Duchy of Jülich

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Duchy of Jülich
coat of arms
coat of arms
Duchy of Jülich around 1560
Alternative names Gulick (left), Juliers (French), Gulch
Arose from Jülichgau
Form of rule County,
from 1336 margraviate ,
from 1356 duchy
Ruler / government Count / Margrave / Duke
Today's region / s DE-NW , smaller parts also DE-RP and NL-LI

Reichskreis Lower Rhine-Westphalian Imperial Circle
Capitals / residences Jülich , Nideggen Castle
Dynasties Jülich, Jülich-Heimbach
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic
Language / n South Lower Franconian and Ripuarian dialects
surface 4130 km²
Residents 400,000
Incorporated into Duchy of Jülich-Berg (1423)

The Duchy of Jülich was a territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Circle , on the left bank of the Rhine between the Duchy of Geldern , the Electorates of Cologne and Trier and the Duchy of Liège .


The Duchy of Jülich covered an area of ​​4130 square kilometers, which stretched 20 kilometers on both sides of the Rur and about 40 kilometers west of the Rhine from Tegelen in the north to the northern Eifel in the south. It had 400,000 mostly Catholic residents. The capital was Jülich .


The historic Duchy of Jülich included the cities and communities Jülich , Düren , Eschweiler , Münstereifel , Euskirchen , Nideggen , Bergheim , Kaster , Grevenbroich , Gladbach (today: Mönchengladbach) , Dahlen , Dülken , Linnich , Randerath , Brüggen , Süchteln , Aldenhoven , Heimbach , Monschau , Wassenberg , Heinsberg , Gangelt , Geilenkirchen , Waldfeucht , Sittard , Süsteren , Sinzig and Remagen .

Some castles and residences in the Jülich area


Development of the counties in the High Middle Ages

The Gau realms were imperial fiefs in the early Middle Ages , which the German king gave to noblemen and military leaders. They comprised relatively small areas, the size of which, based on today's conditions, was between an administrative district and a district . Over the course of inheritance, which became common over time - the fief was granted again to one of the descendants of the deceased after the death of the tenant - more and more aristocratic houses emerged who sought to enlarge their territorial area. This was achieved through purchase, by force or often through the additional position of bailiff for monasteries and abbeys. These bailiffs, who were responsible for the secular affairs of these religious institutions, were able to expand their power base and enlarge their area of ​​fief.

However, a county or a duchy was not an area in which the reigning noble family owned all of the land. The counties and later the duchies were rather large patchwork carpets in which other rulers were also responsible for individual goods and smaller areas. In addition, there were also imperial direct fiefdoms and smaller counties, which however sometimes fell to the superordinate main counties or were bought from the heirs through inheritance via daughters or after the smaller noble house had died out. On the other hand, individual goods or parts of the territory were pledged by the incumbent noble house as well as by foreign rulers when money was needed. If these pledges were not redeemed later, it fell permanently to the pawnbroker and became his inheritance or property.

Territories in the area of ​​the Rhine and Meuse around 1250

After the beginning of the High Middle Ages, increasing numbers of the Jülich areas that lay outside the old Jülichgau were originally possessions or fiefs of the Cologne Archdiocese, which the archbishops gave to their vassals after the Ezzone era . Like the other larger counties in the area of ​​the Lower and Middle Rhine - the counties Berg, Kleve and Geldern - the county Jülich was able to push back the original dominant position of the Archdiocese of Cologne until the end of the 13th century on the edge of its territory Increase power base through feuds and wars at the expense of Cologne.

Change from the Counts in Jülichgau to the Counts of Jülich

Family coat of arms of the Counts of Jülich (Armorial Bellenville, 14th century)

As with all counties on the Lower and Middle Rhine, the data situation for the area in the area from Jülich until the middle of the 12th century is incomplete. In the early Middle Ages , the German Reich was divided into Gaue . One of these districts in the area of ​​the southern Lower Rhine was the Jülichgau , the center of which was the city of Iuliacum , which was later to become Jülich, which was laid out under the Romans .

A Gottfried, Count Palatine of Lorraine and Count in Jülichgau, is documented as early as 905 to 947 . This Count Gottfried came from the important Franconian noble family of Matfriede and was one of the first to bear the title of Count von Jülich. The following Count Palatine of Lorraine, who were from the same noble family, namely Erenfried II (942–966) to Hermann II (1061–1085), were Count Palatine as well as Count in Zülpichgau.

From the 11th century, a family of counts with the lead name Gerhard can be documented in Jülichgau . In the literature I to IV or also to VI different persons are given for this gender in the period from the beginning of the 11th to the middle of the 12th century. Depending on the historian, the term of office of the first Count Gerhard in Jülichgau began at the beginning or at the end of the 11th century. In almost all documents these first counts in Jülichgau were listed as witnesses under the title “Comes de Gulecho” (or a modified spelling).

Wilhelm I (1142–1176) was Count von Jülich and no longer just Count in Jülichgau, since the original Gau area had since been considerably expanded by obtaining additional fiefs from the Count Palatine and the Cologne Church . This Wilhelm had a brother Gerhard (1132–1198), who also appeared more frequently as a witness in documents, presumably held a higher ecclesiastical office and was therefore not a counting count. Wilhelm I's successor was his son Wilhelm II von Jülich (1176–1207).

