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The Holy Roman Empire was one of the strangest political structures in world. Although in the earlier part of the Middle Ages, under the Salian and Hohenstaufen emperors, it was relatively centralized, as time went on the Emperor lost more and more power to the Princes. This article will attempt to sort out, to some extent, the political structure of the Empire, and list the various states it consisted of.

Table of contents

Structure of the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire in 1792

1792, before the vast changes inspired by the French Revolutionary incursions into Germany, is a good year to look at and examine the structure of the Empire. The empire was, at this time, divided into several thousand immediate (unmittelbar) territories, but only about three hundred of these had Landeshoheit (the special sort of sovereignty enjoyed by the states of the Empire), and had representation in the Reichstag (Imperial Diet). The Imperial Diet was divided into three so-called collegia - the Council of Electors, the Council of Princes, and the Council of Cities. As who had votes had gradually changed over the centuries, many princes held more than one vote, as will be indicated. It also ought to be noted that certain territories which had once held votes in the diet, as for instance the County of Waldeck or the Duchy of Jülich-Kleve-Berg, due to the extinction of an old dynasty, or for other reasons.

The Council of Electors

  1. The King of Bohemia (also Archduke of Austria and King of Hungary)
  2. The Archbishop of Mainz
  3. The Archbishop of Cologne
  4. The Archbishop of Trier
  5. The Count Palatine of the Rhine (also Duke of Bavaria)
  6. The Duke of Saxony
  7. The Margrave of Brandenburg (also King of Prussia)
  8. The Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg[?] (called Elector of Hanover, also King of Great Britain)

The Council of Princes

[Note, this is ordered based on the official order of voting in the Diet]

