more open, starting with the election of Lothair II in 1125. The Staufen dynasty managed to get its sons formally elected in their fathers' lifetimes almost as a formality. After these lines ended in extinction, the electors began to elect kings from different families so that the throne would not once again settle within a single dynasty. For some two centuries, the monarchy was elective both in theory and in practice; the arrangement, however, did not last, since the powerful House of Habsburg managed to secure succession within their dynasty during the fifteenth century. All kings elected from 1438 onwards were from among the Habsburg Archdukes of Austria (and later Kings of Hungary and Bohemia) until 1740, when the archduchy was inherited by a woman, Maria Theresa, sparking the War of the Austrian Succession. A representative of the House of Wittelsbach was elected for a short period of time, but in 1745, Maria Theresa's husband, Francis I of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, became King. All of his successors were also from the same family. Hence, for the greater part of the Empire's history, the role of the electors was largely ceremonial.

High offices

COA family de Kurpfalz
The Arms of Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, Arch-Steward and Prince-Elector.
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1816-1837)
The Arms of George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland and Elector (later King) of Hanover.

Each elector held a "High Office of the Empire" (Reichserzämter) and was a member of the (ceremonial) Imperial Household. The three spiritual electors were all Arch-Chancellors (German: Erzkanzler, Latin: Archicancellarius): the Archbishop of Mainz was Arch-Chancellor of Germany, the Archbishop of Cologne was Arch-Chancellor of Italy, and the Archbishop of Trier was Arch-Chancellor of Burgundy. The other offices were as follows:

Augmentation Imperial office German Latin Elector
Arch-Butler or Arch-Cupbearer Erzmundschenk Archipincerna King of Bohemia
Arch Steward Arms.svg Arch-Seneschal or Arch-Steward Erztruchseß Archidapifer Elector Palatine to 1623
Elector of Bavaria, 1623–1706
Elector Palatine, 1706–1714
Elector of Bavaria, 1714–1806
Arch-Marshal Arms.svg Arch-Marshal Erzmarschall Archimarescallus Elector of Saxony
Arch Chamberlain Arms-single.svg Arch-Chamberlain Erzkämmerer Archicamerarius Elector of Brandenburg
Arch Treasurer Arms.svg Arch-Treasurer Erzschatzmeister Archithesaurarius Elector Palatine, 1648–1706
Elector of Hanover, 1710–1714
Elector Palatine, 1714–1777
Elector of Hanover, 1777–1814
Arch-Bannerbearer Erzbannerträger Archivexillarius Elector of Hanover, 1708–1710 and 1714–1777

When the Duke of Bavaria replaced the Elector Palatine in 1623, he assumed the latter's office of Arch-Steward. When the Count Palatine was granted a new electorate, he assumed the position of Arch-Treasurer of the Empire. When the Duke of Bavaria was banned in 1706, the Elector Palatine returned to the office of Arch-Steward, and in 1710 the Elector of Hanover was promoted to the post of Arch-Treasurer. Matters were complicated by the Duke of Bavaria's restoration in 1714; the Elector of Bavaria resumed the office of Arch-Steward, while the Elector Palatine returned to the post of Arch-Treasurer, and the Elector of Hanover was given the new office of Archbannerbearer. The Electors of Hanover, however, continued to be styled Arch-Treasurers, though the Elector Palatine was the one who actually exercised the office until 1777, when he inherited Bavaria and the Arch-Stewardship. After 1777, no further changes were made to the Imperial Household; new offices were planned for the Electors admitted in 1803, but the Empire was abolished before they could be created. The Duke of Württemberg, however, started to adopt the trappings of the Arch-Bannerbearer.

Many High Officers were entitled to use augmentations on their coats of arms; these augmentations, which were special marks of honour, appeared in the centre of the electors' shields (as shown in the image above) atop the other charges (in heraldic terms, the augmentations appeared in the form of inescutcheons). The Arch-Steward used gules an orb Or (a gold orb on a red field). The Arch-Marshal utilised the more complicated per fess sable and argent, two swords in saltire gules (two red swords arranged in the form of a saltire, on a black and white field). The Arch-Chamberlain's augmentation was azure a sceptre palewise Or (a gold sceptre on a blue field), while the Arch-Treasurer's was gules the crown of Charlemagne Or (a gold crown on a red field). As noted above, the Elector Palatine and the Elector of Hanover styled themselves Arch-Treasurer from 1714 until 1777; during this time, both electors used the corresponding augmentations. The three Arch-Chancellors and the Arch-Cupbearer did not use any augmentations.

