Holy Roman Empire

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> States >> Holy Roman Empire

Map of the Holy Roman Empire in 1700 published in Wikimedia Commons by user Rebel Redcoat under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license
Capital Regensburg where the Reichstag (Imperial Diet) assembled
Language(s) mostly German
Religion various Christian religions: Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran...
Population n/a
Government In 1512, the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I organised the Holy Roman Empire into 10 administrative Reichskreise (Imperial Circles or more precisely Imperial Districts). These districts, included a total of some 2,000 independent states and individuals. Precise regulations were established for the raising and maintenance of the so called Reichsarmee (the Empire's Army).

The territories holders were the secular and ecclesiastical elector-princes and princes with their numerous titles, priories, counts, barons, and imperial free cities. 300 immediate territories were to provide their pre-determined contingent and pay their pre-estimated so called Römermonate (Roman months). Besides these territories, more than 1,400 immediate imperial estates (unmittelbare Reichslande) of the Rhenish, Swabian, and Franconian knighthoods were not part of any district and, thus, not obliged to contribute troops, nor did they pay Römermonate. Their tribute was the so called "subsidium charitativum" instead – an irregular wartime ex-gratita donation.

The 10 districts constituting the Holy Roman Empire were:


The archduke of Austria, the bishop of Trient, the bishop of Brixen, the Teutonic Order, the ruler of Dietrichstein.


The archbishop of Salzburg, the elector of Bavaria (Neuburg-Wittelsbach), the bishop of Freising, the elector of Palatinate (Neuburg-Wittelsbach) as the ruler of Neuburg, the count palatine of Sulzbach (Sulzbach-Wittelsbach), the bishop of Regensburg, the duke of Bavaria, the bishop of Passau, ruler Lobkowitz as the count of Sternberg, the ruler-provost of Bechtesgaden, the ruler-abbot of St. Emmeran in Regensburg, the ruler-abbess of Nieder-Münster in Regensburg, the ruler-abbess of Ober-Münster in Regensburg, the count of Wolfstein as the head of Sulzburg and Pyrbaum, the count of Hohen-Waldeck (House Mäxelrain), the count of Tilly as the head of Breiteneck , the imperial city of Regensburg.


The duchy of Brabant, the county of Flanders, Upper Guelders, the county of Hainaut, the duchy of Limburg, the duchy of Luxembourg, the lordship of Mechelen, and the county of Namur all under the rule of the new Spanish House of Bourbon and designated as the Spanish Netherlands.


The bishop of Bamberg, the bishop of Würzburg, the margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth or Kulmbach, the bishop of Eichstädt, the margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach or Onolzbach, the house Saxony and the landgrave of Hessen-Kassel as the count of Henneberg, the ruler of Schwarzenberg, the ruler and count of Löwenstein-Wertheim, the Teutonic Order, the counts of Hohenlohe, the counts of Kastel, the counts of Nostiz-Rieneck, the counts of Erbach, the counts of Limburg, the counts of Geyer, the counts of Schönborn, the imperial cities of Nürnberg, Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Windsheim, Schweinfurt and Weissenburg.

Electoral Rhenish District

The elector archbishop of Mainz, the elector archbishop of Trier, the elector archbishop of Köln, the elector of Palatinate (Neuburg-Wittelsbach), the duke of Arenberg, the Teutonic Order, the ruler of Nassau-Hadamar as the count of Beilstein, the count of Sinzendorf as the burgrave of Rheineck, the count of Kronberg.

1. Elector archbishop of Mainz (Kurmainz)

Mainz was ruled by prince-elector Lothar Franz von Schönborn, archbishop of Mainz and bishop of Bamberg. As arch-chancellor of Germany, he was the senior among the college of 7 German electors.

2. Elector archbishop of Cologne (Kurköln)

Joseph Clemens of Bavaria (a brother of Bavaria's reigning Prince-Elector Maximilian II Emanuel) was one of the more prominent rulers among the German princes. He was prince-elector and archbishop of Cologne. He later also served as Prince-Bishop of Liège, of Regensburg, of Freising and of Hildesheim.

Lower Saxony

The king of Prussia as the duke of Magdeburg and ruler of Halberstadt, the king of Sweden as the duke of Bremen, the elector and the dukes of Braunschweig, the dukes of Mecklenburg, the king of Denmark as the duke of Holstein and master of Pinneburg, the duke of Holstein-Gottorp as the joint owner of the duchy Holstein, the bishop of Hildesheim, the bishop of Lübeck, the counts of Ranzau, the imperial cities Lübeck, Goslar, Mühlhausen, Nordhausen, Hamburg and Bremen.


The bishop of Konstanz, the bishop of Augsburg, the ruler-provost zu Ellwangen, the ruler-abbot zu Kempten, the duke of Württemberg and Teck, the margraves of Baden-Baden and Baden-Durlach, the rulers of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the ruler-abbess of Buchau, the ruler Auersperg as count of Thengen, the rulers of Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg and the counts of Fürstenberg-Stühlingen and Fürstenberg-Möskirch, the rulers and counts of Oettingen, the ruler of Schwarzenberg as the landgrave im Klettau, the ruler of Lichtenstein, the abbots of Salmannsweiler, Weingarten, Ochsenhausen, Elchingen, Yrsee, Urperg, Kaysersheim, Roggenburg, Roth, Weissenau, Schussenried, Marchtal, Petershausen, Wettenhausen, Zwiefalten and Gegenbach, the abbesses of Hegbach, Gutenzell, Rothmünster and Baindt, the Teutonic Order, the elector of Bayern as the master zu Mindelheim, Schwabeck and Wiesensteig, the count of Montfort as the master zu Tettnang and Argen, the counts Truchsessen von Waldburg, the counts Königseck, the counts Fugger, the counts of Honenembs, the barons of Freiburg as the masters of Justingen, the abbot of St. Blasien as the master of the county Bondorf, the count of Traun and Abensberg as the master zu Egloff, the burgraves of Sinzendorf as the masters zu Thannhausen, the noble masters von der Leyen as the owners of the county Hohengeroldseck, the count of Grafeneck as the master zu Eglingen, the imperial cities of Augsburg, Ulm, Esslingen, Reutlingen, Nördlingen, Schwäbisch Hall, Überlingen, Rottweil, Heilbronn, Gmünd, Memmingen, Lindau, Dinkelsbühl, Biberach, Ravensberg, Kempten, Kaufbeuren, Weil, Wangen, Isni, Leutkirch, Wimpffen, Giengen, Pfullendorf, Buchhorn, Aalen, Bopfingen, Buchau, Gengenbach, Zell am Hammersbach, Offenburg and Donauwörth.

