Swabian Circle

The Circle of Swabia or Swabian Circle (German: Schwäbischer Reichskreis or Schwäbischer Kreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former German stem-duchy of Swabia. However, it did not include the Habsburg home territories of Swabian Austria, the member states of the Swiss Confederacy nor the lands of the Alsace region west of the Rhine, which belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle. The Swabian League of 1488, a predecessor organization, disbanded in the course of the Protestant Reformation later in the 16th century.

Swabian Circle
Schwäbischer Reichskreis
1500–1808
of Schwäbischer Reichskreis
Coat of arms
Locator Swabian Circle.svg
The Swabian Circle as at the beginning of the 16th century within the Holy Roman Empire
CapitalUlm
Area 
• 1801
34,314 km2 (13,249 sq mi)
Government
Circle Colonel 
• 1531-1537
Wolfgang von Montfort
• 1556-1562
Wilhelm von Eberstein
• 1563, 1564-1568
Christoph
• 1569-1591
Louis III
• 1622-1628
John Frederick
LegislatureCircle Diet
Historical eraEarly modern period
• Established
1500
• Peace of Westphalia
1648
1806
• Disestablished
1808
Today part ofAustria Austria
Germany Germany
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
Switzerland Switzerland

AdministrationEdit

The directors of the Swabian Circle were the Bishop of Constance (replaced by the margrave of Baden after the 1803 Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) and the Duke of Württemberg; meetings of the circle's diet were usually held at the Imperial city of Ulm. Though it was shattered into a multitude of mainly very small states, the circle had an effective government, which, in view of the eastward expansion of France, from 1694 on even maintained its own army based at the Kehl fortress.

As of 1792 the Swabian Circle consisted of 88 territories, of which only the Duchy of Württemberg, the Margraviate of Baden and the Bishopric of Augsburg were of any significance. The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss reduced the number to 41 and the 1806 Rheinbundakte to seven (including the territories that had fallen to Bavaria).

CompositionEdit

The circle was made up of the following states:

