History of the Saarland

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Coat of arms of the Saarland with the silver lion of the county of Saarbrücken , the cross of the Archbishopric and Electorate of Trier , the silver eagles of the Duchy of Lorraine and the golden lion of the Wittelsbach duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken ; Draft by the Saarbrücken State Archives from 1956 with reference to the most important historical territories of today's Saarland

The Saarland ( called Saargebiet from 1920 to 1935 ) has been a federal state in the southwest of the Federal Republic of Germany , located on the central Saar , since 1957 . The state capital is Saarbrücken .

With regard to antiquity , the migration period and the beginning of the Middle Ages , rich archaeological finds give evidence of the Celtic , Roman and Frankish settlement of the country.

The area of ​​today's Saarland came in 925 with the Franconian Lotharingia to the Eastern Empire, from which the later Holy Roman Empire developed. During the feudal period , the Archbishopric and Electorate of Trier , the Duchy of Lorraine , the Wittelsbach Duchy of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and the County of Saarbrücken were the most important territorial lords in what is now Saarland. With the Treaty of Nuremberg in 1542, in which the empire granted the Duchy of Lorraine a special status under constitutional law as a free and independent duchy, the Saar region increasingly turned into a contested border area and in the course of its recent history was at times under the influence of France or its sovereignty . So it came about in the course of the reunion policy under King Louis XIV ( Province de la Sarre , 1680 to 1697), as a result of the French Revolution and under Napoleon I ( Département de la Sarre , 1794/98 to 1815), as Saar area (Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre, 1920 to 1935) and as an autonomous Saar state (État Sarrois, 1947 to 1956) to separate from Germany. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, after the Congress of Vienna , the area largely belonged to the State of Prussia and the Kingdom of Bavaria (1815/16 to 1918) and, after the revolutionary overthrow of the monarchy, to the Free State of Prussia and the People's State of Bavaria (1918). An essential basis for the economic and political importance of the country was or is its rich mineral resources ( hard coal , ores ), its wealth of forests and the industry that developed from it, the associated high population concentration and the well-developed infrastructure .

Prehistory and early history

Evidence of human settlement in today's Saarland goes back to the Paleolithic around 100,000 years ago. During this time, big game hunters roamed the Saar Valley , leaving hand axes and remains of camp sites. Finds of flint knives as well as stone tips of lances and arrows can be assigned to the younger Paleolithic. For the time of the last maximum of the Ice Age , no human remains can be proven. With the global warming of the Holocene around 10,000 years ago, the flora and fauna of the Saarland began to change significantly, which was not without effects on the way of life of the people living there. Forests spread across the country, replacing the Ice Age fauna. Since the newly immigrated hunting animals remained stationary, they enabled the people of the Saar and its tributaries to better settle in the Mesolithic . As the climate continued to warm in the Neolithic Age , people developed more sophisticated stone tools and agriculture spread. Agriculture and cattle breeding made it possible to settle down all year round and the population increased in quantity. Grain milling stones found during archaeological excavations near Neunkirchen , Merzig and numerous other places in the Saarland are evidence of the Neolithic revolution in Saarland . Ground and polished stone tools and precisely pierced ax blades for holding wooden handles also testify to the progress made in the craft. The large number of stone axes found suggests that the Saarland was densely populated at that time. With regard to tillage, a large pierced stone plow wedge was found in Überherrn . Large menhirs like the seven-meter-high Gollenstein near Blieskastel , the largest menhir in Central Europe, or the five-meter-high Spellenstein near Rentrisch are difficult to date. Their production and erection could be assigned to the period from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age .

In the 2nd millennium BC A culture of metalworking developed in the Saarland. Depot finds with bronze axes, hatchets, swords, bridles and jewelry, which were discovered by chance in the middle of the 19th century during road construction work on the central Saar, bear witness to this . In St. Barbara a copper mine was found. In 2007 a treasure from the Late Bronze Age was discovered in Erfweiler-Ehlingen , which was probably hidden in the ground because of a military threat. Several burial mounds in Saarland bear witness to the social prominence of the buried and point to an aristocratic elite in the region. The distribution of grave finds reveals the main settlements on the Saar and the Blies , which made affordable arable farming possible. The names and language of the then residents of Saarland are still unknown.

Celtic time

Reconstructed burial mounds in Reinheim ( European Culture Park Bliesbruck-Reinheim )
Reinheimer Kanne, replica of the heavily corroded original
Gold jewelry of a Celtic nobleman from a burial mound near Reinheim
Celtic ring wall near Otzenhausen

Already at the beginning of the Iron Age , ore miners discovered iron deposits in the Saar Valley, which they exploited for the production of tools and weapons . Compared to the Bronze Age, the population of the Saarland from the 9th century BC onwards BC, which is confirmed by archaeological finds and burial sites. The Saarland burial mounds from the Hallstatt era are mostly located on ridges, where the settlements from the flood-prone valley floors of the Saar are also relocated. During this time, the wooded low mountain ranges of the Saarland are settled for the first time. The first regional cultural group is the Hunsrück-Eifel culture in the period between the sixth and third centuries BC. It is characterized by grave mound fields with body burials and grave goods. The transition from the Hunsrück-Eifel culture to the time of the Celtic Treveri ran smoothly.

For the Latène Age, the younger Iron Age, which began around 450 BC. Chr. Lasted until the time of the birth of Christ, burial grounds and elaborately designed aristocratic graves indicate the increased prosperity and trade relations with distant regions. The burial mound of a Celtic nobleman buried near Reinheim , which was archaeologically examined in 1954, contained golden bracelets and finger rings, a golden breastplate, pearls made of Baltic amber and the ornamental motif of the Sphinx from the Mediterranean region . In addition, a large bronze jug is evidence of import trade from Italy to Saarland. Like the numerous fortifications ( Wallerfanger Limberg, Schmelz-Limbach-Birg , Saarbrücker Sonnenberg, Siersburger Königsberg, Nonnweiler -Kastel, Otzenhausen ), the Celtic princely graves belong to the time of the fortified country towns ( Oppida ) of the Celtic era . The so-called Otzenhausener Hunnenring is the most impressive remnant of such an oppidum in Saarland . The Hunnenring, which dates from approx. 400 BC. Until around 50 BC It was used in the area of ​​the Celtic Treverians , who had their center on the Moselle. The inhabitants of the Oppida were famous for their riders and chariots, which were also minted on gold coins such as the Saarbrücken gold stater . Other smaller ring walls existed all over the Saarland. The area of ​​the Trever tribe joined in the south to the area of ​​the Celtic tribe of the Mediomatrics , who particularly distinguished themselves in the extraction of iron and salt . The settlement focus of the Mediomatriker was in the Metz area, but their settlement area also included the upper reaches of the Saar, Maas , Moselle and Seille , as well as the middle Saar valley and the valley of the Blies . The still wooded zone of the northern Saarland formed the border area between the two Celtic tribes. The Celts shaped the culture of the Saarland up to the Roman invasion and beyond. For example, the Celtic fertility goddesses Epona and Rosmerta were venerated even after the Roman conquest of the Saarland. The names of the rivers (e.g. Saar from Indo-European “stream”, Blies and Nied from Indo-European “flow”, Prims from Indo-European “wallen / hum”) and numerous mountains of the Saarland are of Indo-European or Celtic origin.

Roman time

Floor mosaic of the Roman villa in Nennig
Reconstructed Roman villa complex in Borg
Reconstructed gate system of the estate in Borg
Reconstructed interior of the Villa Borg

In the Gallic War of the Roman general (and later sole ruler) Gaius Iulius Caesar in the years 58 to 51/50 BC. The area of ​​what is now Saarland was also subordinated to Roman sovereignty. The Mediomatriker had the uprising of the Arverni prince Vercingetorix in the year 52 BC. Supported. Under Emperor Augustus , the conquered territories were in the years 16 to 13 BC. Developed by rulership.

The central location of the region became Durocortorum, today's Reims . The area of ​​today's Saarland became part of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica , later only called Belgica, one of the provinces that emerged when Emperor Augustus divided Gaul . The province of Belgica encompassed the north and east of what is now France , western Belgium , western Switzerland and the Jura down to Lake Geneva (Lacus Lemanus), as well as the catchment area of ​​the Moselle up to about 50 kilometers before it flows into the Rhine . During the administrative reform of Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century AD, Belgica was divided into the provinces Belgica I ( Belgica Prima ) around the Moselle and Belgica II ( Belgica Secunda ), which stretched from Reims to the English Channel . They then formed the Dioecesis Galliae with the previous provinces of Lugdunensis, Germania superior and Germania Inferior, Sequana (western Switzerland, Jura , later Maxima Sequanorum) and Alpes Graiae et Poeninae (see Alpes Poenina and Alpes Graiae ) .

The imperial foundation of Augusta Treverorum ( Trier ) developed into an important city in the province of Belgica and became the capital of the diocese of Galliae. Already in 17 BC The first wooden bridge over the Moselle was built here, which was replaced by a stone bridge after the Treveri uprising in 71 AD. Between 286 and 395 Trier was the imperial residence and one of the capitals of the Roman Empire.

In terms of infrastructure, the area of ​​today's Saarland was connected to the navigable Saar, bridges near Konz , Saarbrücken and the Saarburg (Pons Saravi) on the upper Saar and a well-developed road network to the Moselle city of Trier. The forests of the Saarland supplied timber, the ore mines iron and copper, the clay and clay pits formed the basis for the production of bricks and ceramic items. The market for ceramics from the workshop of a Gallo-Roman potter from Blickweiler ranged from Britain to the central Danube . Finds are now in the Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Saarbrücken . In St. Barbara , the existing ore mining was intensified by expanding the Emilianus tunnel . The main axes of the road network in what was then Saarland were the routes between the cities of Metz, Trier, Worms and Strasbourg.

Starting from the Trier force field, numerous small Gallo-Roman country towns (vici), sanctuaries, cemeteries, traffic stations (mansiones), forts for military garrisons and rural villas (villae) emerged in the Saarland, especially in the Saar-Moselle region, e.g. B. in Nennig , Perl and in Contiomagus ( Dillingen - Leases ), and in Bliesgau, z. B. Homburg- Schwarzenacker and Bliesbruck-Reinheim . Perl-Nennig's villa was decorated with a magnificent floor mosaic, which to this day represents the largest Roman floor mosaic north of the Alps that has been preserved in situ. The Nenniger villa building, which dates from the 2nd century AD, was discovered during earthworks in 1852 . The 10 × 16 meter mosaic floor of a villa room shows fights between humans and animals between ornamental frames. The Nenniger Villa had a façade around 120 meters wide, a separate bathroom with an area of ​​almost 500 square meters and a 256 meter long, covered walkway between the residential and bathing building. The fact that the manorial estate (“villa”) not only included the manorial residence (“pars domestica”), but also a manor with economic buildings (“pars rustica”) only became apparent in 1997 when a new building area was opened towards the Moselle . The locations of three buildings on both sides of a huge courtyard area could be determined. One was completely excavated by 2001 with the help of the Pre- and Protohistory Department of Saarland University .

A splendid estate also existed in neighboring Borg. The Villa Borg complex, which has been excavated according to plan since 1987 , was reconstructed from 1994 to 2001 according to the findings . The three-wing complex, including the courtyard area, extends over an area of ​​7.5 hectares. The main building, the reconstruction of which is also used as a regional museum for archaeological finds, lies across the central axis of the complex. It has a large lobby with an area of ​​100 m². The furnishing of the living and utility rooms as well as the Roman bath were reconstructed on the basis of found remains and ancient models.

In the middle of the first century AD, a fort at the foot of the Halberg ( Saarbrücken Roman fort ) and a settlement in Sankt Arnual were connected by an initially wooden, then stone bridge over the Saar. The place name of the settlement on Saarbrücker Halberg, proven on a milestone, was Vicus Saravus ( Saarort ). With this vicus, a settlement center emerged for the first time in what is now Saarbrücken's urban area. Two highways crossed here ( Metz - Mainz , Strasbourg - Trier ). The Vicus Saravus was similar in size to the Vicus of Reinheim-Bliesbrück and exceeded the Vici Contiomagus (leases), Wareswald bei Tholey , Schwarzenacker and Nennig. Archaeologically attested, stately, brick-roofed buildings with up to 15 m street frontage, underfloor heating, large storage cellars and water pipes from the surrounding mountains indicate the importance of the vicus in the area of ​​today's Saarland capital. Forging tools and iron slag suggest iron processing on site, while weights with numerals indicate a place of trade. Medical instruments are evidence of medical care. Found statuettes of gods and larger tombstones as well as a villa complex reveal a flourishing Gallo-Roman small town.

The Celtic world of gods was gradually adapted to Roman ideas. Only a few cults, such as that of the horse and fertility goddess Epona , were able to retain their originally Celtic form. Several stone reliefs of the goddess were found in Völklingen - Ludweiler . The worship of the Celtic god Teutates , which is evidenced by the giant columns of Jupiter on the Saarbrücken Eschberg , in St. Wendel - Dörrenbach and in Schwarzenacker, was brought into line with that of the Roman father Jupiter . The Christian religion spread on the Saar, especially in late antiquity, in the wake of the Roman troops and the massive support under Emperor Constantine . Trier became the seat of a bishopric and theological place of activity of the church teachers Ambrosius and Hieronymus . With the elevation of Christianity to the state religion in the Roman Empire by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I in 380, the area of ​​today's Saarland was Christianized. On the basis of the demolition of the old Pachtener church found in 1891. "Ursus stone" with a monogram of Christ can show that in the third or fourth century. BC. People Christian faith in today's Saarland lived.

Contiomagus -Pachten, copy of the Christian tombstone of the child Ursus, found when the old Pachten church was demolished in 1891, Latin text: IN PACE QUIESCIT URSUS INNOCENS QUI VIXIT AN III D XLVI, translation: The innocent Ursus, the three, rests here in peace Lived for years and 46 days. The original tombstone was lost in World War II .

The time of unbroken prosperity of Gallo-Roman culture in Saarland ended with the crisis of the third century AD. Bad harvests, uprisings and barbarian incursions, the abandonment of the Limes between the Rhine and the Danube brought the region a noticeable decline. The Roman Saarbrücken, Schwarzenacker and Dillingen leases were plundered and burned down in the spring of 276 due to the invasion of the Franks and Alemanni as part of the beginning of the migration of peoples . Coin deposit finds prove that these raids must also have resulted in the deaths of residents of the Saar places.

Contiomagus leases, reconstruction of a fort tower built in 2009

The reconstruction of the Saar region was initiated under Emperor Probus . With the attack of the Alemanni in 352, the Gallo-Roman Saar places sank again to rubble and ashes. The reign of Emperor Valentinian I , who had resided in Trier since 367 and had a magnificent imperial villa built in Konz on the Saar (Contionacum) , brought relative stabilization . To increase security, forts were built in Merzig (Martiaticum), Saarbrücken and leases at the Saar, but this late period of prosperity only lasted for a short time. The onslaught of the Great Migration brought an abrupt end to Gallo-Roman culture in Saarland. In 395, Emperor Flavius ​​Honorius had to move the imperial residence from Trier to Milan . Around 400 the Gaulish prefecture (one of the two highest administrative authorities of the western empire for Gaul, Britain and Spain) was moved from Trier to Arles .

In the years up to 435, Trier and the surrounding area on the Moselle and Saar were plundered four times by the Franks and their allied tribes. In addition, Alemanni came to the Saar valley. The Western Roman army master Flavius ​​Aëtius endeavored to defend the Roman province of Gaul during this difficult period. With the help of Hunnic auxiliaries, in 436 he destroyed the Burgundy empire that had spread from Worms . In the battle on the Catalaunian fields near Châlons-en-Champagne , Aëtius was able to oppose the Hun king Attila with the help of a mixed Roman-Germanic army and bring his advance to a standstill. In the period that followed Arbogast the Younger , a Roman educated Christian with a presumably Franconian migration background, ruled the city of Trier and its surrounding area on the Moselle and Saar until after 480. With the help of remaining Roman associations and perhaps Franconian foederati, he ruled a relatively small area of ​​influence. His rule is to be understood as a transitional period between Roman and Frankish rule. In the 480s, Trier finally fell to the Franks , who had been harassing this area in previous years. The late antique culture became extinct soon after. Trade in Roman coins and written messages largely ceased.

At the end of the fifth century the Frankish king headed Clovis from the dynasty of the Merovingian the formation of a Western European empire with the center in the Paris basin one. He subjugated the Gallo-Roman population in the 480s and the Alemanni tribe in the 490s. He converted to Catholicism after his victory over the Alamanni in the Battle of Zülpich . This step was an important setting for the further course of the medieval history of the Saarland.

middle Ages

Early middle ages

Course of the dat-das-line

During the Great Migration , Roman rule collapsed, which resulted in a sharp decline in population. The existing settlements, the road network and the agriculturally used areas of the Saarland fell into disrepair due to raids, wars and epidemics. The continued use of the Celtic river names of the Saarland to this day, however, indicates population continuity. Place names such as Wahlschied , Wahlen or Welschbach indicate the continued existence of Romance language islands east of the language border . Romanesque settlements were also able to survive along the Moselle and in the high forest around Tholey . Saarland place names that are directly linked to the earlier Roman place names, there are only a few, such as Bliesbolchen (Bollacum), Mettlach (Mediolacum), Besch (Bessiacum), Bübingen (Bubiacum), Borg (Burnacum), Münzingen (Miniciacum), Nennig (Nanniacum) or Sinz (Sentiacum). In leases ( Contiomagus ) Frankish settlers settled in the Roman ruins of the town, whose ancient name was lost. The place name of Auersmacher (Auricas Machera) mentioned in the year 777 also indicates continuity of ruins.

