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Main page: The German Reigning Houses (deutschen regierenden Häuser)

Copyright © V. Rozn 1999-2009

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Last updated: June 3, 2009

After the fall of Napoleonic Germany

In 1813, during the Liberation War against Napoleon I, dispossessed rulers of Brunswick-Hanover, Brunswick-Wolfenbütel, Hesse-Kassel, Oldenburg and Nassau-Orange restored their possessions.

In 1814-1815, after the downfall of Napoleon I, the Congress of Vienna decided a new political map f Europe.
In Germany the Congress restored independence of four free cities of Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen, and Frankfurt; and returned sovereignty to Langrave of Hesse-Homburg.
The Congress did not change the status of mediatized houses, but confirmed their privileges.
Karl-Theodor of Dalberg, Grand Duke of Frankfurt, the main ally of Napoleon I in Germany lost his status of ruler. His two relatives, Princes of Isenburg-Berstein and Leyen-Hohengeroldseck, lost sovereignty as their possessions were mediatized.
The Congress also upgraded titles of some rulers:
Duke of Brunswick-Hanover to King;
Duke of Saxony-Weimar to Grand Duke;
Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to Grand Duke;
Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to Grand Duke;
Duke of Oldenburg to Grand Duke.
Prince-Elector and Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel received the title of Grand Duke of Fulda (keeping “Prince-Elector and Landgrave of Hesse” as his main title).
Prince of Nassau- Orange exchanged his hereditary German possessions for Luxembourg where he became Grand Duke.

In 1815, the Congress of Vienna created the German Confederation (Deutsche Bund) that united all German states (37 German sovereigns and 4 free cities):
1. Emperor of Austria;
2. King of Prussia;
3. King of Bavaria;
4. King of Hanover (1866 incorporated in Prussia);
5. King of Württemberg;
6. King of Saxony;
7. Grand Duke of Saxony-Weimar;
8. Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin;
9. Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz;
10.Grand Duke of Oldenburg;
11.Grand Duke of Baden;
12.Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt;
13.Grand Duke of Luxembourg (King of Netherlands, Prince of Nassau-Orange);
14.Prince-Elector and Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel(1866 incorporated in Prussia);
15.Duke of Holstein (King of Denmark)(1866 incorporated in Prussia);
16.Duke of Nassau (united Nassau-Usingen and Nassau-Weilburg);
17.Duke of Anhalt-Dessau;
18.Duke of Anhalt-Köthen(1847 became extinct);
19.Duke of Anhalt-Bernburg(1863 became extinct);
20.Duke of Saxony-Coburg;
21.Duke of Saxony-Meiningen;
22.Duke of Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg (1825 became extinct);
23.Duke of Saxony-Hildburghausen (from 1826 Saxony-Altenburg);
24.Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbütel;
25.Prince of Waldeck;
26.Prince of Lippe-Detmold;
27.Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe;
28.Prince of Nassau-Welburg (1816 Duke of Nassau)(1866 incorporated in Prussia);
29.Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1849 went to Prussia);
30.Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849 went to Prussia);
31.Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt;
32.Prince of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen;
33.Prince of Reuss-Greiz;
34.Prince of Reuss-Schleiz;
35.Prince of Reuss-Lobenstein (1824 became extinct);
36.Prince of Reuss-Ebersdorf (1848 went to Reuss-Schleiz);
37.Prince of Liechtenstein.
38. Free City of Bremen,
38. Free City of Hamburg, and
40. Free City of Lübeck.

In 1819, the.Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg joined the Congress of Vienna.

"The Confederation was not a state but rather an association under international law. Yet the sovereignty of its members was limited in certain respects. They could not leave the Confederation, conspire against its security with other powers, or take the law into their own hands against another member. Once the Confederation had declared war, they could not negotiate a separate armistice or peace. All these provisions were an improvement over the Holy Roman Empire, as was the clearer definition of the German boundaries." [1: p.446].

The German Confederation did not include Savoy and South Netherlands, which formally belonged to the Holy Roman.

In 1816-1866, several ruling branches became extinct, and their possessions passed to their male relatives from other branches:
in 1816, Nassau-Usingen;
in 1824, Reuss-Lobenstein;
in 1825, Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg;
in 1847, Anhalt-Köthen;
in 1848, Reuss-Ebersdorf;
in 1863, Anhalt-Bernburg.

In 1849, Princes of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen ceded their possessions to the King of Prussia.

During the unification of Germany in 1864-1866 Prussia incorporated several countries-members of the German Confederation: Holstein, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Nassau, and the Free City of Frankfurt.

The new German Empire (Deutsches Reich), which Prussia created by in 1871, included only 22 sovereigns and three free cities. Three former members of the German Confederation, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, did not joined.
Although nominally they retained their sovereignty, in practice the German Empire was dominated by the most powerful state, Prussia.
The German Empire included:
1. King of Prussia,
2. King of Bavaria,
3. King of Württemberg,
4. King of Saxony,
5. Grand Duke of Saxony-Weimar,
6. Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin,
7. Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,
8. Grand Duke of Oldenburg,
9. Grand Duke of Baden,
10.Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt,
11.Duke of Anhalt-Dessau,
12.Duke of Saxony-Coburg,
13.Duke of Saxony-Meiningen,
14.Duke of Saxony-Altenburg (formerly known as Saxony- Hildburghausen),
15.Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbütel,
16.Prince of Waldeck,
17.Prince of Lippe-Detmold,
18.Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe,
19.Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt,
20.Prince of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen,
21.Prince of Reuss-Greiz,
22.Prince of Reuss-Schleiz,
23. Free City of Bremen,
24. Free City of Hamburg, and
25. Free City of Lubeck.
In November 1918, all monarchs in Germany and the Emperor of Austria were deposed. Only two former members of the German Confederation, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, have remained monarchies.


1. Holborn, Hajo. A History of Modern Germany 1840-1945 (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1982).