Wilhelm II was married to Alveradis, the heir to Count Adalbert von Molbach. After the death of her father (around 1237), the areas of the former county of Nörvenich came to Jülich through this heir. The first Jülich count's house died out in the male line after Wilhelm II, as the latter had no son as a successor. Everhard was married to Wilhelm's sister, and his children shared their father's possessions. Everhard's son Wilhelm (Wilhelm III. Von Jülich) was successor as Count von Jülich.

Since Wilhelm III. from 1217 a participant in the 5th crusade , his brother Walram took over the co-regency from his departure for the crusade. William III. died in Egypt in 1219, and his wife was temporarily regent because of the youngest age of the eldest son. After reaching the age of majority in the 1230s, the son became the counting count as Wilhelm IV von Jülich .

Nideggen Castle (current)

Wilhelm IV. Was one of the outstanding counts of the Jülich family. Despite his constant dealings with the Archbishops of Cologne, he managed to enlarge and stabilize the Jülich territory. His mostly good relationship with the German kings and emperors Friedrich II. , Conrad IV. And Rudolf I von Habsburg was helpful. On February 14, 1234 he received the Breisig, Wesseling near Bonn and Vilich bailiffs, the Kornelimünster Abbey and the Fronhof zu Viersen as fiefs from Count Palatine Otto II . The Bailiwick of St. Gereon Monastery in Cologne followed in 1227. Via King Konrad IV, Düren was pledged in 1246 and the umbrella bailiffs for Aachen and Sinzig in 1247. In 1273 the pledged castles in Liedberg, Caster and Worringen were returned via King Rudolf. With the death of Everhard von Heimbach after 1234, Wilhelm inherited the Heimbach property of his uncle.

Wilhelm IV was engaged in frequent armed conflicts with both the Archbishop of Cologne, Konrad von Hochstaden, and his successor Engelbert II von Falkenburg . While the Cologne people tried to consolidate their territorial responsibilities, the Jülich wanted to expand theirs. However, this inevitably led to feuds and wars between the people of Cologne and Jülich. Archbishop Konrad's captivity at the heavily fortified Jülich Nideggen Castle lasted nine months, and he was only released after paying a large ransom. This was followed by the captivity of Archbishop Engelbert, who was defeated and imprisoned by the count's troops near Zülpich in 1267 after a warlike incursion by Cologne into the county, which was devastated in large areas. He was then imprisoned in Nideggen Castle for more than three years.

Wilhelm IV was married twice, first to Margaretha von Geldern and then to Ricarda von Geldern (sister of Margaretha). With the latter he had five to six daughters and four sons, in order of age by name: Wilhelm, Walram, Otto and Gerhard. When the Jülich tried to collect taxes for the king in the imperial city of Aachen , the city resisted. Wilhelm IV then attacked Aachen in 1278 with around four hundred armed followers. During the skirmish that broke out in the city, the count was killed with his eldest son.

After this incident, the Archbishop of Cologne Siegfried von Westerburg took advantage of the temporary weakening of the Jülich and briefly occupied the county with his mercenaries. Only the town and castle of Nideggen and the town of Heimbach could not be conquered. After the withdrawal of the Cologne residents, there was an atonement contract between the city of Aachen and Wilhelm IV's widow for his killing in 1280. In addition to a few other services, Aachen had to pay the high sum of 15,000 marks as atonement to Jülich.

Since the eldest brother had been killed with the father, the second-born son Walram took over the office of count from 1278 until his death in 1297. Like many of the Jülich rulers, Walram was an opponent of the Archbishop of Cologne in office. At the Battle of Worringen in 1288 he fought on the side of the victorious alliance against the Archbishop of Cologne, Siegfried von Westerburg and their allies. As part of the warlike actions before the decisive battle in Worringen, the Jülich conquered the fortified town of Zülpich in Kurköln. Archbishop Zülpich and the associated area had to cede the booty to the County of Jülich for almost 80 years. Furthermore, the Archdiocese of Cologne renounced all old feudal claims that had been constantly disputed between Cologne and Jülich. When Walram died in 1297, the youngest of the four brothers followed as Count Gerhard V. von Jülich .

Gerhard V supported the German King Adolf von Nassau against his rival King Albrecht I von Habsburg . After Adolf von Nassau was killed on the battlefield in 1298 in the fight against Albrecht I, Gerhard V submitted to the latter and achieved that the County of Jülich was confirmed to him as an imperial fief. After the Habsburg's death in 1308, Gerhard V also supported his successor Henry VII and, from 1313, Ludwig the Bavarian in his disputes over the reign. Archbishop Heinrich II of Virneburg , who was in office in Cologne at the same time, tried to strengthen the position of the archbishopric at the expense of the Lower Rhine counties through an alliance with France. Inevitably, the archbishop came into conflict with the counties and the German king and failed in his attempt to improve conditions for the archbishopric.

When Gerhard V died in 1328, his support from the German kings during his reign had strengthened his position vis-à-vis the Archbishops of Cologne. From 1300 to 1314 he succeeded in securing the responsibilities for Sinzig, Grevenbroich, the rule of Lipp and the Rhine toll in Kaiserswerth (1301) or in obtaining them through a pledge.