While the Franks to the west of the Moselle were assimilated by the local Gallo-Roman population, on the Saar they for their part largely assimilated the Gallo-Roman population, which can still be felt today in the Moselle Franconian and Rhenish Franconian dialects of the Saarland. The so-called dat-das-Linie, which separates the two Franconian dialect variants from one another, runs across the Saarland. Presumably the Franconian repopulation of the Saarland was partly directed by the Franconian kingdom. Numerous Franconian place names in the Saarland on -ingen, -heim or -dorf refer to their founders: Fechingen (with the people of Facho), Dillingen (with the people of Dullo), Völklingen (with the people of Fulkilo), Wadgassen (with the People of the Wadugoz), Dudweiler (with the people of Dudo) or Lendelfingen (with the people of Landwulf).

The first Christianization had already taken place in Roman times. Following the baptism of the Frankish king Clovis I from the dynasty of the Merovingian by the Reims Bishop Remigius around the year 500, the still mostly pagan settlers were Christianized, facilitating the integration of the Gallo-Roman population. The Christian faith of the Germanic classes was strengthened by a wave of missions of Anglo-Saxon and Iro-Scottish missionaries in the sixth century, such as Ingobertus , Wendalinus or Oranna .

Copy of the will of Adalgisel Grimo from the 10th century. The certificate is considered the oldest document from the Rhineland (Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz, inventory 1 a, number 1)

The first traits of a diocesan organization in Saarland can be seen in the will of the Franconian nobleman and deacon of the Verdun church , Adalgisel Grimo . In the deed on December 30, 634, he determined, among other things, that his property in Tholey, together with the "loca sanctorum" established by him there , should fall to the diocese of Verdun , headed by Bishop Paul at the time . At the request of Adalgisel Grimos, the Bishop of Trier , who also consecrated the Tholeyer Church, sent clerics to Tholey.

The certificate of Adalgisel Grimo, written in Latin and preserved in a copy, is today the oldest preserved document in the Rhineland. Adalgisel Grimo, who had numerous, widely scattered estates in the Austrasian part of the empire, especially between the Meuse , the Ardennes and the Hunsrück , was brought up at the Verdun cathedral. His ancestral property could have come into the possession of his family through allocation during the conquest of the Franks at the end of the 5th and beginning of the 6th century, because the places mentioned in the document all have pre-Germanic names. The relationship between Adalgisel Grimo and Duke Adalgisel is considered certain. This duke, together with Bishop Kunibert of Cologne, reigned for the under-king Sigibert III. and can also be proven in the vicinity of King Childerich II .

After building his own church in Tholey, Adalgisel Grimo had turned to the Trier bishop, probably Moduald , with the request to send clerics and consecrate the Tholeyer church. The text of the document is clear in that in Tholey, pastoral care is not incumbent on a single pastor but on a clerical community. It remains to be seen whether this was a loose community of secular clergy (canons as later in the St. Arnual an der Saar Abbey ) or a monastic community based on the Benedictine or Columban model.

At the end of the seventh century, the Franconian nobleman Lutwinus founded the Abbey of Saint Peter and Mary as a double monastery on the site of today's Mettlach and entered the monastery himself, which was subject to the Benedictine rule. When Liutwin later became Bishop of Trier (697-715) (also Reims (717) and Laon ), it was over several centuries, until the 10th century, that the Trier bishop's seat and the management of the abbey were held in personal union were.

Already in 757/768 Lantbert, probably a relative of Liutwin and ancestor of the Guidonen , brought the Mettlach monastery into his possession. Probably in the year 782, King Charlemagne then rejected the derived claims of Lantbert's sons, including Guido von Nantes , on Mettlach. After that, the Carolingians still exercised royal rights in Mettlach in the 9th century , especially Emperor Lothar I , who at the beginning of his rule put the later Count Guido von Spoleto in possession of the monastery. After the end of the Carolingian ruling house, the Mettlach Abbey was then a monastery of the Trier diocese.

Mettlach, old tower , oldest building in Saarland, former grave chapel of St. Lutwinus

The personal union ended when Bishop Ruotbert von Trier (931–956) granted the monastery free election as abbot. It was also Ruotbert who diverted a Pentecostal procession from the southeast of the diocese to Mettlach , which had previously been directed towards the Trier Cathedral , thus establishing the tradition of Mettlach as a place of pilgrimage.

Around the year 990 Abbot Lioffin built a Church of St. Mary as the founder's grave church. This octagonal church , modeled on the Aachen Cathedral , is known today as the Old Tower and is the oldest building in Saarland. The Romanesque building and a cross relic acquired in the 1220s are evidence of the importance of the Mettlach Abbey in the Middle Ages .

Lutwinus ' grandson Count Warnharius from the Widonen family (ancestors of the Salians ) donated land to the mission bishop Pirminius for the foundation of the Hornbach monastery , which is located on today's Saarland border .

Figure of Arnulf von Metz on the portal of the Protestant Johanneskirche in St. Johann ad Saar ;
According to a legend, Arnulf resigned his bishopric in 629 and retired to the Heidenkapelle (former Mithraeum ) on Halberg , where his alleged father, Saint Arnual , had already lived as a hermit. From there he initiated the construction of the chapel dedicated to John the Baptist (location of the St. Johann basilica ) in the fishing village of St. Johann. The fishing village then adopted the place name St. Johann from the title saint of this chapel.

In the sixth century, Metz, which became the capital of Australia under King Sigibert I , took the place of Trier as the central location of the Saar area. Sigibert's son Childebert II handed over the royal estate on the Saar to the bishops of Reims . The former episcopal village of Bischmisheim reminds of this Merovingian donation to this day . Childebert's son Theudebert II gave the royal court of Merkingen to the Metz bishop Arnulf von Metz , which was probably renamed Sankt Arnual after the death of the Metz bishop . Arnulf, who is counted as part of the Pippinid family , was viewed by Charlemagne as the dynastic ancestor of the Carolingians .

The Tholeyer Abbey Church of St. Mauritius from the Schaumberg
Interior of the collegiate church of St. Arnual to the west

The church parlors on the Saar were formed for the first time under the Metz bishop Chrodegang . Saarland place names with the suffix -kirchen, such as Wiebelskirchen , emerged during this time with the construction of new parish churches. In terms of canon law, however, the diocese of Metz remained subordinate to the Trier diocese, whose church provincial borders with the suffragan dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun follow the political structures of late antiquity . The Archdiocese of Trier succeeded in the following centuries, with the Bishopric build Trier own political sovereignty. The Trier Hochstift property in northern Saarland was later divided into the administrative offices of Saarburg , Merzig and Grimburg . Völklingen and Malstatt formed the southernmost parishes of the Diocese of Trier, while Ottweiler , Illingen and St. Ingbert were the northernmost parishes of the Diocese of Metz. The southern Trier parishes were looked after by the archdeaconate Tholey, whose early Gothic abbey church was supposed to express the archbishopric's claim to power. With the construction of the early Gothic collegiate church of St. Arnual, Metz emphasized its own claim to power on the Saar. The diocesan borders between Metz and Trier remained essentially (with the exception of St. Wendel ( Diocese of Verdun ), 1326/28 purchase by the Trier Elector and Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg ) until the ecclesiastical political upheavals of 1802.

From the late eighth to the end of the thirteenth century, the population in Saarland increased and a period of clearing began. As early as the Merovingian period the locations were districts were merged. The Gaue were named after the most important rivers in the region. In the Treaty of Meerssen in 870, the upper and lower Saargau, Rosselgau, Niedgau and Bliesgau are mentioned. The partially mountainous woodland of the Vosagus, which comprised today's Vosges , the Palatinate Forest , the Hunsrück with the Black Forest high forest and the Warndt , was uninhabited at that time .

On the fertile shell limestone soils of the Saar and Bliesgau, places were founded in a second wave of settlements, whose names in the Carolingian era were mostly formed with the suffixes -weiler, -kirchen, -hausen and -hofen. The higher forest areas of the Saarland were still avoided in terms of settlement that was initiated by aristocrats or monasteries. However, it was now time to settle the tributary valleys, for example in the Nahegau. All of the old parishes in Saarland are in the area of ​​the Franconian first settlement.

In the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the Carolingian Empire was divided. Metz and Trier fell to the Middle Kingdom ( Lotharii Regnum ) of Lothar I. After the disintegration of the Middle Kingdom, the area came under King Ludwig the German to Eastern Franconia in 870 , from which today's Germany emerged. During this time, today's Saarland was badly shaken by attacks by the Vikings and Hungarians . Bishop Wala of Metz fell against the Vikings on April 11, 882 in the Battle of Remich on what is now the Saarland-Luxembourg border . A political stabilization of the region began with the transition of the kingdom of the dynasty of the Ottos under King Henry I a.

The construction of the count castles of Saarbrücken , St. Ingbert ( Stiefler Castle ) and Altfelsberg probably fell during this time . The castle Homburg was built later than the 950th At a castle near St. Wendel, which at that time was still called "Basenvillare", King Otto I and King Ludwig IV of West Franconia are said to have met in 950 . The Imperial Castle of Kirkel is first mentioned at the end of the 11th century. All of these castle complexes played an important role in the history of the Saarland for several centuries.

With the victory of King Otto I over the warlike Hungarians in 955 in the battle of the Lechfeld , a more peaceful period began on the borders of the empire. This consolidation was also promoted by a strong alliance between the monarchy and the imperial church . So gave Emperor Otto III. On April 14, 999 in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome the royal castle Sarabruca together with the royal court Völklingen and the forest areas around Quiigart and in the Warndt together with the associated villages, fields, meadows, forests, proprietors, officials, churches, customs duties, markets, waters, fishing rights as well Mills to the Bishop of Metz, Adalbero II. Just ten years later, Emperor Heinrich II. Brought the Saarbrücken castle into his possession, but in 1065 Heinrich IV. Gave the Saar fortress to the Bishop of Metz. In 1180, however, Heinrich handed over the castle, which was located on a rock on the Saar, to his follower Sigebert, to whom he also gave Wadgassen on the Saar as unrestricted property. In the wake of the investiture controversy , the Saarbrücken counts succeeded in emancipating their ecclesiastical liege lords in Metz. This started the establishment of a separate state sovereignty with Saarbrücken as the center.

High Middle Ages

With the beginning of the High Middle Ages , the state on the Saar experienced a phase of economic prosperity due to the high medieval warm period . The population had doubled by the ninth century. The conditions for growing grain and wine improved. Now vines were also cultivated on the middle and upper Saar and the unfavorable areas of the Warndt Forest, the Hochwald, the Hunsrück and the Palatinate Forest were plowed . Numerous new villages founded interpret their suffixes such -scheid, -schied, -wood or -rath the extensive land clearing out. At the end of the 13th century the Saarland had again reached the population level of the ancient prosperity phase. With around 820 localities, Saarland reached its previous maximum around 1300. The construction of hilltop castles should serve to secure the development of the country, at the same time control the traffic routes and ensure the collection of customs duties . These tasks were incumbent on ministerial families who had been commissioned by feudal lords .

The oldest cartographic representation of the Lorraine places on a map from 1508

In the tenth century, the Duchy of Lorraine emerged from the Upper Lorraine territory as a fiefdom of the German kings. Around the year 1050, Gerhard von Alsace , who already owned goods in Saargau and Bliesgau, was given by Emperor Heinrich III. enfeoffed with this duchy. When the Blieskasteler Grafenhaus became extinct in the male line in 1237 , the Lorraine dukes succeeded in incorporating the area of ​​the later high office of Schaumburg into their territory. This property only passed from France to the rule Pfalz-Zweibrücken in 1787 .

The county of Luxembourg also emerged from the former Upper Lorraine area, named after a fiefdom from the Trier Abbey of St. Maximin , the " Lucilinburhuc ", in 1060 . The county's territorial possessions protruded over the Moselle into the Saarland.

At the beginning of the twelfth century, a family of counts named the Saargaugrafen Sigebert I as their ancestor after the Saarbrücken castle. Sigebert had belonged to the high nobility of the Salier period . The Saarbrücken counts gradually freed themselves from the ecclesiastical suzerainty of the Metz bishopric and achieved the inheritance of the count's office. The destruction of their Saarbrücken castle by Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa in a feud in 1168 shows their weakened position with regard to the Hohenstaufen royal power. How severe this destruction of the Saarbrücken castle complex was, remains open, because just a few years later, in 1171, the counts of Saarbrücken were again confirmed in their position, whereby their subservience to the bishops of Metz is expressly emphasized.

Since the beginning of the twelfth century, the Counts of Saarbrücken have been among the most powerful families in southwest Germany with extensive land holdings on the Saar, in Bliesgau, Alsace , in the Palatinate and on the Middle Rhine, as well as lucrative bailiffs . Their position of power is also characterized by the fact that they twice provided the archbishops of Mainz in the twelfth century . Soon after 1100 they also took control of the Hornbach Monastery , whose extensive possessions lay between the Blies and the Palatinate Forest. Zweibrücken Castle was built here at the transition over the Schwarzbach . In 1182/1190, Zweibrücken came to the younger son of the Saarbrücken Count Simon I, Heinrich I , who founded the line of the Counts of Zweibrücken. In addition to Zweibrücken Castle, there was a bourgeois settlement that received town charter together with Hornbach in 1352. In the next generation, the Counts of Leiningen split off in 1212 . In the absence of heirs entitled to inherit, the property was sold to the Count Palatine near Rhine from the Palatinate line of the Wittelsbach family and finally withdrawn as a settled fiefdom in 1394. In 1410 the Principality was newly formed Pfalz-Simmern-Zweibrücken created that by the end of the Holy Roman Empire existed and its dukes out the Palatinate and then Electorate of Bavaria inherited. As kings of Bavaria , the Wittelsbach dynasty ruled over these areas until the November Revolution of 1918.

In order to reduce their subservience to the bishopric of Metz, the Counts of Saarbrücken tried to strengthen their ties to the bishopric of Trier . This happened by taking their property in Wadgassen into service . The Königshof Wadgassen ("Villa Wadegozzinga") was mentioned for the first time on September 19, 902 as the location of a document from Ludwig the child . In 1080 King Heinrich IV. Handed over the Villa Wadgassen ("Villa Wuadegozzingen") to his faithful Sigebert in a document issued in Mainz when he was appointed Count in the lower Saargau :

Two of Sigebert's sons held high ecclesiastical positions as clergy, the Speyer Bishop Bruno of Saarbrücken and the Archbishop of Mainz Adalbert I of Saarbrücken . Upon the death of Sigibert principal heir, Friedrich von Saarbrücken , his widow, Gisela, a granddaughter of Count Dietmar bequeathed by Selbold-Gelnhausen , and their son Simon I of Saarbrücken in 1135 according to a vow of deceased possession Wadgassen the church of Trier with all rights to found an Augustinian canon monastery . In the vicinity of Wadgassen there was a similar monastery in St. Arnual upstream from the late Middle Ages .

Former monastery church, now parish church of St. Peter in Merzig
Deutschherrenkapelle in Saarbrücken

The Archbishop of Trier, Albero von Montreuil , placed the Wadgassen monastery under a bailiwick , which in fact remained with the Counts of Saarbrücken , and granted him the right to preach, baptize and burial, as well as the free election of abbots. Thanks to the Wadgasser Abbey foundation, it was possible to further support the development of the central Saar region. With the monasteries in St. Arnual, Tholey, Neumünster ( Ottweiler ), Mettlach, Hornbach, Wadgassen, Wörschweiler , Merzig , Fraulautern , Gräfinthal , Wallerfangen and the Teutonic Order St. Elisabeth near Saarbrücken and in Beckingen , a dense monastic structure developed in Saarland, which decisively shaped the religious, economic and cultural development of the Saarland.

In the following centuries, the Wadgassen Abbey prospered to become a spiritual and cultural center of the region, whose Circarie Wadgassen reached from Upper Lorraine via southern Germany to the Harz Mountains . Since the late Middle Ages, the Wadgassen Abbey has owned over 200 estates, farmsteads and mills, provosts, patronage rights and parish churches. Rare documents show a double convention with monks and nuns in the 13th century . Wadgassen became the monastery of the Saarbrücken count's house and the count's burial place. Bishops and cathedral chapters of Metz, Trier and Worms gave the monastery patronage rights and parish positions . The wealth of the abbey increased through aristocratic and civic measurement foundations in the form of transfers of real estate, land and forest property, water bodies, salt pans , grazing and timber rights, tithe rights , taxes and rents as well as customs duties. The pious donors included the Dukes of Lorraine, the Counts of Saarbrücken, Zweibrücken, Luxemburg, Forbach , Bitsch and Leiningen, the Raugrafen and the emerging knighthood of the entire Saar region. The Wadgasser monastery ran a school and a hospital on site , took over the Merzig monastery in 1182, acquired the highest jurisdiction in 1466 and initiated its own pilgrimage near Berus in 1480 with the elevation of the remains of St. Oranna . During the Reformation , too , the abbey resisted the Saarbrücken sovereign, who had become Protestant in 1575, and strove for a position directly within the empire .

In 1322, Count Johann I hands over the letter of freedom to St. Johann an der Saar , a historic mural by Wilhelm Wrage in the ballroom of the St. Johann town hall

With the positioning of family members as bishops of Worms , Mainz and Speyer, the Saarbrücken count family experienced the rise of the merchant class striving for self-determination in the cities of the Rhineland. After revolts against the bishops, they had to grant the citizens freedom rights. In the homeland of the bishops on the central Saar, however, the settlements did not reach the level of the Rhenish cities. In the twelfth century, a castle settlement developed below Saarbrücken Castle, which subsequently became a small walled urban settlement for which its own measurements , coins , city ​​scales and Lombard long-distance traders are documented. The urban settlement flourished as the administrative center of the county of Saarbrücken. However, the old Saarbrücken counts refused to grant the residents city ​​rights . Only under the Count of Saarbrücken-Commercy did Count Johann I hand over letters of freedom to the two sister settlements of Saarbrücken and St. Johann on the opposite bank of the Saar in 1322. However, since the twin city was not granted the citizens' free right of disposal over their own person and property and the count's tax burdens and compulsory labor remained oppressive, the twin city of Saarbrücken-St. Johann did not develop into an attractive point of attraction for new settlers almost until the end of the county's existence.

Late Middle Ages

Various crises, such as the famine of 1316 to 1322, the bad harvests from around 1330 to 1350 and the severe plague epidemic that began in 1347, led to a dramatic decline in the population of the Saarland along with climate fluctuations . As a result, around 54% of the high medieval village settlements in the area of ​​today's Saarland fell into desolation in the 14th and 15th centuries . Remnants of the wall, field names, documentary mentions, individual courtyards or chapels are reminiscent of them to this day. An example of this development is today's Orannakapelle , which was formerly the religious center of the village of Eschweiler, which was finally abandoned after 1566 and whose last inhabitants moved to the nearby fortified Berus . The Oranna pilgrimage to the village chapel of Eschweiler was officially checked and confirmed in 1480 by the diocese of Metz as part of an examination of the remains of Oranna and her companion Cyrilla.

St. Oranna Chapel

The decline in village settlements must also be seen in connection with increased urbanization in the Saarland. Larger towns such as Saarbrücken, St. Johann, St. Wendel , Merzig or Blieskastel offered greater security in dangerous times and better supply options. As a result of the desertification of many places in the Saarland in the late medieval crisis, the landlord income also decreased . At the same time, at the end of the Middle Ages, the production of iron smiths in Saarland and the extraction of hard coal at Ottweiler , Schiffweiler , Landsweiler as well as in Sulzbach and Rittenhofen increased .

Keep of Veldenz Castle above Nohfelden

The construction of feudal territories with the accumulation of former royal rights in the hands of princes and counts also fell in the late medieval era . The aristocrats made this claim to power clear with the construction of hilltop castles , such as the Electorate of Trier castles Montclair and Dagstuhl , the Lorraine provincial castles of Siersberg and Altfelsberg, the first Luxembourgish, then Lorraine provincial castle Schaumburg over Tholey , the Zweibrücken castle of the Saarbrücken counts (later owned by the Palatinate) Zweibrücken), Nohfelden Castle (first Veldenz, then Pfalz-Zweibrücken), the moated castles of Kerpen near Illingen ( Saar Werden) and Ottweiler (County of Saarbrücken).

The electors in the election of the king in 1308, in the middle the Archbishop of Trier Baldwin (illustrated chronicle of the elector Baldwin of Trier, around 1340)

The Hochstift Trier rose to regional power since the time of Archbishop Heinrich II. Von Finstingen in the 13th century and during the long reign of Baldwin of Luxembourg . This development was favored by the fact that two relatives of Baldwin ascended the imperial throne of the Holy Roman Empire one after the other : his brother Henry VII and his great-nephew Charles IV.

Balduin's nephew Johann officiated as King of Bohemia . With the help of Jewish banks from Strasbourg and Cologne , Baldwin managed to considerably expand his financial leeway, which he already had from the income from the country. Baldwin had the parts of the country grouped together in offices and administered from permanent offices. Officials collected duties and taxes from here , kept ambitious vassals in their place and encouraged the expansion of the Trier bishopric along the Bliestal towards the south.

Wendalinus basilica with a three-part tower facade
Wendalinus basilica "coat of arms procession" of the dignitaries of the Holy Roman Empire to the grave of St. Wendelin
St. Wendel, painting in the meeting room of the town hall "Emperor Maximilian visits the city of St. Wendel in 1512"

In 1326, the lords of Kirkel bought the place Basonevillare (Bosenweiler, today St. Wendel), including the high jurisdiction and customs law , and in 1328 all the remaining local rights from the Saarbrücken counts . The local Wendalinus pilgrimage was sponsored by Balduin, whereby a new source of income could be opened up for the Hochstift Trier, because Saint Wendelin was stylized as a cattle patron and the St. Wendel cattle market developed into one of the most important cattle markets in the entire region. The Wendelin cult spread particularly strongly in southern Germany. As the center of the cult around the saint, Basonevillare-Bosenweiler was finally renamed St. Wendel. It is believed that at Archbishop Balduin's behest, construction of a new Wendalinus church began. On the Reichstag to Nuremberg Baldwin was awarded in 1332 by Emperor Ludwig of Bavaria in a collective privilege for 29 towns, villages, castles and chapels of its range, including Merzig, Saarburg and Grimburg, leave them with rights as the Frankfurt city charter included to equip. The pulpit of the hall church was probably donated in 1462 by the famous theologian Nikolaus von Kues , whose benefice St. Wendel belonged. It bears his coat of arms and is considered the second oldest stone pulpit in Germany. Shortly afterwards, in 1464, the central nave vaults of the pilgrimage church were decorated with a symbolic representation of the cooperation between the spiritual and secular rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, the so-called “coat of arms procession”. In 1512, during his stay at the Trier Reichstag , Emperor Maximilian I made a pilgrimage to the Wendalinus basilica in St. Wendel. As early as 1460, the Archbishop of Trier, Johann II of Baden, had succeeded in detaching the Trier diocesan city of St. Wendel from the Metz diocese association and annexing it to the Archdiocese of Trier. Until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the city remained an upper office of the Electorate of Trier, to which, among other things, the nearby High Court of Theley was subordinate.

In sovereign disputes over rule over the Saar region in the 14th century, the Archbishopric of Trier under Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg prevailed against its arch rival Lorraine. Facing the danger of a possible armed conflict between the bishopric of Trier and the Duchy of Lorraine, Baldwin secured the support of the dynasties of Western Reich, the Counts of Homburg, Saarbrücken, Zweibrücken, Saar Werden, Veldenz and Bitsch. Duke Rudolf von Lothringen , who in 1333 had refused to recognize Trier's sovereignty over Dillingen and Siersberg due to a demonstrative absence at the men's court in Merzig , had to contractually recognize Balduin's fiefdom the following year. Rudolf received in a solemn fiefdom from Trier Castle and City of Sierck , Laumesfeld , Berus , Dalem , Siersberg, Felsberg , Wallerfangen and part of Montclair with Merzig. In return, the duke had to renounce previous ownership rights to an area that stretched from Perl on the Moselle via Saar valley and high forest to the upper Blies. Balduin had this transfer of territory secured in advance with archival documents. In 1334 this division of territory between Trier, Luxembourg and Lorraine became legally effective. Since Duke Rudolf died in the Battle of Crécy on August 26, 1346, Baldwin was spared a challenge to the compromise.

Battle of Crécy, 1346

In addition, Balduin used the tense financial situation of the Saarland nobility to gain feudal sovereignty over their property, castles and towns. In 1335 he acquired their land from the Counts of Zweibrücken in order to enfeoff them again. Archbishop Baldwin had similar success with Blieskastel. The place on the Blies was mortgaged by the Bishop of Metz to the Lords of Finstingen . The Finstingers were in feud with the Counts of Saarbrücken and Zweibrücken . Balduin financed the count in autumn 1337 a campaign against the Finstingische Blieskastel. After its conquest, the Counts Baldwin had to hand over the castle and the rule of Blieskastel. Baldwin compensated the Bishop of Metz with compensation for the loss of his Blieskastel pledge.

In addition to the Trier monastery, the Counts of Saarbrücken were also able to assert themselves politically in what is now Saarland. Count Simon IV of Saarbrücken-Commercy succeeded in consolidating his dominion. It reached from the Nied between Metz and St. Avold in the west and Pirmasens in the Palatinate Forest in the east. The north was bounded by the monastery Fraulautern on the Saar and Neumünster on the Blies. Herbitzheim in Crooked Alsace with its monastery formed the southern boundary of the Saarbrücken dominion area with its centers Saarbrücken and St. Arnual.

In 1308, Count Heinrich von Luxemburg from Luxembourg was elected Roman-German King . He and his son Johann , who became King of Bohemia in 1310, established the power of the Luxembourgers in the medieval German Empire ( Holy Roman Empire ). In 1354 the county of Luxembourg was elevated to a duchy by the later Emperor Charles IV . The first duke was Wenzel I. With the death of the Roman-German emperor Sigismund in 1437, the main line of the House of Luxembourg died out, which ended the domination of the empire. In 1441 the last duchess from the House of Luxembourg sold the land to the House of France, Burgundy . It remained a fiefdom of the empire under constitutional law. After the death of the last Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, in 1477, Luxembourg passed the entire Burgundian inheritance to Charles' daughter Maria of Burgundy and her husband, the later Roman-German Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg. In 1482, Luxembourg came under the rule of the Habsburgs within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation .

In the late Middle Ages, the administration of the whole of Saarland was written down as well as the installation of permanent officials. The Duchy of Lorraine set up three Baillagen at the beginning of the 14th century. In addition to Nancy and the Vosges, Wallerfangen / Vaudrevange was near the confluence of the Prims in the Saar. The exact time when Wallerfang became a town is not documented. In 1276, Wallerfangen is still referred to as a place in a document. The first designation as a city dates from the year 1334. At this time, the settlement must have been expanded with walls, gates and towers. The small medieval town was on important trade routes and had a Saar port. The Lorraine Duke Friedrich III. Wallerfangen had given a letter of freedom to promote trade and commerce. In this way, the citizens of the young city were able to set up an independent administration, organize the city's defense and institutionalize a lower judiciary . In relation to trade and industry, guilds and guilds were formed .

In the late Middle Ages, Wallerfangen now had town charter and was the official seat of the German Bellistum of the Duchy of Lorraine under the name "Walderfingen" . The French name Vaudrevange was also used. From the end of the 13th century until the early modern period, Wallerfangen ("Walderfang", "Walderfingen") was a ducal-Lorraine provincial capital with walls. Their sphere of influence, the German-speaking part of the Duchy of Lorraine called "Baillage d'Allemagne", extended far into what is now France in the early 17th century. Wallerfangen was a city of "blue graves", whose product, the blue color azurite , was extracted from vertical shafts and using the traditional Roman tunnels, and was sold throughout Europe. Albrecht Dürer is said to have painted with “Wallerfanger Blue”.

Not only in the Duchy of Lorraine, but also in the county of Luxembourg, there was a dichotomy between “pays romans” and “quartier allemand”. In the bishopric of Metz there was responsibility for the "terre d´Allemagne" and in the county of Saarbrücken around 1400 the French-speaking areas between the Moselle and Maas were subordinated to a "governor en roman pays".

With the formation of the sovereignty of the aristocracy in the area of ​​today's Saarland, the sovereigns also intensified their efforts to separate their own territory. Baldwin of Luxembourg obtained the “ Privilegium de non evocando ” for the Trier Monastery in 1314 , so that internal disputes could not be brought before a foreign court. Pfalz-Zweibrücken followed suit in 1470, Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1514. In addition, the feudal lords wanted to prevent their subjects from appealing to a foreign court . In 1542 the Duchy of Lorraine and in 1562 also Kurtrier succeeded in doing this up to a value in dispute of 500 guilders . The absolute prohibition of appeal (Privilegium de non appellando illimitatum) reached Kurtrier only in 1721 and Pfalz-Zweibrücken in 1762. Nassau-Saarbrücken, however, could not obtain the privilege.

This development continued in the 16th century with efforts to create a separate state law. In 1519 the Duchy of Lorraine issued the "Coutumes générales du Duché de Lorraine en baillages de Nancy, Vosges et Allemagne", which appeared in German in 1599 for the Bellistum Wallerfangen. Pfalz-Zweibrücken issued its own court code in 1536, Kurtrier in 1537. The county of Saarbrücken also followed in the 16th century. The Metz bishopric issued its own court order in 1601, the Duchy of Luxembourg in 1623. In the other Saarland dominions of the monasteries and knighthoods, imperial law applied. With regard to the criminal law and the criminal procedure law was since 1532 refer to the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina , the embarrassing court or embarrassing Halsgerichtsordnung Emperor Charles V .

In addition to the princes and counts of Lorraine, Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, Trier and Zweibrücken, there were numerous imperial rulers in the Saarland, such as Schwarzenholz , which was under the Abbey of Fraulautern, and mixed rulers, such as the Vierherrschaft Vierherrschaft Lebach or the high court Nalbacher Tal . Here, for example, the middle or Electorate of Trier bailiwick was responsible for the upper village of Nalbach, Bilsdorf , Piesbach and half of Bettstadt, while the uppermost and lowest or Electorate of the Palatinate bailiwick was responsible for Körprich , half of Bettstadt, Diefflen and the Nalbacher Unterdorf up to Fußbach. Except for the imperial village Michelbach as a legal curiosity (today to Schmelz (Saar) ) none of the Saarland places could rise to the imperial city . There was also no imperial monastery in the Saarland .

Quaternion eagle with Westrich coat of arms from 1510

Due to the political fragmentation, the term " Westrich " ("Land in the west of the empire") was used for the region from the 13th to the 19th century . The Westrich had no clearly defined borders. It roughly covered the region between the Hunsrück and the Vosges in the west of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The use of the name Westrich was pushed back through the use of the names Deutsch-Lorraine , Moselle , Krummes Alsace , Palatinate Forest and Saarland , newly formed in the 19th and 20th centuries .

The Westrich did not form a political unit - even at the time when the term was widely used in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. In keeping with the fashion of the time, Westrich was given its own coat of arms, a shield divided diagonally seven or eight times by blue and gold. The Westrich was represented as "Westerreich" on the quaternion eagle as part of a fictitious imperial constitution. The cosmographer Sebastian Münster interprets the West as a counterpart to Austria in his “ Cosmographia ” published in Basel in 1550 .

The county of Saarbrücken in the late Middle Ages

Family coat of arms of the Counts of Nassau (Ottonian line)
Family coat of arms of the Counts of Nassau (Walramic line)

The Nassau-Saarbrücken dynasty, which ruled until the end of the Holy Roman Empire, went back through female succession to the oldest dynasty of the Counts of Saarbrücken. This was with Simon III. (1168–1233) only extinguished in the male line. Via the heiress Mathilde († 1274), married to Simon von Commercy († 1247/48), the county came to their son, whose name Simon IV (1271-1308) already signaled the dynastic continuity. The new count line Saarbrücken-Commercy ruled for about a hundred years before it also died out in the male line with Johann II in 1381.

Hereditary daughter Johanna (1330-1390) married Count Johann von Nassau-Weilburg . Both son Philip I of Nassau-Saarbrücken-Weilburg founded the counts line Nassau-Saarbrücken, which ruled until the end of the Old Kingdom. Together this results in a dynastic continuity of the Saarbrücken house over a period of more than 700 years.

The existence of the Nassau-Saarbrücken dynasty was secured by the hereditary association of the entire Nassau house . This dynasty was divided into two main lines in 1255: The Walram line, which produced a king of the Holy Roman Empire with Adolf von Nassau (approx. 1255–1298), included Nassau-Idstein , Nassau-Wiesbaden, Nassau-Weilburg , Nassau -Saarbrücken , Nassau-Ottweiler and Nassau-Usingen . The Grand Dukes of Luxembourg , who are still ruling today, descend from the latter .

The Counts of Nassau-Hadamar , Nassau-Beilstein and Nassau-Dillenburg emerged from the Ottonian line through inheritance divisions . The latter inherited the Principality of Orange (Principality of Orange) in 1544 and appointed William I of Nassau-Orange as the governor of the Netherlands and, at times, William III. of Orange-Nassau the King of England , Scotland , Ireland and Wales . The German branch of the House of Nassau-Dillenburg branched out into the Nassau-Siegen , Nassau-Beilstein and Nassau-Diez lines . The kings of the Netherlands who are still ruling today come from this line .

With the founder of the Nassau-Saarbrücken dynasty, Count Philip I of Nassau-Saarbrücken (1368–1429) and his second wife Elisabeth of Lorraine (approx. 1395–1456), court culture came to the Saar region. Elisabeth is considered to be the pioneer of the prose novel in early New High German . Around 1437 she initiated the translation and editing of four French courtly novels ( Chanson de geste ): " Herpin ", "Sibille", "Loher and Maller" and " Huge Scheppel ". After the death of her husband Philip in 1429, Elisabeth took over the reign for her underage sons Philip II (1418–1492) and John III until 1438 or 1442 . (1423-1472). Margarethe von Rodemachern (1426–1490) was one of Elisabeth's children .

Under Elisabeth's reign, Saarbrücken developed into a residential city with the Count's Castle on the castle rock, which slopes steeply to the Saar, as its core. Until then, there was no local central administration. Instead, the sovereigns constantly traveled to their scattered residences such as Commercy (Commarchen), Weilburg and Saarbrücken in order to underpin their claim to power with their presence.

St. Arnual Collegiate Church in Saarbrücken

Elisabeth died on January 17th, 1456. Contrary to the custom of the old Counts of Saarbrücken, who were buried in the Wadgassen Abbey Church , Elisabeth chose the St. Arnual Collegiate Church as her final resting place. Her colored tomb with full-body sculpture based on the Burgundian model is located in the collegiate church there , which subsequently became the hereditary burial place of the Nassau-Saarbrücken family for 180 years . Thereafter, the Saarbrücken castle church became an hereditary burial place.

Elisabeth had taken care of her succession while she was still alive. In 1439 she divided her possessions between her two sons: she assigned the right bank territory to her older son Philipp, Count of Nassau- Weilburg , and the left bank part of the Rhine to her younger son Count Johann von Nassau-Saarbrücken. Elisabeth's son Johann, with the consent of his mother Elisabeth, sold the Lordship of Commercy for 42,000 guilders to the ducal house of Lorraine and was thus able to acquire a right to Saargemünd , with which he moved his territory significantly to the east.

Johann's son Johann Ludwig von Nassau-Saarbrücken was born three months after his father's death. His mother Elisabeth von Württemberg had until her remarriage with Count Heinrich von Stolberg-Wernigerode the guardianship held. Afterwards these were taken over by Philipp von Nassau-Weilburg and Eberhard von Württemberg .

