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Kingdom of Württemberg
Königreich Württemberg
State of the Confederation of the Rhine
(1806–1813)
State of the German Confederation
(1815–1866)
Federated state of the German Empire
(1871–1918)
Electorate of Württemberg
1806–1918
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem
Württemberger Hymne
"Württemberg Anthem"
The Kingdom of Württemberg
as located within the German Empire
Capital Stuttgart
Languages Swabian German
Religion Evangelical,
Roman Catholic
Government Constitutional Monarchy
King
 -  1806–1816 Frederick I
 -  1816–1864 William I
 -  1864–1891 Charles I
 -  1891–1918 William II
Minister-President
 -  1821–1831 Christian von Otto
 -  1918 Theodor Liesching
Legislature Landtag
 -  Upper Chamber Herrenhaus
 -  Lower Chamber Abgeordnetenhaus
Historical era Napoleonic Wars / WWI
 -  Elevated to kingdom 01 January 1806
 -  German Revolution 29 November 1918
Area
 -  1910 19,508 km² (7,532 sq mi)
Population
 -  1910 est. 2,437,574 
     Density 125 /km²  (323.6 /sq mi)
Currency Württemberg Gulden,
(1806–1873)
German Goldmark,
(1873–1914)
German Papiermark
(1914–1918)

The Kingdom of Württemberg as it existed from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the end of World War I. From 1815 to 1866 it was a member state of the German Confederation and from 1871 to 1918 it was a federal state in the German Empire.

Crown of Württemberg

Albert Einstein was born in the Kingdom of Württemberg on 14 March 1879.

Map of the Kingdom of Württemberg and Province of Hohenzollern in 1888

The Kingdom of Württemberg (German: Königreich Württemberg) was a state that existed from 1806 to 1918, located in present-day Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was a continuation of the Duchy of Württemberg, which came into existence in 1495.[1] Before that the ruling house of Württemberg had been counts ruling a fragment of the Duchy of Swabia, which had dissolved after the death of Conradin in 1268.

The border of the Kingdom of Württemberg, as defined in 1813, was situated between 47°34' and 49°35' North and 8°15' and 10°30' East. The greatest distance north-south was 225 km and the greatest east-west was 160 km. The border had a total length of 1800 km. The total area of the state was 19,508 km².

It shared a boundary on the East with Bavaria, and on the other three sides with Baden, with the exception of a short distance on the south, where it bordered Hohenzollern and Lake Constance.

History[]

Württemberg, once a Duchy within the Holy Roman Empire, on 1 January 1806 Duke Frederick II assumed the title of king as King Frederick I, abrogated the constitution and united old and new Württemberg. Subsequently he placed the property of the church under the control of the kingdom, whose boundaries were also greatly extended by the process "mediatisation".

In 1806 Frederick joined the Confederation of the Rhine and received further additions of territory containing 160,000 inhabitants; a little later, by the Peace of Vienna of October 1809, about 110,000 more people came under his rule. In return for these favours, Frederick joined Napoleon Bonaparte in his campaigns against Prussia, Austria and Russia, and of the 16,000 of his subjects who marched to Moscow only a few hundred returned. After the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, King Frederick deserted the waning fortunes of the French emperor, and by a treaty made with Metternich at Fulda in November 1813 he secured the confirmation of his royal title and of his recent acquisitions of territory, while his troops marched with those of the allies into France. In 1815 the king joined the German Confederation, but the Congress of Vienna made no change to the extent of his lands. In the same year he laid before the representatives of his people the outline of a new constitution, but they rejected it, and in the midst of the commotion Frederick died, on 30 October 1816.

At once the new king, William I (reigned 1816–1864) took up the constitutional question and after much discussion granted a new constitution in September 1819. This constitution, with subsequent modifications, remained in force until 1918 (see Württemberg). A period of quiet now set in, and the condition of the kingdom, its education, its agriculture and its trade and manufactures, began to receive earnest attention, while by frugality, both in public and in private matters, King William I helped to repair the shattered finances of the country. But the desire for greater political freedom did not entirely fade away under the constitution of 1819, and after 1830 a certain amount of unrest occurred. This, however, soon passed, while the inclusion of Württemberg in the German Zollverein and the construction of railways fostered trade.

The revolutionary movement of 1848 did not leave Württemberg untouched, although no actual violence took place within the kingdom. King William had to dismiss Johannes Schlayer (1792–1860) and his other ministers, and to call to power men with more liberal ideas, the exponents of the idea of a united Germany. King William did proclaim a democratic constitution, but as soon as the movement had spent its force he dismissed the liberal ministers, and in October 1849 Schlayer and his associates returned to power. By interfering with popular electoral rights the king and his ministers succeeded in assembling a servile diet in 1851, and this surrendered all the privileges gained since 1848. In this way the authorities restored the constitution of 1819, and power passed into the hands of a bureaucracy. A concordat with the Papacy proved almost the last act of William's long reign, but the diet repudiated the agreement, preferring to regulate relations between church and state in its own way.

