October 18, 2021


Politics and world affairs


A German "epoch year"

The German-language historiography classifies the year 1806 partly as an "epoch year". The reason for this is the end of the Holy Roman Empire: On August 6, 1806, Emperor Franz II announced the laying down of the imperial crown. This turning point is or has been viewed by historians as a possible end date for early modern history. Accordingly, in 2006 - in the 200th anniversary year of the event - numerous publications and exhibitions were devoted to the fall of the empire, for example the exhibition Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum and the German Historical Museum in Berlin. In southern Germany, the founding of the kingdoms of Württemberg and Bavaria was remembered above all. In 1806 they - as well as Baden, Hessen-Darmstadt, Nassau and Berg - achieved political sovereignty and were able to enlarge their territories into largely closed units. On this basis, the governments of the states mentioned carried out a series of reforms and modernizations. There was also a change in northern Germany: in 1806 the region was first affected by the great territorial changes of the Napoleonic period. As a result of the battle of Jena and Auerstedt on October 14, 1806, the Prussian state collapsed. The historian Bettina Braun considers this development to be no less relevant turning point than the resignation of the imperial crown by Franz II. Political turning point January 1st: The rulers of Bavaria (Maximilian Joseph) and Württemberg (Friedrich) become kings. July 12 to 16: On Napoleon's initiative, 16 emissaries of German imperial princes sign the Rhine Confederation Act, thereby founding the Rhine Confederation. August 6: Emperor Franz II from the House of Habsburg-Lothringen lays down the imperial crown and declares the Holy Roman Empire to be extinguished. As Franz I he remains Emperor of Austria. October 9: Friedrich Wilhelm III. declares war on France. October 10: The Prussian general Louis Ferdinand Prince of Prussia is killed in the battle of Saalfeld in the fourth coalition war against Napoleon Bonaparte. October 14: Napoleon I defeats the Prussian army in the battle of Jena and Auerstedt. October 27th: Napoleon and his troops enter the Prussian capital Berlin. October 28: Surrender of the Prussian army under Prince zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen to Napoleon Bonaparte near Prenzlau December 11th: In the peace treaty of Posen with Napoleon Bonaparte, Saxony joins the Confederation of the Rhine. the title of king was granted and later the Duchy of Warsaw passed to him. December 20: The Saxon Elector Friedrich August III. is proclaimed king and directs the fortunes of the Kingdom of Saxony as Friedrich August I. December 26: The Battle of Pultusk in the Fourth Coalition War ends in a draw between French and Russo-Prussian troops. Local events August 26: The printer Johann Philipp Palm is executed on Napoleon's orders for a pamphlet directed against Napoleon in Braunau am Inn. August 30th: Friedrich August von Nassau-Usingen and his cousin Friedrich Wilhelm von Nassau-Weilburg decide, under pressure from Napoleon, to merge their principalities to form the Duchy of Nassau. September 6th: The imperial city of Frankfurt am Main is incorporated into the Principality of Aschaffenburg and is now ruled by the Prince Primate of the Rhine Confederation, Karl Theodor von Dalberg. September 15: The imperial city of Nuremberg is officially handed over to the newly founded Kingdom of Bavaria by the French commissioner Joseph-Mathieu Fririon. October 16: The city of Erfurt, which belongs to Prussia, surrenders after d

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