Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 413 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
HESSE. HESSE-DARMSTADT, a grand-duchy in Germany, the history of which begins with the partition of Hesse in r 567. George I. (1547-1597), the youngest son of the landgrave Philip, received the upper county of Katzenelnbogen, and, selecting Darmstadt as his residence, became the founder of the Hesse-Darmstadt line. Additions to the landgraviate were made both in the reigns of George and of his son and successor, Louis V. (1577-'626), but in 1622 Hesse-Homburg was cut off to form an apanage for George's youngest son, Frederick (d. 1638). Although Louis V., who founded the university of Giessen in 1607, was a Lutheran, he and his son, George II. (x6o5-166r), sided with the imperialists in the Thirty Years' War, during which Hesse-Darmstadt suffered very severely from the ravages of the Swedes. In this struggle Hesse-Cassel took the other side, and the rivalry between the two landgraviates was increased by a dispute over Hesse-Marburg, the ruling family of which had become extinct in 1604. This quarrel was interwoven with the general thread of the Thirty Years' War, and was not finally settled until 1648, when the disputed territory was divided between the two claim-ants. Louis VI. (d. 1678), a careful and patriotic prince, followed the policy of the three previous landgraves, but the anxiety of his son, Ernest Louis (d. 1739), to emulate the French court under Louis XIV. led his country into debt. Under Ernest Louis and his son and successor, Louis VIII. (d. 1768), another dispute occurred between Darmstadt and Cassel; this time it was over the succession to the county of Hanau, which was eventually divided, Hesse-Darmstadt receiving Lichtenberg. During the 18th century the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War dealt heavy blows at the prosperity of the landgraviate, which was always loyal to the house of Austria. Louis IX. (1719-179o): who served in the Prussian army under Frederick the Great, is chiefly famous as the husband of Caroline (1721-1774), " the great landgravine," who counted Goethe, Herder and Grimm among her friends and was described by Frederick the Great as femina sexu, ingenio Dir. In April 1790, just after the outbreak of the French Revolution, Louis X. (1753-1830), an educated prince who shared the tastes and friendships of his mother, Caroline, became landgrave. In 1992 he joined the allies against France, but in 1799 he was compelled to sign a treaty of neutrality. In 2803, having formally surrendered the part of Hesse on the left bank of the Rhine which had been taken from him in the early days of the Revolution, Louis received in return a much larger district which had formerly belonged to the duchy of Westphalia, the electorate of Mainz and the bishopric of Worms. In 18o6, being a member of the confederation of the Rhine, he took the title of Louis I., grand-duke of Hesse; he supported Napoleon with troops from 2805 to 1813, but after the battle of Leipzig he joined the allies. In 1815 the congress of Vienna made another change in the area and boundaries of Hesse-Darmstadt. Louis secured again a district on the left bank of the Rhine, including the cities of Mainz and Worms, but he made cessions of territory to Prussia and to Bavaria and he recognized the independence of Hesse-Homburg, which had recently been incorporated with his lands. However, his title of grand-duke was confirmed, and as grand-duke of Hesse and of the Rhine he entered the Germanic con-federation. Soon the growing desire for liberty made itself felt in Hesse, and in 182o Louis gave a constitution to the land; various forms were carried through; the system of government was reorganized, and in 2828 Hesse-Darmstadt joined the Prussian Zollverein. Louis I., who did a great deal for the welfare of his country, died on the 6th of April 183o, and was followed on the throne by his son, Louis II. (1777-1848). This grand-duke had some trouble with his Landtag, but, dying on the 16th of June 1848, he left his son, Louis III. (1806-1877), to meet the fury of the revolutionary year 1848. Many conces- sions were made to the popular will, but during the subsequent reaction these were withdrawn, and the period between 185o and 1871, when Karl Friedrich Reinhard, Freiherr von Dalwigk (1802-188o), was chiefly responsible for the government of Hesse- Darmstadt, was one of repression, although some benefits were conferred upon the people. Dalwigk was one of Prussia'senemies, and during the war of i866 the grand-duke fought on the Austrian side, the result being that he was compelled to pay a heavy indemnity and to cede certain districts, including Hesse-Homburg, which he had only just acquired, to Prussia. In 1867 