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coat of arms flag
Coat of arms of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Flag of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Situation in the German Reich
Location of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in the German Empire
State capital Sondershausen
Form of government monarchy
Head of state Graf , prince since 1697
dynasty Schwarzburg House
Consist 1599-1918
surface 862 km² (1910)
Residents 89,917 (1910)
Population density 104 inhabitants / km²
Arose from Schwarzburg county
Incorporated into Free State of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Votes in the Federal Council 1 vote
License Plate SS

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was a principality in Thuringia , which became the Free State of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1918 and which became part of Thuringia in 1920. The forerunner of the principality was the Grafschaft Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, which existed within the same boundaries from 1599 to 1697.

The total area of ​​the principality was 862.1 km². The territory was fragmented and divided into the supremacy , consisting of the spatially separated districts of Arnstadt and Gehren with the two exclaves Geschwenda and Rockhausen , as well as the sublordship with the districts of Ebeleben and Sondershausen , where the ancestral castle Sondershausen is also located. Other important places in the supremacy were Masserberg , Großbreitenbach and Plaue as well as in the subordination Greußen and Clingen .


The history of the principality goes back to the dynasty of the Counts of Schwarzburg , who were first mentioned in the 11th century. The Grafschaft Schwarzburg frequently changed its shape up to the 16th century through inheritance divisions and acquisitions. With the Stadtilmer Treaty of November 21, 1599 the Schwarzburg territories were redistributed. The two counties Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt emerged . The territories were part of the Upper Saxon Empire . The two counties, later principalities and free states, remained essentially unchanged until 1920.

Johann Günther I (1532–1586) donated the Schwarzburg-Sondershausen line. In the Stadtilm Treaty of November 21, 1599, the heirs of Johann Günther and Albrecht VII of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt shared the Schwarzburg areas. In the decades after 1599 there were further inheritance disputes. In 1681, Count Christian Wilhelm and Anton Günther II , who had ruled together until then, divided the country into a special house and an Arnstadt line. In 1713, the two main lines of Schwarzburg signed a family contract through which the primogeniture was introduced and further partitions of the country were forbidden.

Before that, both counts had been elevated to the rank of imperial prince and their country had been declared a direct imperial principality. Electoral Saxony , which claimed sovereignty over Schwarzburg, gave up its sovereign rights in the treaties of 1699 and 1702 in return for monetary compensation. However, in 1719 Schwarzburg had to commit to an annual payment of 7,000 thalers . For Arnstadt in 1731 the Duke of Saxe-Weimar was assured an annual compensation of 3500 Thalers.

In 1815 the principality joined the German Confederation after having become a member of the Rhine Confederation in 1807 and was thus under the protection of Napoleon until 1813 . From 1816 there was a constitution of the country, which was to be replaced by an estate constitution in 1830. This constitution, enacted by Prince Günther Friedrich Carl I , did not receive any approval in the country, and he had to repeal it in 1831. The young Prince Günther Friedrich Carl II gave the country a constitution in 1841, on the basis of which the opening of the first parliament took place on September 7, 1843 . Under Günther Friedrich Carl II, the country joined the German Customs Union in 1835 .

Karl Günther , last Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

Despite various reforms , there were also unrest in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1848, which resulted in the suzerainty being occupied by Saxon troops and the sub-domination by Prussian troops in autumn 1848 . The liberal Friedrich Chop became head of the March government . On December 12, 1849, a liberal constitution was promulgated. By law of March 18, 1850, the state took over the administration of the chamber property, and the prince received an annual civil list of 120,000 thalers. On July 8, 1857, the constitution was reformed conservatively , and thus the previously curtailed princely rights were essentially restored.

When Schwarzburg-Sondershausen voted in 1866 against the mobilization against Prussia requested by Austria in the Bundestag of the German Confederation , the Principality joined the new North German Confederation , whereby in 1867 military sovereignty passed to Prussia. From January 18, 1871, the country belonged to the German Empire . In 1909, Prince Karl Günther von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen died childless, and the special houses line died out in the male line. According to the house contract of 1713, Günther Victor von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt took over the rule. Efforts to create a state as a whole in Schwarzburg failed because of the conservative forces in Sondershausen. Only a few joint authorities and institutions were founded in Arnstadt . The First World War and further historical development ended these efforts.

