Electoral Palatinate

The Electoral Palatinate (German: Kurpfalz) or the Palatinate (Pfalz), officially the Electorate of the Palatinate (Kurfürstentum Pfalz), was a country that was part of the Holy Roman Empire.[1] Counts palatine of the Rhine served as prince-electors (Kurfürsten) from "time immemorial," were noted as such in a papal letter of 1261, and were confirmed as electors by the Golden Bull of 1356.

Electorate of the Palatinate
Kurfürstentum Pfalz
Flag (1604 design)
Coat of arms
Territory of the Electoral Palatinate in 1618, prior to the Thirty Years' War
Common languagesGerman
Dominant confession among the population was Roman Catholic (1085–1556), Lutheran (1556–1563) and Calvinist (1563–1803).

Elector was Roman Catholic until the 1530s, then Lutheran until 1559, then Calvinist until 1575, then again Lutheran until 1583, then again Calvinist until 1685, and then again Roman Catholic since 1685.
GovernmentHereditary monarchy
Henry of Laach (first)
Maximilian Joseph (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages/
 Demotion of the Count Palatine of Lotharingia
10 January 1356
15 May – 24 October 1648
30 December 1777
9 February 1801
 Annexed by Baden
27 April 1803
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Rhenish Franconia
Margraviate of the Nordgau
Bohemian Palatinate
Electorate of Baden
First French Empire
Kingdom of Bavaria
Today part ofGermany

It stretched from the left bank of the Upper Rhine, from the Hunsrück mountain range in what is today the Palatinate region in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the adjacent parts of the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine (bailiwick of Seltz from 1418 to 1766) to the opposite territory on the east bank of the Rhine in present-day Hesse and Baden-Württemberg up to the Odenwald range and the southern Kraichgau region, containing the capital cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim.

The counts palatine of the Rhine held the office of imperial vicars in the territories under Frankish law (in Franconia, Swabia and the Rhineland) and ranked among the most significant secular Princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1541 elector Otto Henry converted to Lutheranism. Their climax and decline is marked by the rule of Elector Palatine Frederick V, whose coronation as king of Bohemia in 1619 sparked the Thirty Years' War. After the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the ravaged lands were further afflicted by the "Reunion" campaigns launched by King Louis XIV of France, culminating in the Nine Years' War (1688–97). Ruled in personal union with the Electorate of Bavaria from 1777, the Palatinate was finally disestablished with the German mediatization and annexation by Baden on 27 April 1803.

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