Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt
coat of arms
Coat of arms of the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt (1736–1804)
HD 1789.png
Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt 1789

Arose from until 1567 Landgraviate of Hesse
Ruler / government Landgrave
Today's region / s DE-HE , DE-RP
Parliament Reichsfürstenrat : 1 virile vote on the secular bank
Reich register divided into Hessen-Kassel and Hessen-Darmstadt
Reichskreis Upper Rhine Empire Circle
Capitals / residences Darmstadt
Dynasties Hesse
Denomination / Religions Lutheran
Language / n German

Incorporated into 1806 Grand Duchy of Hesse

The Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation . It was created in 1567 when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided and became the Grand Duchy of Hesse when it joined the Rhine Confederation in 1806 . The capital of the Landgraviate was Darmstadt . The landgraviate belonged to the Upper Rhine Empire .

Geographical location

The Hesse-Darmstadt extended at the end of the Old Kingdom far beyond what is now Hesse addition. The northernmost parts of the country were enclaves in the Principality of Waldeck , about the level of Kassel, the southernmost parts of the country on both sides of the Rhine , about the level of Strasbourg . The territory consisted of 10 larger, unconnected parts and also of a much larger number of smaller territorial splinters.


Lichtenberg Castle was built from 1570 for Landgrave Georg I, the founder of the Darmstadt line.

The sons of Philip the Magnanimous

After the death of the last (all) Hessian Landgrave Philip I ("the Magnanimous") on March 31, 1567, the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided among the four sons from his first legitimate marriage: Wilhelm received the northern one, now called Hesse-Kassel Part, Ludwig received Hessen-Marburg , Philipp Hessen-Rheinfels and Georg I received the southern part of the country, now called "Hessen-Darmstadt" .

The four ruling Hessian landgraves tried to agree on a binding legal system for all four parts of the country. However, the project failed. In 1589, Georg I therefore recourse to a legal collection that his chancellor, Johann Kleinschmidt , had compiled about 20 years earlier, and had it used by law enforcement officers in the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt.

After the Count of Diez , who came from the second marriage of Philip I, died out, the Hessian landgraves shared their inheritance. Hessen-Darmstadt received from this the village and castle Alsbach as well as a quarter of the Umstadt office, which was condominium with the Electoral Palatinate .

Since the Landgraves Philipp von Hessen-Rheinfels and Ludwig von Hessen-Marburg died childless in 1583 and 1604, their territories fell to their brothers, that is to Hessen-Kassel and Hessen-Darmstadt. Hessen Darmstadt inherited the offices of Schotten and Stornfels from Hessen-Rheinfels , the Hessen-Marburg inheritance was the starting point for a decade-long dispute between the two remaining lines.

The Hessian War

To the dispute over the succession of Hessen-Marburg, there was also the denominational conflict: While Hessen-Darmstadt remained Lutheran , Hessen-Kassel turned to the Reformed branch of the Evangelicals . In response to the change of denomination forced by Moritz the Scholar (von Hessen-Kassel) at the entire Hessen University of Marburg , Hessen-Darmstadt founded the Lutheran University of Gießen in 1607 .

In 1622, the Landgraviate of Hessen-Homburg was spun off from Hessen-Darmstadt by dividing the estate .

In the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) the two Landgraviates fought on different sides, the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt on the imperial one. In this context, the unbalanced comparison of September 24, 1627 came about. As a result, Hessen-Darmstadt received most of the former Landgraviate of Hessen-Marburg, its area in Upper Hesse including the University of Marburg and its goods, the Lower County of Katzenelnbogen and the Hesse-Kassel district on the Umstadt condominium. But that did not last, rather it led to further military clashes between the two Hessian states, the Hessian War, a war within the Thirty Years' War.

