Reuss older line

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Reuss older line
coat of arms flag
Coat of arms of the Principality of Reuss older line Flag of the Principality of Reuss Older Line
Situation in the German Reich
Location of the Principality of Reuss older line in the German Empire
State capital Greiz
Form of government monarchy
Head of state Prince
dynasty House Reuss
Consist 1778-1918
surface 316.7 km²
Residents 72,769 (1910)
Arose from Reuss older line rule
Incorporated into People's State of Reuss
Votes in the Federal Council 1 vote
License Plate RA
Reuss older line (around 1680)

The Principality of Reuss Older Line was a small state in the east of what is now Thuringia . The state capital was Greiz . In 1778 Reuss a.L. was elevated to a principality .


Map of Saxony in the 19th century; the Principality of Reuss Älterer Linie is drawn in light pink on the left

Reuss older line is a main branch of the Reuss family . The Principality of Reuss Older Line was established on May 12, 1778 with the uprising of Heinrich XI. in the imperial princes from the county of Greiz older line. This was on March 17, 1768 after the death of Heinrich III., Count of Untergreiz, and the union of Obergreiz and Untergreiz under Heinrich XI. originated. Around a hundred years earlier, on August 26, 1673, Heinrich I Reuss-Obergreiz and all the Lords Reuss were raised to the rank of imperial count under the suzerainty of the Bohemian crown. In 1807 the principality joined the Rhine Confederation and was thus under the protection of Napoleon until 1813 , before it became a member of the German Confederation in 1815 . At the Congress of Vienna , Prince Heinrich XIII. win over an area previously disputed between the kingdom of Saxony and Reuss. These were the villages of Altgommla and Kühdorf, which once belonged to the Mildenfurth monastery, as well as parts of the villages of Alt- and Neugernsdorf . In 1833 Reuss a. L. became a member of the German Customs Union in the Customs and Trade Association of the Thuringian States .

For the history from 1848 to 1851 see Revolution of 1848/1849 in Reuss older line .

In the German War of 1866, Reuss was an ally of Austria due to historical connections (including Heinrich XIII. Was Imperial-Austrian General Feldzeugmeister ) and dynastic relationships . During the war, the principality was kept apart from the events. The Prussian declaration of war took place on June 21st, and only on August 11th, 1866 came the military occupation by two companies. There was still no thought of an independent Reuss Ä. L. in the North German Confederation newly founded by Prussia . Rather, this state should be divided up between Prussia ( Ziegenrück district ) and Reuss younger line within the framework of an area exchange . However, the intercession of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach with the Prussian King Wilhelm I saved the principality from this fate. With regard to assignments, it was also recognized that Reuss was too small to be made even smaller. Therefore, instead of the land cession, a cash payment of 100,000 thalers was made , half of which was borne by the Princely House and half by the land. On September 26, 1866, the peace treaty was signed in Berlin, through which Reuss a. L. forcibly joined the North German Confederation. After accession, it had only limited sovereignty . In particular, this meant that foreign policy and military sovereignty passed to Prussia, while domestic and cultural policy remained in their own area of ​​responsibility. With the establishment of the empire in 1871, the “ Prussian system” of the North German Confederation was transferred to the newly created German nation-state and Reuss Ä. L. was henceforth a federal state in the German Empire . When in 1880 the federal states were obliged to set up permanent representations at the Bundesrat in Berlin, the Principality transferred its representation to the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin . After the death of Heinrich XXII. This was taken over by the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach.

Reuss a. L. remained a very conservative state. The founding of associations required government approval and political associations of any kind were prohibited. In the summer of 1851 the Landtag passed a constitution , but it was delayed so long that publication was no longer necessary in view of the increasing reaction. Only the admission into the North German Confederation made a constitutional discussion necessary again. With the constitution of March 28, 1867, the principality was the last state in Thuringia to introduce a constitutional monarchy . The new Greiz Landtag was composed of twelve members , three of whom were appointed by the prince, two by manor owners and the largest farmers, and seven were elected indirectly in three urban and four rural constituencies . Prince Heinrich XXII. continued to try to continue the absolutist mode of government which made Reuss a. L. a stronghold of Orthodox Lutheranism . His behavior towards the representatives of Prussia was characterized by dislike and hostility. The Prussian press gave him the nickname "the naughty one". In particular, the armaments policy and foreign policy of the empire he did not agree, so that L. ä among others as the only state Reuss. The Federal Council in 1900 against China Expedition and 1901 against the budget of the Foreign Office , as well as against the colonial budget agreed. But there were also votes against the introduction of compulsory civil marriage , the BGB , the Kulturkampf Laws and even the Socialist Laws.

