Kingdom of Württemberg

Kingdom of Württemberg

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The Kingdom of Württemberg was a state that existed from 1806 to 1918, located in present-day Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, Germany. It was a continuation of the Duchy of Württemberg, which came into existence in 1495. Before that the ruling house of Württemberg had been counts ruling a fragment of the Duchy of Swabia
Duchy of Swabia
Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom, and its dukes were thus among the most powerful magnates of Germany.-History:...

, which had dissolved after the death of Conradin
Conradin
Conrad , called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin , was the Duke of Swabia , King of Jerusalem , and King of Sicily .-Early childhood:Conradin was born in Wolfstein, Bavaria, to Conrad...

 in 1268.

Geography


The border of the Kingdom of Württemberg, as defined in 1813, was situated between 47°34' and 49°35' North and 8°15' and 10°30' East. The greatest distance north-south was 225 km and the greatest east-west was 160 km. The border had a total length of 1800 km. The total area of the state was 19,508 km².

It shared a boundary on the East with Bavaria, and on the other three sides with Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, with the exception of a short distance on the south, where it bordered Hohenzollern
Province of Hohenzollern
Hohenzollern was a de facto province of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was created in 1850 by joining the principalities of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Hohenzollern-Hechingen after both formerly independently ruling Catholic princely lines of the House of Hohenzollern had handed over their...

 and Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee , the Untersee , and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein.The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps...

.

History



On 1 January 1806 Duke Frederick II assumed the title of king as King Frederick I
Frederick I of Württemberg
Frederick I William Charles of Württemberg was the first King of Württemberg. He was known for his size: at and about , he was in contrast to Napoleon, who recognized him as King of Württemberg.-Biography:...

, abrogated the constitution and united old and new Württemberg. Subsequently he placed the property of the church under the control of the kingdom, whose boundaries were also greatly extended by the process "mediatisation
German Mediatisation
The German Mediatisation was the series of mediatisations and secularisations that occurred in Germany between 1795 and 1814, during the latter part of the era of the French Revolution and then the Napoleonic Era....

".

In 1806 Frederick joined the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

 and received further additions of territory containing 160,000 inhabitants; a little later, by the Peace of Vienna of October 1809, about 110,000 more people came under his rule. In return for these favours, Frederick joined Napoleon Bonaparte in his campaigns against Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, Austria and Russia, and of the 16,000 of his subjects who marched to Moscow only a few hundred returned. After the Battle of Leipzig
Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, on 16–19 October 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine...

 in October 1813, King Frederick deserted the waning fortunes of the French emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

, and by a treaty made with Metternich
Klemens Wenzel von Metternich
Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich was a German-born Austrian politician and statesman and was one of the most important diplomats of his era...

 at Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

 in November 1813 he secured the confirmation of his royal title and of his recent acquisitions of territory, while his troops marched with those of the allies into France. In 1815 the king joined the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

, but the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 made no change to the extent of his lands. In the same year he laid before the representatives of his people the outline of a new constitution, but they rejected it, and in the midst of the commotion Frederick died, on 30 October 1816.

At once the new king, William I
William I of Württemberg
William I was the second King of Württemberg from October 30, 1816 until his death.He was born in Lüben, the son of King Frederick I of Württemberg and his wife Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel .-First marriage:...

 (reigned 1816–1864) took up the constitutional question and after much discussion granted a new constitution in September 1819. This constitution, with subsequent modifications, remained in force until 1918 (see Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

). A period of quiet now set in, and the condition of the kingdom, its education, its agriculture and its trade and manufactures, began to receive earnest attention, while by frugality, both in public and in private matters, King William I helped to repair the shattered finances of the country. But the desire for greater political freedom did not entirely fade away under the constitution of 1819, and after 1830 a certain amount of unrest occurred. This, however, soon passed, while the inclusion of Württemberg in the German Zollverein
Zollverein
thumb|upright=1.2|The German Zollverein 1834–1919blue = Prussia in 1834 grey= Included region until 1866yellow= Excluded after 1866red = Borders of the German Union of 1828 pink= Relevant others until 1834...

 and the construction of railways fostered trade.

The revolutionary movement of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 did not leave Württemberg untouched, although no actual violence took place within the kingdom. King William had to dismiss Johannes Schlayer (1792–1860) and his other ministers, and to call to power men with more liberal ideas, the exponents of the idea of a united Germany. King William did proclaim a democratic constitution, but as soon as the movement had spent its force he dismissed the liberal ministers, and in October 1849 Schlayer and his associates returned to power. By interfering with popular electoral rights the king and his ministers succeeded in assembling a servile diet in 1851, and this surrendered all the privileges gained since 1848. In this way the authorities restored the constitution of 1819, and power passed into the hands of a bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

. A concordat
Concordat
A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters. Legally, they are international treaties. They often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country...

 with the Papacy proved almost the last act of William's long reign, but the diet repudiated the agreement, preferring to regulate relations between church and state in its own way.


In July 1864 Charles (1823–1891, reigned 1864–1891) succeeded his father William I as king and had almost at once to face considerable difficulties. In the duel between Austria and Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 for supremacy in Germany, William I had consistently taken the Austrian side, and this policy was equally acceptable to the new king and his advisers. In 1866 Württemberg took up arms on behalf of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

, but three weeks after the Battle of Königgratz
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

 (3 July 1866) her troops suffered a comprehensive defeat at Tauberbischofsheim
Tauberbischofsheim
Tauberbischofsheim is a German town in the north-east of Baden-Württemberg on the river Tauber with a population of about 13,000. It is the capital of the Main-Tauber district....