Johann Ludwig lived in Weilburg until he was fourteen . He enrolled in Heidelberg in 1483 and in Tübingen in 1485 . He then spent a short time at the court of Duke René II of Lorraine in order to then study in Paris .

In 1490 Johann Ludwig took over the rule himself. Right at the beginning of his reign, an inheritance contract for the Nassau-Weilburg and Nassau-Saarbrücken lines was concluded in 1491 . He then worked as a military and diplomat under Emperor Maximilian I , who visited the Saarbrücken residence in 1503.

In 1495 Johann Ludwig accompanied his brother-in-law, Count Palatine Alexander von Pfalz-Zweibrücken, and his cousin Bishop Antoine de Croÿ on a pilgrimage to Venice , Crete , Rhodes and Cyprus to the Holy Land , where in 1495 he became a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher in the Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulcher was beaten.

At the Reichstag in Worms in 1495 , in which Saarbrücken Count Johann Ludwig took part, Nassau-Saarbrücken and Pfalz-Zweibrücken became part of the Upper Rhine Empire . The Saarland territories of Kurtrier and Luxembourg were assigned to the Burgundian Empire . The Saarland imperial village of Michelbach, the Saarland imperial knighthoods and imperial lords as well as the Trier cathedral chapter remained without an imperial estate .

Count Johann Ludwig also stood by Emperor Karl V as an advisor, who visited him in Saarbrücken in 1544, and took part in the Diet in Worms in 1521 , rejecting Martin Luther's teaching on the Reformation . The unrest of the Peasants' War at the beginning of the 16th century also affected Nassau-Saarbrücken to some extent .

After the death of his first wife Elisabeth von Pfalz-Zweibrücken , Count Johann Ludwig acquired one half of the County of Saar Werden by marrying Countess Katharina von Moers-Saar Werden . After the death of the heir of the second part, the rest of the county also fell to Nassau-Saarbrücken in 1527.

In 1544 Johann Ludwig divided his property between the sons Philipp (Saarbrücken), Johann (Homburg and Ottweiler) and Adolf ( Saar Werden). Johann Ludwig, who remained loyal to the Catholic Church until the end of his life , was buried in the collegiate church of St. Arnual .

Early modern age

Introduction of the Reformation

Before the Reformation, the territory of today's Saarland was ecclesiastically divided as follows: The western part was under the Archdeaconate Tholey of the Archdiocese of Trier with the deaneries Remich , Perl , Merzig and Wadrill .

The eastern part belonged to the diocese of Metz and was divided into the following Archipresbyteriate: Neumünster, an aristocratic women's monastery near Ottweiler, Hornbach, a Benedictine abbey, St. Arnual, an Augustinian canon monastery and Waibelskirchen an der Nied. Small parts of today's Saarland belonged to the Archdiocese of Mainz , such as Niederkirchen . Religious sovereignty was only held in areas that were directly imperial as sovereignty, i.e. were only subject to the king or emperor . For this, the Archbishop and Elector count of Trier, in large parts of today's district Merzig-Wadern , in Theley and surrounding villages along with Lorraine, in the town of St. Wendel and the north of it villages and in Blieskastel and St. Ingbert the held political sovereignty. However, St. Wendel, St. Ingbert and Blieskastel were temporarily pledged.

The Metz bishop was also sovereign of the Metz bishopric . Püttlingen and its neighboring towns were subordinate to him .

As sovereign, the Duke of Lorraine was subject to large areas of the central Saar with Wallerfangen as the main town. An area extending from there trunk-like to the northeast with the Schaumberg and Tholey Abbey was also part of it.

Some of today's Saarland Moselle towns were subordinate to the Habsburg Duchy of Luxembourg .

The Duke of Pfalz-Zweibrücken had sovereign rights in the Nohfelden area , on the middle Oster and on the lower Blies .

The Counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken were subordinate to an area that roughly corresponds to today's Saarbrücken city association , the Neunkirchen district and the area around the city of Homburg .

In the north of today's Saarland, individual nobles also claimed the status of imperial immediacy, such as the Lords of Dagstuhl and the rule of Eberswald .

In addition, there were several communities such as Lebach or Uchtelfangen . In addition, the rights of rule were sometimes restricted by property and patronage rights. Further complications of the rulership relationships resulted in the division of rulership through inheritance law or transfers of power, leaseholdings , pledges and feudal village divisions into individual bailiwicks , as was the case in the Nalbacher Tal high court.

So far it is unknown when exactly the inhabitants of the Saar area first came into contact with the writings of the reformer Martin Luther and learned of the related reactions of the secular and spiritual dignitaries of the Holy Roman Empire. It can be assumed that, at the latest after Luther's appearance at the Diet in Worms in the spring of 1521, the Reformation news also reached the Saar. Luther's writings were verifiably known in the imperial city of Metz as early as 1519/1521, and in 1521 Pope Leo X appointed a papal commissioner to take action against reformatory activities in Lorraine and the surrounding areas. In the following year, 1522, the Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer preached at Nanstein Castle on Landstuhl , which was owned by Franz von Sickingen (1481–1523). In October 1522 the reformer Johann Schwebel (1490–1540) appeared, who from 1523 worked as court preacher in Zweibrücken and there in 1525 published his theological work “Hauptstück und Summa des gantzen Gospels”.

Duke Ludwig II of Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1502–1532) gave free rein to the proclamation of the evangelical preacher Johann Schwebel. At the Reichstag in Worms , Duke Ludwig Martin saw Luther personally. It can also be assumed that Ludwig's wife Elisabeth of Hesse (1503–1553), daughter of Landgrave Wilhelm I of Hesse (1466–1515) and close relative of Philip I of Hesse , the greatest supporter of the Reformation, of the new denomination in the The Duchy of Zweibrücken provided a considerable boost. In 1529, Duke Ludwig made it possible for the Swiss theologians to travel to the Marburg Religious Discussion by largely avoiding the dioceses of Speyer , Mainz and Worms on the journey through his duchy . The preacher Schwebel from Zweibrücken traveled to the Marburg Religious Discussion in 1529 together with the Swiss reformers around Zwingli .

Already in 1528 the Bishop of Metz, Johann von Lothringen , whose diocese included the eastern part of today's Saarbrücken city association , the Saar-Palatinate district and parts of the Neunkirchen district , reprimanded the practice of the Reformation Communion in Zweibrücken. Since Duke Ludwig died of consumption at the age of 30 in 1532 , his eldest son Wolfgang von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1520–1569) became his successor. Due to the minority of the Hereditary Prince, Ludwig's younger brother Ruprecht von Pfalz-Veldenz took over the reign from 1533 to 1543. Ruprecht advocated the ideas of the Reformation more decisively than his late brother. He commissioned the preacher Johann Schwebel from Zweibrücken with the creation of a new church order for Pfalz-Zweibrücken and ordered the use of the German language in the service . In the parishes of the duchy, all pastors were now subjected to a strict visit to determine the existing conditions. Reformed ideas soon reached those places on the lower Blies that did not belong to the territory of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, for example the places Gersheim and Höchen .

Duke Wolfgang of Pfalz-Zweibrücken

After taking over government in 1543, Duke Wolfgang von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1520–1569) consolidated the Lutheran regional church and gave it a new church order in 1557 on the basis of the Augsburg Religious Peace . Meanwhile in had Heidelberg the Palatine Elector Friedrich III. (1515–1576) introduced Calvinism, which was not recognized under imperial law. His heir Johann Casimir (1543–1592) reintroduced the Calvinist denomination in the Electoral Palatinate in 1583 , and in 1588 Duke Johann I (1550–1604) did the same in Pfalz-Zweibrücken. Duke Johann had abolished serfdom of his subjects as early as 1571 , more than 200 years before the French Revolution did so.

The bishops who are authoritative for the area of ​​today's Saarland, the archbishops and electors of Trier as well as the bishops of Metz, unlike some central German bishops, adhered to the traditional Catholic denomination . However, the Archbishops of Trier could not prevent the Reformation from celebrating successes in parts of their diocese. Even in the peripheral areas of the bishopric, i.e. the electorate, entire areas changed denominations. In the Electorate of Blieskastel , the Archbishop's feudal men , the Lords of Eltz in Ballweiler , Biesingen , Erfweiler-Ehlingen , Rubenheim and Wecklingen , the Lords of Steinkallenfels in Blieshaben-Bolchen and the Junkers of Mauchenheim in Reinheim , had promoted the spread of the Reformation doctrine. It was not until the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries that Trier succeeded in regaining the area for traditional Catholicism, as the Blieskastel office had been under the Reformation influence of Nassau-Saarbrücken from 1553 to 1634 due to a pledge . In the surrounding area, too, members of the equestrian order tried to change the denomination of the inhabitants of their villages by calling Reformation preachers . This happened in Eppelborn , Uchtelfangen , Knorscheid , Reisweiler , Gonnesweiler , Neunkirchen / Nahe , Sötern and Sötern, but remained largely unsuccessful in terms of the Reformation.

With the spread of the Reformation, the sovereigns increasingly demanded the right to determine the denomination of their subjects. However, this option was only granted to them after decades of conflict in 1555 in the Augsburg Religious Peace. However, the right of patronage , i.e. the replacement of a vacant pastor's position, usually did not lie with the sovereign , but with the respective patronage. This was usually a regional nobleman and a monastery or monastery , which, however, did not have to be located in the same area.

Kaspar Olevian, copper engraving, 16th century.

The Calvinist -oriented theologian Caspar Olevian , born in Trier, appeared after studying abroad as a public preacher in his hometown from August 1559. With his powerful demeanor and his rousing evangelical sermon, he gave the Reformation cause considerable popularity. Archbishop Johann VI. Von der Leyen took Olevian and numerous of his sympathizers prisoner and only released them after she had vowed to either return to the rightful Catholic faith or to leave the city. Many declared that they wanted to become Catholics again, and a not inconsiderable number of citizens, including Olevian, emigrated. The Reformation in Trier had failed. With the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563), the Catholic Church reacted to the massive upheavals in the ecclesiastical area and began to introduce comprehensive reorganizations. With the large-scale visitations of the Archdiocese of Trier in 1569 and the Synod for the Diocese of Metz in Vic-sur-Seille in 1561, a new beginning was achieved. The perished by the upheavals of the Reformation monastic offices, the Benedictine monastery Neumünster in Ottweiler that Zisterze Wörschweiler and the Augustinian Canons - Abbey of St. Arnual remained lost for the Catholic Church.

The Duchy of Lorraine stood firmly on the side of traditional Catholicism and opposed all attempts at reformation of the Church. In the duchy, which saw itself as a bastion of Catholicism, the dukes of Guise , a branch of Lorraine , founded the Catholic League during the Huguenot Wars . No Lorraine feudal man succeeded in introducing the Reformation, the Lords von Hagen zur Motten and Streiff von Lewenstein failed in each attempt to reform the small Seigneurie Eppelborn.

Franz von Sickingen
Siege of the city of St. Wendel by Franz von Sickingen in 1522
Grimburg Castle

The Reformation with the so-called Sickingen feuds, the Imperial Knights 'War and the Great Peasants' War became relevant for the land on the Saar . Franz von Sickingen (1481–1523) had inherited the rule of Landstuhl with Nanstein Castle in 1504 . In Landau , he was elected captain by representatives of the Rhenish , Swabian and Franconian knights and began a feud against the Archbishop of Trier Richard von Greiffenklau zu Vollrads (1467-1531) in 1522 . Sickingen's war goal was to bring the Trier monastery under his control and then convert it into a Protestant principality for his family. On the campaign to the episcopal city of Trier, the Imperial Knight took the Electorate of St. Wendel by storm, destroyed Blieskastel, which is also Electorate of Trier, and captured the Grimburg near Wadern . On September 8, 1522 he began the siege of Trier. However, the breach of the " Eternal Peace " proclaimed by Emperor Maximilian I in 1495 called for an alliance of princes on the scene. Elector Ludwig V of the Palatinate and Landgrave Philipp of Hesse expelled Sickingen and pursued him as part of an imperial execution to his castle in Nanstein. The imperial knight was killed during the bombardment of Sickingen's castle in May 1523. The bloody end of the Sickingen feud symbolizes the decline of chivalry and the rise of the territorial states in the early modern period .

Portrait of Anton II of Lorraine by Hans Holbein the Elder J. , 1543
Claudius of Lorraine, painting by Jean Clouet

In the autumn of the following year, 1524, the great peasants' war began. In the area to the left of the Rhine, the dissatisfied gathered under the leadership of Erasmus Gerber. In his "Hellen Haufen" 30,000 followers had gathered at times, far more than all the towns of the western Reich together had in terms of inhabitants. At the beginning of 1525, around 4,000 participants in the uprising camped in a forest near Saargemünd . There they received immigration from the counties of Saarbrücken and Zweibrücken-Bitsch and the Duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken. There had also been protests in the rule of Dagstuhl and the Electorate of Saarburg . Finally the monasteries Graefinthal and Wintringen were looted . A little later, the rebels holed up in the walls of the Herbitzheim women's monastery in the crooked Alsace, which was under the bailiwick of Nassau-Saarbrücken . The nobles gathered their troops at Vic-sur-Seille , including Duke Anton von Lothringen (1489–1544), Claude von Guise (1496–1550) with French auxiliaries, and the Counts of Bitsch and of Nassau-Saarbrücken from Westrich. After the peasants had conquered the bishop's residence in Zabern ( Saverne ), the royal army moved into the city. On May 17, 1525, the peasants laid down their arms and began to withdraw, but due to unexplained circumstances, a brutal slaughter of the withdrawing peasant began. Estimates of the victims vary between 15,000 and 30,000 people. It is unclear what role insurgents from the area of ​​today's Saarland had in the matter. Unrest in the office of Ottweiler and in the Köllertal was suppressed in its beginnings by the occupation of Montclair Castle under Count Johann von Sayn.

Montclair Castle

The Nassau dynasty , like the other members of the Wetterau Count Association , tended towards the Reformation since 1525 . While the Counts of Nassau-Dillenburg later turned to Calvinism and Nassau-Orange became the spearhead of international Calvinism, Nassau-Weilburg remained Lutheran .

The count's house in Nassau-Saarbrücken stood undecided between the powers in the age of the Reformation. In the county of Saarbrücken, Count Johann Ludwig (1472–1545) adhered to the old religion until his death in 1545 and left his three sons Philipp (1509–1554), Johann (1511–1574) and Adolf (1526–1559) a purely Catholic territory. It was only with the introduction of the Reformation in 1574 that Nassau-Saarbrücken became a frontline state in the age of wars of religion.

Adolf inherited the Kirchheim am Donnersberg property and other properties in the Palatinate and later Rheinhessen . The three brothers jointly administered the county of Saar Werden on the Upper Saar in Crooked Alsace.

Even without commitment to the Reformation, Count Philip II of Nassau-Saarbrücken (1509–1554) profited from the disintegrating structures of the old church and brought numerous monasteries under his rule. In 1544 the last abbess transferred the Herbitzheim monastery to the Counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken. After a contract with the Duke of Lorraine in 1581, in which he gave up his rights to Herbitzheim, the property remained with the Counts of Saarbrücken until the French Revolution. Count Philip II used the Reformation to expand Nassau-Saarbrücken to a form that increasingly came close to the borders of today's Saarland. Even if he surrounded himself with advisers and officials of the Lutheran creed in the last years of his life, he remained a Catholic in religious terms. At the Augsburg Reichstag he promised Emperor Charles V by contract of July 7, 1548 the introduction of the Augsburg interim . When he died in 1554, the Nassau territories were rearranged.

The previously jointly administered county of Saar Werden has now been awarded to the youngest brother Adolf. Influenced by his relatives from the house of Nassau-Weilburg in Kirchheimbolanden, he came into contact with the ideas of the Reformation. Probably not against the will of the population of the County of Saar Werden, Adolf introduced the Palatinate-Zweibrücken church order with the Augsburg denomination in 1557 and installed a superintendent . Adolf also took in Huguenot refugees from France, who were temporarily cared for by the famous reformer Guillaume Farel (1489–1565). When Adolf died childless in November 1559, his property fell to his Catholic brother Johann in Saarbrücken, but the Reformation in Saar left untouched.

Collegiate Church of St. Arnual: On the left the tomb of Count Johann IV. († 1574), on the right of Count Philip III. († 1602) with his two wives Erika von Manderscheid († 1581) and Elisabeth von Nassau-Dillenburg († 1611)

Johann von Nassau-Ottweiler ruled now as Johann IV. Von Nassau-Saarbrücken (1511–1574) over the counties of Ottweiler, Saarbrücken and Saar Werden as well as over parts of the dominions Kirchheimbolanden and Lahr . He had lived temporarily at the imperial court in Brussels , then served in the military service of Emperor Charles V and King Philip II of Spain , but did not oppose the attempts at Reformation mission by the Strasbourg preacher Johannes Marbach (1521–1581). He tolerated the appointment of Evangelical Lutheran pastors to Saarbrücken and St. Johann, but categorically rejected marriage requests from canons of the St. Arnual Monastery. After the St. Arnuale the imperial immediacy claimed and before the Imperial Court had complained, the Count broke in 1569 the monastery and its related income in favor of the Latin school in Saarbrücken, today Ludwigsgymnasium . Johann officially remained faithful to Catholicism throughout his life.

Since there were no legitimate heirs, Johann used the Nassau-Weilburg line as a universal heir during his lifetime. With the death of Johann in November 1574 the way was cleared for the Reformation on the Saar.

