Duchy of Swabia

The Duchy of Swabia (German: Herzogtum Schwaben) was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German Kingdom. It arose in the 10th century in the southwestern area that had been settled by Alemanni tribes in Late Antiquity.

Duchy of Swabia
Herzogtum Schwaben (de)
Ducatus Allemaniæ (la)
Staufer arms (13th century)
The Duchy of Swabia within the German Kingdom around the start of the 11th century
Map showing the territories of Upper Burgundy (green) and the Duchy of Swabia (orange)
GovernmentFeudal Duchy
Historical eraEarly Middle Ages
 Duchy discontinued
 Duchy resurrected for the Habsburgs

Preceded by
Succeeded by
County of Württemberg
Old Swiss Confederacy
Margraviate of Baden
Duchy of Burgundy
County of Hohenzollern
County of Fürstenberg

While the historic region of Swabia takes its name from the ancient Suebi, dwelling in the angle formed by the Rhine and the Danube, the stem duchy comprised a much larger territory, stretching from the Alsatian Vosges mountain range in the west to the right bank of the river Lech in the east and up to Chiavenna (Kleven) and Gotthard Pass in the south. The name of the larger stem duchy was often used interchangeably with Alamannia during the High Middle Ages, until about the 11th century, when the form Swabia began to prevail.[1]

The Duchy of Swabia was proclaimed by the Ahalolfing count palatine Erchanger in 915. He had allied himself with his Hunfriding rival Burchard II and defeated King Conrad I of Germany in a battle at Wahlwies. The most notable family to hold Swabia were the Hohenstaufen, who held it, with a brief interruption, from 1079 until 1268. For much of this period, the Hohenstaufen were also Holy Roman Emperors.

After a centuries-long struggle with the House of Zähringen, the Margraviate of Baden detached itself from the Swabian duchy in the 12th century. The remaining duchy persisted until 1268, ending with the execution of the last Hohenstaufen duke Conradin. Count Rudolf of Habsburg, elected King of the Romans in 1273, attempted to revive the Swabian ducal title, bestowing it on his youngest son, the later Duke Rudolf II of Austria, who passed it to his son John Parricida. John died without an heir, in 1312 or 1313, marking the end of the "revived" title.

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