Count Gerhard V died in 1328, and it was followed by his eldest son as Count Wilhelm V von Jülich . Like his father, he too had a good relationship with the respective ruling emperors. Ludwig IV appointed him margrave of the county of Jülich in 1336 and awarded the imperial forest near Kornelimünster to the Jülich family. Since the younger brother of Wilhelm V, Walram von Jülich , had become archbishop of Cologne in 1332, he also had a good relationship with the incumbent archbishop - unusual for the Jülich counts. For example, in 1344 he received a contractual assurance from the archbishopric that the Cologne residents would agree to a possible inheritance of the two counties Berg and Ravensberg to the Jülich noble house.

The dukes of Jülich

When Charles IV replaced Emperor Ludwig IV in 1346 , the former, Count Wilhelm V, confirmed the pledges for Düren, Kaiserswerth and Sinzig. Since Count Wilhelm V was successful diplomatically for the king and later emperor, the latter appointed him Duke Wilhelm I of Jülich and Count von Falkenburg with the imperial fiefdom for Falkenburg in 1356 . The previous Messrs. Von Falkenburg did not agree with the latter . Their resistance led to the fact that after the Duke's death, the county was returned to "Walram von Falkenburg", and it was not until a few decades later that Falkenburg finally fell to the Duchy of Jülich. Duke Wilhelm I was married to "Maria von Geldern" and had as descendants in addition to a daughter the sons Gerhard, Wilhelm and Rainald. At times there was a falling out between the count and his sons, which led to the father being held in captivity from 1349 to 1351. However, through the mediation of Archbishop Walram of Cologne, the dispute was ended peacefully. Duke Wilhelm I died in 1361, and the son Wilhelm II of Jülich took over the Duchy of Jülich.

Gerhard, the eldest son of Wilhelm I, had married Margarete von Ravensberg-Berg as early as 1338 . This was the daughter of Margaretha , a sister of Adolf VI. from mountain. Since Adolf VI. had no children of her own, it was contractually agreed that this great niece would become the inheritance. As early as 1346, Gerhard von Jülich took over the County of Ravensberg, followed by the County of Berg in 1348, and became the incumbent Count Gerhard von Berg-Ravensberg .

At the beginning of the second half of the 14th century, Duke Wenceslaus I of Luxembourg and Brabant tried to expand his position of power in the area of ​​Lower Lorraine and the Duchies of Jülich and Geldern and thus came into conflict with the dukes there. The conflict led to the Battle of Baesweiler in 1371 . In this, Duke Wilhelm II of Jülich won with the allied Duke Eduard von Geldern and Count Wilhelm von Jülich-Berg over Duke Wenzel I of Luxembourg. While the latter was captured by the Jülichern, the Duke of Geldern died in this conflict. As Eduard's brother also died a few months later and both were childless, the Duchy of Geldern and Zütphen returned to the emperor as an imperial fief. Wenzel I was a half-brother of Emperor Karl IV. In order to free his half-brother from Jülich captivity, in 1371 the Emperor awarded the vacant imperial fief to the still underage son Wilhelm von Jülich. Until he came of age, the administration of funds was carried out by the father, Duke Wilhelm II of Jülich.

Duchy of Geldern with the county of Zutphen around 1350

The two deceased ducal brothers “von Geldern” had two sisters. In addition to the wife of Wilhelm II von Jülich, Maria von Geldern, there was a second sister, Mathilde von Geldern. The latter did not agree to the award of the Duchy of Geldern to Jülich. The First War of Succession for Geldern followed . This dispute ended in 1379 after Mathilde had lost the battle of Hönnepel. Mathilde finally renounced money and Zütphen in favor of Wilhelm von Jülich. This became Duke Wilhelm I of Geldern .

From 1379 onwards, in addition to the county of Jülich, the Lower Rhine counties of Geldern and Berg were in the hands of the Jülich aristocratic family. A possible combination with a unification of the three counties did not come about because Gerhard von Jülich died in a feud in front of his father, Duke Wilhelm I von Jülich. That is why Gerhard's son, Count Wilhelm II. Von Berg , had already become the next acting Count von Berg in 1360. Gerhard's younger brother, Wilhelm von Jülich, on the other hand, became Duke Wilhelm II in 1361 in the Duchy of Jülich.

The dukes of Jülich-Geldern

Duke Wilhelm II married "Maria von Geldern", the daughter of Duke Rainald II von Geldern , in their second marriage . With this Maria he had two sons, namely Wilhelm and Rainald von Jülich. The son Wilhelm von Jülich had already become Duke of Geldern in 1379 as Duke Wilhelm I of Geldern . When Wilhelm II of Jülich died in 1393, his son Wilhelm became Duke Wilhelm III's successor . from Jülich . The unification of the two duchies to form the united Duchy of Jülich-Geldern mainly concerned only the personal union under one duke. An overarching, centrally structured double duchy was not formed, and there were only a few connecting factual elements between the two territories.

In the first years of his reign he was able to enlarge the Jülich area by buying it. For example, he bought the towns of Born , Sittard and Susteren for 70,000 gold guilders . In 1397 disputes arose between the dukes of Jülich-Geldern and Berg as well as the counts of Kleve and von der Mark because of the Rhine toll from Kaiserswerth. In the Battle of Kleverhamm Duke Wilhelm III fought. von Jülich-Geldern not with, but his brother Rainald von Jülich with Count Wilhelm II. von Berg against Count Adolf II. von Kleve , who was allied with Count Dietrich II. von der Mark . Rainald von Jülich and his ally were defeated, and both were taken prisoner. The Duchy of Jülich-Geldern was only able to raise the required ransom of around 150,000 gold florins by pledging Emmerich to the western area of ​​the Liemers . Since the financial situation in the united Duchy of Jülich-Geldern was very tense, the pledge in 1402 could not be redeemed and the area lent and the city of Emmerich belonged to the County of Kleve from this point on.