At the end of the First World War, Prince Günther Victor abdicated as the last German monarch on November 25, 1918 , and the Principality was followed by the Free State of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . In place of the princely government, a provisional ministry and a regional council headed by the state parliament president Wilhelm Bärwinkel .

The last prince died in Sondershausen in 1925, his wife Anna Luise von Schwarzburg died there in 1951. She was next to Duke Ernst II of Saxony-Altenburg and the divorced wife of Ernst II, Adelheid (1875–1971), the second former princess to stay in the GDR .

Constitution, political life and position in the German Reich

The constitution announced on July 8, 1857 and valid until the November Revolution - known as the Land Basic Law - provided for a state parliament with one chamber and a legislative period of four years. The sovereign could award (at most) six mandates by appointment for life - three each for supreme and subordinate rule. Another six MPs directly elected the 300 eligible voters who paid the highest direct state taxes in a single ballot. The remaining eligible voters elected another six MPs in general indirect elections. In these elections every male resident of the country who was 25 years old and had no tax debts was entitled to vote. Passive voting rights existed for male residents of the country after the age of 30. In addition to the MPs, the sovereign also had the right to introduce legislative proposals. The state parliament's budget rights were restricted; it was not allowed to refuse cover funds for certain expenses. The meeting place of the state parliament was Sondershausen.

All in all, it was a constitution that was one of the most backward in the empire. Structurally, it guaranteed a stable two-thirds majority of MPs, who only represented around 1% of the total population. In addition, the state parliament was deemed to have a quorum when two thirds of the members of the parliament were present. This meant that the 12 MPs determined by appointment or via the electoral census could, if required, establish a quorum at any time by moving out or absenteeism, while this was not possible for the six MPs determined by general elections. Any change to the state constitution required the approval of two thirds of the MPs - and was thus de facto excluded (at least in the direction of liberalization and democratization). The administration and the conservative majority of the state parliament stubbornly stuck to the established state election law until the end. In 1916 they let the last serious Rudolstadt initiative to consolidate the Black Burgess principalities in one state fail due to this question. It was not until November 12, 1918, that the state government and the majority of members of parliament spoke out in favor of introducing universal, free and equal voting rights - and only to take the pressure off the revolutionary pressure (not without success, as a look at the shows further development).

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen had one vote in the Federal Council and sent one member to the Reichstag (constituency 371). The Reichstag elections in the principality since 1890 were mainly disputes between social democrats - who could only organize legally since 1908, since political workers' associations were banned in the principality up to then - and national liberals . The latter - although the SPD was clearly the strongest party in the 1912 Reichstag election with 44.8% of the votes in the first ballot - regularly won the mandate, as all conservative voters stood behind them when the runoff election was due to prevent a Social Democratic MP . From 1903 to 1918 Felix Bärwinkel represented the constituency in the Reichstag. The anti-Semitic parties were noticeably strong, receiving 25.3 % of the vote in 1903 ( German Reform Party ) and 19.9% ​​in 1912 ( German Social Party ) (1912 in the Reich: 2.5%).

Currency and mail shelf

The Principality joined the Dresden Mint Treaty in 1838 . Two thalers in the Prussian 14 thaler coin footer now corresponded to 3½ south German guilders in the 24½ guilder foot, which was to be considered the common association coin of the "contracting states". This club coin of "2 Taler = 3½ guilders" was legally valid in every Zollverein country - regardless of who the respective issuer of the club coin was. From 1841, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen minted its own coins for the subordinate Sondershausen in the Prussian mint (1 thaler at 30 silver groschen at 360 pfennigs), Berlin mint 1841–1909. The principality decided not to issue its own coins for the Arnstadt sovereignty (Rudolstadt coins were in circulation). 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 Schwarzburg principalities :

  • June 8, 1812 with Schwarzburg-Sondershausen for the suzerainty of Arnstadt,
  • August 23, 1817 with Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt for the supremacy of Rudolstadt.

The sublords of Sondershausen and Frankenhausen were administered by the Prussian post office.

