Swabia

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Today's Swabia within modern Germany. Shown in yellow is Schwarzwald-Baar-Kreis, situated at the transitional area between the Swabian, Upper Rhenish and Lake Constance dialects within Alemannic. The western part of the Bodenseekreis district is not considered a part of modern Swabia. Modern Swabia-map.PNG
Today's Swabia within modern Germany. Shown in yellow is Schwarzwald-Baar-Kreis, situated at the transitional area between the Swabian, Upper Rhenish and Lake Constance dialects within Alemannic. The western part of the Bodenseekreis district is not considered a part of modern Swabia.
The coat of arms of Baden-Wurttemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin the coat of arms of the House of Hohenstaufen. Also used for Swabia (and for Wurttemberg-Baden during 1945-1952) are the three antlers of the coat of arms of Wurttemberg. Coat of arms of Baden-Wurttemberg (lesser).svg
The coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin the coat of arms of the House of Hohenstaufen. Also used for Swabia (and for Württemberg-Baden during 19451952) are the three antlers of the coat of arms of Württemberg.

Swabia ( /ˈswbiə/ ; [1] German : Schwaben, colloquially Schwabenland or Ländle; in English also archaic Suabia or Svebia) is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany. The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Historical regions are geographic areas which at some point in time had a cultural, ethnic, linguistic or political basis, regardless of present-day borders. They are used as delimitations for studying and analysing social development of period-specific cultures without any reference to contemporary political, economic or social organisations.

The fundamental principle underlying this view is that older political and mental structures exist which exercise greater influence on the spatial-social identity of individuals than is understood by the contemporary world, bound to and often blinded by its own worldview - e.g. the focus on the nation-state.

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 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.

Contents

This territory would include all of the Alemannic German area, but the modern concept of Swabia is more restricted, due to the collapse of the duchy of Swabia in the thirteenth century. Swabia as understood in modern ethnography roughly coincides with the Swabian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire as it stood during the Early Modern period, now divided between the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Alemannic German group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family

Alemannic, or rarely Alemmanish, is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. The name derives from the ancient Germanic alliance of tribes known as the Alemanni.

Swabian Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Circle of Swabia or Swabian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former German stem-duchy of Swabia. However, it did not include the Habsburg home territories of Swabian Austria, the member states of the Swiss Confederacy nor the lands of the Alsace region west of the Rhine, which belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle. The Swabian League of 1488, a predecessor organization, disbanded in the course of the Protestant Reformation later in the 16th century.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Swabians (Schwaben, singular Schwabe) are the natives of Swabia and speakers of Swabian German. Their number was estimated at close to 0.8 million by SIL Ethnologue as of 2006, compared to a total population of 7.5 million in the regions of Tübingen, Stuttgart and Bavarian Swabia.

Swabians

Swabians are an ethnic German people who are native to or have ancestral roots in the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia, which is now mostly divided between the modern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, in southwest Germany.

Swabian German language

Swabian is one of the dialect groups of Alemannic German that belong to the High German dialect continuum. It is mainly spoken in Swabia which is located in central and southeastern Baden-Württemberg and the southwest of Bavaria. Furthermore, Swabian German dialects are spoken by Caucasus Germans in Transcaucasia. The dialects of the Danube Swabian population of Hungary, the former Yugoslavia and Romania are only nominally Swabian and can be traced back not only to Swabian but also to Frankonian, Bavarian and Hessian German dialects, with locally varying degrees of influence of the initial dialects.

Tübingen (region) Regierungsbezirk in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Tübingen is one of the four Administrative Regions (Regierungsbezirke) of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, located in the south-east of the country. It covers most of the German shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee), and also the beginning of the Danube River valley. It is sub-divided into the three regions (Regionalverband): Neckar-Alb, Donau-Iller and Bodensee-Oberschwaben. Donau-Iller also includes three districts and one city of Bavaria.

Geography

Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined. However, today it is normally thought of as comprising the former Swabian Circle, or equivalently the former state of Württemberg (with the Prussian Hohenzollern Province), or the modern districts of Tübingen (excluding the former Baden regions of the Bodenseekreis district), Stuttgart, and the administrative region of Bavarian Swabia.

Württemberg Describes Württemburg in different forms from 1092 until 1945 - not to be confused with articles on parts of this period.

Württemberg is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia. Together with Baden and Hohenzollern, two other historical territories, it now forms the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Württemberg was formerly also spelled Würtemberg and Wirtemberg.

