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Upper Rhenish Circle

File:Locator Upper-Rhenisch Circle.svg
The Upper Rhenish Circle as at the beginning of the 16th century

The Upper Rhenish Circle (German: Oberrheinischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former Duchy of Upper Lorraine and large parts of Rhenish Franconia including the Swabian Alsace region and the Burgundian duchy of Savoy.

Many of the circle's states west of the Rhine river were annexed by France under King Louis XIV during the 17th century, sealed by the 1678/79 Treaties of Nijmegen.

Composition

The circle was made up of the following states:

Name Type of entity Comments
20px Bar Duchy United with Lorraine since 1483.
20px Basel Prince-Bishopric Established in the 8th century as successor of the ancient diocese of Augusta Raurica, gained independence from the Kingdom of Burgundy about 1000, residence at Porrentruy (Pruntrut) from 1527.
20px Bretzenheim Lordship Held by Cologne, granted to Count Karl August of Heydeck, illegitimate son of Elector Charles Theodore of Bavaria in 1772, Imperial county in 1774, principality in 1789.
20px Colmar Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1226, part of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Dagstuhl Lordship Held by the Lords of Fleckenstein, acquired by Oettingen-Wallerstein in 1697.
20px Falkenstein Lordship Held by the Counts of Daun since 1456, raised to county in 1518, fell to Lorraine in 1667, administered with Further Austria from 1782.
20px Frankfurt am Main Imperial City Since 1220, place of the Imperial election by the Golden Bull of 1356.
20px Friedberg Imperial City Since 1252.
20px Fulda Prince-Abbacy Established by Saint Boniface in 744, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1220, raised to Prince-Bishopric in 1752.
20px Haguenau Imperial City Since about 1260, capital of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Hanau-Lichtenberg County Partitioned from the County of Hanau as Hanau-Babenhausen in 1456, inherited the lordship of Lichtenberg in 1474, fell to Hesse-Darmstadt in 1736.
20px Hanau-Münzenberg County Partitioned from the County of Hanau in 1456, reunited with Hanau-Lichtenberg in 1642, fell to Hesse-Kassel in 1736.
20px Heitersheim Principality Held by the Order of St John since 1272, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Charles V in 1548.
22px Hersfeld Abbacy Established about 736 by Saint Sturm, Reichsfreiheit granted by Charlemagne in 775, secularised to a principality by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, held by Hesse-Kassel
20px Hesse Landgraviate Established after the War of the Thuringian Succession in 1247, residence at Kassel, partitioned after the death of Landgrave Philip I in 1567.
18px Hesse-Kassel Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, Electorate of Hesse in 1803.
20px Hesse-Rheinfels Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567 including the former County of Katzenelnbogen with Burg Rheinfels, line extinct in 1583, fell to Hesse-Kassel.
18px Hesse-Darmstadt Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1806.
20px Hesse-Marburg Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, line extinct in 1604, annexed by Hesse-Darmstadt.
18px Hesse-Homburg Landgraviate Cadet branch of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1622, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1768.
20px Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein County Subdivision of the County of Isenburg established in 1511 (Oberisenburg), again divided in 1628.
20px Isenburg-Birstein County Subdivision of Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein from 1628, merged into Isenburg-Offenbach in 1644, restored in 1711, raised to principality in 1744.
20px Isenburg-Büdingen County Subdivision of Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein from 1628.
20px Isenburg-Meerholz County Split off Isenburg-Büdingen in 1673.
20px Isenburg-Wächtersbach County Split off Isenburg-Büdingen in 1673.
20px Kaysersberg Imperial City Part of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Königstein County Held by the Lords of Eppstein, raised to Reichsgrafen by Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg in 1505, inherited by Stolberg in 1535, seized by Mainz in 1581.
20px Kriechingen County Former fief of Lorraine around Créhange, raised to Imperial county in 1617, held by the Princes of East Frisia from 1697, to Wied-Runkel in 1726.
20px Landau Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph I of Habsburg in 1291, seized by the Bishop of Speyer in 1324, restored by Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg in 1511, joined the Décapole in 1521.
20px Leiningen-Westerburg County Subdivision of the former County of Leiningen since 1317, inherited by the Lords of Westerburg in 1467.
20px Leiningen-Dagsburg County Subdivision of the former County of Leiningen since 1317, raised to principality in 1779.
18px Lorraine Duchy Former Upper Lotharingia, acquired by René of Anjou, Duke of Bar in 1431, swapped by Duke Francis III of Habsburg-Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1735, annexed by France in 1766.
20px Mensfelden Lordship Condominium of Trier and Nassau.
20px Metz Prince-Bishopric Established by 535, Reichsfreiheit confirmed by Charles IV of Luxembourg in 1357, occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552, part of the French Three Bishoprics by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
20px Metz Imperial City Since 1189, occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
20px Mulhouse Imperial City Since about 1268, part of the Décapole since 1354, joined Swiss Confederacy in 1515, France in 1798.
20px Munster, Haut-Rhin Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1235, part of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Nassau-Weilburg County Principality in 1688, Duchy of Nassau from 1806.
20px Nassau-Idstein County Split off Nassau-Weilburg in 1627, fell to Nassau-Ottweiler in 1721.
