House of Hohenzollern

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House of Hohenzollern
Coat of arms of the Hohenzollerns
Country Germany, Romania
Titles Count of Zollern
Margrave of Brandenburg
Duke of Prussia
Burgrave of Nuremberg
Margrave of Bayreuth
Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
King of Prussia
German Emperor
Prince of Neuchâtel
King of Romania
Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Founded 11th century
Founder Burkhard I, Count of Zollern
Final ruler

Germany and Prussia:
Emperor Wilhelm II (1888–1918)
Romania:

King Michael I (1927–1930, 1940–1947)
Current head

Germany and Prussia:
HI&RH Prince Georg Friedrich (1994–)
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen:
HH Prince Karl Friedrich (2010–)

Romania:
HM King Michael (1947–)
Deposition Germany and Prussia:
1918: German Revolution
Romania:
1947: Stalinist take-over
Ethnicity German, Romanian
Cadet branches Romania
House of Prussia

The House of Hohenzollern is a dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle.[1] The first ancestor of the Hohenzollerns was mentioned in 1061.

The Hohenzollern family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch[2] which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849. Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525.

The Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were ruled in personal union after 1618 and were called Brandenburg-Prussia. The Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, eventually leading to the unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire in 1871, with the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Emperors and Kings of Prussia.

Germany's defeat in World War I in 1918 led to the German Revolution. The Hohenzollerns were overthrown and the Weimar Republic was established, thus bringing an end to the German monarchy. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia is the current head of the royal Prussian line while Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern is head of the princely Swabian line.[2]

County of Zollern[edit]

William II was the last German Emperor and ruled until 1918.

Zollern, from 1218 Hohenzollern, was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. Its ruling dynasty was first mentioned in 1061. The Hohenzollerns named their estates after Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps. Later its capital was Hechingen. The Hohenzollern Castle still belongs to the family today.

According to the medieval chronicler Berthold of Reichenau, Burkhard I, Count of Zollern (de Zolorin) was born before 1025 and died in 1061.[3] The Zollerns received the comital title from Emperor Henry V in 1111.[4] As loyal vassals of the Swabian Hohenstaufen dynasty, they were able to significantly enlarge their territory. Count Frederick III (c. 1139 – c. 1200) accompanied Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa against Henry the Lion in 1180, and through his marriage was granted the Burgraviate of Nuremberg by Emperor Henry VI of Hohenstaufen in 1191. In 1218 the burgraviate passed to Frederick's younger son Conrad I, he thereby became the ancestor of the Franconian Hohenzollern branch, which acquired the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1415.[2]

Counts of Zollern (1061–1204)[edit]

Count Frederick III of Zollern was a loyal retainer of the Holy Roman Emperors Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI. In about 1185 he married Sophia of Raabs, the daughter of Conrad II, Burgrave of Nuremberg.[2]

After the death of Conrad II (sometimes referred to as Kurt II) who left no male heirs, Frederick III was granted Nuremberg in 1192 as Burgrave Frederick I of Nuremberg-Zollern. Since then the family name has been Hohenzollern.

After Frederick's death, his sons partitioned the family lands between themselves:

  • The elder brother,[6] Frederick IV, received the county of Zollern and the burgraviate of Nuremberg in 1200 from his father, thereby founding the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. The Swabian line remains Catholic.[2]
  • The younger brother,[6] Conrad III, received the burgraviate of Nuremberg from his older brother Frederick IV in 1218, thereby founding the Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. Members of the Franconian line eventually became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Franconian line later converted to Protestantism.

Franconian branch[edit]

The cadet Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Conrad I, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1186-1261). Beginning in the 16th century, this branch of the family became Protestant and decided on expansion through marriage and the purchase of surrounding lands. The family supported the Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire during the 12th to 15th centuries, being rewarded with several territorial grants. In the first phase, the family gradually added to their lands, at first with many small acquisitions in the Franconian region of Germany:

In the second phase, the family expanded their lands further with large acquisitions in the[Brandenburg and Prussian regions of Germany and current Poland:

These acquisitions eventually transformed the Hohenzollerns from a minor German princely family into one of the most important dynasties in Europe.

