Monastery of Münster

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Monastery of Münster
coat of arms
Coat of arms diocese of Münster.png
Locator Prince-Bishopric of Münster (1560) .svg
Münster bishopric around 1560
Alternative names Principality of Münster, Mönster
Arose from Developed from the Duchy of Saxony in the 14th century
Form of rule Electoral principality / corporate state
Ruler / government Prince-bishop , administrator or vacant : cathedral chapter
Today's region / s DE-NW , DE-NI
Parliament 1 virile vote on the ecclesiastical bench in the Reichsfürstenrat
Reich register 34 horsemen, 169 foot soldiers, 325 guilders (1522)
Reichskreis Lower Rhine-Westphalian
Capitals / residences Münster , Ahaus , Nordkirchen , Coesfeld
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic , major Reformation movements at the beginning of the 16th century , large Jewish minority
Language / n German , Low German , Latin
surface Oberstift: 5,900 km² (end of 18th century)

Niederstift: 4,300 km²

Residents 310,000 inhabitants (end of 18th century)
Incorporated into 1802: divided between Prussia , Salm , Aremberg , Oldenburg

The bishopric of Münster , synonymous with the prince-bishopric or contemporary monastery , was a corporate state and spiritual territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in northwestern Westphalia , which emerged in the high Middle Ages and existed until the modern age of 1802/03. It was the secular domain of the prince-bishops of Münster . In contrast to this is the larger area of ​​the ecclesiastical diocese , the spiritual pastoral area of ​​the diocese of Münster . The monastery had been part of the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Empire since the 16th century .

The origin

Already in the 12th century who was bishop of Muenster with parts of the former duchy of Saxe invested . Bishop Hermann II received the rights to an area that was then larger than his ecclesiastical diocese . The core of the territory that developed in the High Middle Ages was the Upper Monastery of Münster . In its heyday it stretched from Warendorf , the Lippe and today's Dutch border around the city of Münster . A narrow corridor across Rheine led between the counties of Lingen and Bentheim to the north, followed by the Niederstift Münster , an area of ​​almost the same size between today's Dutch border, Papenburg , Cloppenburg and Damme . Enclaves in the Oberstift were the County of Steinfurt and the Lordship of Gemen . The Anholt lordship was a neighbor in the far west. Since the 16th century, the bishopric of Münster belonged to the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Empire .

Territorial development

Political development

“Westphalia split its forces in local rivalries. For centuries it was in the slipstream of the empire. "

- Joseph Prinz, Westphalia historian

Since Münster was the largest spiritual territory of the Holy Roman Empire , it took on a leading role in the Westphalian dioceses. There were repeated rivalries with the Archbishop of Cologne . Another rival was the Count of Tecklenburg , with whom the Bishop of Munster often feuded. But there was also constant friction with the nobility of the bishopric, whose power was only broken by Bishop Ludwig II of Hesse in the 14th century. In the city of Münster itself, the bishop increasingly lost power over the course of history to the bourgeoisie ruled by noble hereditary families , before he emerged stronger from the turmoil of the Reformation. In the 18th century, the Münster bishopric was in personal union with the Archbishopric of Cologne , and at times also with other northern German spiritual territories. The bishops were rarely in Munster at this time, and a vicar general took care of church affairs .

Key data

  • 14th century: introduction of an official constitution in the bishopric
  • In 1451 there was the Münster collegiate feud , a schism . One bishop was elected by the Münster cathedral chapter , the other at the request of the citizens of Münster. Only when the candidate for the cathedral chapter died, Pope Kalixt III. intervene and use Johann von Pfalz-Simmern .
  • 1532: Bishop Franz von Waldeck tried in vain to introduce the Reformation in the bishopric and convert it into a hereditary principality.
  • 1534 to 1535: Anabaptist Empire in Münster . The bishop and all Catholics and Lutherans had to leave the city. In 1535 the execution of the Reich against the city of Münster was decided. It lost its independence by 1553, but then regained it.
  • 1629: The last cities of the Münsterland became Catholic again.
  • 1648: Peace of Westphalia : Peace treaty between Münster and Osnabrück
  • 1657 to 1669: Münster tried in vain to break away from the bishop.
  • 1665 to 1679: Entry into the Dutch War .
  • 1764: The Münster fortifications are razed, the castle is built (from 1767).
  • 1802: The Hochstift is occupied by Prussian troops.

Cultural development

Religious Development

In the 8th century, Westphalia was evangelized under Charlemagne ( Sachsenmission ). The first bishop of Münster was Liudger I (805). The nucleus of the diocese are the monasteries Nottuln , Liesborn , Freckenhorst , Vreden and the monastery Werden .

The end

After the death of the last prince-bishop in 1801, the city was occupied a year later by the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher . This measure was only legitimized in 1803 by the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss , before Napoleon's troops took and occupied the city in 1806 . The offices of Bocholt and Ahaus in the west were assigned to the ducal houses of Salm-Salm and Salm-Kyrburg, which established the common principality of Salm with a joint seat of government in Bocholt . Under Napoleon , the area of ​​the bishopric was first partially, and finally completely, to France. Through the Congress of Vienna in 1815 the area of ​​the upper pen was finally given to Prussia , the lower pen to Hanover and Oldenburg .

See also


  • Wilhelm Damberg / Gisela Muschiol: The diocese of Münster. An illustrated story , Münster 2004.
  • Detlef Fischer: Chronicle of the Münsterland , Münster 2003.
  • Wilhelm Kohl : Westphalian History , Düsseldorf 1983.
  • Helmut Lahrkamp: Unter dem Krummstab , Münster 1999.
  • Jutta Nowosadtko : Standing army in the corporate state. The coexistence of the military and civilian population in the Principality of Münster 1650–1803 (= research on regional history . Volume 59). Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-76459-1 .
  • Alois Schröer : Church history for the diocese of Münster , Münster 1955.
  • Marcus Weidner: Landadel in Münster 1600–1760. City constitution, claim of status and prince's court , (= sources and research on the history of the city of Münster, new series, volume 18), Münster 2000 (with prosopography of the landed aristocracy).

Web links

Wikisource: Münster (Westphalia)  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gerhard Köbler : Historical Lexicon of the German Lands. The German territories from the Middle Ages to the present. 7th, completely revised edition. CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-54986-1 , pp. 442-443.