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History

Table of Contents

History of:

  1. Baden
  2. Württemberg
  3. Baden-Württemberg

1. History of Baden

In the 12th century, the Zähringer family, who had been margraves of Baden since 1112, owned counties in Breisgau and in the Ortenau, the stronghold of Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden was formerly called simply "Baden"), plus Backnang and Besigheim. In the 13th century, they had acquired Pforzheim, Durlach, Ettlingen and Alt-Eberstein. Further territorial additions and strict administration turned Baden into a considerable state by the 15th century. The division of 1535 brought about the emergence of two smaller states, Baden-Baden, of the Catholic line, and Baden-Durlach, of the Evangelical line. Karl Friedrich (1738/46-1811) reunited Baden in 1771 and inaugurated countless reforms in accordance with the principles of Englightened Despotism. In league with France, he achieved expansion of Baden from 3600 square kilometers with about 175,000 inhabitants in 1803 to 15,000 square kilometers and almost a million inhabitants in 1810.

The new Grandduchy of Baden (after 1806) received a new government and administrative organization and in 1810, land reform after the French model. The constitution of 1818 and elective legislature were models for early German constitutionalism. The lower chamber was virtually a school for the Liberal-Nationalist movement. In April and September of 1848 it came to rebellion under the leadership of the Left (F. Hecker, G. Struve) and in May of 1849, with the installation of a republican regime, it came to revolution, which Prussian troops had to put down. After the period of reaction, the "New Era", 1860-66, brought an attempt to form a liberal, parliamentary regime (Ministers Lamey, Roggenbach). In 1866 Baden turned back to constitutional ways (Ministers Mathey, Jolly), under Friedrich I (1856-1907) and Friedrich II (1907-18), who reigned with the benefit of Nationalist and Liberal support.

In 1870-1, Baden actively participated in the founding of the new German Empire. The cultural struggle, which lasted until the First World War, reached its peak in the years 1864-76. The great bloc (1905-17) of Liberals, Democrats and revisionist Socialists rose against the Zentrum (Center, the strongest party after 1905).

The constitution of 1919 resulted in annual election of a member of the regional parliament to the state presidency, at the head of the regime (of Baden). Until 1929 the presidency was held by the Zentrum (strongest party), the Socialists and the Democrats.

1939 brought World War II. In 1940 an administrative union between Baden and Alsace, which had been similarly governed since 1933, was formed. In 1945, the north half of Baden came under American jurisdiction, the south under French occupation. In the autumn of 1945 followed, based on American arrangements, the formation of Württemberg-Baden. The south constituted itself as Baden. As a result of the referendum of December 6, 1951, Baden was absorbed into the new state of Baden-Württemberg on April 25, 1952.

Thanks to Rick Heli and James Blain.

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2. History of Württemberg

First recorded in 1081, Württemberg emerged as a political power out of the holdings of the Herren (Lords) von Wirdeberch in the area of the middle Neckar and the Remstal. After 1198 they profited from a dispute between the Staufers and the Guelphs and the collapse of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the mid-13th century. They acquired a considerable amount of the Staufer territories. This circumstance brought them into conflict with the Habsburgs.

In the late middle ages they strengthened their position and became the most important territorial power in Southwest Germany. Among other acquisitions was the Grafschaft Moempelgard (Montbeliard); it remained until 1801.

The family divided with one branch residing in Stuttgart and the other in Urach this weakened them and they lost their political influence. This period ended in 1482 when Graf Eberhard the Bearded, im Barte, who reigned 1459 to 1496, reunited the two parts. In 1496 Württemberg was elevated to an imperial fief, the Herzogtum Württemberg and Teck (Duchy of Württemberg). From 1520 to 1534 Württemberg was occupied by the Habsburgs. This ended with the return of the outlawed Herzog Ulrich who had reigned in 1498-1503 and 1519. Upon his return he reigned from 1534 to 1550 though Württemberg remained a fief of Habsburg until 1599.

After the French revolution was a time of radical changes in both the territorial and political situation in Europe. Württemberg, which had been ruled by Herzog Friedrich II since 1797 in a absolutist manner, gave its support to Napoleon. It was one of the states which formed the Confederation of the Rhine under the protection of Napoleon (Rheinbund 1806 to 1813). Württemberg was rewarded by elevation to the position of a sovereign kingdom as well as a sizable increase in its territory. Among the additions were Heilbronn, Hohenloher Ebene, Ellwangen, Ulm, Rottweil, parts of Oberschwaben, the Allgaeu and the "vorderösterreichischen Lande", parts of Austria. This increased the number of inhabitants from 650,000 to 1,340,000.

In 1816 Württemberg became a member of the Deutschen Bund and a member of the Deutschen Zollverein since 1834. The attempt of King Wilhelm I, who reigned from 1816 to 1864, to give Württemberg a modern constitution failed initially, due to the resistance of the estates, but succeeded in 1819. After the suppression, in 1849, of the March Revolution of 1848, the royal government returned to a system of reaction. Württemberg formed a loose coalition with Habsburg against Prussian but became in a member of the Deutschen Reich in 1871.

The last two decades of the 19th century were distinguished by increasing disputes between the newly formed Centre and Social Democratic parties and the question of the right to vote and a reform of the parliament.

In 1918 after WWI the Republic of Württemberg was proclaimed and in 1919 a new democratic constitution come into force. The government was formed by a coalition of moderate parties. In 1933 Württemberg was "gleichgeschaltet", unified, as were all the German states.

After WW II Württemberg was separated into two occupied zones, the American zone of Württemberg-Baden (the northern part including the Stuttgart area) and the French zone of Württemberg-Hohenzollern (the southern part). As a result of a referendum held on the Dec. 6th 1951 both zones and the French zone of Baden were merged into the state of Baden-Württemberg .

Thanks to Celia Mitschelen and Harm Rieper.

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3. History of Baden-WürttembergLandeswappen

Moves during 1918 and 1919 towards a merger of Baden and Württemberg remained unsuccessful. In 1945-47 the occupying powers created the lands Württemberg-Baden (US zone), Württemberg-Hohenzollern and (South-)Baden (both in the French zone).

The Basic Law of 1949 established the new German Federation which would have had jurisdiction over the question and the power to decide the fate of the lands. To avoid this and keep their fate in their own hands, the three lands agreed to a trial vote, held on September 24, 1950. The result saw a strong majority in favor of a combined "South-West-State", but in the regions of the former Baden, a small majority in favor of the pre-war borders.

Thus, on December 6, 1951, under Federal law, a referendum was held in four voting districts (North Baden, South Baden, North Württemberg and Sourth Württemberg-Hohenzollern) resulting in 69.7% in favor of the South-West-State (but in South Baden, 62.2% in favour of the old setup). Thereupon the Federal state of Baden-Württemberg was founded on April 25, 1952 with its capital at Stuttgart.

In May of 1954, the Baden-Württemberg Landtag (legislature) decided on adoption of the following coat of arms: three black lions on a golden shield, framed by a deer and a griffin. This coat of arms had once belonged to the Staufen family, emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and Dukes of Swabia. The golden deer stands for Württemberg, the griffin for Baden.

Thanks to the Translation Team

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© 1996-2001,2003 Dr. Volker Milbrandt, Norderstedt für den
Verein für Familien- und Wappenkunde in Württemberg und Baden e.V., Stuttgatrt
Letzte Änderung/Last update: 26-Sep-2003

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