Burgraves of Nuremberg (1192–1427)[edit]

COA family de Burggrafen von Nürnberg (Haus Hohenzollern).svg
Region of Nuremberg, Ansbach, Kulmbach and Bayreuth (Franconia)

At Frederick V's death on 21 January 1398, his lands were partitioned between his two sons:

After John III/I's death on 11 June 1420, the margraviates of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach were briefly reunited under Frederick VI/I/I. He ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach after 1398. From 1420, he became Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. From 1411 Frederick VI became governor of Brandenburg and later Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I. Upon his death on 21 September 1440, his territories were divided among his sons:

In 1427 Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg sold Nuremberg Castle and his rights as burgrave to the Imperial City of Nuremberg. The territories of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach remained possessions of the family, once parts of the Burgraviate of Nuremberg.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1398–1791)[edit]

Wappen Brandenburg-Ansbach.svg

On 2 December 1791, Christian II Frederick sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1398–1604), later Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1604–1791)[edit]

CoA.Brand-Bayreuth.png

On 2 December 1791, Christian II Frederick sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

From 8 January 1701 the title of Elector of Brandenburg was attached to the title of King in Prussia and, from 13 September 1772, to that of King of Prussia.

Dukes of Jägerndorf (1523–1622)[edit]

Main article: Duchy of Krnov
Krnov znak.png

The Duchy of Jägerndorf (Krnov) was purchased in 1523.

The duchy of Jägerndorf was confiscated by Emperor Ferdinand III in 1622.

Brandenburg-Prussian branch[edit]

Margraves of Brandenburg (1415–1819)[edit]

Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg, also called Frederick VI of Nuremberg

In 1411 Frederick VI, Burgrave of Nuremberg was appointed governor of Brandenburg in order to restore order and stability. At the Council of Constance in 1415, King Sigismund elevated Frederick to the rank of Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1535–1571)[edit]

Wappen Kuestrin-Kietz.png

The short-lived Margraviate of Brandenburg-Küstrin was set up as a secundogeniture of the House of Hohenzollern.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1688–1788)[edit]

Wappen Schwedt.png

Although recognised as a branch of the dynasty since 1688, the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Schwedt remained subordinate to the electors, and was never an independent principality.

Main article: Brandenburg-Schwedt

Dukes of Prussia (1525–1701)[edit]

Main article: Dukes of Prussia
POL Prusy książęce COA.svg

In 1525 the Duchy of Prussia was established as a fief of the King of Poland. Albert of Prussia was the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and the first Duke of Prussia. He belonged to the Ansbach branch of the dynasty. The Duchy of Prussia adopted Protestantism as the official state religion.

Ducal Prussia (red), shown within the Kingdom of Prussia (blue), within the German Empire (salmon), as at 1876

From 1701 the title of Duke of Prussia was attached to the title of King in and of Prussia.

Kings in Prussia (1701–1772)[edit]

Wappen Preußen.png

In 1701 the title of King in Prussia was granted, without the Duchy of Prussia being elevated to a Kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. From 1701 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of King in Prussia.

The Duke of Prussia adopted the title of king as Frederick I, establishing his status as a monarch whose royal territory lay outside the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, with the assent of Emperor Leopold I: Frederick could not be "King of Prussia" because part of Prussia's lands were under the suzerainty of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In the age of absolutism, most monarchs were obsessed with the desire to emulate Louis XIV of France with his luxurious palace at Versailles.

Main article: Kings in Prussia

In 1772 the Duchy of Prussia was elevated to a kingdom.

Kings of Prussia (1772–1918)[edit]

The Kingdom of Prussia (blue), within the German lands (salmon), as at 1818. The borders of the newly established German Confederation are shown as thick lines.

Frederick William's successor, Frederick the Great gained Silesia in the Silesian Wars so that Prussia emerged as a great power. The king was strongly influenced by French culture and civilization and preferred the French language.

In 1772 the title King of Prussia was assumed. From 1772 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title King of Prussia.

Main article: Kings of Prussia

In 1871 the Kingdom of Prussia became a constituent member of the German Empire.

German Emperors (1871–1918)[edit]

William I, the first German Emperor

In 1871 the German Empire was proclaimed. With the accession of William I to the newly established imperial German throne, the titles of King of Prussia, Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of German Emperor.

Prussia's Minister President Otto von Bismarck convinced William that German Emperor instead of Emperor of Germany would be appropriate. He became primus inter pares among other German sovereigns.

William II intended to develop a German navy capable of challenging Britain's Royal Navy. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914 set off the chain of events that led to World War I. As a result of the war, the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires ceased to exist.

In 1918 the German empire was abolished and replaced by the Weimar Republic. After the outbreak of the German revolution in 1918, both Emperor Wilhelm II and Crown Prince Wilhelm signed the document of abdication.

Hohenzollerns since 1918 abdication[edit]

Charlottenburg Palace is the state-owned largest Berlin residence

Since the abolition of the German monarchy, no Hohenzollern claims to imperial or royal prerogatives are recognised by Germany's Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of 1949, which guarantees a republic. In June 1926, a referendum on expropriating the formerly ruling princes of Germany without compensation failed and as a consequence, the financial situation of the Hohenzollern family improved considerably. A settlement between the state and the family made Cecilienhof property of the state but granted a right of residence to Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie. The family also kept the ownership of Monbijou Palace in Berlin, Oels Castle in Silesia, Rheinsberg Palace, Schwedt Palace and other property until 1945. The communist government of the Soviet occupation zone depropriated all landowners and industrialists; the House of Hohenzollern lost almost all of its fortune, retaining a few company shares and Hohenzollern Castle in West Germany. The Polish government appropriated the Silesian property and the Dutch government seized Huis Doorn, the Emperor's seat in exile. After German reunification however, the family was legally able to re-claim their portable property, namely art collections and parts of the interior of their former palaces. Negotiations on the return of or compensation for these assets are not yet completed.

Name Titular
reign
Comments
Wilhelm II 1918–1941 Exiled in the Netherlands until his death
Crown Prince Wilhelm 1941–1951
Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia 1951–1994
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia since 1994
Prince Carl Friedrich heir apparent

The head of the house is the titular King of Prussia and German Emperor. He also bears a historical claim to the title of Prince of Orange. Members of this line style themselves princes of Prussia. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, the current head of the royal Prussian House of Hohenzollern, was married to Princess Sophie of Isenburg on 27 August 2011. On 20 January 2013, she gave birth to twin sons, Carl Friedrich Franz Alexander and Louis Ferdinand Christian Albrecht, in Bremen. Carl Friedrich, the elder of the two, is the heir apparent.[7]

Swabian branch[edit]

Combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849).

The senior Swabian[6] branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Frederick IV, Count of Zollern. The family ruled three territories with seats at, respectively, Hechingen, Sigmaringen and Haigerloch. The counts were elevated to princes in 1623. The Swabian branch of the Hohenzollerns was Roman Catholic.

Affected by economic problems and internal feuds, the Hohenzollern counts from the 14th century onwards came under pressure by their neighbors, the Counts of Württemberg and the cities of the Swabian League, whose troops besieged and finally destroyed Hohenzollern Castle in 1423. Nevertheless the Hohenzollerns retained their estates, backed by their Brandenburg cousins and the Imperial House of Habsburg. In 1535 Count Charles I of Hohenzollern (1512–1576) received the counties of Sigmaringen and Veringen as Imperial fiefs.[2]

In 1576, when Charles I, Count of Hohenzollern died, his county was divided to form the three Swabian branches. Eitel Frederick IV took Hohenzollern with the title of Hohenzollern-Hechingen; Karl II took Sigmaringen and Vehringen and Christopher got Haigerloch. Christopher's family died out in 1634.

In 1695 the remaining two Swabian branches entered into an agreement with the Margrave of Brandenburg which provided that if both branches became extinct the principalities should fall to Brandenburg. Because of the Revolutions of 1848, Constantine, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones in 1849, and the principalities were henceforth ruled by the Kings of Prussia after 1850, with the Hechingen and Sigmaringen branches obtaining official treatment as cadets of the Prussian royal family.

The Hohenzollern-Hechingen branch became extinct in 1869. A descendent of this branch was Countess Sophie Chotek, morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este.

Counts of Hohenzollern (1204–1575)[edit]

Hohenzollern-herb-rodowy.jpg
Hohenzollern region, in present-day Baden-Württemberg, Germany (red color)

In 1204, the County of Hohenzollern was established out of the fusion of the County of Zollern and the Burgraviate of Nuremberg.

In the 12th century a son of Frederick I secured the county of Hohenberg. The county remained in the possession of the family until 1486. The influence of the Swabian line was weakened by several partitions of its lands. In the 16th century the situation changed completely when Eitel Frederick II, a friend and adviser of the emperor Maximilian I, received the district of Haigerloch. His grandson Charles I was granted the counties of Sigmaringen and Vehringen by Charles V.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1576–1623–1850)[edit]

Hohenzollern-Hechingen-1.PNG
Stetten Abbey church in Hechingen, the burial place of the Swabian line

The County of Hohenzollern-Hechingen was established in 1576 with allodial rights.

The county included the original County of Zollern, with the Hohenzollern Castle and the monastery at Stetten.

In 1850, the princes of both Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones, and their principalities were incorporated as the Prussian province of Hohenzollern.[2] The Hechingen branch became extinct in dynastic line with Konstantin's death in 1869.

Counts of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch (1567–1630 and 1681–1767)[edit]

Wappen Haigerloch.svg

The County of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch was established in 1567 without allodial rights.

Between 1630 and 1681 the county was temporarily integrated into the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Upon the death of Francis Christopher Anton in 1767, the Haigerloch branch went extinct and its territory was divided between the two remaining principalities.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1576–1623–1849)[edit]

Hohenzollern-2.PNG
Karl Anton, the last reigning Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

The County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was established in 1576 with allodial rights and a seat at Sigmaringen Castle.