The electors discharged the ceremonial duties associated with their offices only during coronations, where they bore the crown and regalia of the Empire. Otherwise, they were represented by holders of corresponding "Hereditary Offices of the Household". The Arch-Butler was represented by the Butler (Cupbearer) (the Count of Althann), the Arch-Seneschal by the Steward (the Count of Waldburg), the Arch-Chamberlain by the Chamberlain (the Count of Hohenzollern), the Arch-Marshal by the Marshal (the Count of Pappenheim), and the Arch-Treasurer by the Treasurer (the Count of Sinzendorf). The Duke of Württemberg assigned the count of Zeppelin-Aschhausen as hereditary Bannerbearer.

History

Philipp Veit 008
Coats of arms representing the seven original electors with the figure of Germania

The German practice of electing monarchs began when ancient Germanic tribes formed ad hoc coalitions and elected the leaders thereof. Elections were irregularly held by the Franks, whose successor states include France and the Holy Roman Empire. The French monarchy eventually became hereditary, but the Holy Roman Emperors remained elective, at least in theory, although the Habsburgs provided most of the later monarchs. While all free men originally exercised the right to vote in such elections, suffrage eventually came to be limited to the leading men of the realm. In the election of Lothar II in 1125, a small number of eminent nobles chose the monarch and then submitted him to the remaining magnates for their approbation.

Soon, the right to choose the monarch was settled on an exclusive group of princes, and the procedure of seeking the approval of the remaining nobles was abandoned. The college of electors was mentioned in 1152 and again in 1198. The composition of electors at that time is unclear, but appears to have included representatives of the church and the dukes of the four nations of Germany: the Franks (Duchy of Franconia), Swabians (Duchy of Swabia), Saxons (Duchy of Saxony) and Bavarians (Duchy of Bavaria).

1257 to Thirty Years' War

The electoral college is known to have existed by 1152, but its composition is unknown. A letter written by Pope Urban IV in 1265 suggests that by "immemorial custom", seven princes had the right to elect the King and future Emperor. The pope wrote that the seven electors were those who had just voted in the election of 1257, which resulted in the election of two kings.[4]

The three Archbishops oversaw the most venerable and powerful sees in Germany, while the other four were supposed to represent the dukes of the four nations. The Count Palatine of the Rhine held most of the former Duchy of Franconia after the last Duke died in 1039. The Margrave of Brandenburg became an Elector when the Duchy of Swabia was dissolved after the last Duke of Swabia was beheaded in 1268. Saxony, even with diminished territory, retained its eminent position.

The Palatinate and Bavaria were originally held by the same individual, but in 1253, they were divided between two members of the House of Wittelsbach. The other electors refused to allow two princes from the same dynasty to have electoral rights, so a heated rivalry arose between the Count Palatine and the Duke of Bavaria over who should hold the Wittelsbach seat.

Meanwhile, the King of Bohemia, who held the ancient imperial office of Arch-Cupbearer, asserted his right to participate in elections. Sometimes he was challenged on the grounds that his kingdom was not German, though usually he was recognized, instead of Bavaria which after all was just a younger line of Wittelsbachs.

The Declaration of Rhense issued in 1338 had the effect that election by the majority of the electors automatically conferred the royal title and rule over the empire, without papal confirmation. The Golden Bull of 1356 finally resolved the disputes among the electors. Under it, the Archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne, as well as the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, and the Margrave of Brandenburg held the right to elect the King.

Westfaelischer Friede in Muenster (Gerard Terborch 1648)
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster by Gerard Terborch, 1648.

The college's composition remained unchanged until the 17th century, although the Electorate of Saxony was transferred from the senior to the junior branch of the Wettin family in 1547, in the aftermath of the Schmalkaldic War.

Thirty Years' War to Napoleon

In 1621, the Elector Palatine, Frederick V, came under the imperial ban after participating in the Bohemian Revolt (a part of the Thirty Years' War). The Elector Palatine's seat was conferred on the Duke of Bavaria, the head of a junior branch of his family. Originally, the Duke held the electorate personally, but it was later made hereditary along with the duchy. When the Thirty Years' War concluded with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a new electorate was created for the Count Palatine of the Rhine. Since the Elector of Bavaria retained his seat, the number of electors increased to eight; the two Wittelsbach lines now sufficiently estranged so as not to pose a combined potential threat.

