Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine was a title and a function in the Confederation treaty of 1806. The term in French was Protecteur de la Confédération, in German Protector des rheinischen Bundes. The title described the specific way in which the French emperor Napoleon was linked to the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1813).
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
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.
The Confederation treaty was an international treaty between the emperor and some German princes. The treaty text mentions the emperor only once explicitly:
Art. 12. His Majesty the Emperor of the French will be called Protector of the Rhenish Confederation, and in this virtue the same will appoint the successor of the prince-primate after every departure.
The Prince-primate was the chair of the Federal Assembly, the unrealised convention of the member states. The treaty remains silent about the function of the federal protector. For example, the treaty does not say that the protector guarantees the territorial integrity of the member states, although the treaty adjusts a number of territorial changes.
Prince-Primate is a rare princely title held by individual (prince-)archbishops of specific sees in a presiding capacity in an august assembly of mainly secular princes, notably the following:
For Napoléon the Confederation of the Rhine was an instrument to secure the military support of the Rhenish states when necessary. The power balance was one-sided; France alone decided when to mobilize (Art .36). France and the Rhenish states were allowed to negotiate international treaties, including with states outside of the Confederation. The protector usually did not consult with his allies at the important peace settlements of the time.
The treaty says that the Rhenish states had to be independent from foreign powers. They were allowed to decline their souvereignity in total or partially only to other Rhenish states (Art. 7, Art. 8). In 1810 and 1811 the member states Westphalia and Berg yielded territory to France. As France was no member of the Confederation, they violated Art. 8.
The Rhineland is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly its middle section.
William I, or in German Wilhelm I, of the House of Hohenzollern, was King of Prussia from 2 January 1861 and the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to his death, the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. In contrast to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while staunchly conservative, more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.
The North German Confederation was the German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. It was said to be led by Prussia. Some historians also use the name for the alliance of 22 German states formed on 18 August 1866. In 1870–1871, the south German states of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Württemberg and Bavaria joined the country. On 1 January 1871, the country adopted a new constitution, which was written under the title of a new "German Confederation" but already gave it the name "German Empire" in the preamble and article 11.
The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.
Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg was Prince-Archbishop of Regensburg, Arch-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, Bishop of Constance and Worms, Prince-Primate of the Confederation of the Rhine and Grand Duke of Frankfurt.
German mediatisation was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number of Imperial Estates. Most ecclesiastical principalities, free imperial cities, secular principalities, and other minor self-ruling entities of the Holy Roman Empire lost their independent status and were absorbed into the remaining states. By the end of the mediatisation process, the number of German states had been reduced from almost 300 to just 39.
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, a close collaborator of Napoleon's.
Charles became ruler of the Grand Duchy of Baden as its grand duke on 11 June 1811 and reigned until his death in 1818. He was born in Karlsruhe.
The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, sometimes referred to in English as the Final Recess or the Imperial Recess of 1803, was a resolution passed by the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire on 24 March 1803. It was ratified by the Emperor Francis II and became law on 27 April. It proved to be the last significant law enacted by the Empire before its dissolution in 1806.
The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy originally formed on the basis of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1806 as the Grand Duchy of Hesse. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, it changed its name in 1816 to distinguish itself from the Electorate of Hesse, which had formed from neighboring Hesse-Kassel. Colloquially, the grand duchy continued to be known by its former name of Hesse-Darmstadt. It joined the German Empire in 1871 and became a republic after German defeat in World War I in 1918.
The Grand Duchy of Berg, also known as the Grand Duchy of Berg and Cleves, was a territorial grand duchy established in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon after his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) on territories between the French Empire at the Rhine river and the German Kingdom of Westphalia.
The Electorate of Baden was a State of the Holy Roman Empire from 1803 to 1806. In 1803, Napoleon bestowed the office of Prince-elector to Charles Frederick. This only lasted until 1806, when Francis II dissolved the Empire. When the Holy Roman Empire dissolved, Baden achieved sovereignty, and Charles Frederick became Grand Duke.
The League of the Rhine was a defensive union of more than 50 German princes and their cities along the River Rhine, formed on 14 August 1658 by Louis XIV of France and negotiated by Cardinal Mazarin, Hugues de Lionne and Johann Philipp von Schönborn.
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.
The fourth Peace of Pressburg was signed on 27 December 1805 between Napoleon and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II as a consequence of the French victories over the Austrians at Ulm and Austerlitz. A truce was agreed on 4 December, and negotiations for the treaty began. The treaty was signed in Pressburg, Hungary, by Johann I Josef, Prince of Liechtenstein, and the Hungarian Count Ignác Gyulay for the Austrian Empire and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand for France.
The North German Confederation Treaty was the treaty between the Kingdom of Prussia and other northern and central German states that initially created the North German Confederation, which was the forerunner to the German Empire. This treaty, and others that followed in September and October, are often described as the August treaties, although not all of them were concluded in August 1866.
The proclamation of the German Empire, also known as the Deutsche Reichsgründung, took place in January 1871 after the joint victory of the German states in the Franco-Prussian War. As a result of the November Treaties of 1870s, the southern German states of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, with their territories south of the Main line, Württemberg and Bavaria, joined the Prussian-dominated "German Confederation" on 1 January 1871. On the same day, the new Constitution of the German Confederation came into force, thereby significantly extending the federal German lands to the newly created German Empire. The Day of the founding of the German Empire, January 18, became a day of celebration, marking when the Prussian King William I was proclaimed German Emperor in Versailles.
The imperial election of 1792 was the final imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Frankfurt on July 5.