Electorate of Cologne

The Electorate of Cologne (German: Kurfürstentum Köln), sometimes referred to as Electoral Cologne (German: Kurköln), was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the Hochstift — the temporal possessions — of the Archbishop of Cologne, and was ruled by him in his capacity as prince-elector. There were only two other ecclesiastical prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Mainz and the Electorate of Trier. The Archbishop-Elector of Cologne was also Arch-chancellor of Italy (one of the three component titular kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire, the other two being Germany and Burgundy) and, as such, ranked second among all ecclesiastical and secular princes of the Empire, after the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, and before that of Trier.

Electorate of Cologne
Erzstift und Kurfürstentum Köln
or Kurerzstift Köln
or Kurköln
Map of the Lower Rhine around 1560 with the Electorate of Cologne highlighted in red, including the Duchy of Westphalia
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
Imperial elector
Elector of Cologne 
Archduke Anton Victor of Austria
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 Bishopric established
Ancient Roman times
 Elevated to archbishopric
 Bruno I archbishop
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Lorraine
Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
Duchy of Nassau
Roer (department)
Cologne Cathedral
The Electorate of Cologne (red) and neighboring states in the mid-18th century

The capital of the electorate was Cologne. Conflicts with the citizens of Cologne caused the Elector to move to Bonn. The Free Imperial City of Cologne was recognized after 1475, thus removing it from even the nominal secular authority of the Elector. Cologne and Bonn were occupied by France in 1794. The right bank territories of the Electorate were secularized in 1803 during the German mediatization.

The Electorate should not be confused with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne, which was larger and included suffragan bishoprics such as Liège and Münster over which the Elector-Archbishop exercised only spiritual authority (see map below).