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Encyclopedia > Free Imperial City

In the Holy Roman Empire, a free imperial city (in German: freie Reichsstadt) was a city formally responsible to the emperor only — as opposed to the majority of cities in the Empire, which belonged to a territory and were thus governed by one of the many princes (Fürsten) of the Empire, such as dukes or prince-bishops. Free cities also had independent representation in the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire. The double-headed eagle A portrait of Charlemagne wearing the crown of the Holy Roman Empire (15th century painting by Albrecht Dürer) The Holy Roman Empire was a mainly Germanic conglomeration of lands in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. ... The city of Chicago, as seen from the sky A city is an urban area that is differentiated from a town, village, or hamlet by size, population density, importance, or legal status. ... The Holy Roman Emperor was, with some variation, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, the predecessor of modern Germany, during its existence from the 10th century until its collapse in 1806. ... A typical North American steam train In rail transport, a train consists of rail vehicles that move along guides to transport freight or passengers from one place to another. ... Fürst (plural Fürsten) is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince; however this translation can be misleading, since a Fürst usually ranks below a Duke. ... For other uses, see Duke (disambiguation). ... Prince-Bishop was the title given bishops who held secular powers, beside their inherent clerical power. ... The Reichstag (German for Imperial Diet) was the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Confederation, and of Germany until 1945. ... The double-headed eagle A portrait of Charlemagne wearing the crown of the Holy Roman Empire (15th century painting by Albrecht Dürer) The Holy Roman Empire was a mainly Germanic conglomeration of lands in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. ...


To be precise, a distinction on paper was made between imperial cities (Reichsstädte) and free cities (freie Städte). The latter were each formerly governed by a prince-bishop and had managed to gain independence from their bishop during the High Middle Ages. They were Basel (1000), Worms (1074), Mainz (1244, revoked 1462), Ratisbon (1245), Strasbourg (1272), Speyer (1294) and Cologne (1475). Although the legal detail would vary greatly case by case, originally a Free City had more rights and privileges than an Imperial City: the former only had, for instance, to support the Emperor during the crusades and organise the protection of their own city, while the latter also had to pay taxes to the Emperor and supply troops for his military campaigns. Over time, the difference became more and more blurred so that the "Free and Imperials Cities" were collectively known in the diet as "Free Imperial Cities". Rather than legal matters, what mattered more was the difference in wealth: rich cities such as Lübeck or Augsburg, for examples, were genuinely self-ruling enclaves within the Empire, waging war and making peace, controlling their own trade and permitting little outside interference. In the later Middle Ages, many free cities formed alliances (Städtebünde); most notably the Hanseatic League, although some of their members were never Free cities and joined with the permission of their territorial ruler. The cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, a significant architectural contribution of the High Middle Ages. ... Basel (British English traditionally: Basle and more recently Basel , German: Basel , French: Bâle , Italian: Basilea ) is Switzerlands third most populous city (166,563 inhabitants (2004); 690,000 inhabitants in the conurbation stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel Switzerlands second-largest urban area as... // Events World Population 300 million. ... // Worms (pronounced ) is a city in the southwest of Germany. ... Events Births February 12 - Conrad, King of Germany and Italy (d. ... Mainz is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. ... This article is about the year 1244. ... Events Settlers from Portugal begin to settle the Cape Verde islands. ... Regensburg (also Ratisbon, Latin Ratisbona) is a city (population 129,175 in 2005) in Bavaria, south-east Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. ... Events Rebellion against king Sancho II of Portugal in favor of his brother Alphonso. ... City flag City coat of arms Location Coordinates Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Administration Country France Region Alsace Department Bas-Rhin (67) Intercommunality Urban Community of Strasbourg Mayor Fabienne Keller  (UMP) (since 2001) City Statistics Land area¹ 78. ... For broader historical context, see 1270s and 13th century. ... Speyer (English formerly Spires) is a city in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) with approx. ... For broader historical context, see 1290s and 13th century. ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... In 1509 Balboa tried to join a Spanish expedition but could not because he owed so many debts January 10—Stephen III of Moldavia defeats the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vaslui. ... The Siege of Antioch, from a medieval miniature painting, during the First Crusade. ... The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Luebeck. ... Augsburg is a city in south-central Germany. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Carta marina of the Baltic Sea region (1539). ...