William III. died childless in 1402. His brother Duke Rainald von Jülich-Geldern became his successor . He ruled until 1423 and also died childless. The double duchy of Jülich-Geldern ended with his death. After his death, both his relatives from the Jülich-Berg sideline, Duke Adolf von Berg, and Margarethe, Rainald II von Geldern's sister, claimed the successor for their grandson Arnold von Egmond .

While the transition from the Duchy of Jülich to the new double duchy of Jülich-Berg took place relatively quickly and without major problems through the takeover of power by Adolf Herzog von Berg-Ravensberg in Jülich, a fast and permanent solution for the Duchy of Geldern was not possible. Arnold von Egmond was recognized by the Geldern estates as the new sovereign as early as July 8, 1423, but despite confirmation by the Roman-German King Sigismund on August 15, 1424, there was a Second War of Succession in Geldern .

Details on the further development of Geldern → under Duchy of Geldern from 1423.

The dukes of Jülich-Berg

Duke Adolf von Berg-Ravensberg was able to quickly succeed the Duchy of Jülich despite some resistance. According to Rainald's will, 3/4 of the Duchy of Jülich fell to the great-grandson of Duke Wilhelm I and 1/4 (referred to as Jülich Quart ) to Johann II von Loon, Lord von Heinsberg and grandson of Duke Wilhelm I. In this way, Adolf became Duke of Jülich and Berg (1423–1437) and Johann "Herr von Jülich". The last owner of the Jülich Quart was from a branch line of the noble house Heinsberg, Wilhelm II von Loon, Count of Blankenheim and Herr zu Jülich.

Under Adolf von Jülich-Berg, the Jülich and Berg territories were united to form the new double duchy of Jülich-Berg and later belonged to the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Circle from 1500 . Duke Adolf von Jülich-Berg ruled until 1437 and despite having married twice, he had no successor, as his son Ruprecht had died from his first marriage in 1431 and the second marriage remained childless. After his death in 1437, his nephew Gerhard Graf von Ravensberg became a duke in the double duchy.

After 1455, Duke Gerhard was "mentally deranged", and his wife Sophie von Sachsen-Lauenburg took over the affairs of government until her death in 1473. After the death of the last owner of the Jülich Quart, the wife reached in the name of Duke Gerhard von Jülich-Berg in 1469 that Emperor Friedrich III. approved the merger of the Quart with the greater part of Jülich and the Duchy of Jülich had the same size as before the separation.

When Duke Gerhard died in 1475, his son Wilhelm was his successor as Duke Wilhelm IV. The "Count IV." Refers to the Jülich succession. Through the first marriage of the duke to the daughter Elisabeth of Count Johann III. from Nassau-Saarbrücken their inheritance came to Wilhelm von Jülich-Berg and he also became "Lord of Heinsberg, Diest and Sichem". Duke Wilhelm IV also had no son to succeed him. The “Klever Union” was therefore agreed with Duke Johann II von Kleve-Mark in 1496 for the successor . According to this contract, the underage daughter Marie von Jülich-Berg was betrothed to the also underage son Johann the Duke of Kleve, and in 1510 they married in the meantime of legal age. When Duke Wilhelm IV died in 1511, Johann von Kleve-Mark became his successor in the Duchy of Jülich-Berg in accordance with the agreements .

Formation of the United Duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg

The United Duchies of Jülich, Kleve and Berg around 1540. Hatched the Bailiwick of Essen , the Lippstadt condominium and the Duchy of Geldern, inherited in 1538, with the County of Zutphen .

Through a clever marriage policy, the merger of the Duchies of Kleve-Mark and Jülich-Berg to form the United Duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg took place in 1521 . The great-nephew of Adolf, Wilhelm IV. Von Jülich-Berg and the last male offspring of this princely house, made his daughter Marie von Jülich-Berg, who was married to the son of the Duke of Kleve Johann II , Johann von Kleve-Mark, his heiress of his countries. This happened even though Emperor Friedrich III. In 1485 the successor in Jülich and Berg was promised to Duke Albrecht of Saxony and this was confirmed by the Roman-German King and later Emperor Maximilian I in 1495.

After Wilhelm IV's death in 1511, Johann the Peaceful , his son-in-law, despite the objection from Saxony, succeeded as Duke of Jülich-Berg. Maximilian I enfeoffed while John of Julich-Berg with the fief, but the Saxons were further assured and their claims for a future inheritance. When Johann came to rule in Kleve as a duke in 1521, Jülich-Berg was united with Kleve. The United Duchy thus held the predominant position in the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Empire.

In 1538, against the background of the inheritance disputes with Emperor Charles V over the Duchy of Geldern, the state parliament decided to expand Jülich into a modern fortress . In 1543, after the defeat in the Geldrian feud , Duke Wilhelm V had to declare the waiver of funds. After a fire in the city of Jülich almost completely destroyed it in 1547 , the way was clear for its reconstruction as a ducal residence and fortress city , which was carried out from 1548/49 according to the plans of the Bolognese architect and fortress builder Alessandro Pasqualini .