20px Nassau-Saarbrücken County Established in 1381, fell to Nassau-Ottweiler in 1723
20px Nassau-Ottweiler County Split off Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1659, fell to Nassau-Usingen in 1728.
20px Nassau-Usingen County Split off Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1659, principality in 1688, Duchy of Nassau from 1806.
20px Nomeny Margraviate Held by the Bishopric of Metz until 1548, margraviate established by Emperor Maximilian II of Habsburg in 1567, to Lorraine in 1612.
20px Obernai Imperial City Since about 1240, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1679.
20px Odenheim Provostry Monastery established in 1122, Imperial college of canons (Reichsstift) since 1494, moved to Bruchsal in 1507.
20px Olbrück Lordship Territory around Olbrück Castle near Niederdürenbach, originally held by Wied.
20px Palatinate-Simmern Principality Split off Electoral Palatinate in 1410, inherited by Palatinate-Neuburg in 1685.
20px Palatinate-Lautern Principality Subdivision of Palatinate-Simmern from 1577.
20px Palatinate-Zweibrücken Principality Former County of Zweibrücken, ruled in personal union with Palatinate-Simmern until 1459, fell to Palatinate-Birkenfeld in 1734.
20px Palatinate-Veldenz Principality Former County of Veldenz inherited by Palatinate-Zweibrücken in 1444.
20px Prüm Abbacy (Re-)established by King Pepin the Short in 752, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1222, administrated by Trier from 1576.
20px Reipoltskirchen Lordship Since about 1300.
20px Rosheim Imperial City Since 1303, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1679.
20px Salm County Upper Salm since 1165, large parts held by the Wild- and Rhinegraves from 1475 and partitoned in 1499, remains to Lorraine until 1600.
20px Salm-Dhaun County Subdivision of Salm since 1499, line extinct in 1750, inherited by Salm-Grumbach.
20px Salm-Grumbach County Split off Salm-Dhaun in 1561, annexed by France in 1801.
20px Salm-Stein-Grehweiler County Split off Salm-Grumbach in 1668.
20px Salm-Salm County Split off Salm-Dhaun in 1574, princely county from 1623, Principality of Salm from 1802.
20px Salm-Kyrburg County Subdivision of Salm from 1499, residence at Kirn, princely county from 1743, Principality of Salm from 1802.
20px Savoy Duchy Former county, part of the Kingdom of Arles inherited by Emperor Conrad II in 1032, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg in 1361, raised to duchy in 1416, to Kingdom of Sardinia in 1720.
20px Sayn-Wittgenstein County Former Counts of Sayn, a cadet branch of the House of Sponheim, acquired County of Wittgenstein in 1361, partitioned in 1607.
20px Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg County Subdivision of Sayn-Wittgenstein from 1607.
20px Sayn-Wittgenstein-Wittgenstein County Subdivision of Sayn-Wittgenstein from 1607, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein from 1657.
20px Sélestat Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1216, part of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Solms-Braunfels County Subdivision of Solms since 1258, raised to principality in 1742.
20px Solms-Lich County Subdivision of Solms(-Braunfels) since 1409, Solms-Hohensolms-Lich from 1544, raised to principality in 1792.
20px Solms-Laubach County Subdivision of Solms-Lich from 1544.
20px Solms-Rödelheim County Subdivision of Solms-Laubach from 1607, Solms-Rödelheim-Assenheim from 1635.
20px Speyer Prince-Bishopric Esablished before 614, Reichsfreiheit granted around 969 by Emperor Otto I.
20px Speyer Imperial City City rights acknowledged by the Speyer bishops in 1294, venue of 50 Reichstag assemblies, including the Diet of Speyer (1529) (Protestation at Speyer).
20px Sponheim County Established in the 11th century by the Rhenish House of Sponheim, held jointly by the Margraves of Baden and the House of Palatinate-Simmern since 1437.
20px Strasbourg Prince-Bishopric Established in the 4th century, prince-bishopric since 982.
20px Strasbourg Imperial City Since 1262.
20px Toul Prince-Bishopric Established in 365 by Saint Mansuetus, Reichsfreiheit confirmed by King Henry I in 928, occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552, part of the French Three Bishoprics by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
20px Toul Imperial City Since the 13th century (Tull), occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
20px Turckheim Imperial City Since 1312, part of the Décapole since 1354.
20px Verdun Prince-Bishopric Established about 346, Reichsfreiheit confirmed by Emperor Otto III in 997, occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552, part of the French Three Bishoprics by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
20px Verdun Imperial City Since the 12th century (Wirten), occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
20px Waldeck County Line established about 1180, Reichsfreiheit granted by King Wenceslaus of Luxembourg in 1379, Waldeck-Pyrmont from 1625, raised to principality in 1712.
20px Wartenberg County Established in 1232, inherited by Riedesel in 1428, Freiherren from 1680.
20px Wetterau County Established c. 950, held by the counts von Wetter-Tegerfelden in 1317
20px Wissembourg Imperial City Since 1306, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1648.
20px Wissembourg Prince-Provostry Abbey established about 660 by the Bishopric of Speyer, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Otto II in 967, again held by Speyer from 1546.
20px Wetzlar Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1180.
20px Wild- and Rhinegraves County Rhinegraves since the 12th century, inherited Wildgraviate at Kyrburg in 1409, acquired (Upper) Salm in 1475.
20px Worms Prince-Bishopric Established about 614.
20px Worms Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1184.

Notes

References

Sources

The list of states making up the Upper Rhenish Circle is based in part on that in the German Wikipedia article Oberrheinischer Reichskreis.