The cities gained (and sometimes lost) their freedom among the vicissitudes of medieval power politics. Some favored cities gained a charter by gift and others were wealthy enough to purchase theirs from a prince in need of cash; some won it by force of arms, others usurped it during times of anarchy; a number of cities secured their freedom through the extinction of dominant families, like the Hohenstaufen. It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Arms of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty The Hohenstaufen (or the Staufer(s)) were a dynasty of Kings of Germany, many of whom were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor and Dukes of Swabia. ...


Free cities might lose their privileges. Some free towns placed themselves voluntarily once more under the protection of a territorial magnate. Some, like Donauwörth in 1607, were stripped of their privileges by the emperor on genuine or trumped-up offenses; others were pawned away by the Emperor such as Mühlhausen, Duisburg and Offenburg, although the latter was able to regain its immediacy. Known as Nordschwabens freundliche Mitte (North Swabias Friendly Center), Donauwörth is a city in the German State of Bavaria (Bayern), in the region of Swabia (Schwabenland). ... Events January 20 - Tidal wave swept along the Bristol Channel, killing 2000 people. ... The Holy Roman Emperor was, with some variation, the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, the predecessor of modern Germany, during its existence from the 10th century until its collapse in 1806. ... Mühlhausen is a city in the federal state Thuringia, Germany. ... Duisburg is a German city and port in the western part of the Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet) in North Rhine-Westphalia. ... Offenburg is a city located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. ...


Free and imperial cities were only officially admitted as a Reichsstand to the Reichstag in 1489, and even then their votes were usually considered only to be advisory compared to the Benches of the Kurfürsten (Electors) and the Princes. The leagues of cities divided themselves into two groups, or benches, in the Imperial Diet, the Rhenish and the Swabian. By the time of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), the cities constituted a formal third "college" in the Diet. The Reichstag (German for Imperial Diet) was the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Confederation, and of Germany until 1945. ... Events March 14 - The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice. ... The prince-electors or electoral princes of the Holy Roman Empire — German: Kurfürst (singular) Kurfürsten (plural) — were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Emperors of Germany. ... The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster by Gerard Terborch (1648) Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster by Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648 The Peace of Westphalia, also known as the Treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, refers to the... // Events January 17 - Englands Long Parliament passes the Vote of No Address, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War. ...


The most powerful Reichsstädte included Augsburg, Bremen, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Lübeck and Nuremberg. The number of imperial free cities varied greatly over the centuries as did their geographic distribution. In general, in areas with a more diverse and scattered political structure, many more free cities existed than in areas, where larger territories had established themselves. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica mentions a list drawn up in 1422 with 75 free cities, and another drawn up in 1521 with 84. As the process of territorial consolidation continued over time, the number had sunk to the 51 cities present at the 1792 Reichstag towards the end of the Empire, many of which were in the Southwest and Franconia, none in the East and some in the North and West, with most of them former members of the erstwhile powerful Hanseatic League. Augsburg is a city in south-central Germany. ... The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (official name in German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen) is the smallest of Germanys 16 Federal States (Bundesländer). ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... Main Station Frankfurt Frankfurt International Airport For other uses, see Frankfurt (disambiguation). ... Hamburg from above Hamburgs motto: May the posterity endeavour with dignity to conserve the freedom, which the forefathers acquired. ... The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Luebeck. ... Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. ... Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1910-1911) represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, it was advertised as such. ... Events January 10 - Battle of Nemecky Brod during the Hussite Wars. ... Events January 3 - Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. ... The Holy Roman Empire was one of the strangest political structures in the world. ... The Franconian Rake is originally is a heraldic symbol of the bishops of Würzburg, who - though nominally Dukes of Franconia - only ruled in parts of Franconia. ... Carta marina of the Baltic Sea region (1539). ...


