Principality of Leyen

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Principality of Leyen

Fürstentum Leyen
Flag of the Principality of Leyen (1806-1813).svg
Coat of arms
The Principality of Leyen, shown within the Grand Duchy of Baden
Status Client state of the French Empire
Member of the Confederation of the Rhine
Historical era Napoleonic Wars
 Granted to Baden
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Leyen.JPG County of Adendorf
Austrian Empire Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg

The Principality of Leyen was a Napoleonic German state which existed 1806–14 in Hohengeroldseck, in the west of modern Baden-Württemberg. The House of Leyen had acquired many districts in western Germany, and eventually these were inherited by the Leyen line of counts at Adendorf. In 1797, France defeated the Holy Roman Empire and all lands west of the Rhine were lost. Following the defeat of Austria in December 1805, most of the smaller German princely states were mediatized, with the glaring exception of Leyen, which was spared by virtue of the fact that the Count was nephew to Archchancellor Karl Theodor von Dalberg, [1] a close collaborator of Napoleon's.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Hohengeroldseck noble family

Hohengeroldseck was a state of the Holy Roman Empire. It was founded by the House of Geroldseck, a German noble family which arrived in the Ortenau region of Swabia reputedly in 948, though the first mention of the family is documented in the 1080s. The family line went extinct in 1634 and was succeeded by the Kronberg and Leyen families. In 1806, the County was raised to a Principality and adopted the family name of Leyen. Late in 1813, the Principality was mediatized by Austria and its name reverted to Hohengeroldseck, but the history of the state ended when Austria ceded it to the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1819 and merged with the district of Lahr in 1831.

Baden-Württemberg State in Germany

Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the border with France. It is Germany’s third-largest state, with an area of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi) and 11 million inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and partly sovereign, federated state which was formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Ulm.


In 1806, Count Philip Francis of Adendorf was raised to a Prince, and his lands were renamed to the 'Principality of Leyen'. The territory formed an enclave surrounded by Baden. Prince Philip Francis, like many other members of the Confederation of the Rhine became largely a French puppet, so following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, the Congress of Vienna opted to mediatize his realm and give it to Austria. In 1819, Austria traded it to Baden.

Philip Francis, Prince of Leyen Ruled the Principality of Leyen

Philipp Franz Wilhelm Ignaz Peter, Fürst von der Leyen und zu Hohengeroldseck was a German nobleman who briefly ruled the Principality of Leyen.

Confederation of the Rhine confederation of client states of the First French Empire

The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted from 1806 to 1813.

Battle of Leipzig 1813 Napoleonic battle

The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German campaign of 1813 and involved 600,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

Prince of Leyen

Heads of the House after Mediatization [2]

  • Philip Franz , 1st Prince 1806-1829 (1766-1829)
    • Erwein, 2nd Prince 1829-1879 (1798-1879)
      • Philip, 3rd Prince 1879-1882 (1819-1882)
        • Erwein, 4th Prince 1895-1938 (1863-1938)
          • Erwein, 5th Prince 1938-1970 (1894-1970)
            • Wolfram Erwein, Hereditary Prince of Leyen and zu Hohengeroldseck (1924-1945)
            • Princess Marie-Adelheid (1932-2015)
              • Philipp Erwein, 7th Prince 1971–present (b.1967)
                • Wolfram, Hereditary Prince of Leyen and zu Hohengeroldseck (b.1990)
                  • Prince Roch (b.2018)
                • Prince Georg (b.1992)
                  • Prince Leo (b.2016)
                  • Prince Antonius (b.2018)
          • Ferdinand, 6th Prince 1970-1971 (1898-1971)
Map illustrating the growth of the Grand Duchy of Baden, with the Principality of Leyen in grey, mid-left Baden-1803-1819.png
Map illustrating the growth of the Grand Duchy of Baden, with the Principality of Leyen in grey, mid-left

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  1. Heinrich von Treitschke, History of Germany in the Nineteenth Century, Volume 1, page 270.
  2. Online Gotha - Leyen