Succession dispute over the succession of the Duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg

After the dynasty with Duke Johann Wilhelm died out on March 25, 1609, several German princes, particularly the Electorates of Saxony , Brandenburg and Palatinate-Neuburg , made claims to his inheritance. These disputes led to the Jülich-Klevian succession dispute and lasted in the first phase from 1609 to 1614.

The House of Saxony bases its claims on the inheritance on an imperial promise that in the event that the ducal house there dies out in the male line, Kleve will fall to the House of Saxony. The three sisters of Duke Johann Wilhelm and their descendants also raised inheritance claims, as Charles V had granted them the right of succession in 1546 .

The eldest of the sisters, Marie Eleonore , had been married to the Duke of Prussia Albert Friedrich von Brandenburg , but died before her brother. However, she had left her daughter Anna from that marriage, who was married to the Elector Johann Siegmund von Brandenburg and, according to her mother's marriage contract of 1573, considered herself the heir to her claims.

The other two sisters were Anna, who was married to Count Palatine Philipp Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg , and Magdalena , who had married Duke Johann I von Pfalz-Zweibrücken . The heirs of these marriages, Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm von Neuburg and Count Palatine Johann von Zweibrücken , stood unanimously against Saxony, but also disputed the inheritance among themselves.

Immediately after the death of Johann Wilhelm, Brandenburg and Pfalz-Neuburg took possession of the inheritance and sent their representatives to the residence of the United Duchies in Düsseldorf . In agreement with Saxony, however, Emperor Rudolf II initially demanded the sequestration of Jülich, Kleve and Berg until the matter had been settled and immediately had Archduke Leopold move with imperial troops and Archduke Albrecht with Spanish troops from the Netherlands into the areas of the duchies . Under Archduke Leopold, Colonel Johann von Reuschenberg took the citadel and fortress town of Jülich by surprise and occupied it in May 1609.

Siege of Jülich 1610

This prompted Brandenburg and Pfalz-Neuburg to join forces on June 10, 1609 through the Dortmund Recess to jointly defend their rights. The Protestant Union and Henry IV of France pledged their help to prevent the House of Habsburg from being established on the Lower Rhine . In 1610, French and United troops, the latter under the leadership of Moritz of Orange , moved into the United Duchy. The Jülich area was occupied by Protestant troops and the Jülich fortress was besieged . After a 35-day defense, the trapped imperial surrendered and the Catholic defenders withdrew. The sudden death of the French King Henry IV (May 14, 1610) and the Elector Friedrich IV (September 9) prevented the outbreak of a great war and the short-term expulsion of the Protestant occupiers. These remained in the Jülich area until 1613.

Although the Emperor now enfeoffed Saxony with the United Duchies, Brandenburg and Palatinate-Neuburg remained in factual ownership of the states. In order to put an end to the inheritance dispute between them, Philipp Ludwig's son, Wolfgang Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg, tried to unite the Brandenburg claims with the Palatinate ones by marrying Johann Siegmund's daughter. But the elector refused, and violent arguments broke out at a personal meeting in Düsseldorf. Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm broke off all negotiations, went to Bavaria, married a daughter of the head of the League Duke Maximilian and became a Catholic in 1613, while Johann Siegmund, previously a Lutheran, converted to the Reformed Church. As a result of Wolfgang Wilhelm's change of denomination, his troops were disarmed and driven out by the Brandenburgers in the Jülich area in 1614.

But since the fear of a general war prevailed, on November 12, 1614, the contract of Xanten was brokered over a divided administration with reservation of the condominium . The Count Palatine received Jülich and Berg, the Elector of Brandenburg Kleve, Mark, Ravensberg and Ravenstein . The Thirty Years' War that broke out from 1618 inevitably made it difficult to find a quick and final solution to the inheritance claims. Spanish and Dutch troops now moved into different areas of the disputed territories. In 1621 Spanish troops under General Ambrosio Spinola conquered the south-west of the empire and occupied both the Palatinate and Jülich areas. The Jülich fortress was besieged again by the Spaniards and surrendered on February 3, 1622, the duchy remained occupied by Spanish troops. Some Jülich areas were abandoned by the Spanish occupation after 1631, but the fortress town of Jülich was only released by the Spanish in 1660. With the approval of the Brandenburgers, the Dutch troops mostly invaded the Kleve area and kept the fortresses there occupied even after 1648.

It was not until September 9, 1666 that the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg concluded an inheritance settlement ( Treaty of Kleve ) with Duke Philipp Wilhelm on the basis of the status quo , according to which the former kept Kleve and the counties of Mark and Ravensberg and the latter Jülich and Berg the extinction of the male line of one line should inherit the other. The dispute was formally ended when the German Kaiser recognized these agreements in 1678.


Under Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm, the Duchy of Jülich was administratively divided (around the 1640s) into 43 tax districts (34 offices and nine cities: Jülich, Düren, Münstereifel, Euskirchen, Bergheim, Grevenbroich, Linnich, Kaster, Randerath). The earlier tax register of 1626 had 29 offices. About 94 percent came from the offices and about six percent from cities.