In the 16th and 17th century, another trend different from internal consolidation led to a number of free cities being separated from the Empire: external territorial change. The maréchals of Louis XIV seized a great number of cities based on claims produced by his Chambers of Reunion. That way, in Alsace, Strasbourg and the ten cities of the Décapole were annexed, as had been the free cities connected to the Three Bishoprics of Metz, Verdun and Toul a century earlier by the troops of King Henry II. Also, when the Swiss Confederacy gained its independence from the Empire in 1648, the Swiss imperial cities such as Basel, Berne and Zürich left the Empire as cantons of the confederacy. Sun King redirects here. ... The Chambers of Reunion were French courts established by King Louis XIV in the early 1680s. ... City flag City coat of arms Location Coordinates Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Administration Country France Region Alsace Department Bas-Rhin (67) Intercommunality Urban Community of Strasbourg Mayor Fabienne Keller  (UMP) (since 2001) City Statistics Land area¹ 78. ... The Décapole (Zehnstädtebund in German) was an alliance of ten towns in Alsace, France in a league founded in 1354, and discontinued in 1679. ... The Three Bishoprics (French: Trois-Évêchés) were a province of pre-Revolutionary France. ... For other uses of Metz, see Metz (disambiguation) City motto: Si paix dedans, paix dehors (French: If peace inside, peace outside) City proper (commune) Région Lorraine Département Moselle (57) Mayor Jean-Marie Rausch Area 41. ... Verdun (German (old): Wirten, official name before 1970 Verdun-sur-Meuse) is a city and commune in the Lorraine région, northeast France, in the Meuse département, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toul Toul is a historic fortified town of France, a sous-préfecture of the Meurthe-et-Moselle département. ... Henry II (French: Henri II) (March 31, 1519 – July 10, 1559), a member of the Valois Dynasty, was King of France from March 31, 1547, until his death. ... The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland. ... // Events January 17 - Englands Long Parliament passes the Vote of No Address, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War. ... Basel (British English traditionally: Basle and more recently Basel , German: Basel , French: Bâle , Italian: Basilea ) is Switzerlands third most populous city (166,563 inhabitants (2004); 690,000 inhabitants in the conurbation stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel Switzerlands second-largest urban area as... Location within Switzerland The city of Berne (German   , French Berne , Italian Berna , Romansh Berna , Bernese German Bärn ), is the Bundesstadt (administrative capital) of Switzerland and the fourth most populous Swiss city (after Zürich, Geneva and Basel). ... Zürich (German:   , Zürich German: Züri , in English generally Zurich, Italian: Zurigo) is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 366,145 in 2004; population of urban area: 1,091,732) and capital of the canton of Zürich. ...


With the rise of Revolutionary France in Europe, this trend would accelerate enormously. First between 1789 and 1792 the areas west of the Rhine were annexed by the revolutionary armies ending the long tradition of free cities such diverse as Cologne, Aachen, Düren, Speyer and Worms. Then, the Napoleonic Wars led to the reorganization of the Empire in 1803 (see German Mediatisation), where all of the free cities but six — the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck, and the cities of Frankfurt, Augsburg, and Nuremberg — were eliminated. Finally, Napoléon dissolved the Empire in 1806. By 1811, all of the free cities had been eliminated — Augsburg and Nuremberg had been annexed by Bavaria, Frankfurt had become the center of the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, a Napoleonic puppet state, and the three Hanseatic cities had been directly annexed by France as part of its effort to enforce the Continental Blockade against Britain. Hamburg and Lübeck with surrounding territories formed the département Bouches-de-l'Elbe. The period of the French Revolution in the history of France covers the years between 1789 and 1799, in which democrats and republicans overthrew the absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... Oche redirects here; in darts the oche is the line from which players must throw. ... Düren is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, capital of Düren district. ... Speyer (English formerly Spires) is a city in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) with approx. ... // Worms (pronounced ) is a city in the southwest of Germany. ... Combatants Allies: Austria[1] Portugal Prussia[1] Russia[2] Spain[3] Sweden United Kingdom[4] French Empire Holland Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Naples Duchy of Warsaw Bavaria[5] Saxony[6] Denmark [7] Commanders Archduke Charles Prince Schwarzenberg Karl Mack von Leiberich Gebhard von Blücher Duke of Brunswick Prince... 1803 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... // Background The German Mediatisation is a name applied to the series of mediatisations and secularisations which occurred in Germany during the Napoleonic Era (occurring 1795 - 1814AD). ... Hamburg from above Hamburgs motto: May the posterity endeavour with dignity to conserve the freedom, which the forefathers acquired. ... The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (official name in German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen) is the smallest of Germanys 16 Federal States (Bundesländer). ... The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Luebeck. ... Main Station Frankfurt Frankfurt International Airport For other uses, see Frankfurt (disambiguation). ... Augsburg is a city in south-central Germany. ... Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. ... Bonaparte as general, by Antoine-Jean Gros. ... 1806 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The Free State of Bavaria  (German: Freistaat Bayern), with an area of 70,553 km² (27,241 square miles) and 12. ... The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt was a German state of Napoleonic creation. ... The Continental System was a foreign-policy cornerstone of Napoleon I of France in his struggle against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars. ... The départements (or departments) are administrative units of France and many former French colonies, roughly analogous to English counties. ... Bouches-de-lElbe(German: Elbemündungen) is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Germany. ...