, and the country lay at the mercy of Prussia. The Prussians occupied the northern part of Württemberg and negotiated a peace in August 1866; by this Württemberg paid an indemnity of 8,000,000 gulden, but she at once concluded a secret offensive and defensive treaty with her conqueror. Württemberg was a party to the St Petersburg Declaration of 1868
St Petersburg Declaration of 1868
St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 or in full Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Time of War, of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes Weight is an international treaty agreed in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, November 29 / December 11, 1868. It succeeded the First Geneva Convention of 1864...

.

The end of the struggle against Prussia allowed a renewal of democratic agitation in Württemberg, but this had achieved no tangible results when the great war
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 between France and Prussia broke out in 1870. Although the policy of Württemberg had continued antagonistic to Prussia, the kingdom shared in the national enthusiasm which swept over Germany, and its troops took a creditable part in the Battle of Worth and in other operations of the war. In 1871 Württemberg became a member of the new German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, but retained control of her own post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

, telegraph
Telegraphy
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

s and railways. She had also certain special privileges with regard to tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

ation and the army, and for the next ten years Württemberg's policy enthusiastically supported the new order. Many important reforms, especially in the area of finance, ensued, but a proposal for a union of the railway system with that of the rest of Germany failed. After reductions in taxation in 1889, the reform of the constitution became the question of the hour. King Charles and his ministers wished to strengthen the conservative element in the chambers, but the laws of 1874, 1876 and 1879 only effected slight reforms pending a more thorough settlement. On 6 October 1891, King Charles died suddenly; his cousin William II
William II of Württemberg
William II was the fourth King of Württemberg, from 6 October 1891 until the abolition of the kingdom on 30 November 1918...

 (1848–1921, reigned 1891–1918) succeeded and continued the policy of his predecessor.


Discussions on the reform of the constitution continued, and the election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 of 1895 memorably returned a powerful party of democrats. King William had no sons, nor had his only Protestant kinsman, Duke Nicholas (1833–1903); consequently the succession would ultimately pass to a Roman Catholic branch of the family, and this prospect raised up certain difficulties about the relations between church and state. The heir to the throne in 1910 was the Roman Catholic Duke Albert
Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg
Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg or Albrecht Herzog von Württemberg was a German Generalfeldmarschall and head of the Royal House of Württemberg...

 (b. 1865) of the Altshausen
Altshausen
Altshausen is a small Swabian municipality near Ravensburg, Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany.- Geography :Altshausen is situated in Upper Swabia, about 40 kilometers north of Lake Constance...

 branch of the royal family.

An elder Catholic line, the dukes of Urach
Duke of Urach
The title Duke of Urach was created in the Kingdom of Württemberg for Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander Ferdinand, Count of Württemberg on 28 March 1867, with the style of HSH."Urach" is pronounced Oo-raakh -Family:...

, was bypassed due to a morganatic marriage contracted in 1800. Another morganatic line that was Protestant included Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, as the wife of King-Emperor George V....

 who married George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 of the United Kingdom.

Between 1900 and 1910 the political history of Württemberg centred round the settlement of the constitutional and the educational questions. The constitution underwent revision in 1906, and a settlement of the education difficulty occurred in 1909. In 1904 the Württemberg railway system integrated with that of the rest of Germany.

Following the outcome of the First World War, King William abdicated
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 on 30 November 1918. The Kingdom was replaced by the Free People's State of Württemberg
Free People's State of Württemberg
The Free People's State of Württemberg was a state of Germany during the Weimar Republic in Württemberg.-1918 revolution:As Germany underwent violent revolution near the end of World War I, the Kingdom of Württemberg was transformed from a monarchy to a democratic republic without bloodshed; its...

.

See also

  • Ludwigsburg Palace
    Ludwigsburg Palace
    Ludwigsburg Palace is a historical building in the city of Ludwigsburg , Germany. It is one of the country's largest Baroque palaces and features an enormous garden in that style....

  • Rulers of Württemberg
    Rulers of Württemberg
    This is a list of the rulers of the German state of Württemberg, originally a county and eventually a kingdom until the ruling dynasty was overthrown in 1918.- Counts of Württemberg to 1495 :* Konrad I 1089–1122...

  • History of Württemberg
    History of Württemberg
    Württemberg developed as a political entity in south-west Germany, with the core established around Stuttgart by Count Conrad . His descendants managed to expand Württemberg, surviving Germany's religious wars, changes in imperial policy, and invasions from France. The state had a basic...

  • Army of Württemberg
    Army of Württemberg
    The army of the German state of Württemberg was until 1918 known in Germany as the Württembergische Armee.Its troops were maintained by Württemberg for its national defence and as a unit of the Swabian Circle, the Confederation of the Rhine, the German Confederation and finally of the Imperial...

  • Weizsäcker family
  • History of the railway in Württemberg
    History of the railway in Württemberg
    The History of railways in Württemberg describes the beginnings and expansion of rail transport in Württemberg from the first studies in 1834 to today.- Starting points :...

  • Coat of arms of Württemberg
    Coat of arms of Württemberg
    The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg shows an impalement of the three black antlers that represent Württemberg on the dexter side; and the three black lions passant of medieval Swabia on the sinister side, both on a gold field.It was formally adopted by King William on 30 December 1817,...

  • Württemberg's anthem
    Württemberger Hymne
    Württemberger Hymne or The Württemberg AnthemThe anthem was composed for the Kingdom of Württemberg by Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner and it is still sung today.-German Lyrics:1...

  • Crown Jewels of Württemberg
    Crown Jewels of Württemberg
    The Crown Jewels of Württemberg are a historical jewel collection belonging to the Kings and Queens of Württemberg....

  • Order of the Württemberg Crown
  • Military Merit Order (Württemberg)
    Military Merit Order (Württemberg)
    The Military Merit Order was a military order of the Kingdom of Württemberg, which joined the German Empire in 1871. The order was one of the older military orders of the states of the German Empire...