In 1685, the religious composition of the College of Electors was disrupted when a Catholic branch of the Wittelsbach family inherited the Palatinate. A new Protestant electorate was created in 1692 for the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who became known as the Elector of Hanover (the Imperial Diet officially confirmed the creation in 1708). The Elector of Saxony converted to Catholicism in 1697 so that he could become King of Poland, but no additional Protestant electors were created. Although the Elector of Saxony was personally Catholic, the Electorate itself remained officially Protestant, and the Elector even remained the leader of the Protestant body in the Reichstag.

In 1706, the Elector of Bavaria and Archbishop of Cologne were banned during the War of the Spanish Succession, but both were restored in 1714 after the Peace of Baden. In 1777, the number of electors was reduced to eight when the Elector Palatine inherited Bavaria.

Many changes to the composition of the college were necessitated by Napoleon's aggression during the early 19th century. The Treaty of Lunéville (1801), which ceded territory on the Rhine's left bank to France, led to the abolition of the archbishoprics of Trier and Cologne, and the transfer of the remaining spiritual Elector from Mainz to Regensburg. In 1803, electorates were created for the Duke of Württemberg, the Margrave of Baden, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and the Duke of Salzburg, bringing the total number of electors to ten. When Austria annexed Salzburg under the Treaty of Pressburg (1805), the Duke of Salzburg moved to the Grand Duchy of Würzburg and retained his electorate. None of the new electors, however, had an opportunity to cast votes, as the Holy Roman Empire was abolished in 1806, and the new electorates were never confirmed by the Emperor.

After the Empire

After the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in August 1806, the Electors continued to reign over their territories, many of them taking higher titles. The Electors of Bavaria, Württemberg, and Saxony styled themselves Kings, while the Electors of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Regensburg, and Würzburg became Grand Dukes. The Elector of Hesse-Kassel, however, retained the meaningless title "Elector of Hesse", thus distinguishing himself from other Hessian princes (the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt and the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg). Napoleon soon exiled him and Kassel was annexed to the Kingdom of Westphalia, a new creation. The King of Great Britain remained at war with Napoleon and continued to style himself Elector of Hanover, while the Hanoverian government continued to operate in London.

The Congress of Vienna accepted the Electors of Bavaria, Württemberg, and Saxony as Kings, along with the newly created Grand Dukes. The Elector of Hanover finally joined his fellow Electors by declaring himself the King of Hanover. The restored Elector of Hesse, a Napoleonic creation, tried to be recognized as the King of the Chatti. However, the European powers refused to acknowledge this title at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) and instead listed him with the grand dukes as a "Royal Highness".[5] Believing the title of Prince-Elector to be superior in dignity to that of Grand Duke, the Elector of Hesse-Kassel chose to remain an Elector, even though there was no longer a Holy Roman Emperor to elect. Hesse-Kassel remained the only Electorate in Germany until 1866, when the country backed the losing side in the Austro-Prussian War and was absorbed into Prussia.

Confessional balance

Religion was a factor in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor, as some Protestant electors would refuse to vote for a Roman Catholic and vice versa. Most of the time, religion played a minor role and was overshadowed by other factors, including dynastic, territorial and other political interests. For example, the Protestant Elector of Saxony voted for Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, putting his political interests first even though Ferdinand was a staunch Roman Catholic who would eventually lead the Empire into the Thirty Years' War.

At the height of the Protestant Reformation, there were times when the electoral college had a Protestant majority. However, all of the Holy Roman Emperors were Catholic. Some historians maintain that Ferdinand III had been touched by the reformed philosophies and was probably the closest the Holy Roman Empire ever came to a Protestant emperor; he remained nominally a Catholic throughout his life, although reportedly he refused last rites on his deathbed.[6] Other historians maintain he was as Catholic as his brother, but tended to see religion as outside the political sphere.[7]

Spiritual

Secular

Added in the 17th century

Added in the 19th century

Coats of arms

Coat of arms of the states granted the electoral dignity:

Three ecclesiastic/spiritual electors (archbishops):

Coat of arms of the Archbishopric of Mainz (1250)

