Last updated: May 12, 2009
Copyright © V. Rozn 1999-2009
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The High Nobility of the Holy Roman Empire
the German Ruling Houses in 1789-1918
The site is dedicated to German territorial rulers of the
18th-20th centuries that belonged to the High Nobility (Hochadel)
of the Holy Roman Empire
. The High Nobility was an Imperial immediate noble
group that had the right to sit and vote in the Imperial Assembly. Although the
High Nobles legally recognized the Imperial suzerainty, in fact, they had become
independent territorial rulers by the 17th century.
The creation of the Confederation of the Rhine (July 1806) and
the following abolition of the Holy Roman Empire (August 1806) split the
Imperial High Nobility into two categories: the Sovereign houses and the
Mediatized houses. The noble families, whose lands were mediatized, i.e.
put under Territorial supremacy of other states, became known as the Mediatized
nobility. Until 1918, the Mediatized nobles preserved significant rights but
lost their status of territorial rulers.
In 1815, all of the German sovereign rulers joined the German
Confederation that existed until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Because of the
war, several German rulers lost their lands. In 1871, the most of the German
rulers joined the new German Empire headed by the King of Prussia (N.1).
Although nominally they retained their sovereignty, in practice the German
Empire was dominated by the most powerful state, Prussia. 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
1. Only three former members of the German Confederation did
not join the new German Empire: the Emperor of Austria, the Grand Duke of
Luxembourg, and the Prince of Liechtenstein.
2. In the 16th-20th centuries, representatives of the High
Noble Houses occupied the thrones of many European countries: the Netherlands,
Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russian, Poland,
Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Spain, Portugal, etc.
1. The German Reigning Houses