The War of the Spanish Succession from 1701 to 1714 did not directly affect the Duchy of Jülich. This dispute, however, led to the fact that the Jülich areas were both occupied and crossed by troops of the opposing parties involved, or acts of war took place. This led to the usual damage to the population and their property. The Peace of Utrecht in 1713 ended the War of Succession and the conversion of the southern Spanish into the Habsburg Netherlands. The city of Erkelenz and its associated area, a Geldrian exclave, became Jülich territory from 1713 in accordance with the provisions of the treaty.

Reformation in the Duchy of Jülich

The population in the Duchy of Jülich was, as in the whole empire , only Catholic apart from the few Jewish communities until the beginning of the Reformation . In the second half of the 16th century, smaller Protestant communities also formed in the Jülich area. The number of Protestants was increased by the influx of Mennonite exiles who had been expelled for religious reasons and who settled in and around Monschau , especially in the north-western area of ​​the duchy . This also included cloth makers from Aachen who fled to Jülich areas as part of the Aachen religious unrest, but who later had to leave some of them again.

Duke Wilhelm V , the sovereign from 1539, was religiously tolerant. He remained Catholic all his life, but was open to reforms of Catholic teaching. This changed in 1543, when he was forced with the Subjugation Treaty of Venlo to promise Emperor Charles V to fight the Protestants in his countries. A phase of stronger repression of the Protestants in the Duchy of Jülich followed.

After Charles V abdicated in favor of his brother Ferdinand I in 1555, the repression of the Protestants temporarily eased as the new emperor pursued a conciliatory religious policy. The court in Düsseldorf also followed this line to a limited extent between 1558 and 1567 . Many of the Calvinists persecuted by the Spaniards in the Netherlands fled to the territories of Wilhelm V and thus also to the Duchy of Jülich. This phase of tolerance ended after Duke Wilhelm V's first stroke in 1566, which was later followed by others. At court, the Catholic faction took over more and more power, as Wilhelm's ability to act was severely restricted and he could no longer have a compensatory effect. The Jülich councils now enforced that Protestants should no longer be tolerated on Jülich territory and that openly practicing Calvinists should be expelled from the country.

After Wilhelm's death in 1592, the Catholic councils under the mentally ill successor, Duke Johann Wilhelm, intensified the repression of the Protestants. This changed temporarily after the death of Johann Wilhelm in 1609. Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm was a Protestant until 1613 and supported the Reformed side until he switched to Catholicism. Another change of policy followed in the early 1620s, when the last Protestant troops had been driven out by the Spanish. From 1628 Protestants were prohibited from freely practicing their religion in the Jülich area. Furthermore, Wolfgang Wilhelm and his successors actively supported the Counter-Reformation by advocating the establishment of Catholic orders and, in some cases, facilitating it with financial means or material resources. As a result, many new monasteries and religious settlements were founded throughout the Duchy of Jülich. For example, the following Catholic foundings were founded in the city of Jülich:

  • 1622 to 1628 construction of the Capuchin monastery ; Construction of the monastery church in 1637/38
  • 1643 Handover of the Barrensteinchen House to the Jesuits
  • 1665 Construction of the Carthusian monastery
  • 1660 Handover of the town hall to the Jesuits and move of the council to the house "Zum golden Löwen"
  • 1660/74 construction of the Sepulchrin Monastery with monastery church
  • 1664/74 opening of a Jesuit grammar school

In 1672 a religious comparison came into force: Protestants were allowed to maintain rectories and schools in the city, but churches were only allowed outside the city. The Reformed community built a church to the left of the Rur in 1690, but it burned down in 1692. After the restoration, the church was looted in 1701.

Further key data on religious policy in the 18th century:

  • In 1742 the Reformed community received permission to move its church to the city of Jülich. The Christ Church was built in 1745 .
  • In 1777 the order of the Jesuits in Jülich was abolished
  • In 1790 the Lutheran congregation received permission to move their church to the city of Jülich

Due to the oppression of the Protestants for more than a century and the Counter-Reformation, the former Duchy of Jülich lived predominantly Catholics until around 1945. The number of Protestants grew due to the influx of people who had been expelled from their homes.

The end of the duchy

Jülich's maximum French expansion plan

The agreement contained in the Treaty of Kleve that in the event of one of the two noble houses becoming extinct, the other would take over the succession, played a role in the European treaties once again in the 18th century as a question of Jülich succession. When the noble family Palatinate-Neuburg was close to extinction, Prussia wanted at least the succession in Berg through the treaties of Friedrich Wilhelm I with Charles VI. to Wusterhausen (1726) and Berlin (1728) . Austria recognized this against the guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction , but nevertheless promised succession in both duchies in a secret contract of 1738 between the Pfalz-Sulzbach line . After Frederick II had annexed Silesia , he renounced his claims, and Jülich therefore fell to the Palatinate-Sulzbach line in 1742, which later received the Bavarian lands in addition to the Electoral Palatinate .

The Duchy of Jülich remained in the possession of the Electors of Palatinate-Bavaria until it was ceded to France in the Peace of Lunéville in February 1801 with effect from March 9, 1801 , which had occupied the Duchy since 1794 in the course of the First Coalition War and how it was thereafter had placed other territories on the left bank of the Rhine under special administration. In 1797, as part of the French “revolutionary export”, there were brief plans to integrate Jülich into a “ subsidiary republic ” called the Cisrhenan Republic . With the adoption of the French constitution of 1802, the areas were placed on an equal footing with the departments in the French heartland.

