County of Württemberg

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County of Württemberg
Grafschaft Württemberg
State of the Holy Roman Empire

1083–1495
Flag Coat of arms
Division of Württemberg by the Treaty of Nürtingen
Capital Stuttgart
Languages Swabian German
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Feudal monarchy
Count of Württemberg
 -  ca 1089–1122
    (first count)

Conrad I
 -  1457–96
    (last count)

Eberhard V
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  County founded
    by Conrad I

before 1081 1083
 -  Treaty of Nürtingen
    divides county

1442
 -  Treaty of Münsingen
    reunites county

1482
 -  Raised to duchy 1495
Today part of  Germany

The County of Württemberg was a historical territory with origins in the realm of the House of Württemberg, the heart of the old Duchy of Swabia. Stuttgart was its capital.[1] From the 12th century until 1495, it was a county within the Holy Roman Empire.[2] It later became a duchy and, after the breakup of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom. The Hohenstaufen family controlled the Duchy of Swabia until the death of Conradin in 1268, when a considerable part of its lands fell to the representative of a family first mentioned in about 1080, the Count of Württemberg, Conrad von Beutelsbach, who took the name from his ancestral castle of Württemberg. The earliest historical details of a Count of Württemberg relate to one Ulrich I, who ruled from 1241 to 1265. He served as marshal of Swabia and advocate of the town of Ulm, had large possessions in the valleys of the Neckar and the Rems, and acquired Urach in 1260. Under his sons, Ulrich II and Eberhard I, and their successors, the power of the family grew steadily. Eberhard I (died 1325) opposed, sometimes successfully, three German kings. He doubled the area of his county and transferred his residence from Württemberg Castle to the "Old Castle" in today's city centre of Stuttgart. His successors were not as prominent, but all added something to the land area of Württemberg. In 1381, the Duchy of Teck was bought, and marriage to an heiress added Montbéliard in 1397. The family divided its lands amongst collateral branches several times but, in 1482, the Treaty of Münsingen reunited the territory, declared it indivisible, and united it under Count Eberhard V, called im Bart (the Bearded). This arrangement received the sanction of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, and of the Imperial Diet, in 1495. Unusually for Germany, from 1457 Württemberg had a bicameral parliament, the Landtag, known otherwise as the "diet" or "Estates" of Württemberg, that had to approve new taxation. In 1477, Count Eberhard founded the University of Tübingen and expelled the Jews.

Etymology[edit]

The county was named for a hill of the same name in the district of Untertürkheim in Rotenberg, Stuttgart, on which Wirtenberg Castle stood until 1819. Until about 1350, the county appears in records only with the spelling "Wirtenberg".

History[edit]

The House of Württemberg first appeared in the late 11th century. The first family member mentioned in records was Konrad I, in 1081, who is believed to have built the castle. The Württembergs became counts in the 12th century. The end of the House of Hohenstaufen's reign over the Duchy of Swabia in 1250 allowed the Württembergs to expand their territory to include the duchy. Stuttgart, the subsequent capital, became part of the county following the marriage of Ulrich I to Mechthild of Baden in 1251.

Württemberg territory expanded further under the rule of Ulrich III, Eberhard II, and Eberhard III. Under Eberhard III, Württemberg subsumed the County of Montbéliard (German: Mömpelgard) through the betrothal of his son, Eberhard IV, to Henriette, Countess of Montbéliard, in 1397.

In 1442, the Treaty of Nürtingen was signed between Ulrich V and his brother Ludwig I, splitting Württemberg into two parts. Ulrich took the Stuttgart section (Württemberg-Stuttgart), including the towns of Bad Cannstatt, Göppingen, Marbach am Neckar, Neuffen, Nürtingen, Schorndorf, and Waiblingen. Ludwig took the Bad Urach section (Württemberg-Urach), including the towns of Balingen, Calw, Herrenberg, Münsingen, Tuttlingen, and Tübingen. This section also included the County of Montbéliard after the death of Henriette in 1444.

By the Treaty of Münsingen in 1482 and the Treaty of Esslingen in 1492, Count Eberhard succeeded in reuniting Württemberg and rose to the rank of duke. The childless Eberhard became the sole ruler of the reunited country. The reigning Count Eberhard VI of Württemberg-Stuttgart was designated as his successor, and was to govern together with a committee of twelve "honourables", representatives of the country's two estates: lords and commons.

In 1495, under the Imperial Diet of Worms, summoned by Emperor Maximilian I, the county became a duchy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ross, Kelley L. "Germany, the German Confederation". Friesian.com. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Thibaut - Zycha. Walter de Gruyter. 1 January 2006. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-3-11-096116-4. Retrieved 4 July 2012.