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 Schwarzburg-Sondershausensche, Fürstlich Thurn und Taxissche Lehenspostexpedition”. The postal coat of arms therefore combined both coats of arms, below the Schwarzburger, above the princely Thurn and Taxissche. From 1852 to 1866, the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post issued its own postage stamps in two different currencies. The supremacy belonged to the southern district with cruciform currency. From 1867 the post office shelf passed to Prussia, which - like the North German Confederation - issued stamps in Groschen and Kreuzer currency until the introduction of the Reich currency in 1876.


Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was the only state in Thuringia that did not appeal to the joint higher regional court in Jena .

The Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen judged the five district courts of Arnstadt and Gehren (for the sovereignty of Arnstadt ); Ebeleben , Greußen , Sondershausen (for the subordination Sondershausen ). The appeal went through the Prussian regional court in Erfurt to the higher regional court in Naumburg in the province of Saxony.

For details of the judicial system, see Courts in the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen .


As a member of the German Confederation , the principality provided a contingent of 351 infantry and belonged to the 10th battalion of the reserve division of the armed forces . The contingents of both principalities together formed a battalion. In Rudolstadt and in Sondershausen there were two companies each, of which only one sixth were regularly present. It was not until 1850 that the number of troops was doubled, so that each royal house now provided a battalion.

In the German Empire, after the military convention concluded with Prussia on February 4, 1867, the principality's contingent formed part of the 3rd Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 71 in Erfurt, which belonged to the 4th Prussian Army Corps in Magdeburg and of which a battalion was garrisoned in Sondershausen lay.

coat of arms

The coat of arms of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt is the same as that of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, only the field of regalia differed in the two principalities. Blazon of the large national coat of arms: the shield holder of the coat of arms is on the left (heraldic right) a wild man , on the right (heraldic left) a female counterpart. The main shield is split and is covered by a narrow, blue-gold-black diagonally arranged cross that extends to the base of the shield (The cross comes from the title of "Four Counts of the Empire", which the Counts of Schwarzburg led since 1356 and that of the German emperors in 1518, 1566, 1576, 1612 and 1638 was renewed or confirmed.).

  • Left half, fields 1 and 4: In gold, a black, gold-armed and red-tongued eagle (Herrschaft Arnstadt ).
  • Left half, fields 2 and 3: In silver, a red deer antler with three lateral and three upper ends (Herrschaft Sondershausen ).
  • Right half, fields 1 and 4: red-silver box ( Grafschaft Hohnstein ).
  • Right half, fields 2 and 3: In red over four golden bars a golden, double-tailed lion with a red tongue and reinforcement ( Grafschaft Lauterberg ).
  • Schildfuß: Shelf sign in gold because of the mountain shelf and the own silver mining in the people mountain.
  • Heart shield of the left half of the shield: In blue a golden, looking lion, crowned in gold and tongued with red and double-tailed. (County of Schwarzburg ).
  • Heart shield of the right half of the shield: In silver a black striding deer ( Klettenberg ).
  • Middle heart shield: The German imperial eagle in gold (also a small national coat of arms. In memory of the German royal dignity which Günther XIX took on in 1349)

The counts and princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen 1571 to 1909

From the division of territory after the death of Count Günther XL. from Schwarzburg emerged the county and side line Schwarzburg-Sondershausen next to Schwarzburg-Arnstadt, Schwarzburg-Frankenhausen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. With the elevation of Count Christian Wilhelm and Anton Günther II to the prince status in 1697 by Emperor Leopold I , the line of princes began in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.

The Counts of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

  1. 1571–1586: Count Johann Günther I (1532–1586), son of Günther XL. from Schwarzburg
  2. 1586–1593: Counts Anton II (1550–1619) and Johann VII (1540–1603) of Oldenburg acted as guardian
  3. 1593–1642: Count Günther XLII. (1570–1643), ruled together with his brothers Anton Heinrich, Johann Günther II and Christian Günther I, childless
  4. 1594–1638: Count Anton Heinrich (1571–1638), childless
  5. 1600–1631: Count Johann Günther II. (1577–1631), childless
  6. 1601–1642: Count Christian Günther I (1578–1642)
  7. 1642–1666: Count Christian Günther II. Zu Arnstadt (1616–1666), ruled the sovereignty with residence in Arnstadt, without heirs
  8. 1642–1666: Count Anton Günther I zu Sondershausen (1620–1666), ruled parts of the subordinate rule with residence in Sondershausen
  9. 1642–1681: Count Ludwig Günther II. Zu Ebeleben (1621–1681), ruled parts of the subordinate rule with residence in Ebeleben, without heirs
  10. 1666–1716: Count Anton Günther II. Zu Arnstadt (1653–1716), ruled together with his brother Christian Wilhelm, childless
  11. 1666–1720: Count Christian Wilhelm (1647–1721), in 1697 Schwarzburg was raised to the rank of imperial prince

The princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

  1. 1666–1716: Prince Anton Günther II. Zu Arnstadt (1653–1716), ruled together with Christian Wilhelm
  2. 1666-1720: Prince Christian Wilhelm (1647-1721), 1697 Survey Black Petersburg in the Imperial Prince, leading the primogeniture one
  3. 1720–1740: Prince Günther I (1678–1740), who was named Count Günther XLIII until he was appointed Prince . (the forty-third) wore
  4. 1740–1758: Prince Heinrich (1689–1758)
  5. 1758–1794: Prince Christian Günther III. (1736–1794)
  6. 1794–1835: Prince Günther Friedrich Carl I (1760–1837)
  7. 1835–1880: Prince Günther Friedrich Carl II. (1801–1889)
  8. 1880–1909: Prince Karl Günther (1830–1909), childless
  9. 1909–1918: Prince Günther Victor von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt led the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in personal union

Population development from 1871 to 1919

After the establishment of the German Empire in 1871 , there was also increased industrialization in the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and, as a result, strong population growth , which is as follows:

  • 1871: 67,191 inhabitants
  • 1880: 71,107 inhabitants
  • 1900: 80,898 inhabitants
  • 1910: 89,917 inhabitants
  • 1919: 92,692 inhabitants

In 1905 45,100 inhabitants were counted in the upper rule (342.96 km²) and 40,052 inhabitants in the subordinate rule (519.14 km²). 83,389 residents made a Protestant , 1,521 a Catholic creed. The small Jewish community had 195 members.

Places with over 2000 inhabitants

city Resident
Dec. 3, 1852
Arnstadt 5,987
Sondershausen 5.117
Greetings 2,753
Großbreitenbach 2,616
city Residents
Dec. 1, 1910
since 1852
Arnstadt 17,841 + 198%
Sondershausen 7,759 + 52%
Greetings 3,348 + 22%
Großbreitenbach 3,255 + 24%

In addition, in 1910, compared to 1852, the following places were above the 2,000 mark: City of Langewiesen (3,814 - 1,601; +138%), City of Gehren (2,917 - 1,791; +63%) and the municipality of Geschwenda (2,291 - 837; +174%) ).

Administrative division

In 1850, the two administrative districts of Arnstadt and Gehren were set up in the supremacy and the administrative districts of Ebeleben , Greußen and Sondershausen were established in the subordinate rule . The Greußen administrative district was dissolved again in 1858 and divided between the Ebeleben and Sondershausen administrative districts. The Ebeleben administrative district was dissolved in 1882 and incorporated into the Sondershausen administrative district, but restored in 1898.

In 1912 there was a major administrative reform. The municipalities of suzerainty apart from the city of Arnstadt were combined to form the district of suzerainty with seat in Gehren and the communities of subordinate rule except the city of Sondershausen to form the district of subordinate rule with seat in Sondershausen. Arnstadt and Sondershausen became independent cities.

economy and society

Besides the traditional agriculture and in the wooded district Miter operated forestry of the 19th century saw many industrial manufacturing operations in the principality in recent decades. Worth mentioning are the potash mines in the subordinate rule, the manufacture of textiles and gloves (in Arnstadt) and the earthenware and porcelain industry , especially in the upper rule. In 1907 28.7% of the workforce worked in agriculture, 48.2% in industry (for comparison: Prussia 42.76%) and 9.8% in trade and transport.

In 1905, 56.8% of the total area of ​​the principality was declared as arable and garden area, 4.6% as meadow and 31% as forest. 7,704 hectares of domains (almost 9% of the total area of ​​the principality) and 17,235 hectares of forests (63% of the forest and almost 20% of the total area) were administered by the state as partisan private property of the ruling house. From the income of this chamber property, the sovereign was entitled to an annual domain pension of 500,000 marks.


