The term Upper Germany describes the area in which Upper German dialects are spoken, i.e. roughly the entire closed German-speaking area south of the Main line including the southernmost part of Thuringia . It is used here to distinguish between the Central and Low German language regions.
It is also in the history of science , particularly in the Mediävistik , used, and then referred to in the core of the regions of the later Schwäbischen , Frankish and Bavarian Reich circuit , wherein the space boundary at the edges of more varied and in some cases the Alsace , the German Switzerland and western areas of Austria added counted become. Characteristic of Upper Germany was the close economic ties between its powerful imperial cities , which based their prosperity in particular on cloth production and trade with it. Long-distance trade with northern Italy ( e.g. Venice , Genoa ) and the beginning money economy (e.g. Fugger ) also played an important role, so that the area with important cities such as Nuremberg , Augsburg , Ulm , Regensburg and Nördlingen in the late Middle Ages and the dawning of early modern times experienced an economic boom. Politically, some of the imperial cities united in the Swabian League of Cities . With the shift of world trade from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic after the discovery of America , the economic importance of Upper Germany in the empire declined in favor of the Netherlands and the North Sea ports.