1648-1736 1815-1866

Hessen-Kassel, 1736-1815

In 1736 the counties HANAU-LICHTENBERG and HANAU-MÜNZENBERG were added to Hessen-Kassel territory.
In 1740 and 1755, subsidy treaties were signed with Britain; Hessian mercenaries were to fight for England. In 1720 Landgrave Frederick became King of Sweden; Sweden and Hessen-Kassel were thus technically united in Personal Union (1730-1751; as Sweden at that time was ruled by the Estates and the king a largely symboluc figure, the personal union was irrelevant). Landgrave Frederick had Hessen-Kassel administrated by his brother Wilhelm.
Stadholder Wilhelm cut down on the expenses of the court; he terminated ambitious construction projects. Subsidy treaties with foreign governments (to which Hessen-Kassel leased her regiments) made the administration independent of the Estates. A new guild ordinnance was introduced, as was a Gewerbestatistik (taxation and economic enterprises statistics).
In 1749 it became publicly known, that Friedrich, son of stadholder Wilhelm and heir to the throne, had converted to Catholicism. He signed a document in which he declared his belief a personal matter and assured the county's Lutheran confession (ASSEKURANZAKTE, 1754). Hessen Kassel suffered severely in the SEVEN YEARS WAR, in which it sided with Britain and Prussia; it was occupied by the French between Sept. 1757 and March 1758, again from July 1758 to the winter, from April to August 1759.. In 1761, the church of Hersfeld was burnt by the French. During the war, Hessen-Kassel contributed 16.000-23.000 men to the Anglo-Prussian army. During Friedrich's rule (1760-1785; he returned in 1763), Hessen-Kassel 'leased' her soldiers to Britain (1776 and following); about 17,000 Hessians fought the rebels in the WAR OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE - Count Friedrich 'earned' 20 million Thalers. His banker, since 1783, was Frankfurt Jew MEYER AMSCHEL ROTHSCHILD; by clever management of the fund he and his sons made Friedrich's successor, WILHELM IX., one of the wealthiest monarchs of his time.
Friedrich introduced a Cabinet in 1764. Kassel's fortifications - they had proven ineffective during the Seven Years' War - were razed in 1767. Friedrich II. supported arts and sciences; he founded an ACADEMY OF THE ARTS in 1777, a MUSEUM in 1769-1779, the Societe des Antiquites de Cassel (Society of Antiquities of Cassel) in 1777. His successor WILHELM IX. had SCHLOSS WILHELMSHÖHE built (1786-1803); he cut back on the lavish court held by his father. In 1786, torture and lotteries were abolished.
In the REICHSDEPUTATIONSHAUPTSCHLUSS of 1803, Hessen-Kassel gained territory and was promoted an ELECTORATE. On Nov. 1st 1806 Elector Wilhelm departed from Kassel; French troops occupied the city. On Nov. 2nd, General Lagrange, Governor General, confiscated arsenal and treasury. The Treaty of Tilsit 1807 July 6th formally deposed Elector Wilhelm and created the KINGDOM OF WESTPHALIA (2.1 million inh.), for Napoleon's brother Jerome, who resided in Kassel. In 1809 Hessian officer WILHELM KASPAR FERDINAND VON DÖRNBERG started a rebellion, which was suppressed. In 1813 the county was restored, in 1815 it gained the greater part of the abbey of FULDA.
Wilhelm vehemently opposed the French Revolution and the reforms introduced by Napoleon. He had the conditions of 1806 reintroduced; Hessian soldiers even were compelled to again wear braids.

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Hessia (-Kassel). Short info about Hessia, from Franken
Vom "populus Hassiorum" zu "Greater Hesse", from Hesseninformationen in German
Geschichte der Stadt Kassel, from kassel.de, in German
Article Hesse, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1910 edition
Landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel, from Thomas Höckmann, maps, links, in German
Die Kurhessische Landesgeschichte in Kürze, by Hans-Dieter Scholz
Chronicle of Scholarly Societies founded in 1760-1779, from Scholarly Societies Project
On the Hessian force in the Seven Years War : Siebenjähriger Krieg, from Preussen Web, in German
DOCUMENTS Hessen-Kassel in 1789, from Thomas Höckmann
Coins of Hesse-Cassel, from Napoleonic Medals
Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, from warflags.com
Treaty between the King of Great Britain and the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel, 9 May 1740, from Documents and German History
Translation of a treaty between his Majesty and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, 15 Hanuary 1776, from Documents and German History
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.207-208
Coins of Hessen-Kassel, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1997, pp.367-374
Karl E. Demandt, Geschichte des Landes Hessen (History of the Land of Hessen), Kassel : Bärenreiter 1959, in German
Hugo Brunner, Geschichte der Stadt Cassel (History of Kassel), Kassel : Pillardy & Augustin 1913; in German
Fritz Wolff, Absolutismus und Aufklärung in Hessen-Kassel, 1730-1786 (Absolutism and Enlightenment in H.-K.), pp.133-144 in : Uwe Schultz (ed.), Die Geschichte Hessens, Stuttgart : Konrad Theiss 1983, in German
Frederic Morton, The Rothschilds, NY : Kodansha 1961, pp.15-50

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on January 15th 2007

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