Germany 1453 CE

The Holy Roman Empire has now become a collection of hundreds of virtually independent states.

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What is happening in Germany in 1453CE

The emperor Frederick II (1212-50) was not only Holy Roman emperor; he was also king of southern Italy. This is where he had been brought up, and was his chief concern. While he sought to strengthen his power in Italy, the German magnates were left largely to their own affairs.  After his death, the imperial crown fell once again into dispute. The power of the German magnates continued to be enlarged as opposing candidates showered favours and grants on them. The greater magnates came to rule their territories as virtually sovereign princes.

The Golden Bull of 1356 ended the disputes by requiring that the emperor be elected by the seven leading princes of the empire – a practice which will remain broadly in force for centuries to come. One result is that it ensures that emperors are elected who will not interfere with the autonomy of the princes, by now independent rulers within their own states.

The Holy Roman Emperor is now Albert II of Hapsburg. The Hapsburgs are more interested in building up their own family lands than in the thankless task of restoring centralized power to the empire, and the family will hold the imperial title, with one short break, until the end of the empire itself (in the 19th century).

Next map, Germany in 1648

For the Black Death‘s impact on Germany, check out our iPad app

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