Upper Rhenish Circle

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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[edit]

The circle was made up of the following states:

Name Type of entity Comments
Bar Arms.svg Bar Duchy United with Lorraine since 1483.
Wappen Bistum Basel.svg 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.
Wappen Bretzenheim.png 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.
Image-Blason Colmar 68.svg Colmar Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1226, part of the Décapole since 1354.
Armoiries de Dagstuhl.svg Dagstuhl Lordship Held by the Lords of Fleckenstein, acquired by Oettingen-Wallerstein in 1697.
Falkenstein-wappen.gif 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.
Wappen-frankfurt.png Frankfurt am Main Imperial City Since 1220, place of the Imperial election by the Golden Bull of 1356.
Wappen Friedberg-Hessen.svg Friedberg Imperial City Since 1252.
D'argent croix de sable.svg Fulda Prince-Abbacy Established by Saint Boniface in 744, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1220, raised to Prince-Bishopric in 1752.
Blason haguenau 67.svg Haguenau Imperial City Since about 1260, capital of the Décapole since 1354.
Hanau-Lichtenberg.JPG 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.
Hanau-Münzenberg.JPG Hanau-Münzenberg County Partitioned from the County of Hanau in 1456, reunited with Hanau-Lichtenberg in 1642, fell to Hesse-Kassel in 1736.
Wappen Heitersheim.svg Heitersheim Principality Held by the Order of St John since 1272, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Charles V in 1548.
Reichsabtei Hersfeld.svg 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
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg 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.
Wappen-HK.png Hesse-Kassel Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, Electorate of Hesse in 1803.
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg 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.
Wappen Hessen-Darmstadt 1736.jpg Hesse-Darmstadt Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1806.
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Hesse-Marburg Landgraviate Subdivision of Hesse from 1567, line extinct in 1604, annexed by Hesse-Darmstadt.
Wappen-HH.png Hesse-Homburg Landgraviate Cadet branch of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1622, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1768.
Arms-Isenburg.svg Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein County Subdivision of the County of Isenburg established in 1511 (Oberisenburg), again divided in 1628.
Isenburg-prince.PNG Isenburg-Birstein County Subdivision of Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein from 1628, merged into Isenburg-Offenbach in 1644, restored in 1711, raised to principality in 1744.
Arms-Isenburg.svg Isenburg-Büdingen County Subdivision of Isenburg-Büdingen-Birstein from 1628.
Arms-Isenburg.svg Isenburg-Meerholz County Split off Isenburg-Büdingen in 1673.
Arms-Isenburg.svg Isenburg-Wächtersbach County Split off Isenburg-Büdingen in 1673.
Blason de la ville de Kaysersberg (68).svg Kaysersberg Imperial City Part of the Décapole since 1354.
COA family de von Eppstein.svg 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.
Wappen Kriechingen.svg 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.
Wappen Landau Pfalz.svg 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.
Leiningen-westerburg.JPG Leiningen-Westerburg County Subdivision of the former County of Leiningen since 1317, inherited by the Lords of Westerburg in 1467.
Armoiries de Leiningen.svg Leiningen-Dagsburg County Subdivision of the former County of Leiningen since 1317, raised to principality in 1779.
Blason Lorraine.svg 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.
Wappen Hünfelden.png Mensfelden Lordship Condominium of Trier and Nassau.
Utrecht-bisdom.PNG 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.
Blason Metz 57.svg Metz Imperial City Since 1189, occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
Blason Mulhouse.svg Mulhouse Imperial City Since about 1268, part of the Décapole since 1354, joined Swiss Confederacy in 1515, France in 1798.
Blason de la ville de Munster (68).svg Munster, Haut-Rhin Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1235, part of the Décapole since 1354.
Blason famille de Nassau (Lignée Valramienne).svg Nassau-Weilburg County Principality in 1688, Duchy of Nassau from 1806.
Blason famille de Nassau (Lignée Valramienne).svg Nassau-Idstein County Split off Nassau-Weilburg in 1627, fell to Nassau-Ottweiler in 1721.
Blason Nassau-Sarrebrück.svg Nassau-Saarbrücken County Established in 1381, fell to Nassau-Ottweiler in 1723
Blason Nassau-Sarrebrück.svg Nassau-Ottweiler County Split off Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1659, fell to Nassau-Usingen in 1728.
Blason Nassau-Sarrebrück.svg Nassau-Usingen County Split off Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1659, principality in 1688, Duchy of Nassau from 1806.
Coats of arms of None.svg Nomeny Margraviate Held by the Bishopric of Metz until 1548, margraviate established by Emperor Maximilian II of Habsburg in 1567, to Lorraine in 1612.