Bodenseekreis District in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Bodenseekreis is a Landkreis (district) in the south-east of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Neighboring districts are Konstanz, Sigmaringen and Ravensburg, and in Bavaria, Lindau district. To the south, on the opposite shores of Lake Constance, lies Switzerland.

Stuttgart (region) Regierungsbezirk in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Stuttgart is one of the four administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke) of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, located in the north-east of the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the southwestern part of Germany. It is sub-divided into the three regions: Heilbronn-Franken, Ostwürttemberg and Stuttgart.

In the Middle Ages, the term Swabia indicated a larger area, covering all the lands associated with the Frankish stem duchy of Alamannia stretching from the Vosges Mountains in the west to the broad Lech river in the east: This also included the region of Alsace and the later Margraviate of Baden on both sides of the Upper Rhine Valley, as well as modern German-speaking Switzerland, the Austrian state of Vorarlberg and the principality of Liechtenstein in the south.[ citation needed ]

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th through the 15th centuries

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Francia territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks, or Frankish Empire was the largest post-Roman Barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. It is the predecessor of the modern states of France and Germany. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, West Francia became the predecessor of France, and East Francia became that of Germany. Francia was among the last surviving Germanic kingdoms from the Migration Period era until its partitioning in 843.

Alamannia

Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman limes in 213. The Alemanni expanded from the Main River basin during the 3rd century, raiding Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine River beginning in the 4th century.

History

Duchy of Swabia around AD1000 shown in gold yellow including (present day) southern Alsace, the southern part of Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavarian Swabia, Vorarlberg in Austria, Liechtenstein, eastern Switzerland and small parts of northern Italy. In green: Upper Burgundy. Alamannien Hochburgund ca 1000.png
Duchy of Swabia around AD1000 shown in gold yellow including (present day) southern Alsace, the southern part of Baden-Württemberg, Bavarian Swabia, Vorarlberg in Austria, Liechtenstein, eastern Switzerland and small parts of northern Italy. In green: Upper Burgundy.

Early history

Like all of Southern Germany, what is now Swabia was part of the La Tène culture, and as such has a Celtic (Gaulish) substrate. In the Roman era, it was part of the Raetia province.

Southern Germany as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. That corresponds roughly to the historical stem duchies of Bavaria and Swabia or, in a modern context, to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg within the Federal Republic of Germany, to the exclusion of the areas of the modern states of Austria and Switzerland. The Saarland and the southern parts of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate are sometimes included as well and correspond to the historical Franconia.

La Tène culture archaeological culture

The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age, succeeding the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture without any definite cultural break, under the impetus of considerable Mediterranean influence from the Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, the Etruscans, and Golasecca culture.

Gauls

The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of West-Central Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period. The area they inhabited was known as Gaul. Their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages.

The name Suebia is derived from that of the Suebi . It is used already by Tacitus in the 1st century, albeit in a different geographical sense: He calls the Baltic Sea the Mare Suevicum ("Suebian Sea") after the Suiones, and ends his description of the Suiones and Sitones with "Here Suebia ends" (Hic Suebiae finis). [2] By the mid-3rd century, groups Suebi form the core element of the new tribal alliance known as the Alamanni, who expanded towards the Roman Limes east of the Rhine and south of the Main. The Alamanni were sometimes referred to as Suebi even at this time, and their new area of settlement came to be known as Suebia. In the migration period, the Suebi (Alamanni) crossed the Rhine in 406 and some of them established the Kingdom of the Suebi in Galicia. Another group settled in parts of Pannonia, after the Huns were defeated in 454 in the Battle of Nedao.

The Alemanni were ruled by independent kings throughout the 4th to 5th century centuries, but fell under Frankish domination in the 6th (Battle of Tolbiac 496). [3] By the late 5th century, the area settled by the Alemanni extended to the Alsace and the Swiss Plateau, bordering on the Bavarii to the east, the Franks to the north, the remnants of Roman Gaul to the west, and the Lombards and Goths, united in the Kingdom of Odoacer, to the south.

The name Alamannia was used by the 8th century, and from the 9th century, Suebia was occasionally used for Alamannia, while Alamannia was increasinly used to refer to the Alsace specifically. By the 12th century, Suebia rather than Alamannia was used consistently for the territory of the Duchy of Swabia. [4]

Duchy of Swabia

Swabia was one of the original stem duchies of East Francia, the later Holy Roman Empire, as it developed in the 9th and 10th centuries. Due to the foundation of the important abbeys of St. Gallen and Reichenau, Swabia became an important center of Old High German literary culture during this period.

