1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baden, Grand Duchy of

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BADEN, GRAND DUCHY OF, a sovereign state of Germany, lying in the south-west corner of the empire, bounded N. by the kingdom of Bavaria and the grand-duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; W. and practically throughout its whole length by the Rhine, which separates it from the Bavarian Palatinate and the imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine; S. by Switzerland, and E. by the kingdom of Württemberg and part of Bavaria. The country has an area of 5823 sq. m. and consists of a considerable portion of the eastern half of the fertile valley of the Rhine and of the mountains which form its boundary. The mountainous part is by far the most extensive, forming, indeed, nearly 80% of the whole area. From the Lake of Constance in the south to the river Neckar in the north is a portion of the Black Forest or Schwarzwald, which is divided by the valley of the Kinzig into two districts of different elevation. To the south of the Kinzig the mean height is 3100 ft., and the loftiest summit, the Feldberg, reaches about 4898 ft., while to the north the mean height is only 2100 ft., and the Belchen, the culminating point of the whole, does not exceed 4480 ft. To the north of the Neckar is the Odenwald Range, with a mean of 1440 ft., and in the Katzenbuckel, an extreme of 1980 ft. Lying between the Rhine and the Dreisam is the Kaiserstuhl, an independent volcanic group, nearly 10 m. in length and 5 in breadth, the highest point of which is 1760 ft. The greater part of Baden belongs to the basin of the Rhine, which receives upwards of twenty tributaries from the highlands; the north-eastern portion of the territory is also watered by the Main and the Neckar. A part, however, of the eastern slope of the Black Forest belongs to the basin of the Danube, which there takes its rise in a number of mountain streams. Among the numerous lakes which belong to the duchy are the Mummel, Wilder, Eichener and Schluch, but none of them is of any size. The Lake of Constance (Boden-See) belongs partly to Bavaria and Switzerland.

Owing to its physical configuration Baden presents great extremes of heat and cold. The Rhine valley is the warmest district in Germany, but the higher elevations of the Black Forest record the greatest degrees of cold experienced in the south. The mean temperature of the Rhine valley is approximately 50° F. and that of the high table-land, 43° F. July is the hottest and January the coldest month in the year. The mineral wealth of Baden is not great; but iron, coal, zinc and lead of excellent quality are produced, and silver, copper, gold, cobalt, vitriol and sulphur are obtained in small quantities. Peat is found in abundance, as well as gypsum, china-clay, potters' earth and salt. The mineral springs of Baden are very numerous and have acquired great celebrity, those of Baden-Baden, Badenweiler, Antogast, Griesbach, Freiersbach and Petersthal being the most frequented.

In the valleys the soil is particularly fertile, yielding luxuriant crops of wheat, maize, barley, spelt, beans, potatoes, flax, hemp, hops, beetroot and tobacco; and even in the more mountainous parts rye, wheat and oats are extensively cultivated. There is a considerable extent of pasture land, and the rearing of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats is largely practised. Of game, deer, wild boars, hares, snipe and partridges are fairly abundant, while the mountain streams yield trout of excellent quality. The culture of the vine increases, and the wines, which are characterized by a mildness of flavour, are in good demand. The gardens and orchards supply great abundance of fruits, especially almonds and walnuts; and bee-keeping is common throughout the country. A greater proportion of Baden than of any other of the south German states is occupied by forests. In these the predominant trees are the fir and pine, but many others, such as the chestnut, are well represented. A third, at least, of the annual supply of timber is exported.

Population.—At the beginning of the 19th century Baden was only a margraviate, with an area little exceeding 1300 sq. m., and a population of 210,000. Since then it has from time to time acquired additional territory, so that its area now amounts to 5823 sq. m., and its population (1905) to 2,009,320, of whom about 60% are Roman Catholics, 37% Protestants, 1½% Jews, and the remainder of other confessions. Of the population, about one-half may be classified as rural, i.e. living in communities of less than 2000 inhabitants; while the density of the population is about 330 to the square mile. The country is divided into the following districts, with the respective chief towns and populations as shown:—


District. Chief towns. Pop. (1905)
(1) Mannheim Mannheim 162,607
  Heidelberg 49,439
(2) Karlsruhe Karlsruhe 111,200
  Pforzheim 59,307
(3) Freiburg-im-Breisgau Freiburg 74,102
(4) Constance Constance 24,818


The capital of the duchy is Karlsruhe, and among important towns other than the above are Rastatt, Baden-Baden, Bruchsal and Lahr. The population is most thickly clustered in the north and in the neighbourhood of the Swiss town of Basel. The inhabitants of Baden are of various origin—those to the north of the Murg being descended from the Alemanni and those to the south from the Franks, while the Swabian plateau derives its name and its population from another race. (See Württemberg.)

Industries.—Of the area, 56.8% is cultivated and 38% forest, but the agricultural industry, which formerly yielded the bulk of the wealth of the country, is now equalled, if not surpassed, by the industrial output, which has attained very considerable dimensions. The chief articles of manufacture are machinery, woollen and cotton goods, silk ribbons, paper, tobacco, leather, china, glass, clocks, jewellery and chemicals. Beet sugar is also largely manufactured, and the inhabitants of the Black Forest have long been celebrated for their dexterity in the manufacture of wooden ornaments and toys, musical boxes and organs.

The exports of Baden, which coincide largely with the industries just mentioned, are of considerable importance, but the bulk of its trade consists in the transit of goods. The country is well furnished with roads and railways, the greater proportion of the latter being in the hands of the state. A line runs the whole length of the land, for the most part parallel with the Rhine, while branches cross obliquely from east to west. Mannheim is the great emporium for the export of goods down the Rhine and has a large river traffic. It is also the chief manufacturing town of the duchy and the seat of administrative government for the northern portion of the country.

Education and Religion.—The educational establishments of Baden are numerous and flourishing, and public education is entirely in the hands of the government. There are two universities, the Protestant at Heidelberg and the Roman Catholic at Freiburg-im-Breisgau, and a celebrated technical college at Karlsruhe. The grand-duke is a Protestant; under him the Evangelical Church is governed by a nominated council and a synod consisting of the “prelate,” 48 elected, and 7 nominated lay and clerical members. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Freiburg is metropolitan of the Upper Rhine.

Constitution and Government.—The government of Baden is an hereditary monarchy, with the executive power vested in the grand-duke, while the legislative authority is shared by him with a representative assembly (Landtag) consisting of two chambers. The upper chamber is composed of all the princes of the reigning family who are of full age; the chiefs of the mediatized families; the archbishop of Freiburg; the president of the Protestant Evangelical church; a deputy from each of the universities and from the technical high school, eight members elected by the territorial nobility for four years, three representatives of the chamber of commerce, two of that of agriculture, one of that of trades, two mayors of municipalities, one burgomaster of lesser towns, one member of a district council, and eight members (two of them legal functionaries) nominated by the grand-duke. The lower chamber consists of 73 popular representatives, of whom 24 are elected by the burgesses of certain towns and 49 by the rural communities. Every citizen of 25 years of age, who has not been convicted and is not a pauper, has a vote. The elections are, however, indirect; the citizens nominating the Wahlmänner (deputy electors) and the latter electing the representatives. The chambers meet at least every two years. The members of the lower chamber are elected for four years, half the number retiring at the expiration of every two years. The executive consists of four departments of state—those of the interior, of foreign affairs and of the grand-ducal house, of finance, and of justice, ecclesiastical affairs and education. The chief sources of revenue are direct and indirect taxes, domains and railways. The last are worked by the state, and the sole public debt, amounting to about 22 millions sterling, is attributable to this head. The supreme courts of justice of the duchy are in Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Offenburg, Heidelberg, Mosbach, Waldshut, Constance and Mannheim, whence appeals lie to the Reichsgericht (supreme tribunal of the empire) in Leipzig. By virtue of a convention with Prussia, of 1871, the Baden army forms a portion of the Prussian army.

History.—During the middle ages the district which now forms the grand-duchy of Baden was ruled by various counts, prominent among whom were the counts and dukes of Zähringen. In 1112 Hermann, a son of Hermann, margrave of Verona (d. 1074), and grandson of Bertold, duke of Carinthia and count of Zähringen, having inherited some of the German estates of his family, called himself margrave of Baden, and from this date the separate history of Baden may be said to begin. Hermann appears to have called himself by the title of margrave, and not the more usual title of count, owing to the connexion of his family with the margraviate of Verona. His son and grandson, both named Hermann, added to their territories, which about 1200 were divided, and the lines of Baden-Baden and Baden-Hochberg were founded, the latter of which was divided about a century later into the branches of Baden-Hochberg and Baden-Sausenberg. The family of Baden-Baden was very successful in increasing the area of its possessions, which after several divisions were united by the margrave Bernard I. in 1391. Bernard, a soldier of some renown, continued the work of his predecessors, and obtained other districts, including Baden-Hochberg, the ruling family of which died out in 1418.

During the 15th century a war with the count palatine of the Rhine deprived Margrave Charles I. (d. 1475) of a part of his territories, but these losses were more than repaired by his son and successor, Christopher I. In 1503 the family of Baden- Sausenberg became extinct, and the whole of Baden was united by Christopher, who divided it, however, before his death in 1527 among his three sons. One of these died childless in 1533, and in 1535 his remaining sons, Bernard and Ernest, having shared their brother's territories, made a fresh division and founded the lines of Baden-Baden and Baden-Pforzheim, called after 1565 Baden-Durlach. Further divisions followed, and the weakness caused by these partitions was accentuated by a rivalry between the two main branches of the family. This culminated in open warfare, and from 1584 to 1622 Baden-Baden was in the possession of one of the princes of Baden-Durlach. Religious differences added to this rivalry. During the period of the Reformation some of the rulers of Baden adhered to the older and some adopted the newer faith, and the house was similarly divided during the Thirty Years' War. Baden suffered severely during this struggle, and both branches of the family were exiled in turn. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648 restored the status quo, and the family rivalry gradually died out. During the wars of the reign of Louis XIV. the margraviate was ravaged by the French troops, and the margrave of Baden-Baden, Louis William (d. 1707), was prominent among the soldiers who resisted the aggressions of France. In 1771 Augustus George of Baden-Baden died without sons, and his territories passed to Charles Frederick of Baden-Durlach, who thus became ruler of the whole of Baden.

Although in 1771 Baden was united under a single ruler it did not form a compact territory, and its total area was only about 1350 sq. m. Consisting of a number of isolated districts lying on either bank of the upper Rhine, it was the work of Charles Frederick to acquire the intervening stretches of land, and so to give territorial unity to his country. Beginning to reign in 1738 and coming of age in 1746, this prince is the most notable of the rulers of Baden. He was interested in the development of agriculture and commerce; sought to improve education and the administration of justice, and was in general a wise and liberal ruler. His opportunity for territorial aggrandizement came during the Napoleonic wars. When war broke out between France and Austria in 1792 the Badenese fought for Austria; consequently their country was devastated and in 1796 the margrave was compelled to pay an indemnity, and to cede his territories, on the left bank of the Rhine to France. Fortune, however, soon returned to his side. In 1803, largely owing to the good offices of Alexander I., emperor of Russia, he received the bishopric of Constance, part of the Rhenish Palatinate, and other smaller districts, together with the dignity of a prince elector. Changing sides in 1805 he fought for Napoleon, with the result that by the peace of Pressburg in that year he obtained the Breisgau and other territories at the expense of the Habsburgs. In 1806 he joined the Confederation of the Rhine, declared himself a sovereign prince, became a grand-duke, and received other additions of territory. The Baden contingent continued to assist France, and by the peace of Vienna in 1809 the grand-duke was rewarded with accessions of territory at the expense of the kingdom of Württemberg. Having quadrupled the area of Baden, Charles Frederick died in June 1811, and was succeeded by his grandson, Charles, who was married to Stephanie de Beauharnais (d. 1860), an adopted daughter of Napoleon. Charles fought for his father-in-law until after the battle of Leipzig in 1813, when he joined the Allies.