In July 1864 Charles I (1823–1891, reigned 1864–1891) succeeded his father William I as king and had almost at once to face considerable difficulties. In the duel between Austria and Prussia for supremacy in Germany, William I had consistently taken the Austrian side, and this policy was equally acceptable to the new king and his advisers. In 1866 Württemberg took up arms on behalf of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War, but three weeks after the Battle of Königgratz (3 July 1866) her troops suffered a comprehensive defeat at Tauberbischofsheim, and the country lay at the mercy of Prussia. The Prussians occupied the northern part of Württemberg and negotiated a peace in August 1866; by this Württemberg paid an indemnity of 8,000,000 gulden, but she at once concluded a secret offensive and defensive treaty with her conqueror. Württemberg was a party to the St Petersburg Declaration of 1868.

The end of the struggle against Prussia allowed a renewal of democratic agitation in Württemberg, but this had achieved no tangible results when the great war between France and Prussia broke out in 1870. Although the policy of Württemberg had continued antagonistic to Prussia, the kingdom shared in the national enthusiasm which swept over Germany, and its troops took a creditable part in the Battle of Worth and in other operations of the war. In 1871 Württemberg became a member of the new German Empire, but retained control of her own post office, telegraphs and railways. She had also certain special privileges with regard to taxation and the army, and for the next ten years Württemberg's policy enthusiastically supported the new order. Many important reforms, especially in the area of finance, ensued, but a proposal for a union of the railway system with that of the rest of Germany failed. After reductions in taxation in 1889, the reform of the constitution became the question of the hour. King Charles and his ministers wished to strengthen the conservative element in the chambers, but the laws of 1874, 1876 and 1879 only effected slight reforms pending a more thorough settlement. On 6 October 1891, King Charles died suddenly; his nephew William II (1848–1921, reigned 1891–1918) succeeded and continued the policy of his predecessor.

Discussions on the reform of the constitution continued, and the election of 1895 memorably returned a powerful party of democrats. King William had no sons, nor had his only Protestant kinsman, Duke Nicholas (1833–1903); consequently the succession would ultimately pass to a Roman Catholic branch of the family, and this prospect raised up certain difficulties about the relations between church and state. The heir to the throne in 1910 was the Roman Catholic Duke Albert (b. 1865) of the Altshausen branch of the royal family.

An elder Catholic line, the dukes of Urach, was bypassed due to a morganatic marriage contracted in 1800. Another morganatic line that was Protestant included Mary of Teck who married George V of the United Kingdom.

Between 1900 and 1910 the political history of Württemberg centred round the settlement of the constitutional and the educational questions. The constitution underwent revision in 1906, and a settlement of the education difficulty occurred in 1909. In 1904 the Württemberg railway system integrated with that of the rest of Germany.

Following the outcome of the First World War, King William abdicated on 30 November 1918. The Kingdom was replaced by the Free People's State of Württemberg. After World War II, Württemberg was divided between the United States and French occupation zones and became part of two new states: Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. After the Federal Republic of Germany was formed in 1949, these two states merged with Baden in 1952 to become the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Government[]

Constitution[]

As a constitutional monarchy, the Kingdom of Württemberg functioned as a member of the German Empire, with four votes in the then Federal Council (Bundesrat), and seventeen in the Reichstag (parliament). The constitution rested on a law of 1819, amended in 1868, in 1874, and again in 1906. The hereditary crown conveyed the simple title of "King of Württemberg". The king received a civil list of 103,227 pounds sterling.

The Kingdom possessed a bi-cameral legislature. The upper chamber (Standesherren) comprised:

  • adult princes of the blood
  • heads of noble families from the rank of count (Graf) upwards
  • representatives of territories (Standesherrschafien) which possessed votes in the old German Imperial Diet or in the local diet
  • members (not more than 6) nominated by the King
  • 8 members of knightly rank
  • 6 ecclesiastical dignitaries
  • a representative of the university of Tübingen
  • a representative of the Stuttgart University of Technology
  • 2 representatives of commerce and industry
  • 2 representatives of agriculture
  • 1 representative of handicrafts.

The lower house (Abgeordnetenhaus) had 92 members:

  • 63 representatives from the administrative divisions (Oberamtsbezirke)
  • 6 representatives from Stuttgart, elected by proportional representation
  • 6 representatives, one from each of the six chief provincial towns
  • 17 members elected by the two electoral divisions (Landeswahlkreise), elected by proportional representation

The King appointed the President of the upper chamber; after 1874 the lower chamber elected its own chairman. Members of both houses had to have reached twenty-five years of age.