Name Type of entity Comments
  Aalen Imperial City Imperial immediacy (Reichsfreiheit) granted by Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg in 1360.
  Augsburg Prince-Bishopric Established in the 11th century, from the 15th century residence at Dillingen.
  Augsburg Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1276.
  Aulendorf Lordship Held by the Lords of Königsegg from about 1350.
Baar Landgraviate Territory around Rottweil, held by the Counts of Fürstenberg since 1283.
  Baden Margraviate Established in 1112, partitioned into Baden-Durlach and Baden-Baden from 1535 to 1771.
  Baden-Baden Margraviate Subdivision of Baden from 1535, residence at Rastatt from 1705, fell to Baden-Durlach in 1771.
  Baden-Durlach Margraviate Subdivision of Baden from 1535, residence at Karlsruhe from 1715.
  Baden-Hachberg-Sausenberg Margraviate Markgräflerland territory, inherited by Baden in 1503.
  Baindt Imperial Abbey Gained Reichsfreiheit in 1376.
  Biberach an der Riß Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1281.
  Bonndorf Lordship Acquired by St. Blaise's Abbey in 1609 to gain Reichsfreiheit.
  Bopfingen Imperial City Since 1241.
  Buchau Imperial Abbey Established in 819 by Louis the Pious.
  Buchau Imperial City Since the 13th century.
  Buchhorn Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1275.
  Constance Prince-Bishopric Established about 585, Reichsfreiheit confirmed by Frederick I Barbarossa in 1155, residence at Meersburg from 1526.
  Dinkelsbühl Imperial City Since 1351.
  Eberstein County Line extinct in 1660, inherited by Württemberg.
  Eglingen Lordship Held by Thurn und Taxis from 1726.
  Eglofs Lordship Held by the Counts of Abensberg from 1661.
Elchingen Imperial Abbey Established about 1120, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1485.
  Ellwangen Prince-Provostry Established in 1460 as successor of Ellwangen Imperial Abbey.
  Eßlingen Imperial City Since 1229.
  Fugger Freiherren Acquired the former County of Kirchberg and Weißenhorn in 1507, ennobled by Maximilian I in 1511, hereditary Imperial counts from 1530.
  Fürstenberg County Various territories, established from the bequest of Berthold V of Zähringen in 1218, Fürstenberg-Baar since 1441.
  Fürstenberg-Blumberg County Subdivision from 1559, again partitioned in 1614.
  Fürstenberg-Messkirch County Subdivision of Fürstenberg-Blumberg from 1614, raised to Principality in 1716, inherited by Fürstenberg-Fürstenberg in 1744.
  Fürstenberg-Stühlingen County Subdivision of Fürstenberg-Blumberg from 1614, again partitioned between Fürstenberg-Fürstenberg and Fürstenberg-Weitra in 1704.
  Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg County Subdivision from 1559, raised to Principality in 1664, inherited by Fürstenberg-Fürstenberg in 1716.
  Gengenbach Imperial Abbey Established about 730 by Saint Pirmin, granted to Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg by Henry II in 1007.
  Gengenbach Imperial City Since 1360.
  Giengen an der Brenz Imperial City Since 1391.
  Gundelfingen Lordship Acquired by Baden in 1507.
  Gutenzell Established in 1237, Reichsfreiheit granted by Emperor Sigismund in 1437.
  Hausen Lordship Territory around Hausen Castle, near Beuron. Acquired by Fugger in 1682 following extinction of the line of Lords; to Castell in 1735.
  Heggbach Imperial Abbey Established in 1231, gained Reichsfreiheit about 1428.
  Heilbronn Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Charles IV in 1371.
  Heiligenberg County Held by the Counts of Fürstenberg from 1535.
  Hohenems County Reichsfreiheit granted by Ferdinand I in 1560, acquired by Habsburg in 1765.
  Hohengeroldseck County 948AD to 1634AD then to the House of Kronberg, then held by the House of Leyen from 1697, Imperial Counts from 1711, Principality of Leyen in 1806.
  Hohenhöwen Lordship Established in 1415, with Stühlingen acquired by Pappenheim in 1582, to Fürstenberg-Stühlingen in 1639.
  Hohenzollern County County of Zollern established in the 11th century, partitioned in 1576.
  Hohenzollern-Hechingen County Subdivision of Hohenzollern from 1576, raised to principality in 1623.
  Hohenzollern-Haigerloch County Former Lordship of Haigerloch, subdivision of Hohenzollern from 1576, inherited by Hohenzollen-Sigmaringen in 1767.
  Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen County Subdivision of Hohenzollern from 1576, raised to principality in 1623.
  Irsee Imperial Abbey Established in 1186, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1694.
  Isny Imperial City From 1365.
  Justingen Lordship Territory around Justingen Castle near Schelklingen, acquired by Württemberg in 1751.
  Kaisheim Imperial Abbey Established in 1133, Imperial abbey since 1346.
  Kaufbeuren Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1286.
  Kempten Prince-Abbey Established in 752, Reichsfreiheit granted by Henry IV in 1062.
  Kempten Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1289.
  Kinzigtal Lordship Territory around Wolfach, held by Fürstenberg since 1291.
  Klettgau Landgraviate Held by the Counts of Sulz since 1410, acquired by the House of Schwarzenberg in 1698.
  Königsegg Lordship Territory around Guggenhausen, acquired the Imperial county of Rothenfels in 1565, Freiherren from 1621, partitioned in 1622.
  Königsegg-Aulendorf Lordship Subdivision of Königsegg from 1622, Imperial county from 1629.
  Königsegg-Rothenfels Lordship Subdivision of Königsegg from 1622, Imperial county from 1629.
  Leutkirch Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Adolf of Nassau in 1293.
  Liechtenstein Principality Former County of Vaduz and Lordship of Schellenberg, acquired by the Counts of Sulz and Klettgau in 1510, sold to Hohenems in 1613, finally to the Princely Family of Liechtenstein in 1699 (Schellenberg) and 1712 (Vaduz).
  Lindau Imperial Abbey Established about 822, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1466.
  Lindau Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1275.
  Mainau Commandery An administrative grouping of lands held by the Teutonic Order since 1272.
  Marchtal Imperial Abbey Established about 776, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1500.
  Memmingen Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1286.