The principality was a state of extremes, as the only German state without debts in 1910 , and as the only one without a school until the establishment of the municipal grammar school in Greiz in 1879, which led to the university entrance qualification.

With the death of Prince Heinrich XXII. The reign of the older line ended in 1902, as his son, Prince Heinrich XXIV. had been declared insane and thus permanently incapable of governing . Thus the guardianship and regency fell to Prince Heinrich XIV. (Reuss younger line) . Since 1908 his son Heinrich XXVII ruled . both principalities in personal union until 1918.

After the November Revolution in 1918, Reuss a. L. became a Free State, but in 1919 it already merged with the Free State of Reuss j. L. united to form the People's State of Reuss with the capital Gera , which in turn became part of the state of Thuringia in 1920.


  1. 1743–1800 Heinrich XI. (1722-1800)
  2. 1800–1817 Heinrich XIII. (1747-1817)
  3. 1817–1836 Heinrich XIX. (1790-1836)
  4. 1836–1859 Heinrich XX. (1794-1859)
  5. 1859–1867 guardian: Caroline von Hessen-Homburg (1819–1872)
  6. 1867–1902 Heinrich XXII. (1846–1902)
  7. 1902–1918 Heinrich XXIV. (1878–1927), unable to rule
Reign by:
1902–1908 Heinrich XIV. JL (1832–1913)
1908–1918 Heinrich XXVII. jL Hereditary Prince, Regent and (since 1913) Prince j. L. (1858-1928)

Government and consistory presidents

  • 1782 - 1841: Franz Christian Ferdinand von Grün
  • 1841 - June 1848: Ludwig Freiherr von und zu Mannsbach
  • July 1, 1848 - May 6, 1861: Franz Eduard Otto
  • 1861 - January 26, 1870: Hugo Moritz Herman
  • June 1, 1870 - September 30, 1874: Otto Theodor Meusel
  • 1874 - 1888 Albert Friedrich Wilhelm Faber
  • 1888 - April 13, 1892: Alfred August Mortag
  • 1893 - September 17, 1900: Theodor von Dietel
  • 1901 - November 12, 1918: Ernst August von Meding


The textile industry in particular was strongly represented in Reuss a. L. In 1860 worsted yarn was introduced instead of linen and cotton weaving . There were dyeing and finishing plants to refine the weaving products . The first mechanical loom was set up in Greiz in 1864 . In 1900 there were 10,876 looms.

Administrative division

As part of the separation of administration and justice, a district office was set up in Greiz for the entire principality on October 1, 1868 . In the Burgk exclave , the local judicial office took over some of the powers of the district administration.

Currency and mail shelf

The Principality joined the Dresden Mint Treaty in 1838 . Two dollars in the Prussian 14-taler monetary standard now corresponded to 3 1 / 2  South German Gulden in 24 1 / 2 -Gulden-feet, which should be considered as common club coin of the "contra end here states". This club coin of "2 Taler = 3 12  Gulden" was legally valid in every Zollverein country - regardless of who the respective issuer of the club coin was. Several Reuss lines minted their own coins in the Prussian coinage system (1 Reichstaler at 24 groschen at 288 pfennigs, from 1838 1 taler at 30 silver groschen at 360 pfennigs):

  • Reuss older line (Reuss-Greiz) 1806–1909, mints existed in Saalfeld before 1840, in Hanover 1875–1877, in Berlin 1840–1909,
  • Reuss-Lobenstein-Selbitz 1807, Saalfeld Mint,
  • Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf 1812–1847, Berlin Mint,
  • Reuss younger line (Reuss-Schleiz-Gera) 1816–1884, Mints Saalfeld before 1840, Berlin 1840–1884.

It was only with the introduction of the mark as imperial currency on January 1, 1876 under the law of December 4, 1871, that the fragmentation of the monetary system was lifted.

The Thurn-und-Taxis-Post secured the post office shelf through contracts with the Principality of Reuss:

  • March 17, 1809 with Reuss-Lobenstein and Reuss-Ebersdorf,
  • March 21, 1809 with Reuss-Greiz,
  • March 1, 1816 with Reuss-Schleiz
  • March 1, 1817 with Reuss-Schleiz, Reuss-Lobenstein and Reuss-Ebersdorf because of the common rule of Gera.

