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Fürstentum Waldeck und Pyrmont
Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont
State of the Holy Roman Empire,
State of the Confederation of the Rhine,
State of the German Confederation,
State of the North German Confederation,
State of the German Empire
Duchy of Franconia
Flag Coat of arms of Waldeck–Pyrmont
Waldecker Lied
Waldeck within the German Empire

Map Waldeck.png
Map of Waldeck, showing the border between Westphalia and Hesse-Nassau
Capital Waldeck (to 1655)
Arolsen (from 1655)
Language(s) German
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Established as a County 1180
 - Became Reichsgraf 1349
 - Succeeded to Pyrmont 1625
 - Raised to Imp. Principality January 1712
 - Administered by Prussia,
    with autonomy
 - German Revolution 1918
 - Subsumed into Prussia 1929
 - 1905 1,121 km2 (433 sq mi)
 - 1905 est. 59,135 
     Density 52.8 /km2  (136.6 /sq mi)

Waldeck (or later Waldeck and Pyrmont) was a sovereign principality in the German Empire and German Confederation and, until 1929, a constituent state of the Weimar Republic. It comprised territories in present-day Hesse and Lower Saxony, (Germany).



Waldeck was a county within the Holy Roman Empire from about 1200. Its counts included Adolf II of Waldeck from 1270 to 1276. In 1655, its seat and the chief residence of its rulers shifted from the castle and small town of Waldeck, overlooking the Eder river and first mentioned in 1120, to Arolsen. In 1625, the small county of Pyrmont became part of the county through inheritance. In January 1712, the count of Waldeck and Pyrmont was elevated to prince by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. For a brief period, 1805 to 1812, Pyrmont was a separate principality as a result of inheritance and partition after the death of the previous prince, but the two parts were united again in 1812. The independence of the principality was confirmed in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, and Waldeck and Pyrmont became a member of the German Confederation. From 1868 onward, the principality was administered by Prussia, but retained its legislative sovereignty. Prussian administration served to reduce administrative costs for the small state and was based on a ten-year contract that was repeatedly renewed until Waldeck was formally absorbed into Prussia in 1929. In 1871, the principality became a constituent state of the new German Empire.

In 1905, Waldeck and Pyrmont had an area of 1121 km² and a population of 59,000.

At the end of World War I, and during the German Revolution, resulting in the fall of all the German monarchies, the prince abdicated and Waldeck and Pyrmont became a free state within the Weimar Republic. However, what had been Waldeck and Pyrmont's flag becomes the flag of the Weimar Republic, and later the Federal Republic of Germany.

The princely house of Waldeck and Pyrmont is closely related to the royal family of the Netherlands. The last ruling prince, Frederick, was the brother of Dutch Queen consort Emma.

Rulers of Waldeck and Pyrmont


Reigning Princes 1712–1918

  • 1712–1728: Friedrich Anton Ulrich; elevated 1712 to hereditary prince by Emperor Charles VI
  • 1728–1763: Karl August
  • 1763–1812: Friedrich Karl August
  • 1812–1813: Georg I
  • 1813–1845: Georg II
  • 1845–1893: Georg Victor
  • 1893–1918: Friedrich; brother of the Dutch Queen consort Emma

Non-reigning princes since 1918


Waldeck had raised a battalion of infantry in 1681 but for much of the subsequent history leading up to the Napoleonic Wars, Waldeckers generally served as 'mercenaries' (actually hired out by the rulers of Waldeck) in foreign service. Such was the demand that the single battalion became two in 1740 (the 1st Regiment), three battalions in 1744, four in 1767 (forming a 2nd Regiment) and in 1776 a third regiment (5th and 6th Battalions) was raised. Most notably the foreign service was with the Dutch (the 1st and 2nd Regiments) and English (the 3rd Regiment) - the latter using them to suppress rebellions in the colonies. The 3rd Waldeck Regiment thus served during the American War of Independence, where they were known under the 'umbrella term' used during that conflict for all Germans - 'Hessians'. The regiment was captured by the Americans and only a small number returned to Germany, where some formed part of a newly raised 5th Battalion (1784).

