List of dukes in Europe

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The following is a list of historic duchies in Europe:

Austria[edit]

The Austrian lands:

The Habsburg dukes came to style themselves Archdukes.

Bohemia[edit]

The Czech lands:

The Duchy of Bohemia became Kingdom of Bohemia in 1212.

Germany[edit]

Although the titled aristocracy of Germany no longer holds a legal rank, nearly all ducal families in Germany continued to be treated as dynastic (i.e., "royalty") for marital and genealogical purposes after 1918. Some maintain dynastic traditions that are reflected in roles they still play in high society, philanthropy and Germany's version of local "squirearchy".

At first, the highest nobles – de facto equal to kings and emperors – were the Dukes of the stem duchies:

Later, the precedence shifted to the prince-electors, the first order amongst the princes of the empire, regardless of the actual title attached to the fief. This college originally included only one Duke, the Duke of Saxony. The ducal title, however, was not limited by primogeniture in the post-medieval era. All descendants in the male line, including females, shared the original title, but each male added as a suffix the name of his inherited domain to distinguish his line from that of other branches. From the 19th century, some cadets of the kingly houses of Bavaria and Württemberg, and all those of the grand-ducal houses of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Oldenburg, took the ducal prefix as their primary style instead of that of Prince (Prinz).

There were many other duchies, some of them insignificant petty states (Kleinstaaterei):

On the Baltic south coast[edit]

The Low countries (Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg)[edit]

Italy[edit]

The Kingdom of the Lombards was divided in several duchies, as follows:

They have been suppressed or transformed in counties as consequence of the Frankish conquest of the Kingdom in 776. Only the two southern duchies of Spoleto and Benevento were spared and survived some centuries.

In the same period (the Early Middle Ages) also many Italian territories under Byzantine suzerainty (in the Exarchate of Ravenna) were organized in duchies, and notably the following ones:

The first four were Tyrhenean port cities and survived as semi-autonomous states until the Norman conquest of Southern Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Duchy of Rome was transformed in the Papal State as consequence of the Donation of Sutri in 728. The Duchy of Venice became the Republic of Venice and its head of state retained the title of doge, equivalent to that of duke.

In 1059 Robert Guiscard, head of the Norman House of Hauteville, was created by the Pope Duke of Apulia and Calabria. When the State was raised to Kingdom of Sicily in 1180, the title of Duke of Apulia and Calabria was used intermittently for the heir to throne.

Since 1395 the major Signorias of the Kingdom of Italy (which was part of the Holy Roman Empire) began to be raised to Dukedoms by the Emperor. By the centuries more and more Dukedoms were created in this way and they became de facto sovereign states. The Duchies created after 1395 were the following ones:

We should also remember that the Duchy of Savoy, though it was not an Italian state, had suzerainety on Piedmont.
Finally, the Republic of Genoa and the Republic of Venice were regarded as equivalent to Dukedoms, since their elective crowned heads of state had the title of doge, in style echoed by the minute Adriatic republic of Senarica.

Also the Pope created some sovereign duchy during the Renaissance, notably:

While the King of Naples created only one, the Duchy of Sora.

See also Historical states of Italy

In the Papal states and in the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily the Pope and the king, respectively, granted the title of duke as the second rank of nobility, just inferior to that of prince. These dukes, however, always remained vassals.
They include:

Since 1081 the Duchies of Benevento and Pontecorvo had been two among the Papal states, and, in fact, no duke was appointed.

A unique Napoleonic particularity was the creation by decree of 30 March 1806 of a number of duchés grand-fiefs. As the name suggests, these were duchies, but forming an exclusive order of 'great fiefs' (twenty among some 2200 noble title creations), a college nearly comparable in status to the original anciennes pairies in the French kingdom. Since Napoleon I wouldn't go back on the Revolution's policy of abolishing feudalism in France, but didn't want these grandees to fall under the 'majorat' system in France either, he chose to create them outside the French "metropolitan" empire, notably in the following Italian satellite states, and yet all awarded to loyal Frenchmen, mainly high military officers:

In the Kingdom of Italy, in personal union with France, personally held by Napoleon I:

In the Principality of Lucca-Piombino, only Massa et Carrara: for Régnier, judge (extinguished 1962); Massa and Carrara were separated from the kingdom of Italy by article 8 of the decree of March 30, 1806 and united to the principality of Lucca-Piombino by another decree of March 30, 1806.

In the Kingdom of Naples :

In the states of Parma and Piacenza, ceded to France by the treaty of Aranjuez of 21 March 1801, shortly before both territories were united to the French Empire on 24 May 1808:

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna created the last Italian sovereign duchy, the Duchy of Lucca.