Louis entered the North German Confederation, but only for his lands north of the Main, and in 1871 Hesse-Darmstadt became one of the states of the new German empire. After the withdrawal of Dalwigk from public life at this time a more liberal policy was adopted in Hesse. Many reforms in ecclesiastical, educational, financial and administrative matters were introduced, and in general the grand-duchy may be said to have passed largely under the influence of Prussia, which, by an arrangement made in 1896, controls the Hessian railway system. The constitution of 1820, subject to four subsequent modifications, is still the law of the land, the legislative power being vested in two chambers and the executive power being exercised by the three departments of the ministry of state. Since the annexation of Hesse-Cassel by Prussia in 1866 the grand-duchy has been known simply as Hesse. Louis III. died on the 13th of June 1877, and was succeeded by his nephew, Louis IV. (1837-1892), a son-in-law of Queen Victoria; he died on the 13th of March 1892, and was succeeded by his son, Ernest Louis (b. 1868). This grand-duke's marriage with Victoria (b. 1876), daughter of Alfred, duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was dissolved in 1901. The union was childless, and consequently in 1902 a law regulating the succession was passed. By this the landgrave Alexander Frederick (b. 1863), the representative of the family which ruled Hesse-Cassel until 1866, was declared the heir to Hesse in case the grand-duke died without sons. However, in 1905 Ernest Louis married Elenore, princess of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (b. 1871), by whom he had a son George (b. 1906). See L. Baur, Urkunden zur hessischen Landes-, Orts- and Familiengeschichte (Darmstadt, 1846–1873) ; Steiner, Geschichte des Grossherzogtums Hessen (Darmstadt, 1833–1834) ; Klein, Das Grossherzogtum Hessen (Mainz, 1861); Ewald, Historische Ubersicht der Territorialver¢nderungen der Landgrafschaft Hessen and des Grossherzogtums Hessen (Darmstadt, 1872); F. Soldan, Geschichte des Grossherzogtums Hessen (Giessen, 1896) ; H. Heppe, Kirchengeschichte beider Hessen (Marburg, 1876-1878) ; C. Hessler, Geschichte von Hessen (Cassel, 1891), and Hessische Landes- and Volkskunde (Marburg, 1904–1906); F. Kuchler, A. E. Braun and A. K. Weber, Verf assungs- und Verwaltungsrecht des Grossherzogtums Hessen (Darmstadt, 1894–1897) ; H. Kiinzel, Grossherzogtum Hessen (Giessen, 1893) ; and W. Zeller, Handbuch der Verfassung and Verwaltung ins Grossherzogtum Hessen (Darmstadt, 1885–1893). See also Archiv fur hessische Geschichte and Altertumskunde (Darmstadt, 1894 fol.) and Hessisches Urkundenbuch (Leipzig, 1879 fol.). HESSE-HOMBURG, formerly a small landgraviate in Germany. It consisted of two parts, the district of Homburg on the right side of the Rhine, and the district of Meisenheim, which was added in 1815, on the left side of the same river. Its area was about loo sq. m., and its population in 1864 was 27,374. Homburg now forms part of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, and Meisenheim of the province of the Rhine. Hesse-Homburg was formed into a separate landgraviate in 1622 by Frederick I. (d. 1638), son of George I., landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, although it did not become independent of Hesse-Darmstadt until 1768. By two of Frederick's sons it was divided into Hesse-Homburg and Hesse-Homburg-Bingenheim; but these parts were again united in 1681 under the rule of Frederick's third son, Frederick II. (d. 1708). In 18o6, during the long reign of the landgrave Frederick V., which extended from 1751 to 182o, Hesse-Homburg was mediatized, and incorporated with Hesse-Darmstadt; but in 1815 by the congress of Vienna the latter state was compelled to recognize the independence of Hesse-Homburg, which was increased by the addition of Meisenheim. Frederick V. joined the German confederation as a sovereign prince in 1817, and after his death his five sons in succession filled the throne. The last of these, Ferdinand, who succeeded in 1848, granted a liberal constitution to his people, but cancelled it during the reaction of 1852. When he died on the 24th of March 1866, Hesse-Homburg was inherited by Louis III., grand-duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, while Meisenheim fell to Prussia. In the following September, however, Louis was forced to cede his new possession to Prussia, as he had supported Austria during the war between these two powers. See R. Schwartz, Landgraf Friedrich V. von Hessen-Homburg and seine Familie (1878); and von Herget, Das landgrafliche Haus Homburg (Homburg, 1903). HESSE-NASSAU (Ger. Hessen-Nassau), a province of Prussia, bounded, from N. to E., S. and W., successively by