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Standesherrschaft ( free class rule in Silesia ) was the name given to some territorial administrative units in the kingdoms of Saxony and Prussia , as well as the Austrian Empire from the 18th to the 20th century. They had emerged from dominions and belonged to a gentleman .

Lower Lusatia

Since around the 13th century, individual rulers became visible in Niederlausitz , with their own jurisdiction and feudal rights, but which belonged to the margraviate. In 1669 the rulers in the state parliament were: Neuzelle , Dobrilugk , Friedland and Schenkendorf , as well as Forst-Pförten , Sorau , Spremberg , Leuthen , Sonnewalde , Drehna , Straupitz , Lieberose , Lübbenau and Amtitz . This classification was formally in place until the early 19th century.

After 1815 of these remained in the Kingdom of Prussia, now referred to as civil lords :

Their rights have been limited since 1823, and in 1849 the independent jurisdiction was abolished. The registrars remained members in the provincial estates and in the Prussian mansion (except for the office). The estates existed partially until 1945.

Upper Lusatia

In Upper Lusatia there had existed as privileged lordships under Wettin, Luxembourg and Bohemian feudal sovereignty from around the 14th century

Together they formed one of the three states of Upper Lusatia

All four lords became Saxon in 1635 . After 1815, Königsbrück and Reibersdorf remained with Saxony.

Muskau came to the Kingdom of Prussia ( Prussian Upper Lusatia ) and became a state authority , Hoyerswerda became an office .


Kingdom of Bohemia

The first (free) lordships under Bohemian suzerainty arose from the 15th century :

Habsburg Monarchy

On November 14, 1697, Emperor Leopold I created two registrations that existed until 1945:

Kingdom of Prussia

After the conquest of Silesia, the kings of Prussia also established new free class lords .

  • In 1815 the already existing rulers of Muskau in Upper Lusatia became part of Silesia

Minor gentry

Since the 16th century the status was minority rule ( status minor ) mentioned in Silesia. Since the 18th century these have been referred to as minor class rule , or rarely also free minor class rule .

Status and rights

The free noblemen had a seat and vote on the Silesian Princely Congress since the early 16th century in the first curia with the princes (Militsch, Trachenberg and Wartenberg one vote together), and stood under the King of Bohemia (later: Prussia) as liege lords. They had the right of direct and indirect jurisdiction , church patronage and supervision of the school system in their areas. Their dwarf states had their own judicial and government agencies with bombastic titles such as "Chancellor" and "Government Chancellor".

Around 1830 these privileges of the free class lords were abolished by the Prussian state, but the institution and the rank of the free class lords remained nominally until the time after the First World War and was only abolished in the Weimar Republic .

Further estates

Kingdom of Saxony

The Counts of Solms-Baruth had the following estates in the 19th century

In 1740, the Counts of Schönburg had to subordinate their imperial dominions to Saxon sovereignty. In the 19th century, these were also referred to as (mediatized) class lords


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rudolf Lehmann: The gentlemen in the Niederlausitz. Investigations and history. Böhlau, Koln, Graz 1966, p. 93.
  2. Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz : history and statistics of the Kingdom of Saxony and the Duchy of Saxony ... . Leipzig 1810. S. XIII u.ö.