The Nassau-Weilburg heirs were raised strictly Lutheran by their superintendent Kasper Goltwurm (1524–1559). The older Count Albrecht (1537–1593) took over the government in the office of Ottweiler in 1574, where he introduced the Reformation. Count Philip III. (1542–1602) introduced the Reformation in Nassau-Saarbrücken on New Year's Day 1575 by the superintendent Gebhard Beilstein (approx. 1533–1613). The Catholic mass was strictly forbidden and the Reformation sermon was installed everywhere. In the wake of the Nassau-Weilburg Reformation on the Saar, the first Protestant pastor was found in the imperial rule Illingen of the knight Hans von Kerpen in 1576.

Illingen, Kerpen Castle

The Saarbrücken church order of 1574 forbade not only catholic practices such as pilgrimages , the cult of relics and the veneration of saints , but also “pagan customs” on Shrove Tuesday , Walpurgis Night , Pentecost and St. John's Day . With the abolition of the veneration of saints, the number of holidays was radically reduced. The state bishop's office of the counts with the right to appoint a pastor and the confiscation of church revenues led to the political consolidation of the count's position of power. Only the Premonstratensian Abbey of Wadgassen , the German Order Committees Saarbrücken and Beckingen and the Augustinian Abbey in Fraulautern were able to maintain the Catholic faith under the protection of Lorraine. The Anabaptists in the county were allowed to emigrate in an orderly manner, the signing of the concord formula (1577) was omitted and the clergy were prohibited from religious disputes in order to avoid disputes. In addition, participation in the French Wars of Religion was strictly prohibited.

Count Ludwig von Nassau-Saarbrücken (1565–1627), son of Albrechts von Nassau-Weilburg-Ottweiler from his marriage to Anna von Nassau-Dillenburg (1541–1616), the daughter of Johann VI. von Nassau-Dillenburg (1536–1606) and niece of Wilhelm I of Nassau-Orange , the leader of the uprising of the Netherlands against the great power Spain, was able to take over the rule in Saarbrücken and finally also in Idstein and Wiesbaden in 1602 . Saarbrücken thus rose to the center of the Walram property and to greater political importance. Graf Ludwig married, according to his educational journey through Geneva in the Protestant South and to the French capital Paris , Anna Maria of Hesse-Kassel (1567-1626), the sister of the Landgrave formed Moritz , who turned to in 1605 the Calvinist denomination. So it is hardly surprising that Count Ludwig and his son Wilhelm Ludwig welcomed Huguenot religious refugees from France to his territory and generously made land available to them for the founding of the villages Ludwigsweiler (today Ludweiler ) and Nassauweiler (today Naßweiler ) in the Warndt . After Ludwig's death, the division of the estate in 1629 established the Nassau-Saarbrücken, Nassau-Idstein and Nassau-Weilburg lines, whose descendants all referred to themselves as the Counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken.

Prosperity phase in the 16th century

In the wake of the peace period in the 16th century until the outbreak of the Thirty Years War , the population of the Saarland grew steadily. The country's mineral resources were systematically mined and processed for the first time since Roman times. Thus, grinding mills for the agate processing in Güdingen , Brebach and Scheidt mentioned. The copper and azurite mining in Wallerfangen also increased. Copper was also dug in Walhausen . Sulzbach has been mining hard coal since 1462 . With the transfer of the place to the County of Saarbrücken , iron processing and salt boiling from brine sources began . In Neunkirchen at the Assemblies in 1593, started in commercial iron melt. In the Lorraine part of Saarland, the glassworks in Differten started production. The forests in the Saarland were used for the production of charcoal , which could achieve higher temperatures in iron smelting, and for the production of potash for glass production. For the continuous supply of iron hammers , wire drawing , gemstone cutters , gypsum tamping mills , Harnisch -Schleifmühlen, Bark Mill , oil mills , paper mills , saw mills , slag mills , grinding mills and the fulling mills with water force became increasingly mill dam created. Tin mills , tobacco mills and powder mills were added in the 18th century. The forests of the Saarland were increasingly cleared for glass production and brick firing. Likewise were swamps drained to win additional agricultural production area.

The increased economic power of the country was also reflected in the general construction activity of the residents, the infrastructure measures and in the palace construction . For the first time since Roman times, the Saar was made easily crossable again with a stone bridge below Saarbrücken Castle. The structure known today as the Old Bridge was built in 1546/1547 under Count Philip II , allegedly after Emperor Charles V was unable to cross the Saar at this point for several days due to floods .

Count Philip II also had the Bucherbach moated castle in Köllerbach, first mentioned in 1326, completely renovated around the middle of the 16th century.

The Hohenburg over Homburg was expanded into a mountain fortress under the rule of Count Johann IV. From 1560 onwards, and from 1570 onwards a new four-winged castle was built in Neunkirchen. Count Philipp III also built a four-wing complex . of Nassau-Saarbrücken from 1576 onwards the Philippsborn hunting lodge and Count Albrecht von Nassau-Weilburg the Ottweiler Palace .

In the years 1602 to 1617, a renaissance castle was built on the Saarbrücken castle rock instead of the medieval fortress , which was furnished with tapestries from the possession of William of Orange, the images of which glorified the history of the Nassau ruling house. The generous renovation of the Saarbrücken Castle was completed under Philip's successor Ludwig II , and a ballroom as a sports hall for the popular Jeu de Paume was added.

The Duchy of Palatinate-Zweibrücken under Duke Johann I had Kirkel Castle rebuilt for residential purposes between 1580 and 1596 . In addition, aristocratic residences were established in Birkenfeld , Jägersburg near Homburg and in Zweibrücken.

Even the lower-ranking nobility of the Saarland succeeded in socializing through church careers in the 16th century. The increase in rank was immediately shown in the new construction of representative buildings. In 1540, Johann IV. Ludwig von Hagen was elected Archbishop of Trier. The prince of the church raised his two brothers Heinrich (1480–1549) and Kaspar (1510–1551) to Trier officials in Blieskastel and St. Wendel and gave them various fiefs.

Philipp Christoph von Sötern , who became bishop of Speyer in 1623 and also archbishop of Trier and prince abbot of Prüm , had the palas of Dagstuhl Castle and the electoral office in Merzig rebuilt. Karl Kaspar von der Leyen , who was Archbishop and Elector of Trier from 1652 to 1676, enfeoffed his brother Hugo Ernst von der Leyen († 1665) with the electoral rule of Blieskastel in 1660 .

For the county of Saarbrücken, the position between the Calvinist Electoral Palatinate and the Catholic dominions of Lorraine and Kurtrier was tense. As part of the Counter-Reformation was Saarwerden occupied by Lorraine, Wadgassen devastated in the years 1571/1572 and St. Avold annexed in 1577th The Saarbrücken guardianship over the Abbey of Fraulautern acquired Lorraine in 1581.

Count Ludwig settled conflicts with Lorraine and Pfalz-Zweibrücken peacefully in several treaties in 1603, 1621 and 1623. For example, the Saar from Herbitzheim in Alsace to Saarbrücken has been made more navigable by deepening the fairway . The Warndt , which was previously used as a purely hunting ground by the Counts of Saarbrücken, was released for the settlement of French Huguenots , who brought the glassblowing trade with them and thus introduced the glass industry to the Saar. The abundance of wood in the Warndt Forest was used to fire the glassworks .

Also in the 16th century, ecclesiastical and state administration was professionalized everywhere by writing down and hiring studied experts. Likewise, city schools were set up or expanded in the cities of Saarbrücken (1472), St. Wendel (1494) and Zweibrücken (1460). The next universities were the University of Trier, founded in 1473, and the Jesuit University in Pont-à-Mousson (Mussenbrück), which opened in 1574 . For the Lutheran sons of the Saarland, Marburg was the closest university , as Heidelberg was Calvinist. For school-ups occurred in Hornbach in 1559 and Saarbrücken in 1604. Financed were educational institutions through the expropriation of the monasteries and convents in Hornbach, St. Arnual and East Melbourne.

Herbal book by Hieronymus Bock

The botanist Hieronymus Bock , who worked in Zweibrücken and Saarbrücken, practiced as personal physician to Count Philip II of Saarbrücken and laid out a herb garden at the Saarbrücken court , dedicated his standard work on medicinal plants to his Saarbrücken employer. Count Palatine Karl I of Pfalz-Birkenfeld founded the Bibliotheca Bipontina . The Saarbrücken Count Ludwig II commissioned his registrar Johann Andreae to organize the Saarbrücken archive and the painter Henrich Dors to draw all of the family's tombs , which resulted in an important epitaph book in 1632 .

Johann Michael Moscherosch: A la mode Kehraus, first face of Philander von Sittewald

Johann Michael Moscherosch worked from 1631 to 1634 as bailiff of the Lutheran branch of the Counts of Kriechingen in Kriechingen and was employed as such in Saarwellingen , which at that time was half of Kreching . In 1636, the Pomeranian Duke of Croy-Arsot appointed him as bailiff of his share in the “six-lordship” Finstingen, not far from Criechingen . He held this position until 1642. After these activities in the Lorraine border area, Moscherosch fled the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War to Strasbourg, where he was police chief and tax officer from 1645 to 1655. Under the pseudonym Philander von Sittewald, in his work "Gesichte" (Visiones), he lets the Saar as personified river god judge contemporary follies negatively and draws the reader's attention to the positive educational opportunities in the state on the Saar.

Thirty Years War and subsequent wars

Friedrich V, painting by Gerrit van Honthorst , 1634

The 16th century saw the beginning of a long phase of warlike devastation in the Saarland, which depopulated the towns and villages in the region. Numerous places in the Saarland fell desolate. The county of Saarbrücken faced complete annexation by the Kingdom of France several times. To prevent this, the Saarbrücken counts served in the royal army. The destruction of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) continued in the War of Devolution (1667–1668), the Dutch War (1672–1679), the Palatinate War of Succession (1688–1697), the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), and the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1738) as well as in the armed conflicts of the French Revolution and the wars instigated by Napoleon Bonaparte .

The Thirty Years War began for the Saarland in the Duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken. After the deposition of Elector Friedrich V of the Palatinate, Spanish troops occupied the Palatinate territories from 1621. In terms of denominations, this represented a direct threat to the small Protestant territories on the Saar. Thus, the imperial rule of Illingen had to turn to Catholicism again from 1626 onwards. Since May 1627 imperial Kratzische troops were quartered in Saarbrücken under their leader Johann Philipp Craz (Count Kratz zu Scharffenstein, 1590-1635). They destroyed the Philippsborn, Neunkirchen and Bucherbach castles. The county of Saar Werden was occupied by the Duchy of Lorraine in 1629 and given back to Catholicism.

In the summer of 1631, witch trials began in Saarbrücken, which can be interpreted as a reaction to the war distress, the epidemics and religious oppression. With the battle of Breitenfeld on September 31, 1631, the Swedish King Gustav Adolf II was able to drive the emperor's troops out of the Palatinate and relocated a garrison to Zweibrücken to secure his military position. In gratitude for his rescue from danger, Count Wilhelm Ludwig von Nassau-Saarbrücken named his son, born in 1632, after the Swedish ruler Gustav Adolf . Wilhelm Ludwig, like the other members of the House of Nassau, joined the Heilbronner Bund and drew Swedish garrisons to Saarbrücken and Homburg. But the Swedes suffered a defeat in the battle of Nördlingen on September 6, 1634. In addition, there was a devastating plague epidemic in 1634 and 1635, to which a large part of the residents of Western Reich fell victim. For the survivors, the destruction worsened the food situation so much that the Wadgasser Abbot Philipp Gretsch reported on cannibalism in the region.

The end of the Heilbronn League put the Protestants in a threatened situation. The imperial general Matthias Gallas crossed the Rhine with Croatian and Spanish troops in the summer of 1635, pushed the Protestants back, conquered Kaiserslautern, sacked Kusel and besieged Zweibrücken. The Saarbrücker and the Zweibrücker Hof then fled to Metz. France took advantage of the confused situation with increasing expansion efforts on its eastern border. From 1632 to 1661 there was the occupation of Lorraine, the devastation of St. Arnual and the military expansion in Alsace from 1633. Saarbrücken had been made a French military base under Cardinal Richelieu since the summer of 1635 , but since September In the same year the counter-attack of the imperial troops got going. Matthias Gallas was able to conquer Wallerfangen, and Duke Carlo I. Gonzaga of Mantua took Saarbrücken.

Emperor Ferdinand III. tried now to completely liquidate the county of Saarbrücken. In 1637, the Imperial Court of Justice ordered the confiscation of Nassau territory due to lese majesty and rebellion, and the Emperor enfeoffed his general Charles IV of Lorraine with the county of Saarbrücken, whose government was taken over by the Lorraine Chief Magistrate Georges Durand. The political and judicial administration was installed in Saarbrücken, the military in Homburg.

In the autumn of 1644 France quartered troops in St. Johann and Saarbrücken, and looting took place, so that the Saarbrücken count widow Anna Amalie (1595–1651, Baden-Durlach dynasty) protested to the government of the young King Louis XIV. The French government then promised military restraint. During the negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia , Countess Anna Amalia insisted on the return of the confiscated County of Saarbrücken, because Emperor Ferdinand III. declared his willingness to outsource the Trier suffragan dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun as well as parts of Alsace from the Reich and to hand them over to France. With the support of the Wetterau Counts Association , the countess was finally able to assert her claim, and the count's territories were contractually restituted. Still, Lorraine and France refused to withdraw from the county.

The Peace of Westphalia made the three Lorraine bishoprics (Toul, Metz, Verdun → Trois-Évêchés ) officially subject to the French crown. The Lorraine Duke Charles IV, who was not involved, and whose negotiations with Cardinal Mazarin failed, resumed the war and even threatened Paris in 1652. However, he gambled away the advantages gained and also his credibility when he then conducted talks with Mazarin and the Fronde des Princes at the same time . Spain accused him of being the cause of the failure of the uprising and had him arrested on January 25, 1654 in Brussels and interned in the Alcázar of Toledo . The intervention and the successes of his brother Nikolaus Franz brought him freedom again on October 15, 1659, and in the Treaty of Vincennes of February 28, 1661 even his duchy back.

But when in 1669 he refused to obey the request of Louis XIV to disband his army, French troops invaded Lorraine again in the summer of 1670. Charles IV had to flee one more time, but again took up the fight against the French in the service of the emperor. On August 11, 1675 he fought together with Georg Wilhelm von Braunschweig-Lüneburg against Marshal François de Créquy in the battle of the Konzer Bridge . A little later he fell seriously ill and died on September 18 in Allenbach near Wirschweiler , between Birkenfeld and Bernkastel.

The Saarland was badly damaged by the catastrophic consequences of the war. Lorraine continued to occupy Saar Werden and Herbitzheim . Count Gustav Adolf von Nassau-Saarbrücken , who had been released from guardianship in 1659, set about rebuilding the war-ravaged country, brought back children who had fled the country and recruited new settlers for agriculture and skilled workers for the glass industry in Klarenthal (named after his wife, Eleonore Klara , today a district in the west of Saarbrücken).

King Louis XIV (painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud , 1701)

The count was unable to offer any significant resistance to the reunification policy of King Louis XIV of France. He refused to take the feudal oath required by the French king in 1662, even when he was captured by the French in 1673 and brought to Lorraine. He was not allowed to return to his country after his release the following year.

In 1665, the Lorraine Duke Charles IV confiscated the areas on the upper reaches of the Saar and the county of Saarbrücken as supply territory for his son Karl Heinrich von Lothringen-Vaudémont, who was legally illegitimate . However, the Kingdom of France occupied Lorraine in 1670 and stayed there until 1697. Karl Heinrich was finally resigned to the former Saarbrücken lordship of Commercy .

With the attack on the Netherlands by France, the area of ​​today's Saarland was heavily burdened by troop movements and war contributions. The French military leader and Marshal of France Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne , set up his winter quarters in Saarbrücken in December 1673 and asked the Saarbrücken Count Gustav Adolf to cooperate. When the latter refused, he was deported to Lorraine. After the count had been released and Saarbrücken remained French occupied, he joined the military services Emperor I. Leopold one. He therefore took part in imperial service in 1676 in the battles in Philippsburg and in 1677 in Alsace . He succumbed to injuries sustained in the battle of Kochersberg, northwest of Strasbourg . After various stops, he was finally buried in the St. Thomas Church in Strasbourg . From 1802 to 1990, his mummified body was exhibited there in a glass sarcophagus. The transfer and final burial in the tomb erected by his wife in the castle church in Saarbrücken did not take place until 1998.

On behalf of the emperor, the Lorraine Duke Charles V was finally able to recapture the French-occupied Dillingen on the lower reaches of the Prims in April 1677 and, after heavy fighting, came into possession of Saarbrücken at the end of May. The reconquest of Lorraine failed, however, so that the imperial army withdrew to Strasbourg in early September 1677.

Grave monument of Count Ludwig in the Saarbrücken Castle Church

The underage son of the Saarbrücken Count Gustav Adolf, Ludwig Crato (Kraft) , was initially represented by his mother Eleonore Clara , née Countess von Hohenlohe-Neuenstein, with regard to the rule. Only in 1677 did he inherit the counties of Saarbrücken and Saar Werden on the death of his father . Due to the French occupation, however, he could not take the reign. The French and Lorraine occupation persisted even after the Peace of Nijmegen (1678/1679), which ended the Franco-Dutch war and the wars connected with it.

France's goal was still to expand its territory to the Rhine. For this purpose, one wanted to exploit the legal position of the three Trier suffragan dioceses Metz , Toul and Verdun (Trois-Évêchés, German: "Three Dioceses"). In 1552, the three bishoprics were occupied by the French King Henry II , in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Chambord . Although in fact now under French control, they were nominally still in the territorial association of the Holy Roman Empire . With the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, France had been confirmed the official possession of the Hochstifte. Since then, France has regarded the high esteem rights of the three dioceses as rights of the French crown.

