Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire
Sacrum Imperium Romanum (Latin)
Heiliges Römisches Reich (German)
800/962[a]–1806
Flag
Imperial Banner
(c. 1430–1806)
Coat of arms of Francis II
Coat of arms of
Francis II
     The Holy Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the early to middle 13th century during the Hohenstaufen dynasty (1155–1268) superimposed on modern state borders.
CapitalNo official capital, various imperial seats[b]
LanguagesLatin (administrative/liturgical/ceremonial)
Various[c]
ReligionRoman Catholicism (800–1806)
Lutheranism (1555–1806)
Calvinism (1648–1806)


see details
GovernmentElective monarchy
Emperor
 • 800–814Charlemagne[a]
 • 962–973Otto I (first)
 • 1792–1806Francis II (last)
LegislatureImperial Diet
Historical eraMiddle Ages
Early modern period
 • Charlemagne is crowned Emperor of the Romans[a]25 December 800
 • Otto I is crowned Emperor of the Romans2 February 962
 • Conrad II assumes crown of Burgundy2 February 1033
 • Peace of Augsburg25 September 1555
 • Peace of Westphalia24 October 1648
 • Battle of Austerlitz2 December 1805
 • Francis II abdicated6 August 1806
Population
 • 1200 est.5,000,000[2] 
 • 1500 est.16,000,000[3][4] 
 • 1618 est.21,000,000[5] 
 • 1648 est.16,000,000[5] 
 • 1786 est.26,265,000[6] 
Preceded by
Succeeded by
East Francia
Kingdom of Germany
Kingdom of Italy
Dutch Republic
Old Swiss Confederacy
Kingdom of Prussia
Austrian Empire
Confederation of the Rhine
The Holy Roman Empire should not be mistaken for the Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, or in the 15th century: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation) was a group of regions and free cities in central Europe which all came under the rule of an emperor who was elected by the princes and magistrates of the regions and cities within the empire. When Charlemagne died, his Frankish Empire was given to his children and divided into three different countries: West Francia, Lotharingia and East Francia. The Holy Empire started when Otto I of East Francia became emperor in 962, and it was ended by Napoleon in 1806. The emperors claimed to be heirs of Charlemagne and that the Empire dates from 800, when Charlemagne became Frankish Emperor.

In the 16th century the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) had to deal with the rebellion of the Frisians lead by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijerd Jelckama. This lasted from 1515 until 1523.

In the 17th century the Empire was shattered by the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Nearly thirty percent of the population of the Empire was killed. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation lost parts of its territory.

Until the 13th century, the Holy Roman Empire was powerful. Later, all the duchies and counties inside the Empire started to get more power. At the end, the emperors had little real power anymore, and the country existed only in name. The last emperor abolished the empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Voltaire, a French philosopher in the 18th century, once joked that the nation was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

Overview

The Holy Roman Empire was not a highly centralized state like most countries today. Instead, it was divided into dozens – eventually hundreds – of individual entities governed by kings, dukes, counts, bishops, abbots, and other rulers. They were collectively known as princes. There were also some areas ruled directly by the Emperor. At no time could the Emperor simply issue decrees and govern autonomously over the Empire. His power was severely restricted by the various local leaders.

The Empire was in fact Germanic and not Roman since it was mainly in the regions of present-day Germany and Austria. It was not really holy since after 1530, no emperors were crowned by the Pope; the last being Charles V. It was only really an Empire by name: the territories it covered were mostly independent. The Empire had its own central government and armed forces that acted as one. It was ruled by the House of Habsburg before that fell in 1806. Napoleon forced the emperor to abdicate when France began invading the Holy Roman Empire during the First French Empire. The Emperor made himself emperor of Austria and ended the Holy Roman Empire.

The Empire was one of the rare countries in Europe that had an elective monarchy. This meant that the Emperor was chosen by a small group of Prince-electors. Common practice was to just elect the deceased Emperor or Empress 's heir to the throne.

A map of the empire.
Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сьвятая Рымская імпэрыя
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sṳ̀n-sṳn Lò-mâ Ti-koet
Bahasa Indonesia: Kekaisaran Romawi Suci
interlingua: Sacre Imperio Roman
Lingua Franca Nova: Impero Roman Santa
Bahasa Melayu: Empayar Suci Rom
Nedersaksies: Heilige Roomse Riek
Nordfriisk: Hilag Röömsk Rik
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Muqaddas Rim imperiyasi
Piemontèis: Imperi Roman Sacrà
slovenščina: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sveto Rimsko Carstvo
татарча/tatarça: İzge Rim imperiäse
West-Vlams: Illig Rôoms Ryk