The Kingdom of Westphalia, 1807-1813

On July 7th 1807, in the PEACE OF TILSIT Prussia had to cede all its territories left of the Elbe river. Napoleon created the KINGDOM OF WESTPHALIA by merging a number of hitherto independent territories (the Duchies of Braunschweig and Anhalt, the County of Hessen-Kassel) with former Prussian territories. He allocated the kingdom to his brother JEROME BONAPARTE. The capital of the state was Kassel.
On August 28th 1907 a regency consisting of councillors Simeon, Beugnot, Jollivet and Lagrange was established at Kassel. King Jerome arrived on Dec. 7th 1807.
In December 1807, the Kingdom of Westphalia joined the Confederation of the Rhine. In 1810, the Kingdom of Westphalia covered an area of 1.143 square miles, had 2,612,000 inhabitants and an armed force of 25,000 men.
Jerome was nicknamed "König Lustigk" (jolly king); he introduced reforms based on the French model, such as the abolition of privileges of nobility and the introduction of the Code Napoleon. A Westphalian constitution, written in Paris and mailed to Jerome, was promulgated on Nov. 16th 1807. On Dec. 1st 1808 Jerome granted full emancipation to the Jews living in the kingdom. Freedom to chose/maintain one's religious belief was introduced. Under Jerome, convents were dissolved, their property confiscated. The country was reorganized into departements, according to the French model.
Jerome tried to make Kassel a cultural center; Jakob Grimm worked here as a librarian; here in Kassel the Grimm brothers began the publication of their fairytale collection. Beethoven was invited to compose at the court at Kassel; he contemplated taking up the offer when he got a better one.
The Kingdom was an artificial creation, lacking common tradition and cohesion. It was administrated by the French, and preceived by it's "citizens" as an abnormality. Coincidentally, most of historic Westphalia lay outside the borders of the new kingdom, while it covered a lot of territory historically not part of Westphalia. The kingdom had Estates, which consisted of 70 representatives of landowners, 15 of factory owners and merchants, 15 of scholars and of persons of merit. Every 3 years a third was to be reelected; the country was divided in 8 departements. The estates met in 1808 and 1810.
In 1809, the Kingdom was the scene of Captain von Dörnberg's short-lived rebellion.
Jerome's lavish lifestyle, in addition to drafting all young men into the army, proved a heavy burden on the country.
In 1810 France annexed a large stretch of territory of northwestern Germany, including the Osnabrück region which since 1808 made out a part of the Kingdom of Westphalia; the latter was compensated by the annexion of parts of the Duchy of Hannover.
Westphalians pressed into the army fought in the Peninsular Campaign (Spain) in 1809 and made up a considerable part of Napoleon's GRANDE ARMEE that invaded Russia in 1812. Jerome joined the expedition as a military commander.
After the Battle of Leipzig 1813, Jerome went into exile; his kingdom was dissolved by the Vienna Congress.