  • The Archduke of Austria (also King of Bohemia)
  • The Duke of Burgundy (also King of Bohemia)
The Ecclesiastical Bench
  1. The Archbishop of Salzburg
  2. The Archbishop of Besançon
  3. The Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
  4. The Bishop of Bamberg
  5. The Bishop of Würzburg[?]
  6. The Bishop of Worms
  7. The Bishop of Eichstädt[?]
  8. The Bishop of Speyer
  9. The Bishop of Strassburg
  10. The Bishop of Konstanz
  11. The Bishop of Augsburg
  12. The Bishop of Hildesheim
  13. The Bishop of Paderborn
  14. The Bishop of Freising[?]
  15. The Bishop of Regensburg
  16. The Bishop of Passau
  17. The Bishop of Trent
  18. The Bishop of Brixen[?]
  19. The Bishop of Basel
  20. The Bishop of Münster
  21. The Bishop of Osnabrück (notable as, after 1648, it alternated between Protestant and Catholic incumbents)
  22. The Bishop of Liège
  23. The Bishop of Lübeck
  24. The Bishop of Chur
  25. The Bishop of Fulda
  26. The Abbott of Kempten[?]
  27. The Provost of Ellwangen[?]
  28. The Grand Master of the Order of St. John[?]
  29. The Prior of Berchtesgaden
  30. The Abbott of Weissenburg[?]
  31. The Abbott of Prüm[?]
  32. The Abbott of Stablo[?]
  33. The Abbot of Corvey[?]
  34. A single vote for the College of the Prelates of Swabia
  35. A single vote for the College of the Prelates of the Rhine
These last two were groups of lesser abbotts, who together had a joint vote. Unlike those who had a full vote, they were not considered fully sovereign.
The Secular Bench
  1. The Duke of Bavaria (the Elector of Bavaria)
  2. The Duke of Magdeburg (also King of Prussia)
  3. The Count Palatine of Kaiserslautern[?] (also the Elector of Bavaria)
  4. The Count Palatine of Simmern[?] (also the Elector of Bavaria)
  5. The Count Palatine of Neuburg[?] (also the Elector of Bavaria)
  6. The Duke of Bremen (also the Elector of Hanover)
  7. The Duke of Zweibrücken[?]
  8. The Count Palatine of Veldenz[?] (also the Elector of Bavaria)
  9. The Duke of Saxe-Weimar
  10. The Duke of Saxe-Eisenach (also Duke of Saxe-Weimar)
  11. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg[?]
  12. The Duke of Saxe-Gotha[?]
  13. The Duke of Saxe-Altenburg[?] (also Duke of Saxe-Gotha)
  14. The Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (also King of Prussia)
  15. The Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (also King of Prussia)
  16. The Duke of Brunswick-Celle (also Elector of Hanover)
  17. The Duke of Brunswick-Kalenberg[?] (also Elector of Hanover)
  18. The Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen[?] (also Elector of Hanover)
  19. The Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel[?]
  20. The Prince of Halberstadt[?] (also King of Prussia)
  21. The Duke of Further Pomerania[?] (also King of Prussia)
  22. The Duke of Hither Pomerania[?] (also King of Sweden)
  23. The Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  24. The Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow[?] (also Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin)
  25. The Duke of Württemberg
  26. The Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
  27. The Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
  28. The Margrave of Baden-Baden (the Margrave of Baden)
  29. The Margrave of Baden-Durlach[?] (the Margrave of Baden)
  30. The Prince of Verden (also Elector of Hanover)
  31. The Margrave of Baden-Hochberg[?] (the Margrave of Baden)
  32. The Duke of Holstein-Gluckstädt (also King of Denmark)
  33. The Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg[?] (also Elector of Hanover)
  34. The Prince of Minden (also King of Prussia)
  35. The Duke of Holstein-Gottorp[?]-Oldenburg
  36. The Duke of Savoy (also King of Sardinia)
  37. The Landgrave of Leuchtenberg[?] (also Elector of Bavaria)
  38. The Prince of Anhalt (actually, there were four Prince of Anhalt at this time, who split the vote - the Princes of Anhalt-Zerbst, Anhalt-Dessau[?], Anhalt-Bernburg[?], and Anhalt-Köthen[?]
  39. The Princely Count of Henneberg[?] (this vote was divided among the various branches of the House of Wettin, including the Elector of Saxony, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach[?], the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld[?], and the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg[?])
  40. The Prince of Schwerin (also Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin)
  41. The Prince of Kammin[?] (also King of Prussia)
  42. The Prince of Ratzeburg (also Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz)
  43. The Prince of Hersfeld[?] (also Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel)
  44. The Prince of Nomény[?] (to the House of Lorraine. After 1780 also King of Bohemia, etc.)
  45. The Prince of Mömpelgard[?] (also Duke of Württemberg)
  46. The Duke of Arenberg[?]
  47. The Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen[?]
  48. The Prince of Lobkowitz[?]
  49. The Prince of Salm[?] (actually, there were two branches of this family , who split the vote - the Prince of Salm-Salm[?] and the Prince of Salm-Kyrburg[?])
  50. The Prince of Dietrichstein[?]
  51. The Prince of Nassau-Hadamar[?] (also Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of the United Provincess[?])
  52. The Prince of Nassau-Dillenburg[?] (also Prince of Orange)
  53. The Prince of Auersperg[?]
  54. The Prince of East Friesland[?] (also King of Prussia)
  55. The Prince of Fürstenberg[?]
  56. The Prince of Schwarzenberg[?]
  57. The Prince of Thurn und Taxis
  58. The Prince of Schwarzburg[?] (divided into two branches, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt[?] and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen[?])
  59. A single vote for the College of the Counts of Swabia
  60. A single vote for the College of the Counts of the Wetterau[?]
  61. A single vote for the College of the Counts of Franconia
  62. A single vote for the College of the Counts of Westphalia

The Council of Cities

The Council of Imperial Free Cities was not actually equal to the others - its vote was only advisory. In 1792, there were 51 Free Cities. (This list will divide up the cities among the Imperial Circles[?] into which they were distributed.) Circle of Franconia
  1. Nuremberg
  2. Rothenburg[?]
  3. Windsheim[?]
  4. Schweinfurt[?]
  5. Weissenburg-im-Nordgau[?]
Circle of the Lower Rhine-Westphalia
  1. Cologne
  2. Aachen
  3. Dortmund
Circle of Lower Saxony
  1. Lübeck
  2. Goslar
  3. Mühlhausen[?]
  4. Hamburg
  5. Bremen
  6. Nordhausen[?]
Circle of the Upper Rhine
  1. Worms
  2. Speyer
  3. Frankfurt am Main
  4. Friedberg[?]
  5. Wetzlar
Circle of Swabia
  1. Augsburg
  2. Ulm
  3. Esslingen
  4. Reutlingen[?]
  5. Nördlingen[?]
  6. Schwäbisch Hall[?]
  7. Ueberlingen[?]
  8. Rottweil[?]
  9. Heilbronn[?]
  10. Schwäbisch Gmund[?]
  11. Memmingen[?]
  12. Lindau
  13. Dinkelsbuhl[?]
  14. Biberach[?]
  15. Ravensburg[?]
  16. Kempten[?]
  17. Kaufbeuern[?]
  18. Weil[?]
  19. Wangen[?]
  20. Isny[?]
  21. Leutkirchen[?]
  22. Wimpfen[?]
  23. Giengen[?]
  24. Pfullendorf[?]
  25. Buchhorn[?]
  26. Aalen
  27. Bopfingen[?]
  28. Buchau[?]
  29. Offenburg[?]
  30. Gengenbach[?]
  31. Zell[?]