Württemberg parliaments had terms of six years; all male citizens over twenty-five years of age possessed suffrage rights, voting by ballot.

The highest executive power rested in the hands of the Ministry of State (Staatsministerium), consisting of six ministers for:

  • justice
  • foreign affairs (with the royal household, railways, posts and telegraphs)
  • the interior
  • public worship and education
  • war
  • finance

The Kingdom also had a Privy Council, consisting of the ministers and some nominated councillors (wirkliche Staatsräte), who advised the sovereign at his command. The judges of a special supreme court of justice, called the Staatsgerichtshof (which functioned as the guardian of the constitution), gained office partly through election by the chambers and partly through appointment by the King. Each of the chambers had the right to impeach the ministers.

The Kingdom comprised four governmental departments (Kreise), subdivided into sixty-four divisions (Oberamtsbezirke), each under a headman (Oberamtmann) assisted by a local council (Amtsversammlung). A Government (Regierung) heads each of the four departments.

Religion[]

The right of direction over the churches resided in the King, who had also, so long as he belonged to the Protestant Church, the guardianship of the spiritual rights of that Church. The Protestant Church is controlled (under the minister of religion and education) by a consistory and a synod. The consistory comprised a president, 9 councillors and 6 general superintendents or prelates from six principal towns. The synod consisted of a representative council, including both lay and clerical members.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Kingdom answered to the bishop of Rottenburg, in the archdiocese of Freiburg. Politically it obeyed a Roman Catholic council, appointed by government.

A state-appointed council (Oberkirchenbehörde) regulated Württemberg's Judaism after 1828.

Education[]

The Kingdom claimed universal literacy (reading and writing) over the age of ten years. Higher learning occurred at the university of Tübingen, in the Stuttgart University of Technology, the veterinary college at Stuttgart, the commercial college at Stuttgart, and the agricultural college of Hohenheim. Gymnasia and other schools existed in all the larger towns, while every commune had a primary school. Numerous schools and colleges existed for women. Württemberg also had a school of viticulture.

Army[]

Under the terms of a military convention of November 25, 1870 the troops of Württemberg formed the XIII (Royal Württemberg) Corps of the Imperial German Army.

Finances[]

Until 1873 the kingdom and some neighbouring states used the "Gulden" as currency. From 1857 the Vereinsthaler was introduced alongside it, and from 1873 both were replaced by the Gold Mark.

The state revenue for 1909–1910 comprised an estimated 4,840,520 pounds sterling, nearly balanced by expenditure. About one-third of the revenue derived from railways, forests and mines; about 1,400,000 pounds sterling from direct taxation; and the remainder from indirect taxes, the post-office and sundry items.

In 1909 the public debt amounted to 29,285,335 pounds sterling, of which more than 27,000,000 pounds sterling resulted from the costs of railway construction.

Of the expenditure, over 900,000 pounds sterling went towards public worship and education, and over 1,200,000 pounds sterling went in interest and repayment of the national debt. To the treasury of the German Empire the Kingdom contributed 660,000 pounds sterling.

Economy[]

Population[]

Population statistics for the former Kingdom of Württemberg's four departments (Kreise) for 1900 and 1905 appear below.[2]

District (Kreis). Area in
mile²
Area in
km²
Population
1900.
Population
1905.
Density
(Pop./mile²)
1905.
Density
(Pop./km²)
1905.
Neckar
Black Forest (Schwarzwald)
Jagst
Danube (Donau)
1286
1844
1985
2419
3,330
4,780
5,140
6,270
745,669
509,258
400,126
514,427
811,478
541,662
407,059
541,980
631
293
205
224
244
113
79
87
Total 7534 19,520 2,169,480 2,302,179 306 118

Settlement density concentrates in the Neckar valley from Esslingen northward.

The mean annual population increase from 1900 to 1905 amounted to 1.22%. 8.5% of the births occurred out of wedlock.

Classified according to religion circa 1905, about 69% of the population professed Protestantism, 30% Roman Catholicism, and about 0.5% Judaism. Protestants largely preponderated in the Neckar district, Roman Catholics in that of the Danube.

The people of the north-west represent Alamannic stock, those of the north-east Franconian, and those of the centre and south Swabian.

In 1910, 506,061 persons worked in the agricultural sector, 432,114 in industrial occupations, and 100,109 in trade and commerce.

The largest towns in the Kingdom of Württemberg included: Stuttgart (with Cannstatt), Ulm, Heilbronn, Esslingen am Neckar, Reutlingen, Ludwigsburg, Göppingen, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Tübingen, Tuttlingen and Ravensburg.

