Rhine Confederation Act

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Rhine Federation Act of July 12, 1806 with Napoleon's signature (copy for the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen)
On July 26, 1806, Prince-Bishop Karl Theodor von Dalberg signed the Rhine Federation Act at Wörth Castle on the Danube

The Rhine Confederation Act is the treaty concluded in Paris on July 12, 1806 between the authorized representative of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the authorized 16 German princes who, under pressure from Napoleon , broke away from the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and, as sovereign states, with it To join the Confederation of the Rhine Confederation established in the treaty .


In Article 1, the signatories declared their separation from the territory of the Empire and the formation of a confederation with the name "Rheinische states." Furthermore, it was stated that the laws of the Empire, with the exception of the provisions of Reichsdeputationshauptschluss circuit and Rheinschifffahrtsoktroi would have no validity for the members of the League. The princes renounced all titles that expressed a relationship to the empire. They also agreed to announce to the Reichstag that they would leave the Reich by August 1806 .

In Article 4 it was determined that the Archbishop of Mainz , Karl Theodor von Dalberg , up to then Imperial Arch Chancellor and Elector , should bear the title of " Prince Primate " without any priority over the other Confederates.

Article 5 stated that the rulers of Baden , Berg-Kleve and Hessen-Darmstadt would receive the title of Grand Dukes with all the rights, honors and privileges of a royal title. In addition, the head of the House of Nassau was made Duke and Count von der Leyen was made Prince.

The following articles dealt with the structure of the federal government. According to this, the common interests of the members should be negotiated in a Bundestag (also: Federal Assembly). This should have its seat in Frankfurt am Main and be composed of the college of princes and that of kings. The princes should be independent of any power not belonging to the Rhenish Confederation. The relinquishment of sovereignty was only possible in favor of federal members. Conflicts among each other should be decided by the Bundestag. The prince primate held the chairmanship of the Bundestag and the Chamber of Kings . In the Chamber of the Princes this role fell to the Duke of Nassau .

In Article 11 it was determined that the manner of the meeting, the subjects of discussion and other provisions for the functioning of the Federation and the Bundestag should be determined by a fundamental statute. This should be presented by the prince and ratified by the members. In the following article the Emperor of the French was proclaimed protector of the Confederation . This had the right to appoint the successor of the prince.

Articles 13 to 24 dealt with territorial regulations between members. For example, Article 14 regulates the transition of Tuttlingen from Württemberg to Baden. However, this was already reversed with the exchange and epuration contract of October 17, 1806.

In Article 25 it was determined that the members should have full sovereignty in their territories, including the manors . The rights mentioned in Article 26 were connected with this: legislation, supreme jurisdiction, supreme police and the right to raise troops. Further provisions follow to guarantee the rights of princes and counts, for example with regard to patrimonial jurisdiction, feudal rights and the like. In serious legal questions, princes and counts should only be able to be judged by their equals.

Articles 29 and 30 regulate the assumption and apportionment of the district debts of the confederate states. Further provisions followed on the right to change residence and on the pension of civil servants and members of the order.

Articles 35 to 38 concerned the military alliance. Article 35 stated:

"Between the French empire and the Rhenish federal states as a whole, as well as with each individual, an alliance should take place, so that every war on the land that one of the contracting parties might have to wage immediately becomes a common cause for all the others . "

Further provisions follow, including the obligation for Bavaria to fortify Augsburg and Lindau . In addition, the strength of the individual quotas to be provided was determined.

Article 39 made the admission of further member states possible.

The binding text of the contract was the French version. The German versions, which were very different in wording, were therefore considered to be legally non-binding translations.


After Napoleon's defeat in Russia , the Russian tsar and the Prussian king called on all German princes in a proclamation to the German people on March 19, 1813, to join the fight against France, and declared the Confederation of the Rhine dissolved; only the two Mecklenburg duchies responded to this call and took the side of the anti-Napoleonic coalition. After the allies had won several victories over Napoleon in the summer of that year, Bavaria also left the Rhine Confederation with the Treaty of Ried . In fact, the treaty expired after the Battle of Leipzig .

See also

Web links

Wikisource: Rheinbundakte  - Sources and full texts


  1. Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Berg-Kleve, Hessen-Darmstadt, Nassau-Usingen, Nassau-Weilburg, Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Salm-Salm, Salm-Kirburg, Isenburg-Birstein, Areberg, Liechtenstein and the Count of the Leyen.

Individual evidence

  1. Imperial law provisions for the tax ( Octroi ) on the Rhine shipping ( Rheinzoll )
  2. ^ Art. 10 sentence 2 of the Rhine Federation Act
  3. Traité de confédération des états du Rhin; signé à Paris le 12. Juillet 1806 et ratifié à St. Cloud le 19. Juillet in Girolamo Lucchesini Historical development of the causes and effects of the Rhine Confederation , first volume, FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1821, Appendix ( Rhine Confederation Act in French p. 393 )