Holy Roman Empire –

Speaking of the Holy Roman Empire takes us back to the Middle Ages and remained in force until the beginning of the Contemporary Age, specifically, it began in the 10th century and lasted 850 years until its dissolution in 1806, under the conquest of Europe by Napoleon. . As a first curiosity, did you know that this empire is known as the First Reich? In this article you will be able to know the origin of this peculiar name, demographically what this Empire consisted of and at a political level who were the rulers and what conflicts they faced.

Origin of the name of the Holy Roman Empire

The name of Holy Roman German Empire It has its origin in the attempt of the rulers of the time to continue and take over the Carolingian Empire, led by Kings Pepin the Short and Charlemagne. As an aside, let’s make a reminder of this time: Charlemagne He came to be named “Emperor who governs the Roman Empire” and built an empire that -although it did not conquer all the territory of the current countries that we are going to name, will make you imagine with good precision its extension- Spain , France, Germany, northern Italy and Austria, an empire that disappeared under the Treaty of Verdun in the year 843.

Bearing this in mind, we can understand that the fact that it received the term “empire” was due to a desire to preserve the prestige that was granted to the ancient Roman Empire, the Germanic term because -although the empire was formed by the union of multiple kingdoms – the beginning had been Germania, like the term sacrum He made reference to the fact that his existence had a divine legitimacy. Variations of his name were:

  • Roman Empire, from the 11th century
  • Holy Roman Empire, from the 13th century
  • Holy Roman Empire, from the 15th century

As we mentioned before, it has been called the First Reich on several occasions since it would be the “first empire” German. The Second Reich would be the Bismarckian Empire that began in 1871 until 1918, coinciding with the end of World War I; and the Third Reich that lasted from 1933 to May 8, 1945, is the time of Nazism.

History Holy Roman Empire

With the Treaty of Verdun the Carolingian Empire is divided into three kingdoms: Kingdom of Carlos Calvo, kingdom of Lothair and kingdom of Luis the Germanic. The latter, the Germanic kingdom, was divided into five duchies that had self-government and that were Franconia, Lorraine, Saxony, Swabia and Bavaria; this kingdom would be the one that would become the Holy Roman Empire. The Carolingian Empire was not going through its best moment, since the power of the nobility was added to the invasions they suffered from other foreign peoples (such as the Hungarians or the Normans).

After the death of the last of the Carolingian kings, Louis IV the Child, the nobility chose Henry I of Saxony to be king. the successor was Otto I (936-973), a great admirer of Charlemagne, and who was considered the initiator of the Holy Roman Empire, strongly defending the kingdom from foreign invasions as well as struggling with the ambitions of the nobility. He tried to make the nobles loyal to the king, but there were constant revolts that challenged his authority, so he understood that he could not rely on them to consolidate his power. In this way, the Church became the best option to find allies against the German nobility.

This link with the church led to victories for both sides: the bishops became officials of the state with more land, counting on the support of the ruler against the nobles, while Otto I defeated the Hungarians at the Battle of Lech ( year 955). In the year 961, Otto I helped Pope John XII against the Italian King Berengar II and named himself King of Italy. This fact derived that in the year 962 he was crowned as Emperor in Rome in the year 962, other achievements were also added to this title such as the conquest of multiple territories (such as northern Italy), the arrest or brake of the invasion of foreigners, just as it had reduced the power of the nobles. With his new title, Otto I claimed the power to appoint the Supreme Pontiff and intervene in the selection of bishops. In this way, the church and the German emperors were intrinsically linked.

After the death of Otto I, he was succeeded by Otto II (967-983) and Otto III (996-1002). Both monarchs continued the legacy of Otto I, maintaining the characteristics of his reign: to strengthen the conquered kingdoms, stop the uprisings of the monarchy, stop the invaders and strengthen ties with the church. The intimate union that was maintained between the church and the Empire led to Rome was appointed as the capital of the kingdom.

Throughout its history it was ruled by four dynasties: the Saxony, the Franconia, the Hohenstaufens and the Habsburgs.

We have to move to the year 1648, when the decline of the Empire begins to take place with the Peace of Westphalia. Three agreements are included under this name: Peace of Münster, between the Netherlands and Spain; Treaty of Münster, between the Holy Roman Emperor, France, and her allies; and Treaty of Osnabrück, between the Empire, Sweden and other Protestant allies. The Peace of Westphalia is as if a new order had been established that meant that the resulting states had more autonomy, established new alliances between states independently and that they had both religious and political freedom. Thus, the Holy Roman Empire became a confederation of states that were no longer cohesive and became rivals with each other.

This article is only a brief introduction to the beginning and end of the Holy Roman Empire, but in this video you can learn more about more interesting and historical facts about this empire: