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former landgraviate, Germany

Alternate titles: Hessen-Darmstadt

By The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

Date: 1567 – 1945

Key People: Wilhelm Heinrich August, Freiherr von GagernErnest Louis

Related Places: Germany

Hesse-Darmstadt, German Hessen-darmstadt, former landgraviate, grand duchy, and state of Germany. It was formed in 1567 in the division of old Hesse; after Hesse-Kassel was absorbed by Prussia in 1866, Hesse-Darmstadt was usually known simply as Hesse.

Hesse-Darmstadt was originally only the small territory of Upper Katzenelnbogen with Darmstadt, being situated in what is now the extreme southern portion of the present-day Land (state) of Hessen. But the landgraviate received significant accretions of territory during the 17th and 18th centuries, partly owing to its steadfast loyalty to the Habsburg Holy Roman emperors. Hesse-Darmstadt entered Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine in 1806 and was consequently raised to the status of a grand duchy in that year. Hesse-Darmstadt joined the allies in 1813 and entered the German Confederation in 1815. The Congress of Vienna ceded some of Hesse-Darmstadt’s lands to Prussia and Bavaria but in compensation gave the duchy, among other territories, a district on the west bank of the Rhine containing the important cities of Mainz and Worms. The grand duke Louis I (reigned 1768–1830) granted Hesse-Darmstadt a constitution in 1820, carried through other reforms, and made the grand duchy the first of the southern German states to join the Prussian Zollverein (Customs Union). Hesse-Darmstadt thereafter oscillated between liberalism and conservatism. The duchy sided with the Austrians in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866) and consequently lost its territory north of the Main River to the Prussian-sponsored North German Confederation. But when the German empire was founded in 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt became one of its constituent states.

Following the abdication of the last grand duke, Ernest Louis, in 1918, Hesse became a republic and one of the constituent states of the Weimar Republic of postwar Germany. In 1945 the territory east of the Rhine was in the U.S. occupation zone and became part of the Land of Greater Hesse (later called simply Hessen), while the rest became part of the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate.

From <https://www.britannica.com/place/Hesse-Darmstadt>

Louis II (1777–1848) Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

Louis II (1777–1848) Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from 1830 to 1848. Grandmaster of the Ludwig Order. Founder and Grandmaster of the Order of Philip the Magnanimous in 1840. Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle. Knight of the Order of the White Falcon.  Knight of the House-order of the Golden Lion.  Married Princess Wilhelmine of Baden (1788 – 1836) daughter of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden.

Notes: 

  • Hesse-Darmstadt was originally only the small territory of Upper Katzenelnbogen with Darmstadt, being situated in what is now the extreme southern portion of the present-day Land (state) of Hessen.
  • But the landgraviate received significant accretions of territory during the 17th and 18th centuries, partly owing to its steadfast loyalty to the Habsburg Holy Roman emperors.
  • Hesse-Darmstadt entered Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine in 1806 and was consequently raised to the status of a grand duchy in that year.
  • Hesse-Darmstadt joined the allies in 1813 and entered the German Confederation in 1815.
  • The Congress of Vienna ceded some of Hesse-Darmstadt’s lands to Prussia and Bavaria but in compensation gave the duchy, among other territories, a district on the west bank of the Rhine containing the important cities of Mainz and Worms.
  • The grand duke Louis I (reigned 1768–1830) granted Hesse-Darmstadt a constitution in 1820, carried through other reforms, and made the grand duchy the first of the southern German states to join the Prussian Zollverein (Customs Union).
  • Hesse-Darmstadt thereafter oscillated between liberalism and conservatism.
  • The duchy sided with the Austrians in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866) and consequently lost its territory north of the Main River to the Prussian-sponsored North German Confederation.
  • But when the German empire was founded in 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt became one of its constituent states.

From <https://europeanheraldry.org/germany/princely-houses/house-hesse/hesse-darmstadt1/landgraves-and-grand-dukes-hesse-darmstadt/>

Hessen-Darmstadt

AD 1567 – 1806

The west German duchy of Hesse was a single, unified, and enlargened state from 1500. The main body of its territory was comprised of various regions to the east of Nassau, and between the River Lippe to the north and just below the Maine in the south. Formerly the Chatti tribe of the first century AD, the Hessians formed a semi-independent territory out of the collapse of the much larger stem duchy of Franconia. They gained a landgraviate in the thirteenth century and a duchy in 1500. From 1509, Duke Philip the Magnanimous was the single most influential figure in the history of all of the various Hessian territories. One of the political leaders of the Reformation, it was during his reign that Hesse played a role of great importance in the Reich, meaning ’empire’ – in this case the Austrian-dominated Holy Roman empire which covered most of central Europe. Hesse’s city of Frankfurt-am-Main was for a long time a free imperial city, serving as the location in which German emperors were crowned.

Following Philip’s death, Hesse was divided into the regions of Hessen-Kassel, Hessen-Marburg, Hessen-Rheinfels and Hessen-Darmstadt, one each for Philip’s four sons. Hessen-Darmstadt was formed out of the Obergrafschaft (‘upper county’) of the former ‘Imperial Immediacy’ of the county of Katzenelnbogen, an ‘immediacy’ being a district which answered directly to the Holy Roman emperor rather than a local overlord or prince. Having been created in 1095 to comprise the Obergrafschaft (‘upper county’) and Untergrafschaft (‘lower county’), it witnessed four centuries of rule by its own Katzenelnbogen counts before the line died out in 1497. It was inherited by Hesse thanks to the 1458 marriage between Henry III of Upper Hesse and Count Philipp’s daughter, Anna of Katzenelnbogen.

From <https://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsEurope/GermanyHessenDarmstadt.htm>

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