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Grand Duchy of Baden (1806-1918)
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Grand Duchy of Baden
Großherzogtum Baden
Part of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813), the German Confederation (1815–1866), and the German Empire (1871–1918)
Margraviate of Baden
Flag (1891–1918) Coat of arms
Badnerlied (Unofficial)
The Grand Duchy of Baden on a section of the Travel Map of Germany from 1861
Baden, shown within the German Empire
Capital Karlsruhe
Languages (Alemannic) German
Religion Catholic, Protestant
Government Monarchy
Grand Duke of Baden
 -  1771–1811
    (first grand dukea)
Charles Frederick
 -  1907–18
    (last grand duke)
Friedrich II (died 1928)
 -  1809–10 (first) Sigismund von Reitzenstein
 -  1917–18 (last) Heinrich von und zu Bodman
Legislature Landtag
 -  Upper house Erste Kammer
 -  Lower house Zweiten Kammer
 -  Margraviate raised
    to grand duchy
 -  Joined German Emp. 1871
 -  German Revolution November 14, 1918
 -  1803 3,400 km² (1,313 sq mi)
 -  1905 15,082 km² (5,823 sq mi)
 -  1803 est. 210,000 
     Density 61.8 /km²  (160 /sq mi)
 -  1905 est. 2,009,320 
     Density 133.2 /km²  (345.1 /sq mi)
a: Karl Friedrich was Margrave of Baden-Durlach from 1746–71, when he inherited Baden-Baden, becoming Margrave of unified Baden. In 1803, support for Napoleon saw him raised to Elector of Baden. He joined the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806, when he was raised to Grand Duke of Baden.
Karlsruhe Palace, from 1718 residence of the Margraves of Baden-Durlach, from 1806 of the Grand Duchy of Baden

The Grand Duchy of Baden (German: Großherzogtum Baden) was a state in the southwest of Germany, on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918.[1]

It came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subsequently split into different lines, which were unified in 1771. It became the much-enlarged[1] Grand Duchy of Baden through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1803–06 and was a sovereign country until it joined the German Empire in 1871, remaining a Grand Duchy until 1918 when it became part of the Weimar Republic as the Republic of Baden. Baden was bordered to the north by the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt; to the west[1] and practically throughout its whole length by the River Rhine, which separated it from the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate and Alsace in modern France; to the south by Switzerland, and to the east by the Kingdom of Württemberg, the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and partly by Bavaria.

After World War II in 1945, the French military government created the state of Baden (originally known as "South Baden") out of the southern half of the former Baden, with Freiburg as capital. This southern half of Baden was declared in its 1947 constitution to be the true successor of the old Baden. The northern half of the old Baden was combined with northern Württemberg as part of the American military zone and formed the state of Württemberg-Baden. Both states became states of West Germany upon its formation in 1949.

In 1952 Baden merged with Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern (southern Württemberg and the former Prussian exclave of Hohenzollern) to form Baden-Württemberg. This is the only merger of states that has taken place in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The unofficial anthem of Baden is called "Badnerlied" (Song of the people of Baden) and consists of four or five traditional verses. However, over the years, many more verses have been added—there are collections with up to 591 verses of the anthem.


Main article: History of Baden

Baden came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subsequently split various smaller territories, which were unified in 1771. In 1803 Baden was raised to Electoral dignity within the Holy Roman Empire. Baden became the much-enlarged Grand Duchy of Baden through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. In 1815 it joined the German Confederation. During the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, Baden was a center of revolutionist activities. In 1849 it was the only German state that became a republic for a short while, under the leadership of Lorenzo Brentano. The revolution in Baden was suppressed mainly by Prussian troops.

The Grand Duchy of Baden remained a sovereign country until it joined the German Empire in 1871. After the revolution of 1918 Baden became part of the Weimar Republic as the Republic of Baden.

Constitution and Government[edit]

The Grand Duchy of Baden was a hereditary monarchy with executive power vested in the Grand Duke, while the legislative authority was shared by him with a representative assembly (Landtag) consisting of two chambers.

The upper chamber included all the princes of the ruling family of full age, the heads of all the mediatized families, the Archbishop of Freiburg, the president of the Protestant Evangelical Church of Baden, a deputy from each of the universities and the technical high school, eight members elected by the territorial nobility for four years, three representatives elected by the chamber of commerce, two by that of agriculture, one by the trades, two mayors of municipalities, and eight members (two of them legal functionaries) nominated by the Grand Duke.

The lower chamber consisted of 73 popular representatives, of whom 24 were elected by the burgesses of certain communities, and 49 by rural communities. Every citizen of 25 years of age, who had not been convicted and was not a pauper, had a vote. The elections were, however, indirect. The citizens selected the Wahlmänner (deputy electors), the latter selecting the representatives. The chambers met at least every two years. The lower chambers were elected for four years, half the members retiring every two years.

The executive consisted of four departments: The interior, foreign and grand-ducal affairs, finance, and justice, and ecclesiastical affairs and education.

The chief sources of revenue were direct and indirect taxes, the railways and domains. The railways were operated by the state, and formed the only source of major public debt, about 22 million pounds sterling.

The supreme courts lay in Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Offenburg, Heidelberg, Mosbach, Waldshut, Konstanz, and Mannheim, whence appeals passed to the Reichsgericht (the supreme tribunal) in Leipzig.


At the beginning of the 19th century, Baden was a margraviate, with an area of barely 1300 sq mi (3,400 km²) and a population of 210,000. Subsequently the grand duchy acquired more territory so that, by 1905, it had 5823 sq mi (15,082 km²)[2] and a population of 2,010,728,[2] of whom 61% were Roman Catholics, 37% Protestants, 1.5% Jews, and the remainder of other religions. Of the population about half at that time were rural, living in communities of less than 2,000, while the density of the rest was about 330/sq mi (130/km2).

The country was divided into the following districts:

The capital of the duchy was Karlsruhe, and among important towns other than the above, there were Rastatt, Baden-Baden, Bruchsal, Lahr and Offenburg. The population was most thickly clustered in the north and near the Swiss city of Basel. The inhabitants of Baden are of various origins, those to the south of Murg being descended from the Alemanni and those to the north from the Franks, while the Swabian Plateau derives its name from the adjacent German tribe (Schwaben) living in Württemberg.


Baden as it stood from 1806 to 1945:
   Grand Duchy of Baden
   Hohenzollern (part of Kingdom of Prussia from 1850)

   French Empire (Kingdom from 1814–48, etc)

The Grand Duchy had an area of 15,081 km2 (5,823 sq mi)[2] and consisted of a considerable portion of the eastern half of the fertile valley of the Rhine and of the mountains which form its boundary.

The mountainous part was by far the most extensive, forming nearly 80% of the whole area. From Lake Constance in the south to the River Neckar in the north is a portion of the Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald), which is divided by the valley of the Kinzig into two districts of different elevation. To the south of the Kinzig the mean height is 945 m (3,100 ft)), and the highest summit, the Feldberg, reaches about 1,493 m (4,898 ft), while to the north the mean height is only 640 metres (2,100 ft), and the Hornisgrinde, the culminating point of the whole, does not exceed 1,164 metres (3,819 ft). To the north of the Neckar is the Odenwald Range, with a mean of 439 metres (1,440 ft), and in the Katzenbuckel, an extreme of 603 metres (1,978 ft). Lying between the Rhine and the Dreisam is the Kaiserstuhl, an independent volcanic group, nearly 16 km in length and 8 in breadth, the highest point of which is 536 metres (1,759 ft).

The greater part of Baden belongs to the basin of the Rhine, which receives upwards of twenty tributaries from the highlands; the north-eastern portion of the territory is also watered by the Main and the Neckar. A part, however, of the eastern slope of the Black Forest belongs to the basin of the Danube, which there takes its rise in a number of mountain streams. Among the numerous lakes which belonged to the duchy are the Mummelsee, Wildersee, Eichenersee and Schluchsee, but none of them is of any size. Lake Constance (Bodensee) belongs partly to the German federal states (Länder) of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, furthermore to Austria and Switzerland.

