Pfalz, 1648-1742

The PFALZGRAFEN (in Engl. : Counts Palatine) were among the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire and thus had an exalted position among Germany's many princes. In effect they had long been promoted dukes, but as count was part of their title, it stuck. In the history of the dynasty, the territory has repeatedly been split into several lines; the main line would govern the KURPFALZ (Electorate Palatinate). Her capital was HEIDELBERG. Other sidelines included PFALZ-SULZBACH, PFALZ-NEUBURG, PFALZ-VELDENZ, PFALZ-ZWEIBRÜCKEN. The line of Pfalz-Simmern was Calvinist; the population of the territory split in Calvinist, Catholic and Lutheran communities.
With the TREATY OF WESTPHALIA (1648) the period of Bavarian occupation ended and the county reverted to the dynasty. In 1685 the line of Pfalz-Simmern went extinct and was succeeded by the line of Pfalz-Neuburg, who also were dukes of JÜLICH and BERG. The Dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg were Catholic; in the RECESS OF SCHWÄBISCH-HALL (1685) they promised to respect the confession of the various communities within the territory. However, King Louis XIV. of FRANCE contested the Neuburg inheritance; the WAR OF PALATINE SUCCESSION (1688-1697), in English often referred to as the War of the League of Augsburg or the War of the Grand Alliance, unfolded. The magnificent Heidelberg castle was besieged and taken by French troops (1689), most of the territory annexed in what the French called REUNIONs. Heidelberg again was destroyed in 1693. France faced a coalition of enemies and, in the TREATY OF RIJSWIJK 1697, had to return the territory of the occupied Pfalz. Meanwhile the French had enforced the COUNTERREFORMATION while they had been in control, converting or forcing part of the Calvinist and Lutheran population to emigrate. Emigrants settled a.o. in PRUSSIA and in PENNSYLVANIA (since 1683). The Catholic Dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg also, against treaties, favoured Catholicism.
In the WAR OF SPANISH SUCCESSION 1700-1714, Duke JOHANN WILHELM allied himself with the Emperor; in 1708 the Emperor returned the OBERPFALZ (since 1648 held by Bavaria) to the Counts Palatinate; in the TREATY OF RASTATT 1714, however, it had to be returned to Bavaria. Duke KARL PHILIPP (1716-1742) signed the UNION OF THE HOUSE OF WITTELSBACH (1724) with Bavaria, ending a century of hostility between the two lines of the dynasty, Pfalz and Bavaria. In the WAR OF POLISH SUCCESSION, the Pfalz remained neutral. In 1720 - the city of Heidelberg still had not fully recovered from the war - he began with the construction of the new residence at MANNHEIM.

Counts/Dukes of Pfalz
Karl Ludwig von Pfalz-Simmern (1648-1680)
Karl von Pfalz-Simmern (1680-1685)
Philipp Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg (1685-1690)
Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg (1690-1716)
Karl Philipp von Pfalz-Neuburg (1716-1742)

The history of the Castle and City of Heidelberg from 1100-1900, from The Tradition Shop
Kurpfalz, from Alexander Schweickert, in German
Elisabeth Charlotte, Herzogin von Orleans (Liselotte von der Pfalz), from Virtuelle Bibliothek Geschichte, Univ. Heidelberg, collection of links, site in German; linked files in German, French or English
Virtual Library - Geschichte der Kurpfalz, links, in German
DOCUMENTS Map of the Palatinate, c. 1650, from Hometown Origin of German Ancestors, Palatinate Area
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.249-252
Coins of Pfalz 1601-1700, in Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Seventeenth Century 1601-1700, 2nd ed., 2000, pp.641-649
Coins of Pfalz, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1997, p.438-447

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

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