A Grand Duchy is a territory that is ruled by a Grand Duke and is a monarchy in terms of its form of government . The rank of Grand Duke did not exist in the nomenclature of the Holy Roman Empire ; Rather, the title originated in Italy , where under Cosimo I the Duchy of Tuscany was elevated to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany by papal privilege in 1569 .
The title was brought to Germany by Napoleon Bonaparte . On the one hand, he founded the Grand Duchy of Berg as a new state in 1806 (with Grand Duke Joachim Murat ) and, from previously spiritual territories, the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt in the same year and the Grand Duchy of Würzburg in 1810 . On the other hand, he granted the title as a formal increase in status to some of the princes who had already ruled (including Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt ), whose allegiance he intended to secure in the context of the Rhine Confederation .
After the end of the Napoleonic Rhine Confederation in 1815, the German princes were allowed to keep their new titles for reasons of status, and Luxembourg , which was initially ruled in personal union with the Netherlands , was created as an additional Grand Duchy . The Grand Duchy of Berg, however, was in 1813 by troops of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. occupied, who created the titular Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine from parts of the Rhine and incorporated it into Prussia; The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt was divided into the Free City of Frankfurt , Hessen-Kassel , Bavaria and Prussia in 1813 , and the Grand Duchy of Würzburg fell to Bavaria in 1814.
From the Congress of Vienna in 1815, there were eight grand duchies in Europe:
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Titular grand duchies were then the Prussian provinces of the Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine and the Grand Duchy of Posen .
The Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine existed until 1822, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1861, and the Grand Duchies of Baden, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg and Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach existed until the end of the First World War .
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg still exists today.
- ↑ In the coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia, the heraldic right green field with a silver wavy band is the historical coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine from 1817.