The Principality of East Frisia, 1654-1744

In 1654, the County of Ostfriesland (=East Frisia), which suffered severely from military occupation during the 30 YEARS WAR, was elevated to a principality. The power of the counts/princes is limited by that of the ESTATES. In 1663 the so-called FINAL RECESS was signed by prince and estates, regulating both sides' authority. In 1663, Ostfriesland was invaded by troops of the Princebishop of Muenster; they were expelled by Dutch troops.
The city of EMDEN was the strongest supporter of the estates; Emden, where numerous Dutch refugees had settled, was a Calvinist Dutch speaking city in those days (the principality, on the other hand, was Lutheran). In the 1670es the overseas trade of Emden peaked. In the years 1672 to 1676, when the Dutch Republic was at war with France, Britain, Sweden and Muenster, Ostfriesland was repeatedly invaded; many wealthy families emigrated into the Republic.
In 1665, Prince Georg Christian died; the attempt of his widow CHRISTINE CHARLOTTE to rule absolute failed. With the Princess and the Estates in conflict, Emperor Leopold established a CONSERVATORY (1682) consisting of the Bishop of Münster, the Elector of Brandenburg and the Count Palatine of Neuburg; Friedrich Wilhelm, the Great Elector, established a garrison and admiralty in Emden. Emden was an important factor in the Great Elector's colonial policy.
With both the prince and the estates claiming to represent the territory, the treaty of 1691 signed between Prince Christian Eberhard and the Duke of Braunschweig-Calenberg (since 1692 Elector) was neither recognized by the Brandenburgers, nor by the Estates, nor by the Emperor, who in 1694 recognized the Brandenburg claim on Ostfriesland in case the line of the Princes of Ostfriesland would end.
In 1717 East Frisia suffered a devastating flood, which killed 2.752 men.
In 1720 chancellor ENNO RUDOLPH BRENNEYSEN again wants to strengthen the princes' authority at the expense of the Estates. A SECRET COUNCIL was founded. Yet the Estates continued to resist; in 1726-1727 a violent conflict, the so-called APPELLKRIEG broke out. The princely party was successful, but the Emperor sided with the Estates.
In 1744 the last prince, CARL EDZARD, passed away. Prussian troops occupied the territory, which became part of the territorial complex usually referred to as the Kingdom in Prussia.

Princes of East Frisia
Enno Ludwig (1654-1662)
Georg Christian (1662-1665)
Christine Charlotte (1665-1690)
Christian Eberhard (1690-1708)
Georg Albrecht (1708-1734)
Carl Edzard (1734-1744)

Geschichte der Stadt Emden, from emden.net, in German
DOCUMENTS Flags, Principality of East Frisia 1654-1744 from FOTW
Rulers of Ostfriesland, from Biermann Family History
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.414-416
Coins of East Friesland 1601-1700, from Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Seventeenth Century 1601-1700, 2nd ed., 2000, pp.442-445; pp.449-450 coins issued by the city of Emden
Coins of East Friesland, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1887, pp.335-338; p.340 coins issuec by the city of Emden

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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