The dispute was only settled with a treaty dated April 14, 1648, which was confirmed by the Peace of Westphalia concluded shortly afterwards . The profits made by Hessen-Darmstadt in 1627 were partially taken back. The Kassel Countess Amalie Elisabeth acted very successfully here. Upper Hesse was now permanently divided, Marburg and the Lower County of Katzenelnbogen (except for the Braubach Office ), the Schmalkalden Office and a quarter of the Umstadt condominium fell to Kassel, the rest remained with the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt:

17th and 18th centuries

In the following years, larger complexes could still be acquired:

In 1772/73 the Minister of State Friedrich Karl von Moser , who was in office from 1772 to 1780, achieved a debt settlement and restructured the disrupted state finances .

The end of the old kingdom

Territory gains

With the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803, Hessen-Darmstadt was able to gain considerable areas, which far outweighed the losses on the left bank of the Rhine to France:

Both Hessen-Darmstadt and the margraviate of Baden came into possession of areas that were much cheaper than the other's home lands and far removed from their own territory (according to the status of 1803). They therefore concluded an exchange agreement on March 14, 1803. After that there was



Before the territorial gains of 1803, the landgraviate had about 210,000 inhabitants, after which it had about 400,000. This massive gain exacerbated the long-standing problem that the historically grown administrative units were organized very differently and of different sizes.

The government tried to remedy this by means of two organizational edicts of October 12, 1803, which introduced a uniform administration at the top and middle levels for the entire country. Ludwig Minnigerode is believed to be the author of the edicts, and the reorganization in the margraviate of Baden, about six months older, is the model. The first edict restructured the administration, the second defined the business areas of these new administrations.

Thus the administration at the middle ("upper") level was uniform and reorganized - for the lower level this was only possible in two steps in the Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1821 and 1835. The reform of 1803 had significance beyond the end of the Landgraviate shortly afterwards, because it formed the basis for the then newly created Grand Duchy of Hesse .

The End

A political intrigue, instigated in 1805 by Landgravine Luise Henriette Karoline von Hessen-Darmstadt , against the France-friendly Minister of State Carl Ludwig von Barckhaus, called von Wiesenhütten , led the Hesse-Darmstadt politics in an attempt to remain neutral, which pushed the Landgraviate to the edge of the Downfall maneuvered. Only the last minute of the Landgrave's turn to the French side in 1806 was only able to prevent this, but it resulted in the subsequent territorial gains being less than those of the neighbors Württemberg and Baden .

On August 1, 1806, the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt, together with the other territories, left the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , whereupon the Emperor laid down the crown on August 6, 1806. The empire had dissolved. On August 14, 1806, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was raised to the Grand Duchy of Hesse , against the position of high military contingents in France .


1568-1596 George I.
1596-1626 Ludwig V.
1626-1661 George II
1661-1678 Louis VI.
1678 Louis VII
1678-1739 Ernst Ludwig
1739-1768 Louis VIII
1768-1790 Louis IX
1790-1830 Ludwig X. (from 1806 as Grand Duke Ludewig I)

coat of arms

Coat of arms of the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt before 1736

The coat of arms of the Landgraviate is divided and split twice, fields 3, 4, 5 and 6 are each divided:

  1. Principality of Hersfeld (former abbey, 1648 to Hessen-Kassel. Hessen-Darmstadt, even without gaining territory, followed suit heraldically and also depicted Hersfeld.): In silver a red patriarchal cross.
  2. Grafschaft Ziegenhain : divided by black over gold, with a six-pointed silver star on top.
    1. County Katzenelnbogen (1479 to Hessen): In gold, a red lion crowned in blue.
    2. Grafschaft Nidda (1450 to Hessen): Divided by black over gold, above two eight-pointed silver stars.
    1. Grafschaft Diez (1386 to Katzenelnbogen, after its extinction in 1479 to Hessen): In red two striding golden leopards on top of each other.
    2. Hanau (preserved in 1736 after the Counts of Hanau died out): Three red rafters in gold on top of each other.
    1. Grafschaft Schaumburg (1648 to Hessen-Kassel): In red, a little plate divided by silver over red, surrounded by a silver nettle leaf .
    2. Herrschaft Lichtenberg : Inside a red border a black lion, red armored and tongued.
    1. Grafschaft Isenburg-Büdingen : Two black bars in silver.
    2. Grafschaft Ochsenstein : Two red bars in silver.

Heart shield : In blue a gold-crowned and armored lion divided nine times by silver and red ( Landgraviate of Hesse ).


Worth knowing

The Handbook of Hessian History rates the Landgraviate of Hessen-Darmstadt as less imposing [… whose] bizarre composition can be traced back to the vicissitudes of dynastic rule .


  • L. Ewald: Contributions to regional studies . In: Grand Ducal Central Office for State Statistics (ed.): Contributions to the statistics of the Grand Duchy of Hesse . Jonghaus, Darmstadt 1862.
  • Eckhart G. Franz , Peter Fleck, Fritz Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse (1800) 1806–1918. In: Handbuch der Hessischen Geschichte , Vol. 4.2: The Hessian States until 1945 = publications of the Historical Commission for Hesse 63. Elwert, Marburg 2003, pp. 667–933.
  • Arthur Benno Schmidt : The historical foundations of civil law in the Grand Duchy of Hesse . Curt von Münchow, Giessen 1893.

Web links

Wikisource: Topographia Hassiae  - Sources and full texts


  1. These were: half of Eberstadt , Frankenstein Castle and the villages of Allertshofen , Ober-Beerbach , Nieder-Beerbach , Schmal-Beerbach and Stettbach (Ewald, p. 44).
  2. The two organizational edicts were published in print at the time, but then apparently never again, so that today they are only available in archives (Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Großherzogtum Hessen , p. 696).
  3. The War Ministry was initially referred to as the “Oberkriegskolleg”, from July 4, 1821 as the “War Ministerial Department” and from May 14, 1823 as the “War Ministry”. It had a special position and was not part of the (overall) ministry.

Individual evidence

  1. Hessen / Landgrafen / give with each other 50. to Roß / 260. on foot / or to Gelt 1640  fl. Of which in the Nuremberg repartition 1093. 20 fl. From the Casselischen; vnd 546th fl. 40th Kr. of the Darmstättischen Lini / been attributed. quoted according to directory / Deß Heyl: Römischen Reichs / Teutscher Nation / most highly praised: high: and Wol-praiseworthy estates / according to the Zehen Reichs-Craissen
  2. Franz et al., P. 680.
  3. Schmidt, p. 6. The year 1577 given there for the inheritance is likely to be incorrect.
  4. Schmidt, p. 7, note 13.
  5. ^ Schmidt, p. 8.
  6. Schmidt, p. 8, note 18.
  7. ^ Schmidt, p. 9.
  8. ^ Schmidt, p. 9, note 23.
  9. Ewald, p. 44.
  10. Ewald, p. 44.
  11. Ewald, p. 44f.
  12. Ewald, p. 45.
  13. Reinhard Dietrich : The state constitution in the Hanauischen. The position of the lords and counts in Hanau-Münzenberg based on the archival sources = Hanauer Geschichtsverein 1844 (ed.): Hanauer Geschichtsblätter Volume 34. Hanau 1996. ISBN 3-9801933-6-5 , pp. 208-210.
  14. Ewald, p. 45.
  15. § 7 Reichsdeputationshauptschluss .
  16. Schmidt, p. 16, note 51, 53, p. 17 and note 54.
  17. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Großherzogtum Hessen , p. 685.
  18. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse , p. 697.
  19. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse , p. 696f.
  20. Eckhart G. Franz : Introduction . In: Georg Ruppel and Karin Müller: Historical place directory for the area of ​​the former Grand Duchy and People's State of Hesse with evidence of district and court affiliation from 1820 to the changes in the course of the municipal territorial reform = Darmstädter Archivschriften 2. Historical Association for Hesse. Darmstadt 1976, p. 8.
  21. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse , p. 697.
  22. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse , pp. 687f.
  23. ^ Franz / Fleck / Kallenberg: Grand Duchy of Hesse , p. 694.
  24. Christoph Weigels : The serene world complete book of arms .
  25. Franz et al., P. 679.