In the later Carolingian period, Swabia became once again de facto independent, by the early 10th century mostly ruled by two dynasties, the Hunfriding counts in Raetia Curiensis and the Ahalolfings ruling the Baar estates around the upper Neckar and Danube rivers. The conflict between the two dynasties was decided in favour of Hunfriding Burchard II at the Battle of Winterthur (919). [5] Burchard's rule as duke was acknowledged as such by the newly elected king Henry the Fowler, and in the 960s the duchy under Burchard III was incpororated in the Holy Roman Empire under Otto I.

The Hohenstaufen dynasty, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries, arose out of Swabia, but following the execution of Conradin, the last Hohenstaufen, on October 29, 1268, the duchy was not reappointed during the Great Interregnum. In the following years the original duchy gradually broke up into many smaller units.

Rudolf I of Habsburg, elected in 1273 as emperor, tried to restore the duchy, but met the opposition of the higher nobility who aimed to limit the power of the emperor. Instead, he confiscated the former estates of the Hohenstaufen as imperial property of the Holy Roman Empire, and declared most of the cities formerly belonging to Hohenstaufen to be Free Imperial Cities, and the more powerful abbeys within the former duchy to be Imperial Abbeys.

The rural regions were merged into the Imperial Shrievalty (Reichslandvogtei) of Swabia, which was given as Imperial Pawn to Duke Leopold III of Austria in 1379 and again to Sigismund, Archduke of Austria in 1473/1486. He took the title of a "Prince of Swabia" and integrated the Shrievalty of Swabia in the realm of Further Austria.

Later medieval period

The Swabian League of Cities was first formed on 20 November 1331, when twenty-two imperial cities of the former Duchy of Swabia banded together in support of the Emperor Louis IV, who in return promised not to mortgage any of them to any imperial vassal. Among the founding cities were Augsburg, Heilbronn, Reutlingen, and Ulm. The counts of Württemberg, Oettingen, and Hohenberg were induced to join in 1340.

The defeat of the city league by Count Eberhard II of Württemberg in 1372 led to the formation of a new league of fourteen Swabian cities on 4 July 1376. The emperor refused to recognise the newly revitalised Swabian League, seeing it as a rebellion, and this led to an "imperial war" against the league. The renewed league defeated an imperial army at the Battle of Reutlingen on 14 May 1377. Burgrave Frederick V of Hohenzollern, finally defeated the league in 1388 at Döffingen. The next year the city league disbanded according to the resolutions of the Reichstag at Eger.

The major dynasties that arose out medieval Swabia were the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollerns, who rose to prominence in Northern Germany. Also stemming from Swabia are the local dynasties of the dukes of Württemberg and the Margraves of Baden. The Welf family went on to rule in Bavaria and Hanover, and are ancestral to the British Royal Family that has ruled since 1714. Smaller feudal dynasties eventually disappeared, however; for example, branches of the Montforts and Hohenems lived until modern times, and the Fürstenberg survive still. The region proved to be one of the most divided in the empire, containing, in addition to these principalities, numerous free cities, ecclesiastical territories, and fiefdoms of lesser counts and knights.

Early modern history

Map of the Swabian Circle (1756). Duchy of Wurttemberg and other territories of Swabia.jpg
Map of the Swabian Circle (1756).

A new Swabian League (Schwäbischer Bund) was formed in 1488, opposing the expansionist Bavarian dukes from the House of Wittelsbach and the revolutionary threat from the south in the form of the Swiss. [6] In 1519, the League conquered Württemberg and sold it to Charles V after its duke Ulrich seized the Free Imperial City of Reutlingen during the interregnum that followed the death of Maximilian I. It helped to suppress the Peasants' Revolt in 1524–26 and defeat an alliance of robber barons in the Franconian War. The Reformation caused the league to be disbanded in 1534. [7]

The territory of Swabia as understood today emerges in the early modern period. It corresponds to the Swabian Circle established in 1512. The Old Swiss Confederacy was de facto independent from Swabia from 1499 as a result of the Swabian War, while the Margraviate of Baden had been detached from Swabia since the twelfth century.

Fearing the power of the greater princes, the cities and smaller secular rulers of Swabia joined to form the Swabian League in the fifteenth century. The League was quite successful, notably expelling the Duke of Württemberg in 1519 and putting in his place a Habsburg governor, but the league broke up a few years later over religious differences inspired by the Reformation, and the Duke of Württemberg was soon restored.