Blason Obernai 67.svg Obernai Imperial City Since about 1240, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1679.
Wappen Odenheim.png Odenheim Provostry Monastery established in 1122, Imperial college of canons (Reichsstift) since 1494, moved to Bruchsal in 1507.
Coats of arms of None.svg Olbrück Lordship Territory around Olbrück Castle near Niederdürenbach, originally held by Wied.
COA family de Pfalz-Simmern.svg Palatinate-Simmern Principality Split off Electoral Palatinate in 1410, inherited by Palatinate-Neuburg in 1685.
Brasao.svg Palatinate-Lautern Principality Subdivision of Palatinate-Simmern from 1577.
Wappen Zweibrücken.svg Palatinate-Zweibrücken Principality Former County of Zweibrücken, ruled in personal union with Palatinate-Simmern until 1459, fell to Palatinate-Birkenfeld in 1734.
Wappen Grafschaft Veldenz.svg Palatinate-Veldenz Principality Former County of Veldenz inherited by Palatinate-Zweibrücken in 1444.
Wappen Prüm.svg 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.
Reipoltskirchen.JPG Reipoltskirchen Lordship Since about 1300.
Blason Rosheim 67.svg Rosheim Imperial City Since 1303, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1679.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg 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.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg Salm-Dhaun County Subdivision of Salm since 1499, line extinct in 1750, inherited by Salm-Grumbach.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg Salm-Grumbach County Split off Salm-Dhaun in 1561, annexed by France in 1801.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg Salm-Stein-Grehweiler County Split off Salm-Grumbach in 1668.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg Salm-Salm County Split off Salm-Dhaun in 1574, princely county from 1623, Principality of Salm from 1802.
Armoiries de Salm 2.svg Salm-Kyrburg County Subdivision of Salm from 1499, residence at Kirn, princely county from 1743, Principality of Salm from 1802.
Blason duche fr Savoie.svg 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.
Blason Sayn.svg Sayn-Wittgenstein County Former Counts of Sayn, a cadet branch of the House of Sponheim, acquired County of Wittgenstein in 1361, partitioned in 1607.
Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.JPG Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg County Subdivision of Sayn-Wittgenstein from 1607.
Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein.JPG Sayn-Wittgenstein-Wittgenstein County Subdivision of Sayn-Wittgenstein from 1607, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein from 1657.
Blason ville fr Sélestat (Alsace).svg Sélestat Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1216, part of the Décapole since 1354.
Wappen Solms.svg Solms-Braunfels County Subdivision of Solms since 1258, raised to principality in 1742.
Solms-Lich.JPG Solms-Lich County Subdivision of Solms(-Braunfels) since 1409, Solms-Hohensolms-Lich from 1544, raised to principality in 1792.
Wappen Solms.svg Solms-Laubach County Subdivision of Solms-Lich from 1544.
Wappen Solms.svg Solms-Rödelheim County Subdivision of Solms-Laubach from 1607, Solms-Rödelheim-Assenheim from 1635.
Coat of Arms of the Bishopric of Speyer.svg Speyer Prince-Bishopric Esablished before 614, Reichsfreiheit granted around 969 by Emperor Otto I.
DEU Speyer COA.svg 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).
Armoiries de Sponheim 1.svg 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.
Wappen Bistum Strassburg.gif Strasbourg Prince-Bishopric Established in the 4th century, prince-bishopric since 982.
Coat of Arms of Strasbourg.svg Strasbourg Imperial City Since 1262.
Blason Toul 54.svg 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.
Blason Toul 54.svg Toul Imperial City Since the 13th century (Tull), occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
Blason de la ville de Turckheim (68).svg Turckheim Imperial City Since 1312, part of the Décapole since 1354.
Coat of arms of the Bishopric of Verdun.svg 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.
Blason Verdun 55.svg Verdun Imperial City Since the 12th century (Wirten), occupied by King Henry II of France in 1552.
Waldeck (am Edersee).svg Waldeck County Line established about 1180, Reichsfreiheit granted by King Wenceslaus of Luxembourg in 1379, Waldeck-Pyrmont from 1625, raised to principality in 1712.
Wappen Wartenberg (Hessen).png Wartenberg County Established in 1232, inherited by Riedesel in 1428, Freiherren from 1680.
Tegerfelden-blason.png Wetterau County Established c. 950, held by the counts von Wetter-Tegerfelden in 1317
Blason Wissembourg 67.svg Wissembourg Imperial City Since 1306, part of the Décapole since 1354, annexed by France in 1648.
Blason Wissembourg 67.svg 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.
Wetzlar Wappen neu.png Wetzlar Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1180.
Armoiries de Salm 6.svg Wild- and Rhinegraves County Rhinegraves since the 12th century, inherited Wildgraviate at Kyrburg in 1409, acquired (Upper) Salm in 1475.
Armoiries Eveche de Worms.svg Worms Prince-Bishopric Established about 614.
DEU Worms COA.svg Worms Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1184.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

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