Archbishop of Mainz

Trier Arms

Archbishop of Trier

COA Kurkoeln

Archbishop of Cologne

Four secular electors:

Blason Boheme

Kingdom of Bohemia

Arms of the Palatinate (Bavaria-Palatinate)

County Palatine of the Rhine

Coat of arms of Saxony

Duchy of Saxony

Armoiries électeur Brandebourg

Margraviate of Brandenburg

Electors added in 17th century:

Bavaria Arms

Duchy of Bavaria was granted electoral dignity by Ferdinand II in 1623, removing the dignity from the County Palatine of the Rhine

Electorate of Hanover (Brunswick-Lüneburg), made an elector by Leopold I in 1692 as a reward for aid given in the War of the Grand Alliance

During the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, between 1803 and 1806:

Wappen Regensburg

Principality of Regensburg was added in 1803, after the annexation of Mainz by the French

Kursalzburg

Grand Duchy of Salzburg was added in 1803. After being mediatised to Austria in 1805, its electoral vote was transferred to Würzburg. Salzburg and Würzburg were ruled by the same person, Ferdinand III.

Wappen Großherzogtum Würzburg

Grand Duchy of Würzburg

Wuerttemberg Arms

Duchy of Württemberg was raised to an electorate by Napoleon in 1803

Coat of arms of Baden

Margraviate of Baden was added in 1803

Wappen-HK

Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was added in 1803

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Precedence among Nations
  2. ^ Deutsches Wörterbuch: Kurfürst, Kür and kiesen
  3. ^ Even a small Free Imperial City such as Schwäbisch Gmünd had been granted the Privilegium de non appellando in 1475. Cf. Kaiser Friedrich III.: Privilegium de non appellando für Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1475
  4. ^ Bryce, James (1866). The Holy Roman Empire (Revised ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 252.
  5. ^ Satow, Ernest Mason (1932). A Guide to Diplomatic Practice. London: Longmans.
  6. ^ See Parker, pp. 20–50.
  7. ^ Holborn, pp. 250–251.

Sources

External links

Archbishop of Cologne

The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop representing the Archdiocese of Cologne of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany and was ex officio one of the electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the Elector of Cologne, from 1356 to 1801.

Since the early days of the Catholic Church, there have been ninety-four bishops and archbishops of Cologne. Seven of these ninety-four retired by resignation, including four resignations which were in response to impeachment. Eight of the bishops and archbishops were coadjutor bishops before they took office. Seven individuals were appointed as coadjutors freely by the Pope. One of the ninety-four moved to the Curia, where he became a cardinal. Additionally, six of the archbishops of Cologne were chairmen of the German Bishops' Conference.

Currently, Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki is the Archbishop of Cologne, since his 2014 transfer from Berlin, where he had been Cardinal Archbishop.

Augustus, Elector of Saxony

Augustus (31 July 1526 – 11 February 1586) was Elector of Saxony from 1553 to 1586.

Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria

Charles Theodore (German: Karl Theodor; 11 December 1724 – 16 February 1799) reigned as Prince-elector and Count Palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777 to his death. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Sulzbach, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Coat of arms of Rhineland-Palatinate

This article is about the coat of arms of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz).

Elector

Elector may refer to:

Prince-elector or elector, a member of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Holy Roman Emperors

Elector, a member of an electoral college

Confederate elector, a member of the Electoral College (Confederate States), which elected the President Jefferson Davis, and Vice President Alexander H. Stephens

U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential elector, a member of the Electoral College (United States), which formally chooses the President and Vice President of the United States

Elector, a science fiction novella by Charles Stross, incorporated into Accelerando (novel)

Electoral Rhenish Circle

The Electoral Rhenish Circle (German: Kurrheinischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, created in 1512.

The circle derived its name from four of the seven prince-electors whose lands along the Middle Rhine comprised the vast majority of its territory.

Electorate

Electorate may refer to:

The people who are eligible to vote in an election, especially their number e.g. the term size of (the) electorate

The dominion of a Prince-elector in the Holy Roman Empire until 1806

An electoral district or constituency, the geographic area of a particular election

Electorate of Baden

The Electorate of Baden was a State of the Holy Roman Empire from 1803 to 1806. In 1803, Napoleon bestowed the office of Prince-elector to Charles Frederick. This only lasted until 1806, when Francis II dissolved the Empire. When the Holy Roman Empire dissolved, Baden achieved sovereignty, and Charles Frederick became Grand Duke.