By the time of Napoleon's conquest of Germany, the Waldeck Regiments in Dutch service had been dissolved when, as the Batavian Republic, Holland was made into a kingdom ruled by Napoleon's brother Louis. Reduced to battalion strength, they now formed the 3rd battalions of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments of the Kingdom of Holland. The 5th Battalion was disbanded, and Waldeck was now also obliged to provide two companies to the II Battalion, 6th German Confederation (i.e., Confederation of the Rhine) Regiment (along with two companies from Reuß) in the service of the French Empire. As with all French infantry, they were referred to as 'Fusiliers'. They served mainly in the Peninsula War against the Duke of Wellington. In 1812, the 6th Confederation Regiment was re-formed, with three companies from Waldeck and one from Reuß again forming the II Battalion. By the time of the downfall of the French Empire in 1814 the battalions in Dutch service had disappeared, but Waldeck now supplied three Infantry and one Jäger Companies to the newly formed German Confederation.

Cockade of Waldeck, worn on the Pickelhaube

By 1866, the Waldeck contingent was styled 'Fürstlisches Waldecksches Füselier-Bataillon', and in the Austro-Prussian War of that year Waldeck (already in a military convention with Prussia from 1862) allied with the Prussians; however, the Battalion saw no action. Joining the North German Confederation after 1867, under Prussian leadership, the Waldeck Fusilier Battalion became the III (Fusilier) Battalion of the Prussian Infantry Regiment von Wittich (3rd Electoral Hessian) No. 83, and as such it remained until 1918. The position of regimental 'Chef' (an honorary title) was held by the Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont.

Unlike Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) retained no distinctions to differentiate them from the Prussian. The Waldeckers however, were permitted the distinction of carrying the Cockade of Waldeck on the Pickelhaube. The Waldeck battalion was garrisoned, at various times, at Arolsen/Mengeringhausen/Helsen, Bad Wildungen, Bad Pyrmont and Warburg.

The regiment saw action in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (where it acquired the nickname 'Das Eiserne Regiment'), and during the First World War - as part of the 22nd Division - fought mainly on the Eastern Front.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WALDECK-PYRMONT, a principality of Germany and a constituent state of the German empire, consisting of two separate portions lying about 30 m. apart, viz. the county of Waldeck, embedded in Prussian territory between the provinces of Westphalia and Hesse-Nassau, and the principality of Pyrmont, farther to the north, between Lippe, Brunswick, Westphalia and Hanover. Waldeck comprises an area of 407 sq. m., covered for the most part with hills, which culminate in the Hegekopf (2775 ft.). The centre is occupied by the plateau of Corbach. The chief rivers are the Eder and the Diemel, both of which eventually find their way into the Weser. Pyrmont, only 26 sq. m. in extent, is also mountainous. The Emmer, also belonging to the Weser system, is its chief stream. The united area is thus 433 sq. m., or about half the size of Cambridgeshire in England, and the united population in 1905 was 59,127, showing a density of 138 to the square mile. The population is almost wholly Protestant. In consequence of the comparatively high elevation of the country - the lowest part being S40 ft. above the sea-level - the climate is on the whole inclement. Agriculture and cattle-rearing are the main resources of the inhabitants in both parts of the principality, but the soil is nowhere very fertile. Only 57% of the area is occupied by arable land and pasture; forests, one-tenth of which are coniferous, occupy 38%. Oats is the principal crop, but rye, potatoes and flax are also grown in considerable quantities. Fruit is also cultivated in the principality. Iron mines, slate and stone quarries are worked at various points, and, with live stock, poultry, wool and timber form the chief exports. A few insignificant manufactures are carried on in some of the little towns, but both trade and manufactures are much retarded by the comparative isolation of the country from railways. Wildungen, in the extreme south of Waldeck, is the terminus of a branch line from Wabern, and a light railway runs from Warburg to Marburg; Pyrmont is intersected by the trunk line running from Cologne,via Paderborn, to Brunswick and Berlin.

