The Princebishopric of Münster, 1718-1815

In 1718 CLEMENS AUGUST VON BAYERN, son of the Duke-Elector of Bavaria, then 19 years old, was elected Princebishop of Münster. also bishop of Osnabrück (since 1728), Paderborn (since 1719), Hildesheim (since 1724) and archbishop of Cologne (since 1723). Clemens August was ordained a priest in 1725, in 1727 ordained bishop, by Pope Benedict XIII.
His architect JOHANN CONRAD SCHLAUN (1695-1773) built the hunting lodge CLEMENSWERTH (1737-1747) in the Emsland, palace NORDKIRCHEN as well as edifices in the city of Muenster.
The complex of ecclesiastic territories Clemens August ruled gave him diplomatic weight. In the SEVEN YEARS WAR he sided with France; the city of Münster had to pay heavy contributions. The city no more able to hold out in case of a siege, the walls were razed in 1759; the citadel torn down, at its place a bishop's palace was built in 1768. For most of the war Clemens August's Westphalian bishoprics were occupied by the Prussians.
In 1761 (during the Seven Years War) the English (Hannover) and the Prussians planned to secularize the princebishopric. The plan did not materialize, and in 1762 the next bishop, MAXIMILIAN FRIEDRICH VON KÖNIGSEGG-ROTHENFELS, was elected. Minister FRANZ WILHELM FREIHERR VON FÜRSTENBERG-HERDRINGEN had Münster's fortifications razed and declared her an OPEN CITY. He undertook a TAX REFORM; the lower clergy was no longer exempt from paying taxes. He undertook steps to improve the territory's schools (ordinance for high schools 1776). The JESUIT ORDER was suppressed (1773), and the Jesuit property turned into a fund of which the newly established UNIVERSITY OF MÜNSTER (1774) was financed. A SEMINARY FOR PRIESTS was established in 1774. The territory's VOLKSSCHULWESEN (primary school system) saw ordinances in 1780, 1788 and 1801. Minister von Fürstenberg-Herdringen founded a MILITARY ACADEMY, a militia, a COLLEGE OF MEDICINE.
In the 1790es, the bishopric was host to about 7000 refugees - among them more than 2000 priests and monks from the areas occupied by French troops, such as Trappists expelled from Belgium. They founded the monastery Rosenthal in Darpfeld. Münster's last princebishop, MAZ FRANZ VON ÖSTERREICH, only briefly visited Münster; he left government to minister von Fürstenberg-Herdringen.
In 1802/1803, the territory of the Princebishopric of Münster was split up, the larger share being attached to PRUSSIA, territory being carved out for the DUCHY OF ARENBERG and the LORDSHIP RHEINE-WOLBECK, the district of Vechta attached to OLDENBURG. In 1807 the Prussian territories were attached to the newly created GRAND DUCHY OF BERG (partsof the eastern Münsterland to the KINGDOM OF WESTPHALIA), in 1810 annexed by France. In 1810 the territories formerly forming the Princebishopric of Münster were divided among PRUSSIA, HANNOVER and OLDENBURG.

Princebishops of Münster
Clemens August von Bayern (1718-1761)
Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels (1762-1784)
Maximilian Franz von Österreich (1784-1801)
Anton Viktor von Österreich (1801-1802)

Article Münster from Catholic Encyclopedia
Illustrated biography of Clemens August, from Schloss Clemenswerth, in German
Chronology Fürstbistum Münster 1650-1946, by Thomas Hoeckmann, in German
Biography of Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von Fürstenberg, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Hochstift Münster, from His-Data, telegram style, in German
DOCUMENTS List of Princebishops, from Regnal Chronologies
Map of the Princebishopric Münster in 1789, posted by Thomas Höckmann, in German, has also a list of bishops; another map 1789, posted on The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Map : Hochstift Münster um 1750, from His-Data
Map : Westphalia in 1803, posted by The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Map : Departemente der Lippe, 1811, from His-Data
Map : Central Europe 1812, posted by The German Reigning Houses by Val Rozn
Coat of Arms, Bishop Clemens August, c. 1760, from Heraldica
Article Münster, 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.399
Coins of the Princebishopric of Münster, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1887, pp.420-423; p.423 coins issued by the city of Münster, pp.423-424 coins issued by Münster cathedral chapter
Heinrich Börsting, Geschichte des Bistums Münster, Bielefeld 1951

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 4th 2002, last revised on November 12th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz