The Princebishopric of Cologne, 1723-1815

The Archbishop of Cologne, territorial ruler over a strip of land on the left bank of the lower Rhine, over the VEST RECKLINGHAUSEN and the DUCHY OF WESTFALEN (but not of the city of Cologne herself, which was an immediate city), was one of the 7 (later 9) electors of the Holy Roman Empire. The residence of the archbishops was BONN.
In 1723 CLEMENS AUGUST OF BAVARIA was elected archbishop; he already was bishop of Münster and Paderborn (since 1718), was elected bishop of Hildesheim (1723) and of Osnabrück (1728) thus unifying the complex of ecclesiastic states in northwestern Germany under his rule (until 1761). He had numerous palaces built and lived the lifestyle of a baroque prince - hunting, palace life, mistress. He allied himself with France; during the SEVEN YEARS WAR he lost control of much of his Westfalian territories. The castle in Arnsberg was destroyed in 1762, by French troops (allied to the princebishop).
His successor in Cologne, MAXIMILIAN FRIEDRICH VON KÖNIGSEGG-ROTHENFELS, was elected in Münster in 1762. The chapters of Osnabrück, Padeborn and Hildesheim, this time, elected other bishops. Duting his reign, the JESUIT ORDER was suppressed (1773). In 1774 an Academy was established in Bonn (inheriting the facilities of the Jesuits), which in 1786 was transformed into a universoty.
Under MAXIMILIAN FRANZ OF AUSTRIA a policy of reform was pursued, particularly in the area of education (NORMALSCHULE). In 1786 the three Rhenian archbishops signed the EMS PUNCTATION, a document in which the German Catholic church distanced herself from Rome and demanded numerous reforms. In 1797, the population was - without Recklinghausen and Westfalen - 199,000.
In 1794 the land to the left of the Rhine was occupied by French forces and soon turned into the RHENIAN REPUBLIC (1795). The archbishop's administration moved to the right bank of the Rhine - the chapter to Arnsberg, the government to Recklinghausen, the Chamber to Brilon. A plan to merge the Westfalian territories of Cologne with Münster failed to materialize, as both territories were subject to SECULARIZATION in 1802/03. The Vest Recklinghausen was annexed by the Duchy of Aremberg, the Duchy of Westphalia by HESSEN-DARMSTADT. In 1811 the Vest was annexed by the GRAND DUCHY OF BERG. After the war the territory was allocated to PRUSSIA.

Princebishops of Cologne
Clemens August von Bayern (1718-1761)
Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels (1761-1784)
Maximilian Franz von Österreich (1784-1801)
Anton Viktor von Österreich (1801-1802)

Article Cologne from Catholic Encyclopedia
Illustrated biography of Clemens August, from Schloss Clemenswerth, in German
DOCUMENTS List of Princebishops, from Regnal Chronologies and from Thomas Höckmann
Map of the Princebishopric Cologne in 1789, posted by Thomas Höckmann, in German, has also maps on Duchy of Westfalen and Vest Recklinghausen 1789; another map 1789, posted on The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Map : Westphalia in 1803, posted by The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Map : Central Europe 1812, posted by The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Coat of Arms, Archbishop Clemens August, c. 1760, from Heraldica
Article Erzstift Cöln, Rechlinghausen / Recklinghausen, Westphalen, from Zedlers Universallexikon, 1730es, posted by Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, in German, 18th century font
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.173, 398-399
Coins of the Princebishopric of Cologne, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1887, pp.326-332 (including coins minted by the city of Cologne and by the Cathdral Chapter)

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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