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 Cologne

The Electorate of Cologne (German: Kurfürstentum Köln), sometimes referred to as Electoral Cologne (German: Kurköln), was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the Hochstift — the temporal possessions — of the Archbishop of Cologne and ruled by him in his capacity as prince-elector. There were only two other ecclesiastical prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Mainz and the Electorate of Trier. The Archbishop-Elector of Cologne was also Arch-chancellor of Italy (one of the three component titular kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire, the other two being Germany and Burgundy) and, as such, ranked second among all ecclesiastical and secular princes of the Empire, after the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, and before that of Trier.

The capital of the electorate was Cologne. Conflicts with the citizens of Cologne caused the Elector to move to Bonn. The Free Imperial City of Cologne was recognized after 1475, thus removing it from even the nominal secular authority of the Elector. Cologne and Bonn were occupied by France in 1794. The right bank territories of the Electorate were secularized in 1803 during the German mediatization.

The Electorate should not be confused with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne, which was larger and included suffragant bishoprics such as Liège and Münster over which the Elector-Archbishop exercised only spiritual authority (see map below).

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.

Electorate of Saxony

The Electorate of Saxony (German: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also Kursachsen) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356. Upon the extinction of the House of Ascania, it was feoffed to the Margraves of Meissen from the Wettin dynasty in 1423, who moved the ducal residence up the river Elbe to Dresden. After the Empire's dissolution in 1806, the Wettin Electors raised Saxony to a territorially reduced kingdom.

Eltz

The House of Eltz is a noted German noble family of the Uradel. The Rhenish dynasty has had close ties to the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia since 1736.

Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Ferdinand III (German: Ferdinand Josef Johann Baptist; Italian: Ferdinando Giuseppe Giovanni Baptista; English: Ferdinand Joseph John Baptist; 6 May 1769 – 18 June 1824) was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1790 to 1801 and, after a period of disenfranchisement, again from 1814 to 1824. He was also the Prince-elector and Grand Duke of Salzburg (1803–1805) and Grand Duke of Würzburg (1805–1814).

Ferdinand of Bavaria (bishop)

This article covers the life and career of the archbishop, the Prince-elector of Cologne, Ferdinand of Bavaria (1577-1650).

For the life and career of his uncle, Ferdinand of Bavaria (1550-1608), see here.

For the article on Ferdinand of Bavaria 1884-1958, Infante of Spain, see Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria.Ferdinand of Bavaria (German: Ferdinand von Bayern) (6 October 1577 – 13 September 1650) was Prince-elector archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne (Holy Roman Empire) from 1612 to 1650, as successor of Ernest of Bavaria. He was also prince-bishop of Hildesheim, Liège, Münster, and Paderborn.

Gebhardshain

Gebhardshain is a municipality in the district of Altenkirchen, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated in the Westerwald, approx. 20 km south-west of Siegen. Gebhardshain was the seat of the former Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") Gebhardshain.

Gebhardshain was mentioned for the first time in the year 1220.

Gebhardshain belonged at that time to the nobility of those from Gervertzhagen and was assigned to the territory of the count von Sayn.

In 1378, these recognized prince elector of Trier as their liege lord. Therefore, Gebhardshain belonged both to the diocese Trier and to the archbishop's secular barony.

Since 1990, there is a partnership with the municipality Kreuzebra.

Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg

Joachim I Nestor (21 February 1484 – 11 July 1535) was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1499–1535), the fifth member of the House of Hohenzollern. His nickname was taken from King Nestor of Greek mythology.

Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria

Maximilian II (11 July 1662 – 26 February 1726), also known as Max Emanuel or Maximilian Emanuel, was a Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also the last governor of the Spanish Netherlands and duke of Luxembourg. An able soldier, his ambition led to conflicts that limited his ultimate dynastic achievements.

He was born in Munich to Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy (d.1676). His maternal grandparents were Victor Amadeus I of Savoy and Christine Marie of France, daughter of King Henri IV.

Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria

Maximilian I Joseph (27 May 1756 – 13 October 1825) was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1795 to 1799, prince-elector of Bavaria (as Maximilian IV Joseph) from 1799 to 1806, then King of Bavaria (as Maximilian I Joseph) from 1806 to 1825. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Electors of the Holy Roman Empire from 1356 to 1806

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