Westphalia, Waldeck, Hanover, the province of Saxony, the Thuringian States, Bavaria, Hesse and the Rhine Province. There .are small detached portions in Waldeck, Thuringia, &c.; on the other hand the province enclaves the province of Oberhessen belonging to the grand-duchy of Hesse, and the circle of Wetzlar belonging to the Rhine Province. Hesse-Nassau was formed in 1867-1868 out of the territories which accrued to Prussia after the war of 1866, namely, the landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel and the duchy of Nassau, in addition to the greater part of the territory of Frankfort-on-Main, parts of the grand-duchy of Hesse, the territory of Homburg and the countship of Hesse-Homburg, together with certain small districts which belonged to Bavaria. It is now divided into the governments of Cassel and Wiesbaden, the second of which consists mainly of the former territory of Nassau (q.v.). The province has an area of 6062 sq. m., and had a population in 1905 of 2,070,052, being the fourth most densely populated province in Prussia, after Berlin, the Rhine Province and Westphalia. The east and north parts lie in the basin of the river Fulda, which near the north-eastern boundary joins with the Werra to form the Weser. The Main forms part of the southern boundary, and the Rhine the south-western; the western part of the province lies mostly in the basin of the Lahn, a tributary of the Rhine. The province is generally hilly, the highest hills occurring in the east and west. The Fulda rises in the Wasserkuppe (3117 ft.), an eminence of the Rhongebirge, the highest in the province. In the south-west are the Taunus, bordering the Main, and the Westerwald, west of the Lahn, in which the highest points respectively are the Grosser Feldberg (2887 ft.) and the Fuchskauten (2155 ft.). The congeries of small groups of lower hills in the north are known as the Hessische Bergland. The province is not notably well suited to agriculture, but in forests it is the richest in Prussia, and the timber trade is large. The chief trees are beech, oak and conifers. Cattle-breeding is extensively practised. The vine is cultivated chiefly on the slopes of the Taunus, in the south-west, where the names of several towns are well known for their wines—Schierstein, Erbach (Marcobrunner), Johannisberg, Geisenheim, Riidesheim, Assmannshausen. Iron, coal, copper and manganese are mined. The mineral springs are important, including those at Wiesbaden, Homburg, Langenschwalbach, Nenndorf, Schlangenbad and Soden. The chief manufacturing centres are Cassel, Diez, Eschwege, Frankfort, Fulda, Gross Almerode, Hanau and Hersfeld. The province is divided for administration into 42 circles (Kreise), 24 in the government of Cassel and 18 in that of Wiesbaden. It returns 14 representatives to the Reichstag. Marburg is the seat of a university. HESSE-ROTENBURO, a German landgraviate which was broken up in 1834. In 1627 Ernest (1623-1693), a younger son of Maurice, landgrave of Hesse-Cassel (d. 1632), received Rheinsfels and lower Katzenelnbogen as his inheritance, and some years later, on the deaths of two of his brothers, he added Eschwege, Rotenburg, Wanfried and other districts to his possessions. Ernest, who was a convert to the Roman Catholic Church, was a great traveller and a voluminous writer. About 1700 his two sons, William (d. 1725) and Charles (d. 1711), divided their territories, and founded the families of Hesse-Rotenburg and Hesse-Wanfried. The latter family died out in 1755, when William's grandson, Constantine (d. 1778), reunited the lands except Rheinfels, which had been acquired by Hesse-Cassel in 1735, and ruled them as landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg. At the peace of Luneville in 18or the part of the landgraviate on the left bank of the Rhine was surrendered to France, and in 1815 other parts were ceded to Prussia, the landgrave Victor Amadeus being compensated by the abbey of Corvey and the Silesian duchy of Ratibor. Victor was the last male member of his family, so, with the consent of Prussia, he bequeathed his allodial estates to his nephews the princes Victor and Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfiirst (see HOHENLOHE). When the landgrave died on the 12th of November 1834 the remaining parts of Hesse-Rotenburg were united with Hesse-Cassel according to the arrangement of 1627. It may be noted that Hesse-Rotenburg was never completely independent of Hesse-Cassel. Perhaps the most celebrated member of this family was Charles Constantine (1752-1821), a younger son of the landgrave Constantine, who was called " citoyen Hesse," and who took part in the French Revolution.
End of Article: HESSE
HESSE (Lat. Hessia, Ger. Hessen)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.