When the German Confederation was established in 1815, Hamburg, Lübeck, Bremen and Frankfurt were once again made free cities. Frankfurt was annexed by Prussia in consequence of the part it took in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. The three Hanseatic cities remained as constituent states of the new German Empire, and retained this role in the Weimar Republic and into the Third Reich, although under Hitler this status was purely notional. Due to Hitler's distaste for Lübeck and the need to compensate Prussia for its territorial losses under the Greater Hamburg Law, it was annexed to the latter in 1937. In the Federal Republic of Germany which was established after the war, Bremen and Hamburg became constituent states (Länder), a status which they retain to the present day. Berlin, which had never been a free city in its history, also received the status of a state after the war due to its status in divided post-war Germany. The German Confederation (German: Deutscher Bund) was the association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to organize the surviving states of the Holy Roman Empire, which had been abolished in 1806. ... The Battle of New Orleans 1815 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Lithuanian: ; Polish: ; Old Prussian: PrÅ«sa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in East Prussia, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. ... Combatants Austria, Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Hanover and some minor German States (formerly as the German Confederation) Prussia, Italy and some minor German States Strength 600,000 Austrians and German allies 500,000 Prussians and German allies 300,000 Italians Casualties 40,000+ dead or wounded 37,000 dead... 1866 (MDCCCLXVI) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Motto: Gott mit Uns (German: God with us”) Anthem: Heil dir im Siegerkranz (unofficial) Territory of the German Empire in 1914, prior to World War I Capital Berlin Language(s) Official: German Unofficial minority languages: Polish (Posen, Lower Silesia,Upper Silesia, Masuria) French (Alsace-Lorraine) Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1871... Anthem: Das Lied der Deutschen The Länder of Germany during the Weimar Republic, with the Free State of Prussia (Freistaat Preußen) as the largest Capital Berlin Language(s) German Government Republic President  - 1919-1925 Friedrich Ebert  - 1925-1933 Paul von Hindenburg Chancellor  - 1919 Philipp Scheidemann  - 1933 Adolf Hitler... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Hitler redirects here. ... Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Lithuanian: ; Polish: ; Old Prussian: PrÅ«sa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in East Prussia, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. ... The Gesetz über Groß-Hamburg und andere Gebietsbereinigungen or Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz (Law regarding Larger Hamburg and other territorial readjustments) was passed by the government of the German Reich on January 26, 1937 and mandated the exchange of territories between Hamburg and Prussia. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ... This article is about the capital of Germany. ...


See also

This is a list of Imperial Free Cities of the Holy Roman Empire as of 1792: Aachen Aalen Augsburg Biberach Bopfingen Bremen Buchau Buchhorn Cologne (Köln) Dinkelsbühl Dortmund Esslingen Frankfurt am Main Friedberg Gengenbach Giengen Goslar Hamburg Heilbronn Isny Kaufbeuren Kempten Leutkirch Lindau Lübeck Memmingen Mühlhausen... The Reichsfreiheit or Reichsunmittelbarkeit (adjectives reichsfrei, reichsunmittelbar) was a special, privileged status a city or region could attain in the Holy Roman Empire. ...

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