Agriculture[]

The Kingdom of Württemberg essentially formed an agricultural state, and of its 4,821,760 acres (19,512.97 km2), 44.9% comprised agricultural land and gardens, 1.1% vineyards, 17.9% meadows and pastures, and 30.8% forest.

It possessed rich meadowlands, cornfields, orchards, gardens, and hills covered with vines. The chief agricultural products were oats, spelt, rye, wheat, barley, and hops. To these add wine (mostly of excellent quality) of an annual value of about one million pounds sterling, peas and beans, maize, fruit, (chiefly cherries and apples), beets and tobacco, and garden and dairy produce.

Württembergers reared considerable numbers of cattle, sheep and pigs; and paid great attention to the breeding of horses.

Württemberg has a long history of producing red wines, although from somewhat different varieties than other German wine regions. Today the region of Württemberg is a designation (Anbaugebiet) for quality wine in Germany,[3] separate from the wine region of Baden. With 11,522 hectares (28,471 acres) under viticulture in 2006, Württemberg is Germany's fourth largest wine region.[4] Winemaking cooperatives are responsible for almost 75% of the region's production.[5]

The Württemberg wine region is centered on the valley of the Neckar and several of its tributaries, Rems, Enz, Kocher and Jagst.

Mining[]

The Kingdom of Württemberg lacked minerals of great industrial importance apart from salt and iron. The salt industry came to prominence only at the beginning of the 19th century. The iron industry, on the other hand, had great antiquity, but completely lacked coal mines within the Kingdom. Other minerals produced included granite, limestone, ironstone and fireclay.

Manufacturers[]

The old-established manufacturers embraced linen, woolen and cotton fabrics, particularly at Esslingen and Göppingen, and paper-making, especially at Ravensburg, Heilbronn and other places in Lower Swabia.

The manufacturing industries, assisted by the government, developed rapidly during the later years of the 19th century, notably metal-working, especially such branches of it as require exact and delicate workmanship. Particular importance attached to iron and steel goods, locomotives (for which Esslingen enjoyed a good reputation), machinery, cars, bicycles, small arms (in the Mauser factory at Oberndorf am Neckar), all kinds of scientific and artistic appliances, pianos (at Stuttgart), organs and other musical instruments, photographic apparatus, clocks (in the Black Forest), electrical apparatus, and gold- and silver-goods.

Extensive chemical works, potteries, cabinet-making workshops, sugar factories, breweries and distilleries operated. Water-power and petrol largely compensated for the lack of coal. Among other interesting developments note the manufacture of liquid carbonic acid gas extracted from natural gas springs beside the Eyach, a tributary of the Neckar.

Commerce[]

The Kingdom of Württemberg's principal exports included cattle, cereals, wood, pianos, salt, oil, leather, cotton and linen fabrics, beer, wine and spirits. Commerce centred on the cities of Stuttgart, Ulm, Heilbronn and Friedrichshafen. Stuttgart, once called the Leipzig of South Germany, boasted an extensive book trade. The kingdom had creative inventors; Gottlieb Daimler, the first car manufacturer, incorporated his business in 1900 as Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, and its successor company Mercedes-Benz always had plants near Stuttgart. At Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin constructed his airships from 1897 to his death in 1917.

Communications[]

In 1907 the Kingdom of Württemberg had 2,000 km (1,200 mi) of railways, of which all except 256 km (159 mi) belonged to the state. Navigable waters included the Neckar, the Schussen, Lake Constance, and the Danube downstream from Ulm. The Kingdom had fairly good quality roads; the oldest of them of Roman construction. Württemberg, like Bavaria, retained the control of its own postal and telegraph service on the foundation of the new German Empire in 1871.

Further reading[]

  • Marquardt, Ernst (1985). Geschichte Württembergs (3rd ed.). Stuttgart: DVA. ISBN 3421062714.  (German)
  • Vann, James Allen (1984). The Making of a State: Württemberg, 1593-1793. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801415535. 
  • Weller, Karl; Weller, Arnold (1989). Württembergische Geschichte im südwestdeutschen Raum (10th ed.). Stuttgart: Theiss. ISBN 3806205876.  (German)
  • Wilson, Peter H. (1995). War, state, and society in Württemberg, 1677-1793. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521473020. 

Notes[]

  1. ^ See: Vann, JA The making of a state: Württemberg, 1593-1793 Cornell Univ Press 1984.
  2. ^ This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  3. ^ Wein.de (German Agricultural Society): Wuerttemberg, read on January 1, 2008
  4. ^ German Wine Institute: German Wine Statistics 2007-2008
  5. ^ Wein-Plus Glossar: Württemberg, read on January 1, 2008
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