Upper Rhine

The bishop of Worms, the bishop of Speyer, the bishop of Strassburg, the bishop of Basel, the ruler-abbot of Fulda, the Johanniter Order, the archbishop of Trier as the provost of Prüm and for the part of castle Münzfelden, the empire-provost of Odenheim, the elector of the Pfalz als the ruler of Simmern, Lautern and Veldenz and as the joint owner of the county Sponnheim, the count palatine of Sulzbach as the joint owner of the principality Veldenz, the king of Sweden as the duke of Zweibrücken, the count palatine of Birkenfeld as the joint owner of the principality Veldenz and the county Sponnheim, the landgrave of Hessen, the margraves of Baden-Baden as the joint owner of and the county Sponnheim, the ruler zu Salm, the rulers zu Nassau, the counts of Waldeck, the counts of Hanau, the counts of Solms, the archbishop of Mainz as the joint owner of the county Königstein, the counts of Stolberg as the joint owner of the county Königstein, the counts of Ysenburg, the Wild-and Rheingrafen, the the counts of Leiningen, the counts of Sayn-Wittgenstein, the duke of Lothringen as the margrave of Nonemy and count Falkenstein, the counts of Wied as the counts of Kriechingen, the counts of Wartenberg, the counts of Velen as the masters of Bretzenheim, the counts of Oettingen-Katzenstein-Baldern as the masters of Dachstuhl, the barons of Waldbott-Bassenheim as master of Ollbrück, the imperial cities Speyer, Worms, Frankfurt am Main, Friedberg and Wetzlar.

Upper Saxony

The elector of Saxony and the dukes of Saxony, the king of Prussia as the margrave of Brandenburg and duke of Pommern (Hinterpommern), the king of Sweden as the duke of Pommern (Vorpommern) the rulers of Anhalt, the ruler-abbess of Quedlinburg, the duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel as the owner of the former monastery Walkenried, the rulers and counts of Schwarzburg, the rulers and counts of Mannsfeld, the counts of Stollberg, the counts of Reuss, the counts of Schönburg.

Lower-Rhine Westphalia

The "Westphalian District" was created in 1500. It consisted of the region between the Weser and what would become the frontier with the Netherlands to the exception of Cologne which belonged to the Electoral Rhenish District. In 1548, the bishopric of Utrecht, the duchy of Geldern and the county of Zutphen were excluded from this District. Since the XVIIth century, the bishop of Münster acted as director of this District.

The District consisted of:

  • duchies
  • Cleve whose duke was also elector of Brandenburg, ruler of Minden and count of Mark and Ravensburg
  • Jülich and Berg whose duke was also elector of the Pfalz
  • bishoprics
    • Münster
    • Paderborn
    • Osnabrück
  • Verden whose ruler was also king of Sweden
  • abbeys
    • Corvey
    • Stablo and Malmedy
    • Werden
    • Cornelius-Münster
    • Essen
    • Thorn
    • Herford
  • Nassau-Diez
  • Ostfriesland
  • counties
    • Oldenburg and Delmenhorst whose ruler was also king of Denmark
    • Wied
    • Sayn whose count was also duke of Sachsen-Eisenach
    • Lippe
    • Bentheim
    • Hoya partly owned by elector of Braunschweig
    • Diepholz and Spiegelberg whose count was the elector of Braunschweig
    • Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg
    • Kauntz-Rietberg
    • Pyrmont whose count was also count of Waldeck
    • Bronkhorts
    • Gronsfeld
    • Reckheim whose count was also count of Aspremont-Linden
    • Holzapfel whose cout was also ruler of Anhalt-Bernburg-Hoym
    • Manderscheid
    • Blankenheim
    • Geroldstein
    • Schleiden whose count was also count of the Mark
  • Witten
  • Eis
  • Schlenacken
  • Anhalt whose master was also ruler of ruler of Salm
  • Virnburg and Beilstein whose master was also count Metternich
  • Gehmen whose master was also count of Limburg-Styrum
  • Gimborn and Neustadt whose master was also ruler of Schwarzenberg
  • Wickerad whose master was also baron of Quadt
  • Mylendonk whose master was also duke of Croy
  • Reichenstein whose master was also baron of Nesselrode
  • Gelnhausen which was bonded to the elector of Pfalz and to the count of Hanau
  • Imperial cities
    • Cologne
    • Aachen
    • Dortmund
Dependencies n/a
Rulers At the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the archduke of Austria was also the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. As such, he ruled a loose confederacy of German States.
Army The Holy Roman Empire 10 administrative Reichskreise (Imperial Districts) included a total of some 2,000 independent states and individuals. Precise regulations were established for the raising and maintenance of the so called Reichsarmee (the Empire's Army).
Navy none