In 1679, at the suggestion of his foreign minister Colbert, King Louis XIV set up so-called reunion chambers in Metz , Breisach , Besançon and Tournai , which were supposed to legally determine the alleged historical affiliation of certain areas with the help of old contracts (mostly based on medieval feudal relationships ). These legal proceedings were intended to legally legitimize the expansionist goals of Louis XIV. They were based on questionable foundations and were controversial as early as the 17th century and even within France.

The starting point of the argument was those territories of the Holy Roman Empire that had come under the rule of the French king in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and in the Treaties of Nijmegen 1678/79 with recognition of the empire, namely the three dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun, which ten imperial cities of Alsace, the Sundgau , Franche-Comté and other territories.

According to the French view, with these assignments, all areas that had at one time been subject to feudal dependence on these territories were subject to the sovereignty of the French king as "dependencies and pertinence pieces". To enforce this claim, the legal means of reunification lawsuits were used, with which the owner of a property in the old law could take action against its division, for example by heirs, and demand its “reunification” if there was a prohibition of dismemberment (prohibition of division). The reunion policy was based on the constitutional structure of feudal law and used the (supposed) rights of the titles of power acquired by the French king between 1648 and 1679 as a lever. However, it did not claim that the areas to be annexed were once French.

The specially created chambers of reunion, of course, consistently pronounced the judgments in the spirit of the French king. The affected princes or cities were then asked to submit to French sovereignty and were occupied by the military. In this way, the Kingdom of France threatened the dominions of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, Pfalz-Veldenz, Zweibrücken-Bitsch, Saar Werden, Nassau-Ottweiler, Nassau-Saarbrücken and Blieskastel with expropriation. Through fiefdoms in 1680 and 1681, both Blieskastel and Nassau-Saarbrücken and Saar Werden and Nassau-Ottweiler came under French suzerainty. The Lorraine authorities Forbach, Schaumburg via Tholey, Saargemünd, Merzig-Saargau, Siersburg-Dillingen, Wallerfangen, Berus and Oberhomburg-St. Avold were all placed under French sovereignty.

City map and fortifications of Saarlouis, 1693

In order to secure the new acquisitions, France had numerous fortifications built. The most powerful fortress on the Saar was Saarlouis . In 1680, the French King Louis XIV ( Louis XIV ) had Saarlouis (original name: Sarre-Louis ) built to protect the new eastern border. The fortress-like expansion of Wallerfangen had been rejected because it could have been shot at from Limberg in the event of war. The master builder Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban designed the fortress city, at a sufficient distance from the Limberg massif, symmetrically in the shape of a star with six bastions that were used to set up cannons. The plans for this came from Thomas de Choisy . An important element of the defenses was the Pont-écluse (the lock bridge ). In the event of a defense, the Saar, flowing past the city wall, could be dammed up by means of inlaid beams in order to flood the surrounding area, based on the principle of an inundation fortress (flood fortress). This should make it difficult for a besiegers to bring cannons to the city and dig earthworks and trenches.

In connection with the establishment of the city, some new settlements emerged in the surrounding area, for example Beaumarais , Picard , Bourg-Dauphin (today Neuforweiler ) and Felsberg (quarries). The history of the Dillinger Hütte is also shaped by the development of the fortress, especially by the need for hardware during construction.

During a visit in 1683, Ludwig XIV gave Saarlouis the city coat of arms with the rising sun and the three Bourbon lilies . The motto of the coat of arms is Dissipat Atque Fovet : It (the sun) scatters (the clouds) and warms (the earth).

According to the Lisdorfer Weistum of 1458, the building site of the Saarlouis fortress was originally owned by the Premonstratensian Abbey of Wadgassen . Within today's inner city area, the Fraulautern Abbey and some citizens of the then city of Wallerfangen had free goods, but these were subject to the sovereignty (not the manorial rule ) of the Wadgassen Abbey. Wadgassen thus had high jurisdiction, hunting rights and other regalia . With the construction of the fortress, Wadgassen had to cede the area to the French king.

After the city of Saarlouis was founded in 1680, the residents of Wallerfangen were forcibly relocated to the new city in 1687/88. In the course of this, most of the buildings in Wallerfangen were demolished in order to obtain building material for the houses in Saarlouis. The former fortified city of Wallerfangen developed back into a settlement consisting of a few individual farmsteads.

The director of the French-occupied territories, which were now called "Province de la Sarre", finally moved into his official residence in the newly built Saarlouis in 1685. The newly founded Saar province reached from Pfalzburg in the south to Mont Royal near Traben-Trarbach on the Moselle. It spanned today's Saarland, German Lorraine, large parts of the Palatinate with the counties of Sponheim , Leiningen and Falkenstein am Donnersberg and reached as far as the left bank of the Rhine.

To promote the economy, serfdom and intra-territorial customs barriers were lifted, markets were set up, roads were built and an administrative apparatus was installed. The political and judicial capital of the newly created Greater Region was Saarlouis. Advertising measures should lead to the repopulation of the war-ravaged countries. Numerous immigrants from the Swiss and Austrian Alps, Upper Germany and Central France then settled in the Saarland.

The repeal of serfdom in the Saar Province by the French government; Single-sheet print "Extrait des registres du conseil d'estat du roy", Louis XIV of France, Versailles January 5, 1685; During the reunification period (1681–1697), the French administration took numerous measures to rebuild the conquered areas and bring them into line with France. While the sovereigns and the landlords were weakened, the population should be tied to France through relief. With the decree of January 5, 1685, serfdom and the obligation to buy ransom associated with it were repealed. This should also promote the freedom of movement with regard to the settlement and marriage of young people. Likewise, the compulsory labor should be reduced by three quarters and the manorial grazing rights to a quarter of the existing pasture land. New taxes should benefit the French treasury.

With the edict of Fontainebleau , King Louis XIV revoked that of Nantes on October 18, 1685 . With the Edict of Nantes in 1598, his grandfather, King Henry IV , had assured the French Protestants religious freedom and ended the more than thirty-year Huguenot Wars after St. Bartholomew's Night. As a result of the revocation, the Lutherans of the Saar province were not massively urged to change their faith, but the French administration strongly encouraged Catholicism by setting up church services, introducing Catholic holidays or pilgrimages and the influx of Catholics. The Catholic Church of the Saar Province was closely tied to France and its religious structures through numerous measures. The Reformed religion was completely forbidden, their churches were closed or destroyed, and their clergy were expelled from the country. Converts were guaranteed four years of tax exemption, while conversion to Protestantism was forbidden.

After France invaded the Electoral Palatinate in 1688 in order to claim it as the alleged heir of Liselotte von der Pfalz , sister-in-law of Louis XIV, the empire decided to go to war against France in order to reverse the reunions ( War of the Palatinate Succession ). After two incursions into the Electoral Palatinate area in 1688 and 1693, the French ultimately resorted to the means of devastating entire regions and cities during their retreats. Ottweiler, Merzig, St. Wendel, Kaiserslautern and numerous other places were first looted and then burned down. The famous Zweibrücken library ( Bibliotheca Bipontina ) was moved to Nancy and the Zweibrücken Castle, like many other medieval castles, was blown up.

French territorial changes at the time of Louis XIV. The territories lost again in 1697 are shown in blue

With the end of the Palatine War of Succession in the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, all reunions outside of Alsace were finally restituted and returned to their rulers within the Holy Roman Empire. This affected Nassau-Saarbrücken, Pfalz-Zweibrücken, Blieskastel and many smaller lordships as well as the fortresses Luxemburg, Bitsch, Homburg and Mont Royal. The Duchy of Lorraine was restored in the borders of 1670.

However, France was able to maintain possession of Pfalzburg, Saarlouis, Longwy, Strasbourg and the three dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun. With this, Saarlouis lost all of its surrounding area. The bureaucratic apparatus was left there, however, because Ludwig XIV wanted to use Saarlouis as a bridgehead for a future recapture of the area.

After the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, Count Ludwig Kraft von Nassau-Saarbrücken was able to take over the reign again, but in 1701 he was again forced to fight on the side of France in the War of the Spanish Succession . Ludwig Kraft von Nassau-Saarbrücken became the ancestor of numerous German and European rulers through his daughter Karoline von Nassau-Saarbrücken .

His successor in government was his brother Karl Ludwig in 1713 . During his reign he promoted the industrialization of his country. In the Warndt he further expanded the glass trade, which had already been established under Ludwig II by the settlement of Huguenots . In Sulzbach / Saar he rebuilt the salt works from 1719 and had a graduation tower built. The newly founded town of Karlingen was named after him (now in French: Carling ). Since his two sons died as small children, the rule in Nassau-Saarbrücken passed to his father-in-law Friedrich Ludwig von Nassau-Ottweiler . To promote the economy, he had a glassworks founded in Friedrichsthal in 1723 and another in 1724 in Fischbachtal . The town of the same name later emerged from the hut in Friedrichsthal, and Rußhütte was later built on the site of the short-lived glassworks in Fischbachtal . In 1726 he founded the village of Friedrichweiler and in 1727 he had Sulzbach repopulated. For a time he ran the Neunkirchen ironworks on his own. With his death in 1728, the Nassau-Ottweiler line also ended.

The possessions were transferred to the Nassau-Usingen line . After reaching the age of majority, Wilhelm Heinrich (Nassau-Saarbrücken) took over the regency in Saarbrücken in 1741 .

In the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1738) the area of ​​what is now Saarland again became a military deployment area. The father-in-law of the Polish king Stanislaus I. Leszczyński with the French royal family finally brought him the duchies of Lorraine and Bar in 1737.

When the actual Duke of Lorraine and Bar (since 1729–1737), Francis III. Stephan (1708–1765), who married the Emperor's daughter Maria Theresa in 1736 , had to forego Lorraine and Bar on February 13, 1737 and was exchanged for Franz II. Grand Duke of Tuscany (1737–1765) and from 21. November 1740 co-regent in the Habsburg hereditary lands and since 1745 as Franz I Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. By diplomatic agreement between the emperor and the French crown, Stanislaus I. Leszczyński , the father-in-law of the French king Louis XV, was appointed Duke of Lorraine and Bar. After Duke Stanislaus died as a result of a tragic burn injury in 1766, the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar fell to the Kingdom of France, which pushed the French border to the Saar.

French time

The area saw the beginnings of early industrialization as early as the 18th century through the nationalization of the coal mines and the expansion and construction of iron works and glassworks .

In 1792 the First Coalition War began between France (where the French Revolution had started in 1789 ) and a coalition of Austria, Prussia and other states. In 1792, French troops under Adam-Philippe de Custine advanced as far as the Rhine. In the following years French troops occupied the entire left bank of the Rhine after a different course of the war .

The central part of today's Saarland came to the Département de la Sarre , established in 1798 , areas in the west to the Département de la Moselle and areas in the east to the Département du Mont-Tonnerre . During the Napoleonic rule, the area shared the fortunes of the First Empire .

19th century

The region of today's Saarland after the Congress of Vienna: Prussian Rhine Province in pink, Bavarian Rhreinkkreis in blue, Principality of Lichtenberg of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in yellow, Reign of Meisenheim of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg in Orange, Principality of Birkenfeld of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in green, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (left), Kingdom of France (bottom left)

After the Congress of Vienna , mainly through the Second Peace of Paris , most of today's Saarland fell to the kingdoms of Prussia and Bavaria , smaller parts to other states of the German Confederation , namely the Principality of Lichtenberg with St. Wendel to the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg. Saalfeld and the Principality of Birkenfeld to the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg . The Prussian parts of the territory came to the newly formed Region of Trier in the Grand Duchy of the Lower Rhine , the 1822 in the Rhine province rose, the Bavarian parts of the territory to the newly formed Rhine district , since 1835 Rheinpfalz called. The achievements of the French Revolution were preserved as the civil code .

In the 19th century, coal mining and the iron and steel industry developed.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 and the Battle of Spichern at the gates of Saarbrücken, the establishment of the German Empire and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine led to the formation of a common economic area up to the French border. The third largest heavy industrial area in the German Empire was established on the Saar , known as the "Saar area" and, since the 1890s, mostly as the "Saar area".

Saar area from 1920 to 1935

The borders of the Saar area 1920–1935 between the Prussian Rhine Province, the Free State of Oldenburg, the Bavarian Rhine Palatinate and France
Heraldic shield of the Saar area with train wheel and crossed mallets from the city arms of St. Ingbert , red rose from the city arms of St. Johann an der Saar , rising sun over blue clouds from the city arms of Saarlouis and the lion of the Counts of Saarbrücken; The corresponding national flag showed the colors blue, white (heraldic: silver) and black. The color scheme of the flag of the Saar took the basic colors of the coat of arms fields of the Saar coat of arms, but could also as the basis of the colors of since the Congress of Vienna 's main historic territories in the Saar area, namely black and white for Prussia and white and blue for Bayern , be interpreted .
Cheers when the Berlin voters returned to Berlin in 1935

In what is now Saarland, the monarchy ended with the proclamation of the republican form of government on November 7, 1918 for the Bavarian part of the country, on November 9, 1918 for the Prussian part and on November 11, 1918 for the Oldenburg part . In the larger towns on the Saar, workers 'and soldiers' councils took power and organized vigilante groups. On November 22nd, the French occupation forces marched in and ended the revolution. After the defeat of the German Empire in the First World War , the Saar area came under the government of the League of Nations in accordance with Articles 45 to 50 of the Versailles Treaty (referred to there as "Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre" ) . In 1920 it was placed under French administration for 15 years with a mandate from the League of Nations. The mandate area with an area of ​​1912 km² and 770,030 inhabitants (1927) comprised the southern part of the Prussian Rhine Province and the western part of the Bavarian Rhine Palatinate. The demarcation was based on the places of residence of the miners who worked in the coal mines of the Saar district. Smaller than today's Saarland, the southern Hunsrück ( Black Forest high forest ) as the so-called residual district of Merzig-Wadern and the northern Saargau between the Saar and the Moselle did not belong to the Saar area. Economically, the Saar area was integrated into the French customs and currency area . In 1935, according to the treaty, a referendum was to take place on the future status.

The occupation of the Saar by French colonial troops encouraged the Saarlanders to return to the German Empire . All Saarland parties supported this until 1933.

With the seizure of power of the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler in the German Reich policy changed in 1933 SPD in the Saar. It now propagated the status quo , which meant maintaining the mandate administration until Hitler was overthrown. But 15 years " Home to the Reich could" policy of all other Saarland parties to the referendum on January 13, 1935 no longer be compensated, especially since the KPD only six months ago on the instructions of the Communist International to joining forces with the SPD and the return of opponents of the center had passed . The overwhelming majority of Saarlanders did not see Hitler as a threat. 90.73 percent then voted for unification with Germany, 8.86 percent for the status quo and only 0.4 percent of voters for unification of the Saar region with France.

From 1933 the Saar area had become a place of refuge for many people persecuted in the German Reich , above all Jews, communists and social democrats, but also for oppositionists from both Christian denominations. Due to its special position, the Saar area was also an important hub for the smuggling of anti-racist propaganda into the German Reich. After the clear majority vote in favor of annexation to National Socialist Germany, many opponents of National Socialism and those threatened with persecution fled the Saar area, especially to France.

Part of the German Reich from 1935 to 1945

From March 1, 1935, the Saar area again belonged to the German Reich without restriction. However, it did not return to Prussia or Bavaria, but remained as a political unit under the new name "Saarland" ( Reichsland Saarland ). In the party organization of the NSDAP it formed together with the Bavarian Palatinate the Gau "Saar-Pfalz". The Saarland was administered by Josef Bürckel , first as Reich Commissioner from 1935 , and then as Reich Governor in Saarbrücken from August 1940 . The Palatinate and, from 1940, German-occupied Lorraine were also subordinate to this.

The formal amalgamation of these three administrative units to form the planned Reichsgau Westmark did not take place.

The Maginot Line , built on the French side as a defense system , was opposed on the German side as a defense line of the Siegfried Line since 1938 . At the beginning of the Second World War , a ten-kilometer-wide strip along the imperial border, the so-called “ Red Zone ”, was evacuated by the civilian population, a corresponding evacuation also took place on the French side. During the so-called seated war , French troops advanced up to eight kilometers into German territory in September 1939 and held twelve villages in the cleared border region until mid-October 1939. In the spring of 1945 there was renewed fighting in the area.

After the Saarland was annexed to the German Reich , the National Socialist persecution against Jews and opposition members was promoted here as well. In the series "Against Forgetting" of the 3rd World Saar , the crimes and terror, but also the resistance of Saarland citizens under the rule of the National Socialists for the districts of Merzig-Wadern and Saarlouis are documented on the basis of many individual fates.

Of the approximately 3,000 Saarlanders of Jewish faith around 1930, around 700 were murdered as part of the National Socialist persecution. Only a few survivors returned to Saarland after 1945.

Separation after 1945

French passport of a Saarland woman before the Saarland Citizenship Act of July 15, 1948 came into force; To supplement the nationality "Sarrois" (Saarland) is given.

After the Second World War , France originally intended to split off the entire area on the left bank of the Rhine from Germany. However, these plans were rejected at the allied foreign ministerial conferences with reference to the Atlantic Charter that there should be no area changes that do not match the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned. In order not to spoil it with the French, however, the USA agreed to the separation of the Saarland, the area of ​​which was enlarged somewhat compared to 1920, especially in the northwest and in the north. On July 10, 1945, French occupation troops moved into Saarland, which the US units there left.

On February 16, 1946, the Saarland was removed from the jurisdiction of the Allied Control Council . With effect from July 20, 1946, the state area was expanded not insignificantly by the former Prussian and Birchfield-Oldenburg communities. At the end of 1946, a customs border with the rest of Germany was established. A short time later the country became a French protectorate with its own constitution and the Saarland Administrative Commission as its own government. The preamble to the constitution provided for economic affiliation with France. This had positive economic consequences for the population and - even before the West German " economic miracle " - triggered strong economic growth, there was also a strong francophile movement in Saarland with the Mouvement pour le Rattachement de la Sarre à la France political affiliation with France was largely rejected. With effect from June 8, 1947, 61 communities in the districts of Trier and Saarburg were spun off from Saarland. At the same time, 13 formerly Bavarian (6), Birkenfeld (3) or Prussian (4) communities in the districts of Birkenfeld and Kusel were annexed to the Saarland. In 1949 the border was changed for the last time when the former Palatinate community of Kirrberg was joined .