The Prelates of Swabia

The Prelates of the Rhine

The Counts of the Wetterau

  • The Princes and Counts of Solms
  • The Prince of Nassau-Usingen[?]
  • The Prince of Nassau-Weilburg[?]
  • The Prince of Nassau-Saarbrücken[?]
  • The Princes and Counts of Isenburg[?]
  • The Counts of Stolberg[?]
  • The Princes and Counts of Sayn-Wittgenstein
  • The Counts of Salm
  • The Princes and Counts of Leiningen
  • The Counts of Westerburg
  • The Princes of Schönburg
  • The Count of Wied-Runkel
  • The Counts of Ortenburg
  • The Counts of Reuss zu Plauen

The Counts of Swabia

  • The Prince of Fürstenberg
  • The Abbess of Buchau
  • The Commander of the Teutonic Knights
  • The Prince of Oettingen
  • The Count of Montfort (also King of Bohemia)
  • The Count of Helfenstein (also Elector of Bavaria)
  • The Prince of Schwarzenberg
  • The Count of Königsegg
  • The Count of Waldburg
  • The Count of Eberstein (also Margrave of Baden)
  • The Count von der Leyen
  • The Counts of Fugger
  • The Lord of Hohenems (also King of Bohemia)
  • The Count of Traun
  • The Prince-Abbott of St. Blase
  • The Count of Stadion
  • The Prince of Thurn und Taxis
  • The Count of Khevenhüller
  • The Count of Kuefstein
  • The Prince of Colloredo
  • The Count of Harrach
  • The Count of Sternberg
  • The Count of Neipperg

The Counts of Franconia

  • The Princes and Counts of Hohenlohe
  • The Counts of Castell
  • The Counts of Erbach
  • The Princes and Counts of Löwenstein-Wertheim
  • The Heirs to the Counts of Limpurg
  • The Counts of Nostitz-Rieneck
  • The Prince of Schwarzenberg
  • The Heirs to the Counts of Wolfstein
  • The Counts of Schönborn
  • The Counts of Windisch-Grätz
  • The Counts Orsini von Rosenberg
  • The Counts of Starhemberg
  • The Counts of Wurmbrand
  • The Counts of Giech
  • The Counts of Gravenitz
  • The Counts of Pückler

The Counts of Westphalia

  • The Lord of Sayn-Altenkirchen (also Elector of Hanover)
  • The Count of Hoya (also Elector of Hanover)
  • The Count of Spiegelberg (also Elector of Hanover)
  • The Count of Diepholz (also Elector of Hanover)
  • The Duke of Holstein-Gottorp
  • The Count of Tecklenburg (also King of Prussia)
  • The Duke of Arenberg
  • The Prince of Wied-Runkel
  • The Prince of Wied-Neuwied
  • The Count of Schaumburg (shared between the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and the Count of Lippe-Bückeburg)
  • The Counts of Lippe
  • The Counts of Bentheim
  • The Princes and Counts of Löwenstein-Wertheim
  • The Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg
  • The Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
  • The Count of Toerring
  • The Count of Aspremont
  • The Princes of Salm
  • The Count of Metternich-Winnenburg
  • The Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg
  • The Counts of Plettenberg
  • The Counts of Limburg-Stirum
  • The Count of Wallmoden
  • The Count of Quadt
  • The Counts of Ostein
  • The Counts of Nesselrode
  • The Counts of Salm-Reifferscheidt
  • The Counts of Platen
  • The Counts of Sinzendorf
  • The Prince of Ligne

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