The capital and the residence of the prince is Arolsen (pop. 2811 in 1905) in Waldeck; twelve smaller townships and about one hundred villages are also situated in the county. The only town in Pyrmont is Bad Pyrmont, with about 1500 inhabitants, a highly fashionable watering-place with chalybeate and saline springs. The annual number of visitors is about 23,000. Wildungen is also a spa of repute. The inhabitants to the north of the Eder are of Saxon stock, to the south of Franconian, a difference which is distinctly marked in dialect, costumes and manners.

Waldeck-Pyrmont has one vote in the federal council (Bundesrat) and one in the Reichstag. The constitution, dating from 1852, is a reactionary modification of one carried in 1849, which had been a considerable advance upon one granted in 1816. The Landtag of one chamber consists of fifteen members, three of whom represent Prymont, elected indirectly for three years. In the event of the male line of the present ruling family becoming extinct, the female line will succeed in Waldeck, but Pyrmont wil y fall to Prussia. In terms of a treaty concluded in 1867 for ten years, renewed in 1877 for a similar period, and continued in 1887 with the proviso that it should be terminable on two years' notice, the finances and the entire government of Waldeck-Pyrmont are managed by Prussia, the little country having found itself unable to support unassisted the military and other burdens involved by its share in the North German Confederation of 1867-187 r and subsequently as a constituent state of the German empire. The government is conducted in the name of the prince by a Prussian "Landesdirector," while the state officials take the oath of allegiance to the king of Prussia. The prince of Waldeck reserves his whole rights as head of the church, and also the right of granting pardons, and in certain circumstances may exercise a veto on proposals to alter or enact laws. Education and similar matters are thus all conducted on the Prussian model; a previous convention had already handed over military affairs to Prussia. The budget for 1910 showed a revenue of £57,000 and a like expenditure. The public debt was £79,710, paying interest at 32%. The prince is supported by the income derived from crown lands. As regards the administration of justice, Waldeck and Pyrmont belong to the districts of Cassel and Hanover respectively.

The princes of Waldeck-Pyrmont are descendants of the counts of Schwalenberg, the earliest of whom known to history was one Widukind (d. 1137). His son Volkwin (d. 1178) acquired by marriage the county of Waldeck, and his line was divided into two branches, Waldeck and Landau, in 1397. In 1438 the landgrave of Hesse obtained rights of suzerainty over Waldeck, and the claims arising from this action were not finally disposed of until 1847, when it was decided that the rights of Hesse over Waldeck had ceased with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The Landau branch of the family became extinct in 1 495, and in 1631 Waldeck inherited the county of Pyrmont, which had originally belonged to a branch of the Schwalenberg family. For a few years Waldeck was divided into Wildungen and Eisenberg, but in 1692, when the Wildungen branch died out with George Frederick, the imperial field-marshal, the whole principality was united under the rule of Christian Louis of Eisenberg. From 1692 the land has been undivided with the exception of a brief period from 1805 to 1812, when Waldeck and Pyrmont were ruled by two brothers. Frederick Anthony Ulrich (d. 1728), who succeeded his father, Christian Louis, in 1706, was made a prince of the empire in 1712. In 1807 Waldeck joined the confederation of the Rhine, and in 1815 entered the German confederation. Its first constitution was granted in 1816 by Prince George II. (d. 1845). Prince Frederick (b. 1865) succeeded his father, George Victor (1831-1893), as ruler on the 12th of May 1893. The most important fact in the recent history of the principality is its connexion with Prussia, to which reference has already been made.

See Curtze, Geschichte and Beschreibung des Furstentums Waldeck (Arolsen, 1850); Lowe, Heimatskunde von Waldeck (Arolsen, 1887); J. C. C. Hoffmeister, Historisch-genealogisches Handbuch fiber alle Grafen and Fiirsten von Waldeck seit 1228 (Cassel, 1883); Bottcher, Das Staatsrecht des Furstentums Waldeck (Freiburg, 1884); A. Wagner, Die Geschichte Waldecks and Pyrmonts (Wildungen, 1888), and the Geschichtsblalter fur Waldeck and Pyrmont (Mengeringhausen, 1901, fol.).

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