1647-1743 Mainz Republic

The Princebishopric of Mainz, 1743-1815

The Archbishop of Mainz was one of the Holy Roman Empire's 7 (later 9) ELECTORS. As princebishop, he ruled over a small area around the city of Mainz, the NIEDERSTIFT, and over a considerably larger area on the banks of the Main river, around ASCHAFFENBURG - the OBERSTIFT. Further, smaller territories - ERFURT in Thuringia and the EICHSFELD belonged to Mainz.
During the SEVEN YEARS WAR (1756-1763) the archbishopric suffered foreign occupation.
Archbishop EMMERICH JOSEF VON BREITBACH (1763-1774) in 1666 abolished many church holidays and moved toward greater independence from Rome.
Archbishop FRIEDRICH KARL JOSEF VON ERTHAL (1768-1802) - he was ordained a priest only in 1774 - was a supporter of FEBRONIANISM. He signed the EMS PUNCTATION in 1785, which declared a certain degree of independence of Rome of the German church. Von Erthal practised religious toleration and hired GEORG FORSTER, a protestant, as librarian. Under von Erthal, the UNIVERSITY OF MAINZ became a center for free spirits. On the occasion of the SUPPRESSION OF THE JESUIT ORDER (1773) their confiscated property was used to improve the school system.
The administration also attempted to promote trade and industry. Stadholder Karl Theodor von Dalberg (later archbishop) established a DEPUTATION OF COMMERCE in Erfurt in 1782; Erfurt was a center of textile industry.
In 1754 the Kurmainzische Akademie Nutzlicher Wissenschaften (Electoral Mainz Academy of Useful Sciences) with seat in Erfurt was founded.

In 1792, Mainz (the territories on the left bank of the Rhine) was occupied by French forces and the MAINZ REPUBLIC proclaimed, which fell in 1793 to Imperial forces. In 1794/1795 the territories on the left bank again were occupied, in 1797 the CISRHENIAN REPUBLIC declared which was annexed by France the same year. The Mainz territories on the right bank were secularized in 1803 (REICHSDEPUTATIONSHAUPTSCHLUSS).
KARL THEODOR VON DALBERG, Archbishop of Mainz since 1802, was appointed Grand Duke of Frankfurt (a newly created statelet); he was the leading figure in the CONFEDERATION OF THE RHINE (1806-1813); German national propaganda called him the traitor from the Rhine.

Princebishops of Trier
Johann Friedrich Karl von Ostein (1743-1763)
Emmerich Josef von Breitbach (1763-1774)
Friedrich Karl Josef von Erthal (1768-1802)

Das Bistum Mainz und seine Geschichte, from Bistum Mainz in German
Biography of Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Article Mainz, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Geschichte von Erfurt - Tolle Jahre, from Thuringia Online
Chronicle of Scholarly Societies founded in 1740-1759, from Scholarly Societies Project
DOCUMENTS List of Princebishops, from Regnal Chronologies
REFERENCE Coins of Mainz, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1997, pp.406-412

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 23rd 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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