Through the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Prussia received the duchy with the exception of smaller areas that came to the Dutch province of Limburg , and included it in the Prussian administrative structure. The largest part belonged to the administrative district of Aachen of the province of Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine , the eastern part to the province of Jülich-Kleve-Berg (both provinces were dissolved on June 22, 1822 and united to form the Rhine province ).

coat of arms

The Jülich lion is still part of many local coats of arms in the former area of ​​the duchy
Coat of arms of the Duchy of Jülich
Blazon : "In gold, a striding, black, red-tongued and red-armored lion."
Reasons for the coat of arms: The Jülich lion , in gold a black lion, with red tongues and red armor, is the motif of the coat of arms of many cities and communities in the area of ​​the former duchy.

Ruler of Jülich

Count of Jülich

House Jülich

- First counts in Jülichgau, since 1081 counts of Jülich -

House Jülich-Heimbach

Dukes of Jülich

House Jülich-Heimbach

- From 1393 to 1423 in personal union with Geldern, since 1423 with Berg, since 1437 also Ravensberg -

House Mark

- Since 1521 as ruler of Jülich-Kleve-Berg -

Wittelsbach House

- In personal union with Berg and Pfalz-Neuburg, since 1685 also Electoral Palatinate, since 1777 also Bavaria -

House of Hohenzollern

After Prussia acquired the Rhineland , the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II assumed the title of Duke of Jülich, and he remained connected to the Prussian kingdom until the abdication of the House of Hohenzollern in 1918.

Administrative division

The Duchy of Jülich has been divided into offices since the middle of the 14th century. Several offices were merged or divided differently over time. The following list essentially summarizes the administrative structure in the 18th century.

See also


  • Christian Quix : Contributions to a historical-topographical description of the former Duchy of Jülich . Münster 1840. (reprinted from the magazine for patriotic history and antiquity. Volume 3, issue 1. E-Copy )
  • Ulrike Tornow: The administration of the Jülich-Bergische land taxes during the reign of Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm (1609-1653). Bonn 1974.
  • Wilhelm von Mirbach-Harff: On the territorial history of the Duchy of Jülich. Düren 1874. ( Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf )
  • Thomas R. Kraus : Jülich, Aachen and the Reich. Studies on the origin of the sovereignty of the Counts of Jülich up to 1328. Aachen 1987.

Web links

Commons : Duchy of Jülich  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, documents 81 of 898, 116 of 1029 and 359 of 1147, the "Jülichgau" is cited. 1840, Volume 1, pp. 43, 103, 246. Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  2. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Archive for the history of the Lower Rhine. Volume 1, 1832, p. [56] 474. Online version
  3. Lacomblet, Theodor Joseph: Archive for the history of the Lower Rhine. In: The Lehnhöfe on the Lower Rhine. IV. Volume, 1863, Düsseldorf, p. [393] 381. Online version
  4. ^ Thomas R. Kraus: Jülich Aachen and the realm. 1987, p. 71.
  5. ^ Harleß in: Wilhelm IV., Graf von Jülich. 1898, ADB, Vol. 43, pp. 94-97.
  6. ^ Thomas R. Kraus: Jülich Aachen and the realm. 1987, p. 85.
  7. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, documents from 729 to 1200, preliminary remarks. Volume 2, p. [33] XXXI. Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  8. ^ Thomas R. Kraus: Jülich Aachen and the realm. 1987, p. 2.
  9. Friedrich Haagen in: History of Aachen from its beginnings to the most recent times. 1873, p. [227] 199 .. Digitized edition of the ULB Düsseldorf
  10. Friedrich Haagen in: History of Aachen from its beginnings to the most recent times. 1873, p. [231] 203. Digitized edition of the ULB Düsseldorf
  11. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, documents from 729 to 1200, preliminary remarks. Volume 2, p. [34] XXXII. Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  12. LVR in: The Rhineland in the late Middle Ages (1288 to 1521) . Online version of rheinische-geschichte.lvr.de
  13. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, preliminary remarks. Volume 3, p. [9] IX Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  14. Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, Certificate 409. Volume 3, p. [342] 322 Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  15. Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, Certificate 409. Volume 3, p. [11] XI digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  16. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, preliminary remarks. Volume 3, p. [11] XI. Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  17. a b Yearbook of the Düsseldorfer Geschichtsverein in: Contributions to the history of the Lower Rhine. 1888, Volume 3, p. [32] 27. Online version
  18. Ralf G. Jahn in: The genealogy of the bailiffs, counts and dukes of Geldern. 2001, pp. 29-50. Online version adel-genealogie.de
  19. ^ A b Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, preliminary remarks. Volume 3, p. [12] XII. Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  20. ^ Wilhelm Janssen in: History of Geldern up to the tract of Venlo (1543). 2001, edited by Johannes Stinner and Karl-Heinz Tekath, part 1, p. 21.
  21. ^ Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine and the Archbishopric of Cöln, Certificate 1039. Volume 3, p. [937] 925 Digitized edition of the ULB Bonn
  22. Christoph Jacob Kremer: History of the Lords of Heinsberg of the younger generation in the Duchy of Gülch, a special line of the Graevlich Sponheim house in the Palatinate. In: Academic contributions to Gülch and Bergische history, first volume . Mannheim with Academic Writings, 1769, p. 92 ff.
  23. ^ Wilhelm von Mirbach-Harff in: On the territorial history of the Duchy of Jülich, second part. Düsseldorf 1881, p. [18] 10. Online version
  24. Theodor Joseph Lacomblet in: Document book for the history of the Lower Rhine or the Archbishopric of Cöln, document 346. 1858, part 4, 1401-1609, p. [462] 436. Online version
  25. a b c d e History of the Duchy of Jülich in: Jülich Timeline 17th Century .
  26. GHA Venner in: Oberquatier Geldern 1543–1795. 2001, edited by Johannes Stinner and Karl-Heinz Tekath, part 1, p. 77.
  27. a b c Harleß in: ADB Herzog Wilhelm III. 1898, Volume 43, pp. 106-113. Online version of deutsche-biographie.de
  28. Ralf G. Jahn in: Chronik der Grafschaft und des Herzogtumks Geldern , 2001, edited by Johannes Stinner and Karl-Heinz Tekath, Part 1, p. 510.
  29. History of the Duchy of Jülich in: Jülich Timeline 18th Century .
  30. ^ Paul Fabianek: Consequences of secularization for the monasteries in the Rhineland - Using the example of the monasteries Schwarzenbroich and Kornelimünster. Verlag BoD, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8482-1795-3 .
  31. ^ K. Stadler: German coat of arms. Federal Republic of Germany. Angelsachsen Verlag, o. O. 1964–1971, 8 vols.
  32. ^ R. Steimel: Rheinische Städtewappen. Their derivation from country coats of arms and seals. Cologne 1948.
  33. ^ H. de Vries: Wapens van de Nederlanden. Amsterdam 1995. - The coat of arms of the province of Gelderland with reference to Jülich is particularly interesting here; here also mention of the "Jülich lion" ("Leeuw van Gulik")
  34. R. J. P. M. Vroomen: Wapengekletter in Zuid Limburg. In: Jaarboek Limburg van Mook tot Eijsden. cit. 1983, pp. 124-131.
  35. ^ Wilhelm von Mirbach: On the territorial history of the Duchy of Jülich . Hamel, Düren 1874 ( digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf ).