Königreich Westphalen, German language site
Biography of Jerome Bonaparte, from, from Napoleon Guide , by A. Kopp, scroll down; from Histofig, in French
On the Royal Ordre de Westphalie, from , encyclopedic information
Article Westphalia, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition; has paragraph on Kgd. of Westphalia, esp. church policy
Kingdom of Westphalia : Uniforms, from Histofig, very detailed information on Westphalian Regiments and the various uniforms
The Peninsular Campaign 1809, from Histofig, mentions Westphalian participation
Francois Hary, Les Westphaliens sous le premier empire, from Histofig
Andreas Kopp, Westfalen und Kleve-Berg im Peninsular War, from Histofig, in German
Kingdom of Westphalia : the Army, from Histofig
Westphalia, from French Heraldry : Napoleonic titles : Kings, scroll down
Biography of Jerome Bonaparte, in : Biographies of the IIr Corps commanders from, scroll down
DOCUMENTS Portrait of Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, from Art istocracy, another one also from Art Istocracy; one more from Napoleonic Gallery, scroll down; official portrait by Baron Gerard, from joconde
Image of an 1812 coin of the Kingdom of Westphalia from Coins of the French Revolution and the First Empire
Medals of Westphalia, from Will Shade's Medal Collection
Jerome Bonaparte, His Death and Wives, obituary from The Living Age, Vol.66, Aug. 4th, 1860, posted at Cornell
Image : Jerome Bonaparte, from Costumes Francaise: The Reign of Napoleon, print
Flag of the Kingdom of Westphalia, from FOTW
Excerpt from a letter by Napoleon to his brother Jerome, Nov. 15th 1807, from Reading List S. Heathor
Map : frontieres de la France en 1789, 1797, 1811, 1814, 1815, from Histofig
Westphalian constitution of Nov. 16th, 1807, extract, from French Heraldry, in French
Map : Central Europe 1812, posted by The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Rheinbund statistics of 1810, from Napoleon Online
Correspondence de Napoleon : l'Empire : Westphalie,
Novembre 1807 Nov. 15th 1807 : A Jerome, sending the constitution July 1809 Schönbrunn, July 17th 1809 : A Jerome, demanding troops
Schönbrunn, July 25th 1809 : A Jerome
Imprimes de travail du Conseil d'Etat [1800-1814], from, search for "westphalie", (10 docs)
13-09-1810 Projet de decret tendant a reunir en societes les titulaires de dotations sur la Westphalie, le Hanovre et les provinces de Bayreuth, Erfurt et Fulde - No.2121. Jaubert
22-09-1810 Projet de decret tendant a reunir en societe les titulaires de dotations sur la Westphalie, le Hanovre et les provinces de Bayreuth, Erfurt et Fulde, pour la jouissance des biens affectes a leurs dotations - No.2121. Redaction adoptee dans la seance du 18 septembre Pas d'auteur
20-06-1811 Projet de decret relatif a la gestion des dotations de 4e et 5e classes, dans la partie de la Westphalie qui a ete reunie a la France - No.2397. Regnaud de Saint Jean d'Angely
20-06-1811 Projet de decret tendant a fixer la retenue a exercer sur le produit des dotations de 4e et 5e classes en Westphalie - No,2396. Regnaud de Saint Jean d'Angely
22-10-1811 Projet de decret relatif a la gestion des dotations de 4e et 5e classes, dans la partie de la Westphalie qui a ete reunie a la France - No.2397. Regnaud de Saint Jean d'Angely
22-10-1811 Observations sur le projet de decret relatif a la gestion des dotations de quatrieme et cinquieme classes dans les parties de la Westphalie reunies a l'Empire - No.2397. Pas d'auteur
11-11-1811 Rapports et projets de decret sur l'abolition de la feodalite dans les departements de l'Ems Superieur, des Bouches du Weser et des Bouches de l'Elbe - No.2455. Delamalle
07-08-1812 Rapport et projet de decret relatifs aux habitants des departements hanseatiques qui ont des proprietes sur le territoire westphalien - No.2667. Fievee
12-10-1812 Rapport et projet d'avis relatifs a la correspondance des procureurs imperiaux avec les tribunaux etrangers limitrophes - No.2702. Boulay
08-02-1813 Rapport et projet d'avis relatifs a un decret de Sa Majeste le Roi de Westphalie, qui assujettit les possesseurs de redevances foncieres a prendre inscription hypothecaire contre les debiteurs desdites redevances - No.2794. Delamalle
Westphalia, Coins : : coins, click on westphalia, individual coin
Memoirs of Baron Marbot, Book 2 ch.45, from Napoleonic Literature; a revolt against Jerome under Col. Derneberg (von Dörnberg), 1809, scroll down to bottom
Documents upon the Peace of Tilsit, 1807, from
Schreiben Napoleons vom 15. November 1807 an seinen Bruder Jerome, from PSM - Data Geschichte
Schreiben Jerome Bonapartes an Napoleon vom 5. 12. 1811, from PSM - Data Geschichte
Der preussische Offizier Johann von Borcke über die Rückkehr des Kurfürsten von Hessen-Kassel im Jahre 1813, from PSM - Data Geschichte
Medals : Creation of the Kingdom of Westphalia, Marriage of Westphalia, from Napoleonic Medals : Prussian Campaign by Fortiter, scroll down
Medal Mint Visits by the Westphalian Monarchs, from Napoleonic Medals : Mint Visits, scroll down
The Kingdom of Westphalia, from
REFERENCE Hugo Brunner, Geschichte der Stadt Cassel (History of Kassel), Kassel : Pillardy & Augustin 1913; in German

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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