Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel
Kurfürstentum Hessen
Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel
Electorate of Hesse
State of the Holy Roman Empire
State of the German Confederation
Flag of Hesse
1567 – 1806
1813 – 1866
Flagge Preußen - Provinz Hessen-Nassau
Flag of Hesse Wappen-HK
Flag Coat of arms (1818)
Capital Kassel
Language(s) German
Religion Protestant (Calvinist)
Government Principality
 - 1567–1592 William IV of Hesse
 - 1730–1751 Frederick I of Sweden
 - Established 1567
 - Raised to Electorate 1803
 - Annexed by France 1806
 - Reestablished 1813
 - Annexed by Prussia 1866
 - 1864 9,581 km² (3,699 sq mi)
 - 1864 est. 745,063 
     Density 77.8 /km²  (201.4 /sq mi)
Currency Hessen-Kassel thaler(to 1858)
Hesse-Kassel vereinsthaler(1858-1873)

The Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel (Template:Lang-de) or Hesse-Cassel was a Reichsfrei principality of the Holy Roman Empire that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the capital of Kassel. The other sons received the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Rheinfels and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to the Electorate of Hesse (Kurfürstentum Hessen, or Kurhessen) in 1803. During the Napoleonic wars it was occupied by French troops and became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a French satellite state. The Electorate of Hesse was reestablished in 1815 and became a member state of the German Confederation. It was then annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866 after the Austro-Prussian War and subsequently became the Province of Hesse-Nassau.

17th and 18th centuries Edit

Since the early years of the Reformation the House of Hesse was clearly Protestant, with only a few exceptions. Landgraves Philip I, William V, and Maurice married descendants of King George of Bohemia. From William VI onwards, mothers of the heads of Hesse-Kassel were always descended from William the Silent, the leader of the Dutch to independence on basis of Calvinism.

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel expanded in 1604 when Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, inherited the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg from his childless uncle, Louis IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Marburg (1537-1604).

During the Thirty Years' War, Calvinist Hesse-Kassel proved to be Sweden's most loyal German ally. Landgrave William V and, after his death in 1637, his widow Amelia of Hanau, a granddaughter of William the Silent, as regent supported the Protestant cause and the French and Swedes throughout the war and maintained an army, garrisoning many strongholds, while Hesse-Kassel itself was occupied by Imperial troops.

William V was succeeded by Landgraves William VI and William VII. Under King Frederick I of Sweden the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was in personal union with Sweden from 1730-51. But in fact the King's younger brother, William VIII, reigned in Kassel until 1760.

Although it was a fairly widespread practice at the time to rent out troops to other princes, it was the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel who became infamous for hiring out contingents of their army as mercenaries during the 17th and 18th centuries. Frederick II, notably, hired out so many troops to his nephew King George III of the United Kingdom for use in the American Revolution, that "Hessian" has become an American slang term for all German soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Frederick used the revenue to finance his opulent lifestyle. One of these regiments that saw service in America was the Musketeer Regiment Prinz Carl.

During the 17th century, the landgraviate was internally divided for dynastic purposes, without allodial rights, into:

These were reunited with the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel when each particular branch died out without issue.

Hesse-Kassel maintained 7% of its entire population under arms throughout the eighteenth century. This force served as a source of mercenaries for other European states.[1]

19th century Edit

Following the reorganization of the German states during the German mediatisation of 1803, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was raised to the Electorate of Hesse and Landgrave William IX was elevated to Imperial Elector, taking the title William I, Elector of Hesse. The principality thus became known as Kurhessen, although still usually referred to as Hesse-Kassel.

In 1806, William I was dispossessed by Napoleon Bonaparte for his support of the Kingdom of Prussia, and Kassel became the capital of a new Kingdom of Westphalia under Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte as king. The elector was restored following Napoleon's defeat in 1813, and although the Holy Roman Empire was now defunct, William retained his title of Elector, as it gave him pre-eminence over his cousin, the Grand Duke of Hesse. From 1813 onwards, the Electorate of Hesse was an independent country and, after 1815, a member of the German Confederation.

William's grandson, Elector Frederick William, sided with the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War, and after the Prussian victory his lands were annexed by Prussia in 1866. Along with the annexed Duchy of Nassau and Free City of Frankfurt, Hesse-Kassel became part of the new Province of Hesse-Nassau of the Kingdom of Prussia.

20th century Edit

In 1918, Hesse-Nassau became part of the Free State of Prussia until 1944. From 1944-45 as part of Nazi Germany, it was divided into the Prussian provinces of Kurhessen and Nassau. From 1945-46, it was renamed Greater Hesse (Großhessen) and was part of the US occupation zone in Germany. From 1946 onwards, it was reorganised into the state of Hesse (Bundesland Hesse), in the Federal Republic of Germany'.

In 1918, Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, younger brother of the head of the house and a brother-in-law of Emperor William II, was elected by the pro-German Finnish government to be King of Finland, but he never reigned.

In 1968, the head of the House of Hesse-Kassel became the head of the entire House of Hesse due to the extinction of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Other uses Edit

The village of Hessen Cassel, Indiana near Fort Wayne, founded by German immigrants, is named for the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Tilly, Charles "Coercion, Capital, and European States."

External links Edit

Template:Succession Template:Template groupda:Hessen-Kassel de:Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel es:Hesse-Kassel fr:Hesse-Cassel it:Assia-Kassel nl:Hessen-Kassel no:Hessen-Kassel pl:Hesja-Kassel ru:Гессен-Кассель sv:Hessen-Kassel

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