On July 16, 1947, the Saar currency “ Saarmark ” was introduced with a parity of 1 Reichsmark = 1 Saarmark; its background was to prepare the introduction of the French franc, which was planned in the second step. This step was intended to prevent the transfer of Reichsmark stocks from the other western occupation zones, the area of ​​the later Federal Republic , to the Saarland with the aim of later changing to the then much more stable franc. On November 15, 1947, the French franc became the official currency, and on March 23, 1948 the customs union was officially confirmed; later the French coins (but not the notes) were supplemented by their own “ Saar Francs ”, which, however, were exactly the same as the analogous French coins, and currency convergence also continued.

In July 1948, all Saarlanders received their own citizenship, they became Sarrois . The government set up by France, consisting mainly of emigrants and those persecuted by the National Socialists, ensured that the Saarland was de-Nazified more sustainably than in any other part of West Germany. The political reorganization on the Saar was understood by those responsible primarily as a “deprecation”.

After the population initially agreed to the new status , which was certainly also due to the rapid economic recovery in the Federal Republic before the so-called "economic miracle", the aversion to the government increased in the 1950s. Parties that opposed statehood - especially the large parties of the Federal Republic - were not allowed. The fundamental right to freedom of expression has been restricted. Both the Christian People's Party of Saarland and the Social Democratic Party of Saarland were supporters of the Saar Statute. Political persecution and contract killings by the secret police were part of everyday life in the Saarland. The pro-German Democratic Party of the Saar , which deviated from the line of Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann , was banned on behalf of the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman . The Saar government justified this step by stating that a state should not offer a field of activity to any party that fundamentally rejects its existence. Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer refused any contact with the Hoffmann government, which was described as "separatist" . In 1952, the banned pro-German DPS called for invalid ballot papers to be cast in the state elections , which around a quarter of those eligible to vote did. This also represented a turning point in Adenauer's Saarland policy: he made contact with the Saar government, above all in order not to endanger his projects of ties to the West and reconciliation with France. This new course led to the signing of the Saar Statute on October 23, 1954 in Paris as part of the Paris Treaties . In German domestic politics, Adenauer was sharply attacked because of the Saar Statute, although the Statute provided for a referendum. The SPD and FDP in particular saw this as a de facto cession of the Saarland to France.

Referendum in 1955 and accession to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957

Ballot from the referendum on October 23, 1955
Postage stamp from the Deutsche Bundespost (1957) for the political integration of the Saarland into the Federal Republic of Germany

On October 23, 1955, after a vigorous “voting battle”, a referendum on the future of the country was carried out, with 67.7 percent of Saarlanders voting “no” and thus deciding against the Saar Statute . The Saar Statute was the vision of the Saarland Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann , who wanted to make Saarland the first European territory. The planning of entire city districts in and around Saarbrücken , which the institutions of the European Union today in Brussels , Luxembourg and Strasbourg were to accommodate, had already started.

The political decision-makers in the participating governments rated the result of the referendum as the desire of the Saarlanders to join the Federal Republic. On October 27, 1956, the Saar Treaty was concluded in Luxembourg , whereupon the area came to the Federal Republic of Germany on January 1, 1957 as the tenth state ( excluding West Berlin ) (so-called small reunification ).

On July 6, 1959, the so-called "Day X", the economic integration of the Saarland into the economic area of ​​the Federal Republic of Germany took place. The D-Mark was introduced as the sole means of payment as a visible sign of the economic reintegration of the Saarland into Germany. The transition period originally set for a maximum of three years was thus - as generally expected - shortened by half a year. The latest possible time would have been December 31, 1959. The date of the currency conversion and economic affiliation was not communicated to the population until Saturday, July 4th, by Federal Minister of Economics Ludwig Erhard via Radio Saarbrücken, in order not to encourage speculation in foreign exchange. On Sunday, July 5th, 1959, at midnight, Prime Minister Franz Josef Röder opened the customs barrier after a brief address in front of thousands of people near Homburg-Eichelscheid and the “Aktion Mairegen”, the cover name of the Federal Border Guard , brought 580 million DM into Saarland . Currency exchange began Monday morning at the banks. The official exchange rate was 100 francs at 0.8507 marks. The transition period proved to be a severe test for the Saarland economy, as trade and industry had previously had a secure sales market in France. After the annexation to the Federal Republic, the Saarland economy was threatened by the large German economic area. The Saarland retail trade had already suffered from the smuggling of cheaper products from the Federal Republic before the reorganization. After "Day X", German companies flooded the Saarland market with their products and initiated the decline of many Saarland products and brands.

Economic structural change

At the end of the 1950s, the mining industry, which dominated the Saarland economy, and the related coal and steel industry were hit hard by a sales crisis. While in 1959 56.7% of all jobs in the Saarland were assigned to the coal and steel industry, this proportion decreased to 36.4% by 1979. The crisis mood was intensified by the severe mining accident in Luisenthal , the worst accident in the centuries-old Saarland mining industry, which killed 299 people on February 7, 1962. Between 1968 and 1978 the number of miners decreased from 31,000 to 22,000. Since the Saarland mining industry was no longer competitive in international comparison, pits were abandoned. With the closure of the Saar mine, hard coal mining in Saarland ended at the end of June 2012, even after strong protests about mining-related earthquakes.

Overall, the iron and steel industry in Saarland replaced hard coal mining as the leading economic sector in the 1960s. But this branch of industry was also severely hit by a global steel crisis in 1975 and 1976. Of the 40,000 steel workers in Saarland, 7,000 lost their jobs and production fell by 30 to 40 percent. While full employment had previously prevailed, the unemployment rate has now risen to 7.2 percent. The traditional ironworks in Neunkirchen and Burbach had to close as a result of this crisis. With extensive concentration and rationalization measures, Saarland's industry tried to master the upheaval, but sales collapsed again in the mid-1980s due to a Europe-wide steel crisis. In order to save the still existing steel works, the Saarland borrowed 1.45 billion DM at this time . Nevertheless, the unemployment rate soared to 13.4 percent. It was 4 percent above the national German average. By 1988 the Saarland's debt burden rose to DM 10 billion. The steelworks in Dillingen and Völklingen have been stabilized by the state support measures by the federal government and the Saarland state government. In 2007 they had 11,000 employees and survived the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009. The global export of heavy plate, quality steel and pointed wire was secured.

The subsidies were flanked by the settlement of businesses and economic support for start-ups. Between 1968 and 1975 120 companies were able to be relocated, offering 18,000 new jobs. The Saarland government achieved the greatest settlement success with the Ford automobile works in Saarlouis-Röderberg. The Saarland automotive industry and its suppliers offered around 40,000 jobs around 2010.

The Saarland metal industry was gradually overtaken by the expanding service sector, which today provides work for two thirds of the Saarland employees. Education, research and technology transfer currently offer economic renewal and growth. In 2010, between 8,000 and 9,000 people worked in the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors . A technical faculty was established at Saarland University in 1986. By the end of the 1980s, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence , the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology at the St. Ingbert location, the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science and the Saar Innovation and Technology Center were established in this context .

In 1990 the Leibniz Institute for New Materials , which deals with nanotechnology , was founded. In Dagstuhl was Leibniz Center for computer science settled and in 2000 Saarbrücken seat was Franco-German University . In 2008 the Saarland University celebrated its 60th anniversary. With the neighboring universities of Metz, Nancy, Luxembourg and Liège, she has been involved in the University of the Greater Region project since 2009. The Saar-Lor-Lux region between the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Luxembourg was established as early as 1980 . Since then, authorities and institutions of the three countries have been working together to promote economic, cultural, tourist and social development. The region was later expanded to include Rhineland-Palatinate and Belgian Wallonia. Currently, around 200,000 people commute to work every day across the national borders of the Greater Region. Around 30,000 people from France work in Saarland.

From 1970 onwards, the Saarland carried out a comprehensive regional and administrative reform that merged the previously 345 independent Saarland municipalities into 50 municipalities. In this way, the economic structural change should be supported administratively. These reforms led to years of disputes, identification problems and political and legal power struggles.

Another measure taken by the state government was to improve the infrastructure. Here the Saarland was linked more intensively than before to the international motorway and air traffic network. The expansion of the Saar as a shipping channel was carried out from 1980 to 1987.

The political structural change after the referendum and the associated defeat of the SPS and the CVP had to be managed. Following the West German model, the CDU, SPD and FDP established themselves in Saarland. Only in the late 1960s and early 1970s did the CDU merge with the CVP and the FDP with the DPS. The years from 1959 to 1979 were strongly influenced by Prime Minister Franz-Josef Röder , who led coalition governments of the CDU with the CVP, SPD and FDP. Röder's successor in office and party colleague Werner Zeyer had to hand over his office to the previous Saarbrücken mayor and SPD candidate Oskar Lafontaine after the state elections in 1985, which had a positive outcome for the SPD . In Lafontaine's term of office, which lasted until 1998, the difficult problems of the Saar steel location and the decisions to promote IT were made . After Lafontaine had decided to switch to federal politics, his party comrade Reinhard Klektiven followed him in office. In September 1999 the state election ended the 14-year phase of the Saarland's SPD-led government. The new Prime Minister was Peter Müller . In 2011, Müller was replaced in office by his party colleague Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer , as he had been elected by the Federal Council as a judge in the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court. In June 2012, the last coal mine in Saarland, the Saar mine with its main location in Ensdorf, was closed. To commemorate the long historical interweaving of the history of the Saarland with hard coal mining, the large, accessible large sculpture " Saarpolygon ", which can be seen from afar, was erected in 2016 on the Duhamel heap of the former mine in Ensdorf .

Because Kramp-Karrenbauer finally switched to federal politics after her election as CDU general secretary in February 2018, Tobias Hans took office as the twelfth Prime Minister of Saarland on February 28, 2018 .

The cultural highlights of the era of structural change include the Max Ophüls Film Festival , which has existed since 1980 , the declaration of the Völklinger Hütte as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, the opening of the Saar Historical Museum in 1985 and the expansion of the modern Gallery of the Saarland Museum to name a fourth pavilion in 2017.

Historical associations, historical research institutes and museums (selection)

Heads of government since the 12th century

Counts of Saarbrücken

House Saarbrücken

House Saarbrücken-Commercy

House Nassau-Saarbrücken

Branch line Nassau-Ottweiler

Dukes of Zweibrücken

Counts of Saarbrücken

  • 1180–1234: Heinrich I.
  • 1234–1284: Heinrich II.
  • 1284–1308: Walram I.
  • 1308-1312: Simon
  • 1312–1327: Agnes von Saarbrücken (guardianship)
  • 1327-1366: Walram II.
  • 1366-1394: Eberhard II.

Electoral Palatinate

Pfalz-Simmern line

Pfalz-Zweibrücken line

Pfalz-Neuburg line

Pfalz-Kleeburg line

Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler line

Elector of Trier

Dukes of Lorraine

House Anjou

House of Lorraine-Vaudément

Province de la Sarre (Saar Province)

  • since 1685: Intendant of the Saar Province: Antoine Bergeron, Seigneur de la Goupilière

Department de la Sarre (Saar Department)

  • 1800–1803: Joseph Bexon d'Ormschwiller
  • 1803–1810: Maximilien Xavier Képler
  • 1810–1813: Alexandre François Bruneteau

Under the administration of the State of Prussia

Principality of Lichtenberg

Under the administration of the Kingdom of Bavaria

Principality of Birkenfeld or part of the Birkenfeld region

Under the administration of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg :

French occupation

1918–1920 Joseph Louis Marie Andlauer (Administration Supérieure de la Sarre)

League of Nations mandate Saar area

Presidents of the government commission of the Saar region:

time of the nationalsocialism

Gauleiter Pfalz-Saar, Saarpfalz or Westmark:

French occupation

  • 1945/1946: Hans Neureuter , District President of Saarland
  • 1946/1947: Erwin Müller , Chairman of the Saarland Administrative Commission

Saarland Prime Minister

See also

Portal: Saarland  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Saarland


Historical overview presentations

  • Hektor Ammann (founder), Heinz Quasten (ed.): Historical atlas for the country on the Saar (4 deliveries with a total of 45 maps and 12 explanatory booklets). Saarbrücken 1991, ISBN 978-3-923877-80-5 .
  • Bruno Aust, Hans-Walter Herrmann , Heinz Quasten: The becoming of the Saarland - 500 years in maps (=  publications of the Institute for Regional Studies in Saarland . Volume 45 ). Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-923877-45-4 (80 cards).
  • Wolfgang Behringer, Gabriele Clemens: History of the Saarland. Munich 2009.
  • Richard van Dülmen and Reinhard Klektiven (eds.): Saarländische Geschichte, Eine Anthologie (Saarland Bibliothek 10), St. Inbert 1995.
  • Richard van Dülmen and Eva Labouvie (eds.): The Saar, History of a River (Saarland Library 3), St. Ingbert 1992.
  • Hans-Christian Herrmann, Johannes Schmitt (Hrsg.): The Saarland - history of a region . Edited by the historical association for the Saar region . Röhrig University Press, St. Ingbert 2012, ISBN 978-3-86110-511-4 .
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann, Georg Wilhelm Sante: History of the Saarland, Würzburg 1972.
  • Kurt Hoppstädter , Hans-Walter Herrmann (Hrsg.): Historical regional studies of the Saarland. Edited by the historical association for the Saar region . Volume 1: From the hand ax to the winding tower, Saarbrücken 1960. Volume 2: From the Franconian conquest to the outbreak of the French Revolution, Saarbrücken 1977. Volume 3/2: The economic and social development of the Saarland (1792-1918), Saarbrücken 1994.
  • Eva Labouvie (Ed.): Saarländische Geschichte, Ein Quellenlesebuch (Saarland Bibliothek 15), Blieskastel 2001.
  • Ludwig Linsmayer and Paul Burgard: Das Saarland, A European History, Saarbrücken 2007.
  • Hermann Overbeck, Georg Wilhelm Sante (ed.): Saar Atlas. Gotha 1934.
  • Heinz Quasten, Hans Walter Herrmann (Hrsg.): Historical atlas for the country on the Saar. Saarbrücken 1971.


  • Helmut Freis : The Saarland in Roman times. Saarbrücken 1991, ISBN 978-3-923877-51-5 .
  • Alfons Kolling : Late Bronze Age on the Saar and Moselle (=  publications by the Institute for Regional Studies in Saarland . Volume 15 ). Saarbrücken 1968, ISBN 978-3-923877-15-7 .
  • Walter Reinhard: Celts, Romans and Germanic tribes in Bliesgau (= preservation of monuments in Saarland. Volume 3). Bliesbruck-Reinheim European Cultural Park Foundation, Gersheim 2010, ISBN 978-3-9811591-2-7 .
  • Walter Reinhard: The Celts in Saarland. (= Preservation of monuments in Saarland. Volume 8). Ministry of Education and Culture - State Monument Office, 2017, ISBN 978-3-927856-21-9 .


  • Joachim Conrad, Stefan Flesch (ed.): Castles and palaces on the Saar. 3. Edition. Minerva, Saarbrücken 1995.
  • Edith Ennen: The organization of self-government in the Saar cities from the end of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, Bonn 1933.
  • Eva Labouvie (Ed.): Nobility on the border, court culture and living environment in the SaarLorLux area (1697–1815) (Echolot - historical contributions from the Saarbrücken State Archives 7), Saarbrücken 2009.
  • Fritz Rörig: The emergence of the state sovereignty of the Archbishop of Trier between Saar, Mosel and Ruwer and their struggle with the patrimonial powers, Trier 1906.
  • Albert Ruppersberg: History of the former county of Saarbrücken, 2nd edition, 4 volumes, Saarbrücken 1908–1914.

The Saarland in the 18th century

  • Franz Ecker: The Saar area and the French revolution (1789–1801) (reports from the historical association for the Saar area 18), Saarbrücken 1929.
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann (Ed.): The French Revolution on the Saar, exhibition by the Saarbrücken State Archives, catalog, St. Ingbert 1989.

The Saarland in the 19th century

  • Josef Bellot: Hundred years of political life on the Saar under Prussian rule 1815–1918 (Rheinisches Archiv 45), Bonn 1954.
  • Klaus Fehn: Prussian settlement policy in the Saarland mining area (1816-1919), Saarbrücken 1981.
  • Fritz Hellwig: The struggle for the Saar 1860-1870 (communications from the historical association for the Saar area 20), Leipzig 1934.
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann (Ed.): The Saar district between the founding of the Empire and the end of the war (1871–1918), presentations at a colloquium in Dillingen on 29./30. September 1988 (Publications of the Commission for Saarland State History and Folk Research, 18), Saarbrücken 1991.
  • Rainer Hudemann and Rolf Wittenbrock (eds.): Urban development in the German-French-Luxembourg border area, 19th and 20th centuries, Saarbrücken 1991.
  • Albert Ruppersberg: Saarbrücken war chronicle, events in and near Saarbrücken and St. Johann, as well as on the Spicherer Berge 1870, 4th edition, Leipzig 1911.
  • Johannes Schmitt (Ed.): Restoration and Revolution, The Saar region between 1815 and 1850 (sources and materials on Saarland history 3), Saarbrücken 1990.
  • Johannes Schmitt: Revolutionary Saar Region 1789–1850, Collected Essays, St. Ingbert 2005.

First World War

  • Stadtverband Saarbrücken (Hrsg.): "When the war had come over us ...", The Saar region and the First World War , catalog for the exhibition of the Regional History Museum in the Saarbrücken Castle, Saarbrücken 1993.

