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Imperial Circle Estates

In 1495, the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Imperial Circles (in German: Reichskreise). This act was part of the Reichsreform (Imperial Reform) concluded at the Reichstag at Worms.

Initially, there were six Reichskreise; the number was raised to ten in 1512.

Each circle was organized so that the states in a different region of the Empire would be able to organize a common defense. The Imperial Circle Estates (Reichskreisstandschaft) were the assemblies of each Circle. This article will attempt to list the various states represented in each Imperial Circle Estate.

As of 1792, the Empire was divided into ten circles - Austrian, Bavarian, Burgundian, Franconian, Electoral Rhenish, Lower Rhenish-Westphalian, Lower Saxon, Upper Rhenish, Upper Saxon, and Swabian. However, some areas that were considered to be, at least theoretically, part of the empire - including the crownlands of Bohemia (Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia), and Northern Italy, were not included in any circle. The Imperial Knights, also, were not included in any of the Circle Estates, nor were certain other territories. Names in parentheses indicate the owner of these territories, as many different territorial units were frequently ruled by the same prince

Table of contents

Austrian Circle

Bavarian Circle

Ecclesiastical Bench Secular Bench

Burgundian Circle

Franconian Circle

Bench of the Ecclesiastical Princes Bench of the Secular Princes The Bench of Counts and Lords
  • Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
  • Castell
  • Wertheim (Löwenstein)
  • Rieneck (Nostitz)
  • Erbach
  • Limpurg-Gaildorf (Prussia and Württemberg)
  • Limpurg-Speckfeld
  • Seinsheim (Schwarzenberg)
  • Reichelsberg (Schönborn)
  • Weisentheid (Schönborn)
  • Welzheim (Württemberg)
  • Hausen (Prussia/Ansbach)
The Bench of Cities
  • Nuremberg
  • Rothenburg
  • Windsheim
  • Schweinfurt
  • Weissenburg-im-Nordgau

Electoral Rhenish Circle

Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle

  • Bishop of Münster
  • Duchy of Cleves, County of Mark, Lordship of Ravensberg[?] (Prussia)
  • Duchy of Jülich[?] and Berg (Bavaria/Palatinate)
  • Bishop of Paderborn
  • Bishop of Liège
  • Bishop of Osnabrück
  • Verden (Hanover)
  • Minden (Prussia)
  • Abbot of Corvey[?]
  • Abbot of Stablo[?] and Malmedey[?]
  • Abbot of Werden
  • Abbot of Kornelismünster
  • Abbess of Essen
  • Abbess of Thorn
  • Abbess of Herford
  • Nassau-Hadamar (Nassau-Dillenburg)
  • Nassau-Dillenburg
  • East Friesland (Prussia)
  • Mörs (Prussia)
  • Oldenburg (Holstein-Gottorp)
  • Delmenhorst (Holstein-Gottorp)
  • Wied
  • Sayn (Prussia/Ansbach)
  • Schaumburg-Hesse (Hesse-Kassel)
  • Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Lippe
  • Bentheim
  • Steinfurt (Bentheim-Steinfurt)
  • Tecklenburg and Lingen (Prussia)
  • Hoya (Hanover)
  • Virneburg (Löwenstein)
  • Diepholz (Hanover)
  • Spiegelberg (Hanover)
  • Rietberg (Kaunitz)
  • Pyrmont (Waldeck)
  • Gronsfeld (Törring-Jettenbach)
  • Reckheim (Aspremont-Linden)
  • Anholt (Salm)
  • Winnenburg and Beilstein (Metternich)
  • Holzappel (Anhalt-Bernburg-Hoym)
  • Witten, Eyss (Plettenberg)
  • Blankenheim and Geroldstein (Manderscheid/Sternberg)
  • Gehmen (Limburg-Styrum)
  • Gimborn and Neustadt (Wallmoden)
  • Wyckradt (Quadt)
  • Mylendonk (Ostein)
  • Reichenstein (Nesselrode)
  • Kerpen and Lommersum (Schäsberg)
  • Schleiden (Mark/Prussia)
  • Hallermund (Platen)
  • Fagnolles (Ligne)
  • Cologne (free city)
  • Aachen (free city)
  • Dortmund (free city)

Lower Saxon Circle

Upper Rhenish Circle

Bench of the Ecclesiastical Princes Bench of the Secular Princes The Bench of Counts and Lords
  • Hanau-Münzenberg (Hesse-Kassel)
  • Hanau-Lichtenberg (Hesse-Darmstadt)
  • Solms-Hohensolms
  • Solms-Rödelheim
  • Solms-Laubach
  • Königstein (Archbishop of Mainz)
  • Königstein (Stolberg-Wernigerode)
  • Isenburg-Büdingen
  • Isenburg-Wächtersbach
  • Isenburg-Meerholz
  • Grehweiler (Salm, Wild & -Rheingrafen)
  • Grumbach (Salm, Wild & -Rheingrafen)
  • Dhaun (Salm, Wild & -Rheingrafen)
  • Leiningen-Dagsburg
  • Leiningen-Westerburg
  • Münzfelden (Archbishop of Trier and Nassau-Usingen)
  • Sayn-Wittgenstein-Wittgenstein
  • Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
  • Falkenstein (Austria)
  • Reipoltskirchen (Hillesheim and Parkstein)
  • Kriechingen (Wied-Runkel)
  • Wartenberg
  • Bretzenheim (Heydeck)
  • Dachstuhl (Oettingen-Baldern)
  • Ollbrück (Walbott of Bassenheim)
Bench of Cities

Upper Saxon Circle

Swabian Circle

Bench of the Ecclesiastical Princes Bench of the Secular Princes The Bench of Prelates
  • Abbot of Ursperg
  • Abbot of Elchingen
  • Abbot of Irsee
  • Abbot of Salmanweiler
  • Abbot of Weingarten
  • Abbot of Ochsenhausen
  • Abbot of Kaisersheim
  • Abbot of Roggenburg
  • Abbot of Roth
  • Abbot of Weissenau
  • Abbot of Schussenried
  • Abbot of Marchthal
  • Abbot of Petershausen
  • Abbot of Wettenhausen
  • Abbot of Zwiefalten
  • Abbot of Gengenbach
  • Abbot of Neresheim
  • Abbot of Hegbach
  • Abbess of Guttenzell
  • Abbess of Rothenmünster
  • Abbess of Baindt
  • Abbess of Söfflingen
  • Abbot of St. Georg in Isny
The Bench of Counts and Lords
  • Eglingen (Thurn und Taxis)
  • Altshausen (Teutonic Order)
  • Tettnang and Langenargen (Austria)
  • Oettingen-Baldern
  • Stühlingen and Hohen-höwen (Fürstenberg)
  • Weisensteig (Bavaria)
  • Baar (Fürstenberg)
  • Kinzigerthal (Fürstenberg)
  • Mösskirch (Fürstenberg)
  • Oettingen-Wallerstein
  • Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach
  • Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee
  • Rothenfels and Stauffen (Königsegg-Rothenfels)
  • Königsegg-Aulendorf
  • Mindelheim and Schwabegg (Bavaria)
  • Gundelfingen (Fürstenberg)
  • Eberstein (Baden)
  • Fugger (Line of Markus)
  • Fugger (Line of Johann)
  • Fugger (Line of Jakob)
  • Hohenems (Austria)
  • Justingen (Württemberg)
  • Bondorf (Abbot of St. Blasien)
  • Egloff (Abensberg-Traun)
  • Tannhausen (Stadion)
  • Hohengeroldseck (Leyen)
  • Sickingen
The Bench of Cities



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