  Meßkirch Lordship Held by the Counts of Zimmern since 1354, fell to the House of Helfenstein in 1594, Fürstenberg-Messkirch from 1627.
  Mindelheim Lordship Held by the House of Frundsberg since 1467, fell to the Duchy of Bavaria in 1586, held by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough as Prince of Mindelheim from 1705 to 1714.
  Neresheim Imperial Abbey Established in 1095, Reichsfreiheit contested by the House of Oettingen-Wallerstein, confirmed by the Reichskammergericht in 1764.
  Nördlingen Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1215.
  Ochsenhausen Imperial Abbey Established about 1090, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1495.
  Oettingen County Partitioned in 1522.
  Oettingen-Oettingen County Subdivision of Oettingen from 1522, raised to principality in 1674, extinct in 1731.
  Oettingen-Wallerstein County Subdivision of Oettingen from 1522, raised to principality in 1774.
  Oettingen-Spielberg County Subdivision of Oettingen-Wallerberg from 1623, raised to principality in 1734.
  Offenburg Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1240.
  Petershausen Imperial Abbey Established in 983 by Saint Gebhard of Constance, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.
  Pfullendorf Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1220.
  Ravensburg Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1278.
  Reutlingen Imperial City From about 1240.
  Roggenburg Imperial Abbey Established in 1126, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1482.
  Rot an der Rot Imperial Abbey Established in 1126, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1376.
  Rothenfels County Territory around Immenstadt held by the Counts of Montfort since 1332, acquired by Königsegg in 1565.
  Rottenmünster Imperial Abbey Established in 1224, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1237.
  Rottweil Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1434, associate of the Swiss Confederacy 1519–1689.
  Salem Imperial abbey Established about 1134, Reichsfreiheit granted by Conrad III of Hohenstaufen in 1142.
  Schussenried Imperial Abbey Established by Rot an der Rot Abbey in 1183, gained Reichsfreiheit about 1440.
  Schwäbisch Gmünd Imperial City Since about 1250.
  Schwäbisch Hall Imperial City Since 1280.
  Sickingen Lordship Territory in the Kraichgau, held by the successors of Imperial Knight Franz von Sickingen, Freiherren from 1606, Imperial counts from 1790.
  Söflingen Imperial Abbey Established about 1258 by the Counts of Dillingen, gained Reichsfreiheit against Ulm in 1773.
  St George in Isny Imperial Abbey Established in 1096, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1781.
  Stadion County Reached Reichfreiheit in 1705 by purchasing the Lordship of Thannhausen (not to be confused with Tannhausen), split into Stadion-Thannhausen and Stadion-Warthausen in 1741.
  Staufen Lordship Held by the Freiherren von Staufen (not related to the House of Hohenstaufen), extinct in 1602, then part of Further Austria, acquired by St Blaise's Abbey in 1738.
  Stühlingen Landgraviate Held by the Counts of Lupfen since 1251, extinct in 1582, acquired by Pappenheim, to Fürstenberg-Stühlingen in 1639.
  Teck Duchy Former branch of the House of Zähringen, extinct in 1439, ducal title granted to Eberhard I of Württemberg by Maximilian I in 1495.
  Tettnang Lordship Held by the Counts of Monfort, fell to Further Austria in 1780.
  Thannhausen Lordship Reichsfrei territory around Tannhausen (not to be confused with Thannhausen).
  Thengen County Rear county held by the Mainau commandery of the Teutonic Order since 1488, front county to Further Austria in 1522 and held by the Princes of Auersperg from 1663.
  Überlingen Imperial City Reichsfreiheit confirmed about 1400.
  Ulm Imperial City Gained Reichsfreiheit in the 12th century.
  Ursberg Imperial Abbey Established about 1128, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1143.
  Waldburg-Sonnenburg Archstewardship Territory around Nüziders, lordship held by the Truchsess of Waldburg since 1455, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick III of Habsburg in 1463, line extinct in 1511.
  Waldburg-Trauchburg Archstewardship Territory around Trauchburg castle near Isny, held by Waldburg since 1306, Imperial county from 1628, extinct in 1772.
  Waldburg-Scheer Archstewardship Former County of Friedberg around Scheer castle, held by Waldburg-Sonnenburg since 1454, inherited by Waldburg-Trauchburg in 1511, to Thurn und Taxis in 1785.
  Waldburg-Wolfegg-Zeil Archstewardship Territory around Zeil castle near Leutkirch, held by Waldburg since 1337, acquired Wolfegg and Waldsee from Waldburg-Trauchburg in 1508, partitioned in 1589.
  Waldburg-Wolfegg Archstewardship Subdivision of Waldburg-Wolfegg-Zeil from 1589, Imperial county from 1628, again partitioned in 1667, extinct in 1798.
  Waldburg-Waldsee Archstewardship Subdivision of Waldburg-Wolfegg from 1667, inherited Waldburg-Wolfegg in 1798, raised to principality in 1803.
  Waldburg-Zeil Archstewardship Subdivision of Waldburg-Wolfegg-Zeil from 1589, Imperial county from 1628, again partitoned in 1674, inherited Waldburg-Trauchburg in 1772, raised to principality in 1803.
  Waldburg-Wurzach Archstewardship Subdivision of Waldburg-Zeil from 1674, raised to principality in 1803.
  Wangen Imperial City Reichsfreiheit granted by Rudolph of Habsburg in 1286.
  Weil Imperial City Since about 1275.
  Weingarten Imperial Abbey Established in 1056 by Duke Welf I of Bavaria, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1274.
  Weißenau Imperial Abbey Established in 1145, gained Reichsfreiheit about 1257.
  Wettenhausen Prince-Provostry Established in 1130.
  Wiesensteig Lordship Held by the House of Helfenstein, partitioned between Fürstenberg and the Duchy of Bavaria in 1627.
  Wimpfen Imperial City Since about 1300.
  Württemberg Duchy County of Wirtemberg established in the 12th century, raised to duchy in 1495 by Maximilian I.
  Zell am Harmersbach Imperial City Since the 14th century.
  Zwiefalten Imperial Abbey Established in 1089, gained Reichsfreiheit from Württemberg in 1750.

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