Princebishopric Basel, 1651-1736

The Princebishopric of Basel, located on the left bank of the Rhine, was a territory belonging to the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. It did not extend over the city of Basel herself, which was a member of the SWISS FEDERATION, which since 1648 no longer formed a part of the Empire. The most part of the territory was French-speaking (the "Romandie"). The bishops resided at PORRENTRUY, which Bishop BEAT ALBRECHT VON RAMSTEIN in 1650 could reenter, after the French troops had withdrawn. The ecclesiastic authority of the bishop extended over the Upper ALSACE. The Cathedral chapter, after having resided for some time in Freiburg/Breisgau, had settled at ARLESHEIM.
Although the bishops and the cathedral chapter sided with the COUNCIL OF TRENT and the JESUITS had been called in, large parts of the territory were protestant.
Since the TREATY OF WESTPHALIA (1648) the princebishopric was sandwiched between Switzerland and France, a territorial exclave of the Empire. In 1652, 1654, 1691, 1702 and 1703 the princebishops applied for membership in the Swiss Confederation - in vain (admission was denied by Switzerland's protestant cantons). The territory repeatedly saw French invasions and, particularly in the 18th century, several rebellions in the 1730es, caused bishop JOHANN KONRAD VON REINACH who curtailed the privileges of the estates with a reform aiming at centralizing the administration (1726). He also established a PRIESTS' SEMINAR (1716) and had a second residence built at DELEMONT (1716).

Princebishops of Basel
Johann Franz von Schönau (1651-1656)
Johann Konrad von Roggenbach (1656-1693)
Wilhelm Jakob Rink von Baldenstein (1692-1705)
Johann Konrad von Reinach-Hirzberg (1705-1737)

Geschichte : Das alte Bistum Basel, from Bistum Basel
Le chateau de Porrentruy, from Swiss Castles, in French, illustrated
L'Eveche de Bale : pres de huit Siecles d'Histoire Jurassienne, from Juranet
Article Basle-Lugano, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Das Fürstbistum Basel: Absolutismus (1608 - 1794), from Schweizer Familienforschung auf dem Internet, detailed timetable in German
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.279-280
Coins of Basel, 1601-1700, in Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Seventeenth Century 1601-1700, 2nd ed., 2000, pp.1156-1158
Coins of Basel, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1997, pp.1008-1012

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 3rd 2002, last revised on November 12th 2004

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