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Holy Roman Emperor

The title of Holy Roman Emperor was first given to the Frankish king Charlemagne in 800 AD by Pope Leo III who was seeking his protection. Charlemagne accepted the bribe; however, the title did not last long in his family.

The position was revived in 962 by the German king Otto I the Great, and it was to continue to be held by Germans until the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved by Francis II in 1806 at the behest of Napoleon.

Despite spending long eras in the possession of individual families, most notably the Habsburgs, the position was not hereditary but elected. For most of its history nine people had the right to vote for the Holy Roman Emperor. These were the archbishops of Trier, Mainz and Cologne, the king of Bohemia, the duke of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburg and the count palatine of the Rhine (whose lands were known as the Palatinate). These rulers remained the Empire's electors until 1623, when other electors were added.

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