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Encyclopedia > Imperial Free City

In the Holy Roman Empire, an imperial free 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. This page is about the Germanic empire. ... City lights from space. ... 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. ... This is a list of states which were part of the Holy Roman Empire at any time within the empires existence between 962 and 1806. ... For Fürst, the German title of nobility that is best translated as Prince, see below. ... The term duke is a title of nobility which refers to the sovereign male ruler of a Continental European duchy, to a nobleman of the highest grade of the British peerage, or to the highest rank of nobility in various other European countries, including Portugal, Spain and France (in Italy... Prince-Bishop was the title given bishops who held secular powers, beside their inherent clerical power. ...


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 (date?), Strasbourg (1272), Speyer (1294), Worms (date?), Mainz (1244, revoked 1462), Cologne (1475) and Regensburg (1245). In practice, however, there was little distinction between the imperial cities and the free cities; the distinctions lay more between rich cities and poor: 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. The cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, a significant architectural contribution of the High Middle Ages. ... Location within Switzerland Basel (English traditionally: Basle , German: Basel , French Bâle , Italian Basilea ) is Switzerlands third most populous city (188,000 inhabitants in the canton of Basel-City as of 2004; the 690,000 inhabitants in the conurbation stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel... City motto: – City proper (commune) Région Alsace Département Bas-Rhin (67) Mayor Fabienne Keller (UMP) (since 2001) Area 78. ... Events August 6 - Stephen Vs death makes his son, Ladislaus, King of Hungary. ... Speyer (English formerly Spires) is a city in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) with approx. ... Events Catholicos of Armenia returns to Sis Pope Boniface VIII becomes Pope Births Charles IV of France Deaths John I of Brabant Roger Bacon – English philosopher and scientist Kublai Khan Categories: 1294 ... Political status Country: Germany Federal state: Rhineland-Palatinate Region: Rhine Neckar Area District: Independent municipality Facts Population: 85,829 (December 2004) Area: 108. ... Map of Germany showing Mainz Mainz (French: Mayence) is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. ... Events Sultan Malik al-Muattam razes city walls. ... Events Settlers from Portugal begin to settle the Cape Verde islands. ... Cologne skyline at night with river Rhine in the foreground and famous Cologne Cathedral on the right. ... Events August 29 - Treaty of Picquigny ends a brief war between France and England. ... Regensburg (English formerly Ratisbon, Latin Ratisbona, Czech Řezno) is a city (population 146,824 in 2002) 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. ... Statistics State: Schleswig-Holstein District: Independent city Area: 214. ... Augsburg is a city in south central Germany. ... C is As enclave and Bs exclave. ...


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. A charter is a document bestowing certain rights on a town, city, university or institution. ... Hohenstaufen was 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 separated from the Empire by conquest: Besançon passed into the possession of Habsburg Spain; Strasbourg, Colmar, Hagenau and other free cities were seized by the maréchals of Louis XIV. Others, such as Basel, left the Empire in order to join the Swiss Confederation. 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. ... Location within France Besançon is a French city in the département of Doubs, of which it is the préfecture. ... Habsburg (sometimes spelled Hapsburg, but never so in official use) was one of the major ruling houses of Europe. ... City motto: – City proper (commune) Région Alsace Département Bas-Rhin (67) Mayor Fabienne Keller (UMP) (since 2001) Area 78. ... Houses on a canal, Colmar Location within France Colmar is a city and commune in the Haut-Rhin département of Alsace, France. ... Haguenau (German: Hagenau) is a commune of northeastern France, in the Bas-Rhin département, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné) (September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715) reigned as King of France and King of Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death. ... Location within Switzerland Basel (English traditionally: Basle , German: Basel , French Bâle , Italian Basilea ) is Switzerlands third most populous city (188,000 inhabitants in the canton of Basel-City as of 2004; the 690,000 inhabitants in the conurbation stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel...


The most powerful Reichsstädte included Augsburg, Bremen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Lübeck and Nuremberg. In the southwest, which had a more diverse and scattered political structure, many more free cities existed than in the north and in Bavaria, where larger territories had established themselves. Augsburg is a city in south central Germany. ... Bremen lies in North Germany 50km South of the North Sea. ...   Frankfurt am Main? [ˈfraÅ‹kfÊŠrt] is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. ... Hamburg is Germanys second largest city (after Berlin) and, with the Hamburg Harbour, its principal port. ... Statistics State: Schleswig-Holstein District: Independent city Area: 214. ... Nuremberg coat of arms Location of Nuremberg Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. ... With an area of 70,553 km² (27,241 square miles) and 12. ...


In the later Middle Ages, many free cities formed alliances (Städtebünde); most notably the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League (German: die Hanse) was an alliance of trading cities that established and maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic for a time in the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period (ie between the 13th and 17th century). ...


Free and imperial cities were only officially admitted as a Reichsstand to the Reichstag in 1489, and even then their votes were less significant 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 term Reichstag (   listen?) [ɹaɪçtak] (in English: Imperial Diet) is a composition of German Reich (Empire) and tag (which does not mean day here, but is a derivate of the verb tagen, which means to meet or assemble). ... 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 Known also as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, The Peace of Westphalia is the series... // Events Peace treaty signed at Westphalia ends the Thirty Years War. ...


The number of imperial free cities varied greatly over the centuries. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica mentions a list drawn up in 1422 with 75 free cities, and another drawn up in 1521 with 84, but at the 1792 Reichstag, a mere 51 cities were left bearing this status, most of them small towns in Swabia. During the reorganization of the Empire in 1803 (see German Mediatisation), 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. Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) represents, in many ways, the sum of knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century. ... Events August 31 - Henry VI becomes King of England. ... Events January 3 - Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther. ... The Holy Roman Empire was one of the strangest political structures in the world. ... Swabia (German: Schwaben) is both a historic and linguistic region in Germany. ... 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 is Germanys second largest city (after Berlin) and, with the Hamburg Harbour, its principal port. ... Bremen lies in North Germany 50km South of the North Sea. ... Statistics State: Schleswig-Holstein District: Independent city Area: 214. ...   Frankfurt am Main? [ˈfraÅ‹kfÊŠrt] is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. ... Augsburg is a city in south central Germany. ... Nuremberg coat of arms Location of Nuremberg Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. ...


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. 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). ... 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. ...


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, it was annexed by Prussia 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 also received the status of a state after the war. The German Confederation (German: Deutscher Bund) was a loose 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). ... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (German: Preußen or Preussen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: PrÅ«sai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of... It has been suggested that Gastein Convention be merged into this article or section. ... 1866 is a common year starting on Monday. ... The term German Empire (Deutsches Reich) commonly refers to Germany, from its consolidation as a unified nation-state on January 18, 1871, until the abdication of Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II on November 9, 1918. ... The period of German history from 1919 to 1933 is known as the Weimar Republic IPA (German Weimarer Republik). ... 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. ...   Adolf Hitler? (April 20, 1889–April 30, 1945) was the Chancellor of Germany from 1933, and Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor) of Germany from 1934, to his death. ... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (German: Preußen or Preussen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: PrÅ«sai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of... 1937 was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Germany is a federal republic made up of 16 states formally known in German as Bundesländer (Federal States; singular Bundesland), or more commonly, Länder (singular Land). ...   Berlin? (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ...


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. ...

External links

  • 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article: Imperial cities

This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain. Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) represents, in many ways, the sum of knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


 
 

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