Saar area

  • Heinrich Baldauf: Fifteen years of journalistic struggle for the Saar , Saarbrücken 1934.
  • Frank G. Becker: “German the Saar, always daring!” The Saar propaganda of the Federation of Saar Associations 1919–1935. List of sources and references . Saarland University, Saarbrücken 2006 ( full text ).
  • Frank G. Becker: “German the Saar, always daring!” The Saar propaganda of the Federation of Saar Associations 1919–1935 . Saarland University, Saarbrücken 2009 ( full text ).
  • The population figures of the Saar area according to the results of the census of July 19, 1927 , edited and published by the statistical office of the government commission of the Saar area, Saarbrücken 1930.
  • Robert Capot-Rey: La région industrial Sarroise, Territoire de la Sarre et bassin houllier de la Moselle , Étude geographique , Paris 1934 (French).
  • Markus Gestier: "Christ cross or swastika?", The Catholic opposition to Hitler in the Saar voting campaign in 1935 , in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 40 (1992), pp. 154-188.
  • Curt Groten: The control of the League of Nations over the activities of the government commission , Saarbrücken 1929.
  • Joachim Heinz: On the voting campaign on the Saar 1933–1935 , in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 37/38, (1990/1991), pp. 118–147.
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann: The referendum of January 13, 1935 , in: Saarheimat 29 (1985), pp. 21-24.
  • Helmut Hirsch: The Saar in Versailles, The Saar question at the peace conference of 1919 (Rheinisches Archiv 42), Bonn 1952.
  • Helmut Hirsch: The Saar of Geneva, The Saar question during the League of Nations regime from 1920-1935 (Rheinisches Archiv 46), Bonn 1954.
  • Fritz Kloevekorn: The Saar area, its structure, its problems , Saarbrücken 1929.
  • Paul Krichel: The taxation of agriculture in the Saar area , Gelnhausen 1936.
  • Ludwig Linsmayer: Political culture in the Saar area 1920–1932, symbolic politics, prevented democratization, national cultural life in a separate region , St. Ingbert 1992.
  • Ludwig Linsmayer (Ed.): January 13th, The Saar in the focus of history (echo sounder, historical contributions of the Saarbrücken State Archives, Volume 1), Saarbrücken 2005, ISBN 3-938415-00-2 .
  • Peter Lempert: "The Saarland the Saarlanders!", The Francophile Efforts in the Saar Area 1918–1935 , Cologne 1985.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul: The fragmented No, Saarlanders against Hitler , Bonn 1989.
  • Gerhard Paul: "German mother - home to you!", Why it failed to beat Hitler on the Saar, Der Saarkampf 1933–1935 , Cologne 1984.
  • The Saar area under the rule of the Armistice Agreement and the Treaty of Versailles , presented to the Reichstag as a white paper by the German government, Berlin 1921.
  • Ralph Schock: Writer in the voting campaign 1935, On the literary argumentation strategy of anti-fascist and völkisch-national authors , in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 45 (1997), pp. 170-200.
  • Günter Scholdt: The Saar vote from the point of view of writers and publicists , in: Journal for the history of the Saar region, 45th year, Saarbrücken 1997, pp. 170–200.
  • Emil Straus: The social structure of the Saar area, a sociographical description , Würzburg 1935.
  • Theodor Vogel (Ed.): The Saar Liberation Struggle in the Reich 1918–1935 , Berlin 1935.
  • Hans Westhoff: Law and administration in the Saar area , Trier 1934.
  • Maria Zenner: Parties and politics in the Saar area under the League of Nations regime 1920–1935 , Saarbrücken 1966.
  • Patrick von zur Mühlen: "Beat Hitler on the Saar!", Voting campaign, emigration and resistance in the Saar area 1933–1935 , Bonn 1979.

National Socialism

  • Christoph Braß: Forced sterilization and “euthanasia” in Saarland 1935–1945 , Paderborn 2004.
  • Richard van Dülmen u. a. (Ed.): Remembrance work: Die Saar '33 –'35 , catalog for the exhibition on the 50th anniversary of the first Saar vote of January 13, 1935, Saarbrücken 1985.
  • Bernhard Hauptert and Franz Josef Schäfer: Saarland Catholic clergy between adaptation and resistance 1933–1935 , studies on the political understanding and action of the Catholic clergy, in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 46 (1998), pp. 99–158.
  • Hans-Christian Herrmann, Ruth Bauer (ed.): Resistance, repression and persecution. Contributions to the history of National Socialism on the Saar . Röhrig Universitätsverlag, St. Ingbert 2014, ISBN 978-3-86110-553-4 .
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann: Contributions to the history of emigration from Saarland 1935–1939 , in: Yearbook of West German State History 4 (1978), pp. 357–412.
  • Fritz Jacoby: The National Socialist takeover of rule on the Saar, The domestic political problems of the reintegration of the Saar area up to 1935 , Saarbrücken 1973.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul: Rule and everyday life, an industrial area in the Third Reich , Bonn 1991.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul: Milieus and Resistance, A Behavioral History of Society in National Socialism , Bonn 1995.
  • Dieter Muskalla: Nazi Policy on the Saar and Josef Bürckel, Gleichschaltung-Reorganization-Administration , Saarbrücken 1995.
  • Gerhard Paul: The NSDAP of the Saar area 1920-1935, The belated rise of the NSDAP in the Catholic-proletarian province , Saarbrücken 1987.
  • Stadtverband Saarbrücken (Ed.): Ten instead of a thousand years, The time of National Socialism on the Saar 1935–1945 , catalog for the exhibition of the Regional History Museum in the Saarbrücken Castle, Saarbrücken 1988.
  • Elisabeth Thalhofer: Neue Bremm - Gestapo terror site, an expanded police prison and its perpetrators 1943–1944 , St. Ingbert 2002.
  • Eva Tigmann: "What happened on November 9th, 1938?" , A documentary about the crimes against the Jewish population in Saarland in November 1938, Saarbrücken 1998.
  • Hans Trautes: Memories of Saarbrücken during the Second World War 1939–1945 , Saarbrücken 1974.

Saar state

  • Paul Burgard, Ludwig Linsmayer: The Saar state - images of a past world. [L'Etat Sarrois - Images d'un monde passé]. Texts in German and French (= echo sounder. Historical contributions from the Saarbrücken State Archives. Volume 2). Self-published by the Landesarchiv, Saarbrücken 2005, ISBN 3-9808556-2-7 .
  • Armin Flender: Public culture of remembrance in Saarland after the Second World War, studies on the connection between history and identity, Baden-Baden 1998, ISBN 3-7890-5394-5 .
  • Armin Heinen: Saar Years, Politics and Economy in Saarland 1945–1955, Stuttgart 1996.
  • Rainer Hudemann, Burkhard Jellonnek, Bernd Rauls (eds.): Grenz-Fall, The Saarland between France and Germany 1945–1960 (series history, politics and society of the Saarland Democracy Foundation, volume 1), St. Ingbert 1997.
  • Rainer Hudemann and Raymond Poidevin (eds.): The Saar 1945–1955, A Problem of European History, Munich 1999.
  • Rainer Hudemann and Armin Heinen (eds.): The Saarland between France, Germany and Europe 1945–1957, a source and work book, Saarbrücken 2007.
  • Ludwig Linsmayer and Paul Burgard: Der Saarstaat / L`état Sarrois, Images of a Past World / Images d´un monde passé, Saarbrücken 2005.
  • Ludwig Linsmayer (ed.): The birth of the Saarland, on the dramaturgy of a special path (echo sounder, historical contributions of the Saarbrücken state archive, volume 3), Saarbrücken 2007, ISBN 3-9808556-3-5 .
  • Rainer Möhler: Denazification in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland under French occupation from 1945 to 1952, Mainz 1992.
  • Regional History Museum Saarbrücken (ed.): From “Zero Hour” to “Day X”, Das Saarland 1945–1959, Merzig 1990.
  • Heinrich Schneider: The miracle on the Saar, a success of political community, Stuttgart 1974.

State of Saarland

  • H. Peter Dörrenbächer, Olaf Kühne , Juan Manuel Wagner (eds.): 50 Years of Saarland in Transition (=  publications by the Institute for Regional Studies in Saarland . Volume 44 ). Saarbrücken 2007, ISBN 978-3-923877-44-7 .
  • Marcus Hahn: The Saarland in a double structural change 1956-1970, regional politics between integration into the Federal Republic of Germany and the coal crisis, Saarbrücken 2003.

General industrial history of the Saar region

  • Ralf Banken: The Industrialization of the Saar Region 1815–1914, Volume 1: The Early Industrialization 1815–1850 (Regional Industrialization 1), Stuttgart 2000; Volume 2: Take-Off Phase and High Industrialization 1850–1914, Stuttgart 2003.
  • Richard van Dülmen (Ed.): Industrial culture on the Saar, life and work in an industrial region, 1840–1914, Munich 1989.
  • Irmgard Eder-Stein (Ed.): Contributions to the history of trade, industry and administration in Westrich and on the Saar, for and with Hanns Klein on the occasion of his 75th birthday, St. Ingbert 1995.
  • Trade and industry in the Saar area, ed. from Pestalozzi-Verlag Wilhelm Bredehorn, Saarbrücken, Düsseldorf, Berlin 1924.
  • Anton Haslacher: The industrial area on the Saar and its main branches of industry (reports from the Historical Association for the Saar area 12), Saarbrücken 1912.
  • Hans-Walter Herrmann, Rainer Hudemann, Eva Kell (eds.): Research task industrial culture, the Saar region in comparison (publications of the Commission for Saarland State History and Folk Research 37), Saarbrücken 2004.
  • Hans Horch: The Change in Social and Economic Structures in the Saar Region During Industrialization (1740-1914), St. Ingbert 1985.
  • Walter Marzen: The Saarland Iron and Steel Industry, Saarbrücken 1994.

Mining history

  • Helmut Frühauf: The miners' commute to the Prussian coal mines on the Saar (1875-1910), in: Yearbook for West German State History 30, 2004, pp. 273–347.
  • Ernst Klein: Organization and function of the Prussian mining authorities on the Saar (1815 to 1920), in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 33 (1985), pp. 61–112.
  • Karlheinz Pohmer (ed.): The Saarland coal mining industry, documentation of its historical significance and its cultural heritage, Saarbrücken 2012.
  • Franz Rauber: 250 years of state mining on the Saar, 2 volumes, Sotzweiler 2003.
  • The coal mining of the Prussian state in the vicinity of Saarbrücken, Part I: The Saarbrücker Steinkohlengebirge, Part II: Historical development of the coal mining in the Saar area, III. Part: The technical operation of the state coal mines near Saarbrücken, IV. Part. The sales conditions of the royal Saarbrücker coal mines in the last 20 years (1884–1903), Part V. Coal processing and coking in the Saar area, VI. Part: The development (sic!) Of the labor relations in the state coal mines from 1816 to 1903, Berlin and Heidelberg 1904–1906.

History of iron smelting

  • Anton Haslacher: Contributions to the older history of the iron and steel industry in the Saar area, Berlin 1896.
  • Rudolf Judith: The Crisis of the Steel Industry, Crisis of a Region, The Example Saarland, Cologne 1981.
  • Rolf E. Latz: The Saarland heavy industry and its neighboring areas, 1878/1938, technical development, economic and social significance, Saarbrücken 1985.

History of the glass and ceramic industry

  • Walter Lauer: The glass industry in the Saar area, Braunschweig 1922.

Agricultural history

  • Jutta Müller: Agriculture in the Saarland, development tendencies in agriculture in an industrial country (publications by the Institute for Regional Studies of Saarland 25), Saarbrücken 1976.

Infrastructure and traffic history

  • Hermann Josef Becker: Through two millennia of traffic history in the Saarland, Saarbrücken 1933.
  • Hans-Christian Herrmann and Ruth Bauer (eds.): Saarbrücken on the move, 125 years of automobile construction on the Saar, Marpingen 2011.
  • Thomas Herzig: History of the electricity supply of the Saarland with special consideration of the VSE, Saarbrücken 1987.
  • Kurt Hoppstädter: The emergence of the Saarland railways (publications by the Institute for Regional Studies of Saarland 2), Saarbrücken 1961.
  • Michael Sander: Arrival at Saarbrücken Hbf, 150 years of railways on the Saar, ed. v. Head of the State Chancellery - State Archives in cooperation with the Historical Museum Saar and the Saarbrücken City Archives, Saarbrücken 2002.

Media history

  • Axel Buchholz and Fritz Raff (eds.): History and stories of the station on the Saar, 50 years of Saarländischer Rundfunk, Saarbrücken 2007.
  • Clemens Zimmermann u. a. (Ed.): Media landscape Saar from 1945 to the present, 3 volumes, Munich 2010.

Political history

  • Wilfried Busemann: A brief history of the Saarland trade unions after 1945, Saarbrücken 2005.
  • Markus Gestier: The Christian parties on the Saar and their relationship to the nation state in the referendum battles in 1935 and 1955, St. Ingbert 1991.
  • Hans-Christian Herrmann: Social acquis and failed social partnership, social policy and trade unions in Saarland 1945 to 1955, Saarbrücken 1996.
  • Martin Herold, Josef Niessen, Franz Steinbach: History of the French Saar policy, Bonn 1934.
  • Walter Kappmeier: The Saarland voter, Saarbrücken 1990.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann: The beginnings of social democracy in the Saar district, in: Journal for the history of the Saar region 28 (1980), pp. 128-148.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann: The beginnings of the miners' movement on the Saar (1848–1904) (publications by the Commission for Saarland State History and Folk Research 12), Saarbrücken 1981.
  • Gerhard Paul and Ralph Schock: Saar history in posters 1918–1957, Saarbrücken 1987.

Social history

  • Nikolaus Fox: Saarland folklore. Saarbrücken 1927.
  • Wolfgang Freund: People, Reich and Western Frontiers, German Studies and Politics in the Palatinate, Saarland and annexed Lorraine 1925–1945, Saarbrücken 2006.
  • Charlotte Glück-Christmann: Family structure and industrialization, The change process of the family under the influence of industrialization and other modernization factors in the Saar region 1800–1914, Frankfurt am Main 1993 (dissertation Saarbrücken 1992).
  • Wolfgang Harres: Sportpolitik on the Saar 1945–1957, 2nd edition, Saarbrücken 1999.
  • Ernst Klein: The mining savings bank on the Saar (1835–1867), Frankfurt am Main 1976.
  • Eva Labouvie: Frauenleben - Frauen Leben, On the history and present of female living environments in the Saar area (17th – 20th centuries), St. Ingbert 1993.
  • Heidi Meier: traditional costumes in Saarland, Nohfelden 2017.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Horst Steffens: Wages of Labor, History of Miners on the Saar, Munich 1989.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann u. a. (Ed.): We were never right at home, voyages of discovery to the Saar area 1815–1955, 3rd edition, Berlin, Bonn 1995.
  • Peter Neumann (Ed.): Saarländische Lebensbilder (4 volumes). Saarbrücken printing and publishing house, Saarbrücken 1982–1989.
  • Franz von Pelser-Berensberg: Guide through the exhibition of old costumes and household appliances of the Saar and Moselle population, Trier 1901.
  • Dieter Staerck: The desertions of the Saarland, contributions to the settlement history of the Saar area from the early Middle Ages to the French Revolution (publications of the Commission for Saarland State History and Folk Research 7), Saarbrücken 1976.
  • Horst Steffens: Authority and revolt, everyday life and strike behavior of miners on the Saar in the 19th century, Weingarten 1987.
  • Gisela Tascher: State, power and medical professional practice 1920–1956, health care and politics: The example of Saarland, Paderborn 2010.
  • Rolf Wittenbrock: History of the City of Saarbrücken, Volume 1: From the beginnings to the industrial awakening (1860), Volume 2: From the time of stormy growth to the present, Saarbrücken 1999.

Educational history

  • Armin Heinen and Rainer Hudemann (eds.): Saarland University 1948–1988, 2nd edition, Saarbrücken 1989.
  • Heinrich Küppers: Education Policy in Saarland 1945–1955, Saarbrücken 1984.

History of religion

  • David Blackbourn : Marpingen, The German Lourdes in the Bismarck Age, Association for the Promotion of the Saarbrücken State Archives, Saarbrücken 2007, Improved new edition of: When you see her again, ask who she is, Hamburg 1997.
  • Ulrich Fohrmann u. a .: Social question and the church in the Saar district, contributions to social policy and Catholicism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Saarbrücken 1984.
  • Andreas Heinz : Witnesses of Faith and Advocates, The Saints of the Saarland, Saarbrücken 1980.
  • Klaus-Michael Mallmann: Ultramontanism and Workers' Movement in the Kaiserreich, considerations using the example of the Saar district, in: Wilfried Loth (Ed.): German Catholicism in Change to Modernity (Denomination and Society 3), Stuttgart 1991, pp. 76-94.
  • Albert Marx: The history of the Jews on the Saar, From the Ancien Régime to the Second World War, Saarbrücken 1992.
  • Josef Ollinger: Customs of the Saar and Moselle, pagan and Christian customs from the border triangle Germany-France-Luxembourg, Rheinbach 2017.

Web links

Commons : Prehistory and early history  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Schuman was a member of the Salia Bonn in the Association of Scientific Catholic Student Associations Unitas .

Individual evidence

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  10. Hans-Walter Herrmann: The testament of the Franconian nobleman Adalgisel Grimo, A testimony to Merovingian life on the Saar, Mosel and Maas, in: Tholey 634–1984, ed. v. Wolfgang Haubrichs and Gert Hummel, 1985, pp. 260-275.
  11. Hans-Walter Herrmann: The Testament of Adalgisel Grimo, in: 22nd Report of the State Preservation of Monuments in Saarland, Department of Floor Preservation, Saarbrücken 1975, pp. 67-89.
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