Kingdom of Westphalia

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Kingdom of Westphalia

Royaume de Westphalie  (French)
Königreich Westphalen  (German)
1807–1813
Flag of the Kingdom of Westphalia.svg
Flag
Grandes Armes Jerome Bonaparte (1784-1860) 2.svg
Coat of arms
Motto: Character und Aufrichtigkeit
"Character and Honesty"
Kingdom of Westphalia (1812).svg
The Kingdom of Westphalia in 1812
Status Client state of the French Empire
Capital Cassel
Common languages German, French (official)
Low German (regional)
Religion
Roman Catholic
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
King 
Prime minister  
LegislatureReichsstände
Historical era Napoleonic Wars
9 July 1807
7 December 1807
19 October 1813
Area
180937,883 km2 (14,627 sq mi)
181063,652 km2 (24,576 sq mi)
181245,427 km2 (17,539 sq mi)
Population
 1809
1950724
 1810
2612000
 1812
2065970
CurrencyWestphalian frank
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Hanover (1692).svg Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Flag of Hesse.svg Electorate of Hesse
Armoiries de La Falloise.svg Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Kingdom of Hanover Flag of Hanover (1692).svg
Electorate of Hesse Flag of Hesse.svg
Kingdom of Prussia Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg
Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel Armoiries de La Falloise.svg
Today part ofFlag of Germany.svg  Germany

The Kingdom of Westphalia was a kingdom in Germany, with a population of 2.6 million, that existed from 1807 to 1813. It included territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire and was ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte. It was named after Westphalia, but this was a misnomer since the kingdom had little territory in common with that area; rather the kingdom mostly covered territory formerly known as Eastphalia.

Hesse State in Germany

Hesse or Hessia, officially the State of Hesse, is a federal state (Land) of the Federal Republic of Germany, with just over six million inhabitants. The state capital is Wiesbaden; the largest city is Frankfurt am Main.

History of Germany Occurrences and people in Germany throughout history

The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul (France), which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest prevented annexation by the Roman Empire, although the Roman provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior were established along the Rhine. Following the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks conquered the other West Germanic tribes. When the Frankish Empire was divided among Charles the Great's heirs in 843, the eastern part became East Francia. In 962, Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval German state.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Contents

Napoleon imposed the first written modern constitution in Germany, a French-style central administration, and agricultural reform. The Kingdom liberated the serfs and gave everyone equal rights and the right to a jury trial. In 1808 the Kingdom passed Germany's first laws granting Jews equal rights, thereby providing a model for reform in the other German states. Westphalia seemed to be progressive in immediately enacting and enforcing the new reforms.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Westphalia, was adopted by the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, following the pattern of the other Napoleonic States. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Westphalia is the oldest constitution in Germany. It was modeled on the constitutions of other Napoleonic States. The Constitution was by royal decree dated on 7 December 1807 and enacted in law bulletin.

The country was relatively poor but Napoleon demanded heavy taxes and payments and conscripted soldiers. Few of the men who marched into Russia with Napoleon in 1812 ever returned. The Kingdom was bankrupt by 1812. When Napoleon was retreating in the face of Allied advances in 1813, the Kingdom was overrun by the Allies and (in 1815) most of its territories became Prussian ruled. Most of the reforms, however, remained in place. [1]

French invasion of Russia Napoleon Bonapartes attempted conquest of the Russian Empire

The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Formation

Location of the Kingdom of Westphalia within the Confederation of the Rhine, 1812. Map-RB-1812-Westphalia.svg
Location of the Kingdom of Westphalia within the Confederation of the Rhine, 1812.

The Kingdom of Westphalia was created in 1807 by merging territories ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia in the Peace of Tilsit, among them the region of the Duchy of Magdeburg west of the Elbe River, the Brunswick-Lüneburg territories of Hanover and Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and the Electorate of Hesse. Hesse's capital Cassel (modern spelling Kassel) then fulfilled the same function for Westphalia, and the king kept the court at the palace of Wilhelmshöhe, renamed Napoleonshöhe. The state was a member of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Duchy of Magdeburg duchy in Central Europe between 1680–1807

The Duchy of Magdeburg was a province of Margraviate of Brandenburg from 1680 to 1701 and a province of the German Kingdom of Prussia from 1701 to 1807. It replaced the Archbishopric of Magdeburg after its secularization by Brandenburg. The duchy's capitals were Magdeburg and Halle, while Burg was another important town. Dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars in 1807, its territory was made part of the Province of Saxony in 1815.

Elbe major river in Central Europe

The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 kilometres (680 mi).

Since it was intended as a Napoleonic "model state", a constitution was written and enacted by King Jérôme on 7 December 1807, the day after he had arrived in Cassel, making Westphalia the first monarchy in Germany with a modern-style constitution. The constitution made all male residents citizens with equal rights. Thus serfs were liberated and Jews emancipated, and soccage was abolished. The Napoleonic code was enacted, doing away with guilds and providing for the right of capitalism. A metric system of weights and measures was introduced.