  1. In the old documents there is a multitude of spellings for Jülich. They begin with the Latin form of "Juliacensis", "iuloiacencis" via "iuliaco", "iuleche", "iulicho" to the Franconian version with "Guliche", "Gulecho" or "Guleche".
  2. Some historians, such as CJ Kremers, cite six "Counts Gerhard" from 1029 to after 1143, while TJ Lacomblet stated the "first Gerhard" with documents from 1094, which was then followed by three more Gerhards until 1142. However, a “brotherly co-regent, also named Gerhard”, is given for 1094. Due to these different counting methods, different or double numbers are given for the "Gerhards" depending on the historian (for example: Gerhard V./VII. For whom the current historians also only mention Gerhard VII).
  3. The title "Graf von Jülich" is documented for the first time in 1081 for Gerhard I. Proof: C. Doose, S. Peters in: Renaissancefestung Jülich. 1997, p. 70.
  4. Lacomblet states 1168–1207 as the “active time” for Wilhelm II. Since the mentioned time periods for the two Wilhelms initially overlap by eight years, the first years for Wilhelm II did not apply to his reign , but to the already documented lifetime.
  5. This was the last count from the noble family of Nörvenich , who called himself Count von Molbach after the construction of Untermaubach Castle (Molbach also called Maubach).
  6. According to the more recent view of historians, the count was probably only engaged to Magaretha von Geldern and not married.
  7. Some old publications state that the two eldest sons were killed with their father in Aachen. In the ADB, Volume 43, pp. 94-97, "Harleß" states that in addition to the eldest son, two illegitimate sons accompanied the father and were killed. Presumably the latter were also older than most legitimate children.
  8. Such agreements on the competencies of fiefdoms were not recognized by subsequent archbishops and repeatedly led to disputes.
  9. As already mentioned, this Gerhard is not referred to by current historians as V, but as Gerhard VII . (Proof: Helena Glagla in LVR / Portal Rheinische Geschichte Gerhard VII. )
  10. Before being appointed Count von Falkenburg, Wilhelm V had acquired Falkenburg with Montjoie ( Monschau ) from his brother-in-law, the "Herr von Schönforst" . The award of an imperial loan by the emperor was an additional confirmation of this acquisition.
  11. In the document 1039 cited as evidence, a ransom of "a hundred dusent shields" was cited. 1 shield was worth 1.5 gold florins.
  12. Adolf von Jülich-Berg also tried to take over the Duchy of Geldern alongside Jülich. Despite the granting of the imperial loan from the emperor for money in 1425 and armed conflicts in 1433 and 1436, he could not enforce his claims and had to forego money.
  13. After the death of Wilhelm II von Loon, Count zu Blankenheim and Herr zu Jülich in 1468, Count Vincens von Moers first received permission from the Kaiser to take over the Quart. However, in 1477 Vincens contractually renounced the Quart in favor of the Duchy of Jülich. (Proof: Lac. IV. No. 394)
  14. The withdrawal of the Spaniards was one of the agreements of the Pyrenees Peace , which ended the Franco-Spanish War .
  15. ^ The basis was the Treaty of Cölin / Spree 1672 between the Brandenburgers and Pfalz-Neuburg. It was agreed that in the entire Duchy of Jülich-Berg the restrictions for Protestants should largely end.