The region was quite divided by the Reformation. While secular princes such as the Duke of Württemberg and the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, as well as most of the Free Cities, became Protestant, the ecclesiastical territories (including the bishoprics of Augsburg, Konstanz and the numerous Imperial abbeys) remained Catholic, as did the territories belonging to the Habsburgs (Further Austria), the Sigmaringen branch of the House of Hohenzollern, and the Margrave of Baden-Baden.

Modern history

In the wake of the territorial reorganization of the empire of 1803 by the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , the shape of Swabia was entirely changed. All the ecclesiastical estates were secularized, and most of the smaller secular states, and almost all of the free cities, were mediatized, leaving only Württemberg, Baden, and Hohenzollern as sovereign states. Much of Eastern Swabia became part of Bavaria, forming what is now the Swabian administrative region of Bavaria. In contemporary usage, Schwaben is often taken to refer to Bavarian Swabia exclusively. Baden, historically part of the duchy of Swabia but not of the Swabian Circle, is no longer commonly included in the term.

Swabian people

Language

The traditional distribution area of Western Upper German ( = Alemannic) dialect features in the nineteenth and twentieth century Alemannic-Dialects-Map-English.png
The traditional distribution area of Western Upper German ( = Alemannic) dialect features in the nineteenth and twentieth century

SIL Ethnologue cites an estimate of 819,000 Swabian speakers as of 2006. This corresponds to roughly 10% of the total population of the Swabian region, or roughly 1% of the total population of Germany.

As an ethno-linguistic group, Swabians are closely related to other speakers of Alemannic German, i.e. Badeners, Alsatians, and German-speaking Swiss. [8]

Swabian German is traditionally spoken in the upper Neckar basin (upstream of Heilbronn), along the upper Danube between Tuttlingen and Donauwörth, and on the left bank of the Lech, in an area centered on the Swabian Alps roughly stretching from Stuttgart to Augsburg.

Many Swabian surnames end with the suffixes -le, -(l)er, -el, -ehl, and -lin, typically from the Middle High German diminutive suffix -elîn (Modern Standard German -lein). Examples would be: Schäuble, Egeler, Rommel , and Gmelin. The popular surname Schwab is derived from this area, meaning literally "Swabian".

See also

Related Research Articles

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Baden-Württemberg State in Germany

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House of Zähringen dynasty

The House of Zähringen was a dynasty of Swabian nobility. Their name is derived from Zähringen castle near Freiburg im Breisgau.

History of Baden-Württemberg

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Swabian League

The Swabian League was a mutual defence and peace keeping association of Imperial Estates – free Imperial cities, prelates, principalities and knights – principally in the territory of the early medieval stem duchy of Swabia, established in 1488 at the behest of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg and supported as well by Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, archbishop of Mainz, whose conciliar rather than monarchic view of the Reich often put him at odds with Frederick's successor Maximilian. The Swabian League cooperated towards the keeping of the imperial peace and at least in the beginning curbing the expansionist Bavarian dukes from the House of Wittelsbach and the revolutionary threat from the south in the form of the Swiss. The League held regular meetings, supported tribunals and maintained a unified force of 12,000 infantrymen and 1200 cavalry.

Stem duchy

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Duchy of Swabia former country

The Duchy of Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom. It arose in the 10th century in the southwestern area that had been settled by Alemanni tribes in Late Antiquity.

Upper Swabia

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County of Württemberg

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Achalm Castle castle ruin

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Swabia is a historical region in Southern Germany.

References

  1. "definition of Swabia". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  2. Germania Section 45.
  3. Also, a number of Suebi reached the Iberian Peninsula under king Hermeric and established an independent kingdom known as the Galliciense Regnum, which existed during 410585. See Victor Vitense Persecutiones, I.
  4. in pago Almanniae 762, in pago Alemannorum 797, urbs Constantia in ducatu Alemanniae 797; in ducatu Alemannico, in pago Linzgowe 873. S. Hirzel, Forschungen zur Deutschen Landeskunde 6 (1888), p. 299.
  5. Bernd Schneidmüller, Die Welfen. Herrschaft und Erinnerung (819–1252). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2000, 82–83.
  6. R.G.D. Laffan, "The Empire under Maximilian I", in The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. I 1975:198.
  7. Laffan 1975:198.
  8. Minahan, p. 650.

Sources