Jewish emancipation

Jewish emancipation was the external process in various nations in Europe of eliminating Jewish disabilities, e.g. Jewish quotas, to which Jewish people were then subject, and the recognition of Jews as entitled to equality and citizenship rights. It included efforts within the community to integrate into their societies as citizens. It occurred gradually between the late 18th century and the early 20th century. Jewish emancipation followed the Age of Enlightenment and the concurrent Jewish enlightenment. Various nations repealed or superseded previous discriminatory laws applied specifically against Jews where they resided. Before the emancipation, most Jews were isolated in residential areas from the rest of the society; emancipation was a major goal of European Jews of that time, who worked within their communities to achieve integration in the majority societies and broader education. Many became active politically and culturally within wider European civil society as Jews gained full citizenship. They emigrated to countries offering better social and economic opportunities, such as the Russian Empire and France. Some European Jews turned to Socialism, and others to Jewish zionism.

Guild association of artisans or merchants

A guild is an association of artisans or merchants who oversee the practice of their craft/trade in a particular area. The earliest types of guild formed as a confraternities of tradesmen. They were organized in a manner something between a professional association, a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society. They often depended on grants of letters patent from a monarch or other authority to enforce the flow of trade to their self-employed members, and to retain ownership of tools and the supply of materials. A lasting legacy of traditional guilds are the guildhalls constructed and used as guild meeting-places. Guild members found guilty of cheating on the public would be fined or banned from the guild.

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.

The organisers used French terms to designate the regional territories within the kingdom: departments received names based on watercourses (Elbe, Saale, Weser, Fulda, Leine, Oker) and mountains (Harz), regardless of their traditional names. These departments were generally composed of territories taken from a number of petty states. Compared to the departments of France itself the Westphalian departments were relatively small and sparsely populated. [2]

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.

While administrative divisions (departments, districts and cantons) were certainly less unequal than the previous territorial divisions, uniformity does not appear to have been a determining factor in their creation. The desire to break from the past, and not just from the random territorial divisions of the former manorial justices, especially influenced the cantonal distribution. [2] Just as before the conquest, freedom of expression remained curtailed and censorship was instituted. In 1810 the coastal and northern départements North (capital: Stade) and Lower Elbe (capital: Lunenburg) had to be ceded to the French Empire.

Jews

Following the French example, Jewish congregations were reorganised and a Consistory (Royal Westphalian Consistory of the Israelites  [ he ]) supervising them was established. The former Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel merchant and man of letters, Israel Jacobson, became its consistorial president, assisted by a board of officers. Jacobson did his best to exercise a reforming influence upon the various congregations of the country. He opened a house of prayer in Cassel, with a ritual similar to that introduced in Seesen. Napoléon's inglorious so-called décret infâme , again restricting the rights of many French Jews, did not apply in Westphalia.

Russian conquest

A significant burden on the kingdom was the requirement to supply troops and financial support for the Napoleonic wars. Large numbers of Westphalian troops fought in the Russian campaign of 1812; the Westphalian Guards heroically but unsuccessfully charged the Raevski Redoubt during the Battle of Borodino.

In September 1813, Russian troops surrounded Cassel, defeated the French completely and retook the city. By October 1 they had conquered the whole Kingdom, but three days later Jérôme returned with French soldiers and managed to recapture Cassel. The Elector of Hesse-Cassel arrived soon after and the Russians besieged the city again. After France lost the Battle of the Nations on 19 October 1813, the Russians dissolved the Kingdom and restored the status quo of 1806 except for Rietberg and Stolberg-Wernigerode, with Prussia regaining control.

Coat of arms

Grandes Armes Jerome Bonaparte (1784-1860).svg

The arms reflect the incorporated territories. The first quarter shows the silver horse of Westphalia; the second the lion of Hesse over the counties of Dietz, Nidda, Ziegenhain and Katzenelnbogen; the third was newly designed for non-specified territories around Magdeburg; and the fourth combined Brunswick, Diepholz, Lüneburg and Lauterburg. Around the shield are the Order of the Crown of Westphalia and the French Grand Aigle of the Légion d'honneur. Above is Napoleon's star. Typical of Napoleonic heraldry are the crossed sceptres.

See also

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References

  1. Connelly, Owen (1966). Napoleon's satellite kingdoms. Free Press.
  2. 1 2 Todorov, N. P. (2012). "The Napoleonic Administrative System in the Kingdom of Westphalia". In Broers, Michael; Hicks, Peter; Guimera, Agustin. The Napoleonic Empire and the New European Political Culture. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 175. ISBN   978-0-230-24131-2.

Coordinates: 51°18′30.45″N9°29′58.60″E / 51.3084583°N 9.4996111°E / 51.3084583; 9.4996111