In 1850 sovereignty over the principality was yielded to the Franconian branch of the family and incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia, which accorded status as cadets of the Prussian Royal Family to the Swabian Hohenzollerns. The last ruling Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Karl Anton, would later serve as Minister President of Prussia between 1858 and 1862.

House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen after 1849[edit]

The family continued to use the princely title of Fürst of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1869 and still use the title Prince of Hohenzollern.

In 1866 Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen prince of Rumania, becoming King Carol I of Romania in 1881.

Charles's elder brother, Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern, was offered the Spanish throne after a revolt exiled Isabella II in 1870. Although encouraged by Bismarck to accept, Leopold declined in the face of French opposition. Nonetheless, Bismarck altered and then published the Ems telegram to create a casus belli: France declared war, but Bismarck's Germany won the Franco-Prussian War.

The head of the Sigmaringen branch (the only extant line of the Swabian branch of the dynasty) is Karl Friedrich, styled His Serene Highness The Prince of Hohenzollern. His official seat is Sigmaringen Castle.[2]

Kings of the Romanians[edit]

Kingdom of Romania - Small CoA.svg

Reigning (1866–1947)[edit]

King Michael in 1947
Coronation of Carol I in Bukarest

The Principality of Romania was established in 1862, after the Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia had been united in 1859 under Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Prince of Romania in a personal union. He was deposed in 1866 by the Romanian parliament.

Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was invited to become reigning Prince of Romania in 1866. In 1881 he became Carol I, King of the Romanians. Carol I had an only daughter who died young, so the younger son of his brother Leopold, Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, would succeed his uncle as King of the Romanians in 1914, and his descendants, having converted to the Orthodox Church, continued to reign there until the end of the monarchy in 1947.

Main article: King of the Romanians

Succession since 1947[edit]

In 1947 the Kingdom of Romania was abolished and replaced with the People's Republic of Romania. Michael does not press his claim to the defunct Romanian throne and although he has been welcomed back to the country after half a century in exile as a private citizen, with substantial former royal properties being placed at his disposal, his dynastic claim is not recognised by the no longer Communist Romanian republic.

On 10 May 2011, Michael severed the dynastic ties between the House of Romania and the House of Hohenzollern.[8] The branch of the Hohenzollerns is now dynastically represented only by the last king Michael of Romania, and his daughters. Having no sons, he declared that his dynastic heir, instead of being a male member of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen princely family to which he belongs patrilineally and in accordance with the last Romanian monarchical constitution, shall be his eldest daughter Margareta and, following her (as she has no children), the eldest son Nicholas of his second daughter.[9]

House of Hohenzollern table[edit]

Table of the House of Hohenzollern

Palaces of the Prussian Hohenzollerns[edit]

Some important castles and palaces of the Prussian Hohenzollerns were:

Palaces of other Hohenzollerns[edit]

Coats of arms[edit]

Members of the family after 1918 abdication[edit]

Royal Prussian branch[edit]

Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, head of the Prussian branch of the Hohenzollerns

Princely Swabian branch[edit]

Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, head of the Swabian branch

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. Hohenzollern Dynasty
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XIX. "Haus Hohenzollern". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2011, pp. 30-33. ISBN 978-3-7980-0849-6.
  3. ^ Jeep, John. Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Cawley, Charles. Swabia, Nobility
  5. ^ a b c Schmid, Ludwig (1862). "Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg". Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg. Anhang. Historisch-topographische Zusammenstellung der Grafschaft und Besitzungen des Hauses Zollern-Hohenberg. Google Book: Gebrüder Scheitlin. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, Jiří Louda & Michael Maclagan, 1981, pp. 178-179.
  7. ^ "Official Website of the House of Hohenzollern: Prinz Georg Friedrich von Preußen". 
  8. ^ "Romania's former King Michael ends ties with German Hohenzollern dynasty". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  9. ^ "King Michael I broke ties with historical and dynastic House of Hohenzollern" in Adevarul - News Bucharest, 10 May 2011

Further reading[edit]

  • Bogdan, Henry. Les Hohenzollern : La dynastie qui a fait l'Allemagne (1061-1918)
  • Carlyle, Thomas. A Short Introduction to the House of Hohenzollern (2014)
  • Clark, Christopher. Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 (2009), standard scholarly history ISBN 978-0-7139-9466-7
  • Koch, H. W. History of Prussia (1987), short scholarly history

External links[edit]

Royal house
House of Hohenzollern
Founding year: 12th century
German unification Ruling House of Germany
18 January 1871 – 9 November 1918
Vacant
Prussia established Ruling House of Prussia
1525 – 9 November 1918
Romanian unification Ruling House of Romania
26 March 1881 – 30 December 1947
Vacant