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Württemberg 1810–1945
German Kingdoms (1868)

Württemberg (sometimes written Wurtemberg[1] in old English language sources) is a German territory, as of 1952, as Baden-Württemberg (with 11.1 million inhabitants as of 31 December 2020), a federal state (Bundesland) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its capital is Stuttgart. The Kingdom of Württemberg (German: Königreich Württemberg) existed from 1806 to 1918. It was a continuation of the Duchy of Württemberg of the Holy Roman Empire, which came into existence in 1495. Before that the ruling house of Württemberg had been counts ruling a fragment of the Duchy of Swabia, which had dissolved after the death of Conradin[2] in 1268.[3] It was Member of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813), Member of the German Confederation (1815–1866) and Federal State of the German Empire (1871–1918).


Königreich Württemberg, valid from 1817 to 1918
Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern.
Baden-Württemberg; After World War II, Württemberg was divided between the U.S. and French occupation zones. Three of the states created in the birth of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 were Baden, Württemberg-Baden, and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. These were merged on 25 April 1952 to form Baden-Württemberg. Many things that originated in Baden-Württemberg have made it world famous: from cuckoo clocks to Black Forest gateau, from "Mercedes-Benz" to "Porsche", from the multinational engineering and technology company "Robert Bosch GmbH" as well as the multinational software corporation "SAP" to the international discount retailer chain "Lidl".

The third of three hilltop castles built on the site, it is located atop Mount Hohenzollern, above and south of Hechingen, on the edge of the Swabian Jura of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany.]]

Württemberg was at first a small County in the south-western corner of present Germany, between Esslingen and Bad Cannstatt. The counts became more and more influential within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and were promoted to Dukes of Württemberg in 1495. In 1806, the territory became the Kingdom of Württemberg. After WWI, the Kingdom lost its independence and became a semi-independent Free-state in the new Weimar Republic. In National Socialist Germany, a Reichsstatthalter, or lieutenant governor, for Württemberg was appointed in 1933, and the state’s government was subordinated to that of the Reich in 1934, while the Landtag, or State Diet, was abolished. After WWII, it was combined with Baden and some additional territories to the State of Baden-Württemberg.



Württemberg, former German state, successively a countship, a duchy, a kingdom, and a republic before its partition after World War II. Its territory approximated the central and eastern areas of present-day Baden-Württemberg (q.v.) Land (state), of Germany. For the last period of its separate existence, Württemberg was bounded northeast and east by Bavaria, southeast by Bavaria and Lake Constance (Bodensee), and southwest, west, and northwest by Baden, except where Hohenzollern (Prussian from 1849) was enclaved across the frontier in the south. The capital was Stuttgart. Except for the Rhine plain, Württemberg is a mountainous and hilly region that includes the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest and that is drained by the Neckar River. In the earlier Middle Ages, Württemberg was part of the region known as Swabia (q.v.). The Wirtembergs (Württembergs), a local dynasty of counts established by the late 11th century, began from the mid-12th century to extend their control over large sections of Swabia. By the time Württemberg was made a duchy in 1495, the Estates (representative assembly) had come to play an important role in its government. Duke Ulrich, who became a vassal of the house of Habsburg in 1534, introduced Lutheranism into the duchy and confiscated church lands. His son Duke Christopher (reigned 1550–68) set up a centralized state church and became the leader of German Protestantism; his judicial and civil reforms, which included recognition of the Estates’ control over finances, endured for two centuries. Duke Frederick (1593–1608) secured the duchy’s release from Habsburg overlordship and was a pillar of the Evangelical Union of Lutheran and Calvinist Princes (1608). Württemberg was devastated in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) and fell prey to French invasions from 1688 until 1693 during the War of the Grand Alliance. Yet the country enjoyed progressive government. Compulsory education was introduced in 1649. Duke Eberhard Louis (reigned 1693–1733) improved the duchy’s defenses and schools, built the celebrated Ludwigsburg Palace, and admitted Waldensian refugees from France, who introduced the textile and other industries into the duchy.
Württemberg was an ally of France from 1802 to 1813 and was rewarded by Napoleon I with large grants of territory, including many Habsburg lands in Swabia and numerous free imperial cities and ecclesiastical territories. These additions doubled Württemberg’s size by 1810, and the duchy was successively raised to the status of an electorate (1803) and a kingdom (1806), which it remained after Napoleon’s downfall. Political unrest in Württemberg from 1815 until 1819 resulted in the issuance in 1819 of a constitution by King William I (reigned 1816–64), establishing a bicameral legislature. Württemberg was a centre of liberalism in 19th-century Germany. It joined the Zollverein (Customs Union) with Prussia in 1834, but King Charles (1864–91) sided with Austria in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866) and was forced to pay an indemnity by the victorious Prussians. Württemberg sided with Prussia in the Franco-German War (1870–71) and then joined the new German Empire. With Hermann von Mittnacht as chief minister (from 1876 to 1900), Württemberg found a comfortable place in the new Germany, retaining its independence in internal administration, ecclesiastical affairs, and education and also in the management of the postal and railway services. It moreover retained special rights over taxation and the armed forces. Its manufacturing industries were successfully developed—for machinery, motors, precision-engineering, textiles, watches and clocks, musical instruments, and book-production. The previously high rate of emigration declined. Charles was succeeded in 1891 by his first cousin once removed, William II (reigned 1891–1918), under whom liberal political reforms were inaugurated and arts and drama flourished. Progress, however, was halted by World War I, and the revolution of November 1918 forced Wilhelm II to abdicate. A republican constitution was promulgated in 1919; but, as a member state of Germany under the Weimar Constitution, Württemberg lost all the special privileges that had been reserved to it under the former system.[4]


Baden-Württemberg, Land (state) in southwestern Germany. Baden-Württemberg is bordered by the states of Rhineland-Palatinate to the northwest, Hessen to the north, and Bavaria to the east and by the countries of Switzerland to the south and France to the west. The state’s capital is Stuttgart. Area 13,804 square miles (35,752 square km). Pop. (2011) 10,486,660. Formed under post-World War II occupational rule and confirmed by referendum in December 1951, Baden-Württemberg consists of three former states: Württemberg-Baden (in the American zone) and Südwürttemberg-Hohenzollern and Südbaden (both in the French zone). The merger of these states took effect in 1952. Baden-Württemberg is one of Germany’s most geographically varied states, with the forests of the upland regions alternating with fertile highlands, green meadows, lakes, and marshes. Its geographical boundaries are the Main River to the north, the Iller River to the east, the waters of Lake Constance (Bodensee) and the upper Rhine to the south, and the widening Rhine Valley to the west. The source of the Danube River (Donau) is in Baden-Württemberg, at Donaueschingen, and the river cuts through the eastern area of the state on the first part of its journey across the European continent. The Danube is the main drainage basin south of the European water divide, which bisects the state. [...]
Baden-Württemberg’s great post-World War II expansion owed much to the fact that almost a quarter of its population was composed of people who moved to the state as fugitives or displaced persons from the Soviet-occupied east. Their influx to this particular region is partially explained by ancestral links between them and the states of Baden and Württemberg in previous centuries. In addition, many simply saw opportunities for a new start in this part of Germany, which had been spared the brunt of wartime destruction. From 1945 to 1950, the rural areas of the state provided the best prospects for housing and employment, but the following years saw a return of the workforce to the industrial centres. The capital, Stuttgart, witnessed spectacular growth, and there was severe depopulation of many rural districts. By the late 20th century, apparently only the high rents in the cities kept even more people from moving to the urban areas in which they worked. Baden-Württemberg may be regarded as the one German state in which economic life is dominated by middle-class businesspeople and small farmers. Although such world-famous firms as Daimler AG started as small workshops in Stuttgart and Mannheim, there is virtually no heavy industry in the region. In general, Baden-Württemberg is a producer of high-value-added industrial products. It is the centre for specialized mechanical industries that produce the majority of all the clocks, watches, and custom-made jewelry that originate in the country. Substantial amounts of Germany’s leather goods, musical instruments, medical instruments, food, agricultural produce, and hardware are also produced in Baden-Württemberg. However, the relative decline in the importance of manufacturing as an employer affected the state’s economy during the 1990s, and Baden-Württemberg endeavoured to expand employment in high technology, manufacturing, and business services in order to maintain its traditionally high standard of living.[5]

