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Württemberg

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Württemberg (often spelled Wurttemberg in English) refers to an area and a former state in Swabia, a region in south-western Germany.

Württemberg, once a Grand Duchy, became a Kingdom after the implosion of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, during the reign of Frederick I of Württemberg, and finally a Republic in 1918. After the Federal Republic of Germany was composed in 1949, Württemberg in 1952 merged with Baden to become the German Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg.

Württemberg is composed of the long, narrow, southern territory of Hohenzollern, which once belonged to the Prussian royal and imperial family, who divided Württemberg and enclosed it into six small enclaves of Baden and Hohenzollern, while continuing to own nine small exclaves within the limits of those two states. It lay between 47° 34' 48" and 49° 35' 17" N., and between 8° 15' and 10° 30' E. Its greatest length from north to south comprised 140 miles; its greatest breadth comprised 100 miles; its boundaries had a circumference of 1116 miles. Its total area comprised 7534 square miles. 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.

Table of contents

Geography

Climate

The temperate climate turns colder among the mountains in the south. The mean temperature varies at different points from 43° to 50° Fahrenheit. Abundant forests induce much rain, most of which falls in the summer. Given on the whole fertile and well-cultivated soil, agriculture formed the main occupation of the inhabitants.

Demography

Agriculture

The Kingdom of Württemberg essentially formed an agricultural state, and of its 4,821,760 acres, 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, 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.

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.

Manufactures

The old-established manufactures embraced linen, woollen 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), 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.

Communications

In 1907 the Kingdom of Württemberg had 1219 miles of railways, of which all except 159 miles 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.

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 Tubingen
  • a representative of the technical high school of Stuttgart
  • 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 twentyfive 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.

Ecclesiatical Administration

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 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 technical high school (with academic rank) of Stuttgart, the veterinary high school 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. Wuerttemberg also had a school of viticulture

Army

Under the terms of the convention of 1871 the troops of Württemberg formed the XIII. army corps of the imperial German army.

Finances

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

History

History of Württemberg

Bibliography

  • Württembergische Jahrbücher für Statistik und Landeskunde
  • Das Königreich Württemberg, eine Beschreibung nach Kreisen, Oberämtern und Gemeinden (Stuttgart, 1904)
  • Statistisches Handbuch für das Königreich Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1885 fol.)
  • Das Königreich Württemberg, eine Beschreibung von Land, Volk und Staat (1893)
  • Jahresberichte der Handels- und Gewerbekammern in Württemberg
  • Lang, Die Entwicklung der Bevölkerung Württembergs im Laufe des 19ten Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1903)
  • Engel and Schulze, Geognostischer Wegweiser durch Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1908)
  • Staatsrecht des Königreichs Württemberg (Tübingen, 1908)
  • F. Bitzer, Regierung und Stände in Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1882).



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