Golden charter

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Confirmation of the golden license issued by King Andreas II of Hungary in 1224 by King Charles I in 1317

The golden charter is a document which represents the constitutive conferral of rights of the Hungarian kings on the settler group of the Transylvanian Saxons . It was issued in 1224 by Andrew II and is the most extensive and best-elaborated statute that has ever been granted to German settlers in Eastern Europe. It was the legal basis for the Sibiu law , which was initially applied in the Seven Chairs and later on the entire royal floor in Transylvania .


  • It was determined that all people from Broos to Draas should form a political unit. As a representative of the so-called king. Functioned King judge who first used by the Hungarian king, later by the active citizens were chosen of each chair, and only confirmed by the king.
  • Hermannstadt served as the suburb of the province ( main chair ) , the other administrative districts are the chairs Schäßburg , Mühlbach , Großschenk , Reussmarkt , Reps , Leschkirch and Broos .
  • The local judges should be chosen from among the people in the parishes. The same was true of the pastors.
  • Only the King of Hungary or a judge appointed by him may judge the settlers, whereby their own customary law ( Eygenlandrecht ) has to apply (sic!). Only when cases can no longer be decided within the settler community, the royal court may deal with them.
  • The Sibiu province pledges itself to donate 500 Cologne silver marks annually . The tithing was due to the local clergy, a quarter of which went to the Bishop of Transylvania.
  • Freedom from taxes and duties for the Sibiu merchants in the Hungarian territory.
  • The forests, meadows and waters ( Almende ) are made freely available to the settlers.
  • No part of the Sibiu province may ever be given to a landlord. This should be true for all time .
  • Furthermore, the equipping of royal campaigns with soldiers is regulated. Depending on the case, 50 to 500 armed men must be provided.


The German translation of the dispositive part:

"Now that our loyal guests, the Germans across the forest, have jointly fallen at Our Majesty's feet and have humbly indicated by their complaints that they have been completely free of their freedom, with which they were called by our grandfather, the pious King Geysa would be lost if our royal majesty did not graciously fix her eye on her in the usual way, which is why she was unable to serve the royal majesty out of extreme poverty, we want to listen to her just complaints graciously, and therefore want that with present and It will become known to future people that, following the traces of grace of our predecessors, in order to move inwardly, we have given them back their former freedom. In such a way that the entire people from Waras to Boralt, including the Sekler area of ​​the land of Sebus and the land of Dar, are one people and are under a single judge, with the simultaneous abolition of all counties except that of Sibiu. But whoever may be a Count of Sibiu, may only appoint those who live permanently among them in the named counties [as judges], and the people should choose whoever appears to be the best for this office. Nobody should dare to buy coins in Sibiu County. For this they should be obliged to pay 500 silver marks annually for the benefit of our chamber. We do not want any predials or anyone else who lives within their borders to be exempted from this tax unless they have a privilege to do so. We also allow them that they do not have to pay the money they will have to pay us in future in any other weight than in the silver mark that our father Bela, pious memory, has determined for them, namely 4 1/2 fertons of the weight of Sibiu and a Cologne pfennig so that there is no difference in weight. They should not refuse to pay the messengers that the Royal Majesty will use to collect the said money for their expenses 3 lots for each day that they are there. 500 armed men are to be provided to do military service during an army expedition of the king within the empire. Outside the realm, they have to send 100 armed men if the king himself moves into the field. But if he sends one of his greats outside the Reich, be it to support a friend, be it on his own behalf, then they only have to send 50 armed men. The king may not request [armed men] beyond the specified number, nor should they be obliged to send them. They should choose their pastors freely and introduce the elected. They are to tithe them, and in all ecclesiastical law they are to answer their questions according to the ancient tradition. We also want and seriously order that no one should judge them, except ourselves or the Hermannstadt Count, whom We will appoint for them in his place and at his time. But when they stand before a judge, he should only be allowed to judge according to customary law. Also, no one may summon them to our court unless the case cannot be decided by their own judge. In addition to the above, we have given them the Forest of the Wlachen and Bissenen and its waters for common use with the aforementioned Wlachen and Bissenen so that they can enjoy this freedom and do not have to do any service. In addition, We have allowed them to bear a certain seal that is clearly known to us and our great ones. If one of them wants to summon someone to court because of a money matter, he should only be able to name people as witnesses before the judge who live within their limits. We completely exempt them from any foreign jurisdiction. According to the old freedom, We grant you all the free purchase of small salt for 8 days around the feast of St. George, the feast of St. Stephen and the feast of St. Martin. In addition, we grant you that no customs officer may obstruct you, neither on the outward journey nor on the return journey. But we leave the forest with all that belongs to it and the use of the waters with their rivers, which only the king can forgive, for free use to all, the poor as well as the rich. We also want and order by royal authority that none of our great men dare to claim a village or an estate from the king's majesty. But if someone demands it, they should object to the freedom we have granted them. In addition, We determine for the named faithful that, if it happens that We come to them on an army expedition, they should only give us three meals. But if the voivode is sent to them or through their territory for royal use, then they should not refuse to give two meals, one on arrival and one on departure. We also add to the above mentioned freedoms of the above that their merchants may travel freely and without taxes anywhere in Our Kingdom, whereby they are to exercise their rights effectively with reference to Royal Highness. We order that all their markets are kept duty-free. But so that what has been said above remains firm and unchangeable for the future, We have affirmed this document with the protection of our double seal. Given in the 1224th year after the Incarnation of the Lord, in the 21st year of Our government "

Area of ​​activity

The rights and privileges of the charter were initially only related to the Sibiu province ( seven chairs and the main chair in Sibiu ). Specifically, it says: a Waras usque in Boralt . So "from Broos to Draas" . From 1224 the so-called Sibiu freedom ( “libertas Cibiniensis” ) was in effect there . But this was soon extended to the surrounding settlement areas. In 1315 the two chairs from Mediasch and Schelk were added, in 1366 the Bistritz region ( Nösnergau ) and finally in 1422 the Burzenland . The area in which the libertas Cibiniensis was valid was called the royal soil .


The Transylvanian Saxons had the securitized freedoms confirmed and expanded several times, but these repeatedly turned into a political issue, in a dispute with the two other estates in Transylvania , the Szeklers and the Hungarian nobility . There was particular pressure after the annexation of Transylvania by Austria . The empire did not want to tolerate these special rights for a relatively small population group, but the Saxons managed to largely preserve their autonomy through skillful tactics and influence (see Samuel von Brukenthal ) until the Compromise in 1867 . Only when the Königsboden was formally abolished in 1876 did the old rights finally expire.


  • L. Binder, C. & E. Göllner, K. Gündisch: History of the Germans in the area of ​​Romania. First volume: 12th century to 1848 . Kriterion Verlag, Bucharest 1979.
  • Ernst Wagner: History of the Transylvanian Saxons. An overview. 6th revised and expanded edition. Wort und Welt Verlag, Thaur near Innsbruck 1990.

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