Owing to its physical configuration Baden presents great extremes of heat and cold. The Rhine valley is the warmest district in Germany, but the higher elevations of the Black Forest record the greatest degrees of cold experienced in the South. The mean temperature of the Rhine valley is approximately 10 °C and that of the high table-land 6 °C. July is the hottest and January the coldest month.

The mineral wealth of Baden was not great, but iron, coal, lead and zinc of excellent quality were produced, and silver, copper, gold, cobalt, vitriol and sulfur were obtained in small quantities. Peat was found in abundance, as well as gypsum, china clay, potter's earth and salt. The mineral springs of Baden are still very numerous and have acquired great celebrity, those of Baden-Baden, Badenweiler, Antogast, Griesbach, Friersbach and Peterthal being the most frequented.

In the valleys the soil is particularly fertile, yielding luxuriant crops of wheat, maize, barley, spelt, rye, beans, potatoes, flax, hemp, hops, beetroot and tobacco; and even in the more mountainous part, rye, wheat and oats are extensively cultivated. There is a considerable extent of pasture-land, and the rearing of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats is extensively practised. Of game, deer, boar, snipe and wild partridges are fairly abundant, while the mountain streams yield trout of excellent quality. Viticulture is increasing, and the wines continue to sell well. The Baden wine region is Germany's third largest in terms of vineyard surface. The gardens and the orchards supply an abundance of fruit, especially sweet cherries, plums, apples and walnuts, and bee-keeping is practised throughout the country. A greater proportion of Baden than any other south German state is occupied by forests. In these the predominant trees are European Beech and Silver Fir, but many others, such as Sweet Chestnut, Scots Pine, Norway Spruce and the exotic Coast Douglas-fir, are well represented. A third, at least, of the annual timber production is exported.


Monument to the Constitution of Baden (and the Grand Duke for granting it), in Rondellplatz, Karlsruhe, Germany

Around 1910, 56.8% of the region's land mass was cultivated and 38% was forested. Before 1870, the agricultural sector was responsible for the bulk of the region's wealth, but this was superseded by industrial production. The chief products were machinery, woollen and cotton goods, silk ribbons, paper, tobacco, china, leather, glass, clocks, jewellery, and chemicals. Beet sugar was also manufactured on a large scale, as were wooden ornaments and toys, music boxes and organs.

The exports of Baden consisted mostly of the above goods, and were considerable, but the bulk of its trade consisted of transit. The country had many railways and roads, as well as the Rhine for transporting goods by ship. Railways were run by the state as the Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway (Großherzoglich Badische Staatseisenbahnen). A rail-line ran mostly parallel with the Rhine, with oblique branches from East to West.

Mannheim was the great market centre for exports down the Rhine and had much river traffic. It was also the chief manufacturing town for the duchy, and an important administrative centre for the northern part of the country.

Education and religion[edit]

There are numerous educational institutions in Baden. All public education is state controlled.There are five universities, one traditionally Protestant in Heidelberg, one traditionally Roman Catholic in Freiburg im Breisgau, one each in Konstanz and Mannheim, and a well-known technical university in Karlsruhe.

The grand-duke was a Protestant; under him, the Evangelical Church was governed by a nominated council and a synod consisting of a "prelate", 48 elected and 7 nominated lay and clerical members. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Freiburg is Metropolitan of the Upper Rhine.

Grand Dukes of Baden[edit]

  • 1806–1811: Charles Frederick (* 1728; † 1811)
  • 1811–1818: Charles (* 1786; † 1818)
  • 1818–1830: Louis I (* 1763; † 1830)
  • 1830–1852: Leopold (* 1790; † 1852)
  • 1852–1858: Louis II (* 1824; † 1858)
  • 1858–1907: Frederick I (* 1826; † 1907), (since 1852 Regent, since 1856 with the title Grand Duke)
  • 1907–1918: Frederick II (* 1857; † 1928)

Minister of state (1809–1918)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Baden". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Baden". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 


Coordinates: 49°1′N 8°24′E / 49.017°N 8.400°E / 49.017; 8.400