  • Friedrich Apfelstedt : The House of Kevernburg-Schwarzburg from its origins to our time . 1890 (new edition: Thüringer Chronik-Verlag HE Müllerott, Arnstadt 1996, ISBN 3-910132-29-4 ).
  • Christa Hirschler, Ulrich Hahnemann: The Princely House Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. (= German Princely Houses. Issue 10). Börde, Werl 2004, ISBN 3-9809107-0-9 .
  • Jochen Lengemann among others: Landtag and regional representation of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen 1843–1923. Biographical manual. (= Parliaments in Thuringia 1809–1952. Part 3). Fischer, Jena / Stuttgart / Lübeck / Ulm 1998, ISBN 3-437-35368-3 .
  • Hendrik Bärnighausen: The architect Carl Scheppig (1803–1885), his development from Schinkel's employee to court building officer in the Principality of Schwarzenburg-Sondershausen with special consideration of the late classicist renovation of the special building residential palace. Könitz, Bärnighausen 2002, ISBN 3-00-009928-X .
  • Karlheinz Blaschke , Uwe Ulrich Jäschke : Kursächsischer Ämteratlas. Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-937386-14-0 , pp. 90f. (Office Ebeleben)

See also

Web links

Commons : Schwarzburg-Sondershausen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See Julius Bachem (Ed.): Staatslexikon. 3rd, revised and 4th edition. Volume 4, Freiburg i. B. 1911, column 988f.
  2. Beate Häupel: The foundation of the state of Thuringia. State formation and reform policy 1918–1923. Weimar / Cologne / Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-412-12594-6 , p. 29f.
  3. Gerhard Schulze: The November Revolution 1918 in Thuringia. Erfurt 1976, DNB 770611672 , pp. 85f.
  4. Gerhard Schulze: The November Revolution 1918 in Thuringia. 1976, p. 10.
  5. ^ Carl-Wilhelm Reibel: Handbook of the Reichstag elections 1890-1918. Alliances, results, candidates (= handbooks on the history of parliamentarism and political parties. Volume 15). Half volume 2, Droste, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-7700-5284-4 , p. 1456ff.
  6. Jump up ↑ Heinrich Ambros Eckert and Dietrich Monten, Das deutsche Bundesheer, Volume II., Dortmund 1981, p. 16.
  7. Meyers Konversationslexikon. Fourth edition, Volume XIV, p. 691, Leipzig 1889.
  8. ^ Arnold, Paul, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Principality, in: Large German coin catalog from 1800 to today, Munich (4th) 1974, 338.
  9. Meyers Konversationslexikon. Fourth edition, Volume XIV, p. 691, Leipzig 1889.
  10. Julius Bachem: State Lexicon. Volume 4, 1911, column 987f.
  11. ^ Law on the Reorganization of State Administration of March 17, 1850 (§14) . In: Law collection for the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 3rd piece, no. 6 . Sondershausen 1850 ( digitized version ).
  12. Ordinance on the repeal of the Greußen district authorities of December 15, 1857 . In: Law collection for the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 28th piece, No. 95 . Sondershausen 1857 ( digitized version ).
  13. Law amending the district regulations of April 13, 1881 . In: Law collection for the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 6th piece, no. 7 . Sondershausen 1881 ( digitized version ).
  14. Law for the restoration of the former administrative district of Ebeleben of July 7, 1897 . In: Law collection for the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 12th piece, No. 13 . Sondershausen 1897 ( digitized version ).
  15. ^ District regulations from April 6, 1912 . In: Law collection for the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 21st piece, No. 35 . Sondershausen 1912 ( digitized version ).
  16. ^ Ordinance on the entry into force of the district regulations from June 28, 1912 . In: Law collection for the Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . 35th piece, No. 59 . Sondershausen 1912 ( digitized version ).
  17. Julius Bachem: State Lexicon. Volume 4, 1911, column 317.
  18. Julius Bachem: State Lexicon. Volume 4, 1911, column 988.
  19. Julius Bachem: State Lexicon. Volume 4, 1911, Column 987, 990.