The common administration could already be recognized from the outside by the name, the postal coat of arms and the uniforms, which differed by different collar colors. The name of the post office was: “Fürstlich Reusssche, Fürstlich Thurn und Taxissche Lehenspostexpedition”. The postal coat of arms therefore combined both coats of arms, below the Reusser, above the princely Thurn and Taxissche. From 1852 to 1866, the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post issued its own postage stamps in two different currencies. Reuss belonged to the Northern District with penny currency. From 1867 the mail shelf was transferred to Prussia.


The jurisdiction was incumbent on the higher regional court in Jena . This was responsible for the four Saxon-Ernestine states, the Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two Russian principalities as well as the Prussian districts of Schmalkalden, Schleusingen and Ziegenrück. The Principality of Reuss older line formed the district of the district court Greiz, with the three district courts Burgk , Greiz and Zeulenroda .


As a member of the German Confederation , the principality provided a contingent of 223 infantry and belonged to the 12th battalion of the reserve division of the armed forces . Since the establishment of the German Confederation, the two principalities jointly maintained a battalion of 745 infantry. In 1854 the strength of the peace was increased to six companies, with Reuss Ä. L. one hunter division of two, Reuss j. L. provided a battalion of four companies.

After the military convention concluded with Prussia on February 4, 1867 in the German Empire, together with the contingents of Sachsen-Altenburg and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, the princely Russian military of both lines formed the 7th Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 96, which was part of the 4th Prussian Army Corps belonged in Magdeburg. A battalion was garrisoned in Gera , from which a small detachment was sent to Greiz every month.

coat of arms

Both principalities of Reuss had a common coat of arms. Blazon : The coat of arms consisted of a squared shield. In the fields:

  • Fields 1 and 4: In black a standing golden lion. ( Bailiffs of Plauen as ancestors of the Principality of Reuss)
  • Fields 2 and 3: A golden crane in silver. ( Rule of Kranichfeld . The Oberkranichfeld came in 1453 from the Burgraves of Kirchberg to the Reuss von Plauen , 1615 to Saxe-Weimar, 1620 to Schwarzburg, 1663 to Saxe-Gotha and finally in 1826 to Saxe-Meiningen. Nevertheless, the Princes of Reuss led the Crane prominent in the coat of arms.)

The national colors were black, red and gold.

Further data

Places with more than 2,000 inhabitants in 1910:

place Residents
Dec. 1, 1910
Greiz 23,245
Zeulenroda 10,389
Irchwitz 4,477
Fraureuth 3,369
Pohlitz 3,329


  • Ulrich Hess: History of Thuringia 1866 to 1914. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus successor, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5 .
  • Reinhard Jonscher, Willy Schilling: Small Thuringian History. 3. Edition. Jenzig-Verlag, Jena 2003, ISBN 3-910141-44-7 .
  • Werner Greiling, Hagen Rüster (ed.): Reuss older line in the 19th century. The stubborn principality? Verlag Vopelius, Jena 2013, ISBN 978-3-939718-55-0 .
  • Reuss . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 13, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 758.
  • Maria Emanuel Duke of Saxony : Patronage in Saxony. Verlag Weidlich, Frankfurt am Main 1968, mentions and mentions of the princes and the Reuss family, pp. 20, 33, 41, 44.
  • Werner Querfeld : First constitutional state parliament of Reuss-Greiz in 1867 (and Detlef Sandern: Parliamentarism in Saxony-Coburg-Gotha 1821/26 - 1849/52 ). Writings on parliamentarism in Thuringia, issue 7, 3rd edition. Thuringian State Parliament, Jenzig Verlag, Jena 2003, ISBN 978-3-86160-507-2 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Reuss older line  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Thür. Greiz State Archives, House Archives, Iron Chest: Survey document
  2. Greizer Heimatkalender 1998, p. 8
  3. Ulrich Hess: History of Thuringia 1866 to 1914. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Successor, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5 , p. 177.
  4. Statistical Yearbook for the German Reich 1913
  5. ^ Law on the organization of the judicial and administrative authorities on September 1, 1868 . In: Collection of laws of the Principality of Reuss older line . tape 1868 , no. 20 . Greiz 1868, p. 277 ff . ( Digitized version ).
  6. Government ordinance on the law on the organization of judicial and administrative authorities . In: Collection of laws of the Principality of Reuss older line . tape 1868 , no. 51 . Greiz 1868, p. 524 ( digitized version ).
  7. Jump up ↑ Heinrich Ambros Eckert and Dietrich Monten, Das deutsche Bundesheer, Volume II., Dortmund 1981, p. 17.