Coat of arms

The original arms of Württemberg are three deer antlers. They are first mentioned in 1228 as the arms of count Konrad and his father Hartmann. The arms were derived from older arms of the counts of Nellenburg, that showed three blue antlers. Both the counts of Nellenburg and of Württemberg were related to the counts of Veringen. Hartmann of Wirtinsberc (= Württemberg) was married to a Countess of Veringen. At first the arms were covered by a helmet, and a peacockfeather as a crest. It is known since 1279, but may be older in origin. In the beginning of the 14th century the crest was replaced by a horn, as can be seen in the Zürich roll of arms and the roll of arms of von der Esten. The mantling was red and gold, and may be derived from the counts of Veringen. In the 15th century, three feathers were placed in the mouth of the horn, their origin is unknown (this is still seen in the arms of Urach).

In the late 15th century, after the acquisition of the county Mömpelgard, the arms were quartered with the three fish of Mömpelgard (see Freudenstadt). After the promotion in 1495, the new ducal arms were quartered of Württemberg , Teck (for the county of Teck, see Oberndorf ), and the imperial banner (see Ludwigsburg) and Mömpelgard. Consequently four helmets and crests were used; an eagle for the 'Banneramt', the old horn, a female bust with fish as arms for Mömpelgard and a dog's head for Teck. In 1693 the arms were further divided after the acquisition of the Lordship Heidenheim, incorporating the heathen's head, both on the shield and on an additional helmet. Later 18th century additions were made for Limpurg, Justingen and Bönnigheim, making the arms rather complicated, but typical for the baroque era. The newly formed Kingdom of Württemberg continued this line by adding Ellwangen, Schwäbisch Hall and Tübingen as quarters and combining the arms of Württemberg with the three lions of Schwaben on an escutcheon. Schwaben was added as a larger territorial symbol. No helmets were used, but instead the shield was covered with a royal crown, a lion and a deer were used as supporters (representing Schwaben and Württemberg). For practical reasons, since 1817 smaller arms were used, which were Württemberg paled with Schwaben (see main picture above). A new motto was added, Furchtlos und Treu (Fearless and Loyalty). These arms were used until 1922.

The arms of 1922 were quartered of the old Württemberg arms and the banner of Württemberg, no other territorial arms were included. As supporters two deer were used. In 1933 the motto was re-introduced, but the semi-independence was lost. After the second world war the area was split in Württemberg-Baden and Südwürttemberg-Hohenzollern. The latter used the arms of the Free State until 1952 when the two territories were combined to Baden-Württemberg. The antler as a symbol of Württemberg is widely used in Civic Heraldry in the former Kingdom, such as in the arms of Altensteig, Asperg, Backnang, Balingen, Blaubeuren, Dornstetten, Ebingen, Enzweihingen, Freudenstadt, Gerlingen, Grötzingen, Göppingen, Heiningen, Hettingen, Heubach, Horrheim, Ilsfeld, Kleingartach, Metzingen, Mundelsheim, Sindelfingen and many others.[6]

Kings of Württemberg, 1806–1918

In 1803, the Duke of Württemberg was raised to the rank of Elector of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. In 1806, the Empire was dissolved, and the Elector of Württemberg became an independent monarch with the title of King.

  • Friedrich, ruled from 1 January 1806 to 30 October 1816
    • The first and only Elector of Württemberg from 25 February 1803 to 6 August 1806
  • Wilhelm I., ruled from 30 October 1816 to 25 June 1864
  • Karl, ruled from 25 June 1864 to 6 October 1891
    • Because of the alliance, Württemberg took Prussia's side in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871. At the end of October 1870, the king withdrew to Friedrichshafen and in October 1870, signed one of the November treaties, joining the North German Confederation. He became a subordinate ruler in the German Empire after the Unification of Germany in 1871.
  • Wilhelm II., ruled from 6 October 1891 to 30 November 1918

External links


  1. Wurtemberg, Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions
  2. Conradin, Duke of Swabia
  3. Kingdom of Württemberg
  4. Württemberg, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  5. Baden-Württemberg, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  6. Württemberg, Heraldry of the World