In 1815 Baden became a member of the Germanic confederation established by the Act of the 8th of June, annexed to the Final Act of the congress of Vienna of the 9th of June. In the hurry of the winding-up of the congress, however, the vexed question of the succession to the grand-duchy had not been settled. This was soon to become acute. By the treaty of the 16th of April 1816, by which the territorial disputes between Austria and Bavaria were settled, the succession to the Baden Palatinate was guaranteed to Maximilian I., king of Bavaria, in the expected event of the extinction of the line of Zähringen. As a counterblast to this the grand-duke Charles issued in 1817 a pragmatic sanction (Hausgesetz) declaring the counts of Hochberg, the issue of a morganatic marriage between the grand-duke Charles Frederick and Luise Geyer von Geyersberg (created Countess Hochberg), capable of succeeding to the crown. A controversy between Bavaria and Baden resulted, which was only decided in favour of the Hochberg claims by the treaty signed by the four great powers and Baden at Frankfort on the 10th of July 1819. Meanwhile the dispute had produced important effects in Baden. In order to secure popular support for the Hochberg heir, Charles in 1818 granted to the grand-duchy, under article xiii. of the Act of Confederation, a liberal constitution, under which two chambers were constituted and their assent declared necessary for legislation and taxation. The outcome was of importance far beyond the narrow limits of the duchy; for all Germany watched the constitutional experiments of the southern states. In Baden the conditions were not favourable to success. The people, belonging to the “Celtic fringe” of Germany, had fallen during the revolutionary period completely under the influence of French ideas, and this was sufficiently illustrated by the temper of the new chambers, which tended to model their activity on the proceedings of the Convention in the earlier days of the French Revolution. On the other hand, the new grand-duke Louis, who had succeeded in 1818, was unpopular, and the administration was in the hands of hide-bound and inefficient bureaucrats. The result was a deadlock; and, even before the promulgation of the Carlsbad decrees in October 1819 the grand-duke had prorogued the chambers, after three months of sterile debate. The reaction that followed was as severe in Baden as elsewhere in Germany, and culminated in 1823, when, on the refusal of the chambers to vote the military budget, the grand-duke dissolved them and levied the taxes on his own authority. In January 1825, owing to official pressure, only three Liberals were returned to the chamber; a law was passed making the budget presentable only every three years, and the constitution ceased to have any active existence.

In 1830 Louis was succeeded as grand-duke by his half-brother Leopold, the first of the Hochberg line. The July Revolution led to no disturbances in Baden; but the new grand-duke from the first showed liberal tendencies. The elections of 1830 were not interfered with; and the result was the return of a Liberal majority. The next few years saw the introduction, under successive ministries, of Liberal reforms in the constitution, in criminal and civil law, and in education. In 1832 the adhesion of Baden to the Prussian Zollverein did much for the material prosperity of the country. With the approach of the revolutionary year 1848, however, Radicalism once more began to lift up its head. At a popular demonstration held at Offenburg on the 12th of September 1847, resolutions were passed demanding the conversion of the regular army into a national militia which should take an oath to the constitution, a progressive income-tax and a fair adjustment of the interests of capital and labour.

The news of the revolution of February 1848 in Paris brought this agitation to a head. Numerous public meetings were held at which the Offenburg programme was adopted, and on the 4th of March, under the influence of the popular excitement, it was accepted almost unanimously by the lower chamber. As in other German states, the government bowed to the storm, proclaimed an amnesty and promised reforms. The ministry was remodelled in a more Liberal direction; and a new delegate was sent to the federal diet at Frankfort, empowered to vote for the establishment of a parliament for united Germany. The disorders, fomented by republican agitators, none the less continued; and the efforts of the government to suppress them with the aid of federal troops led to an armed insurrection. For the time this was mastered without much difficulty; the insurgents were beaten at Kandern on the 20th of April; Freiburg, which they held, fell on the 24th; and on the 27th a Franco-German “legion,” which had invaded Baden from Strassburg, was routed at Dossenbach.

At the beginning of 1849, however, the issue of a new constitution, in accordance with the resolutions of the Frankfort parliament, led to more serious trouble. It did little to satisfy the Radicals, who were angered by the refusal of the second chamber to agree to their proposal for the summoning of a constituent assembly (10th of February 1849). The new insurrection that now broke out was a more formidable affair than the first. A military mutiny at Rastatt on the 11th of May showed that the army sympathized with the revolution, which was proclaimed two days later at Offenburg amid tumultuous scenes. On the same day (13th of May) a mutiny at Karlsruhe forced the grand-duke to take to flight, and the next day he was followed by the ministers, while a committee of the diet under Lorenz Brentano (1813-1891), who represented the more moderate Radicals as against the republicans, established itself in the capital to attempt to direct affairs pending the establishment of a provisional government. This was accomplished on the 1st of June, and on the 10th the “constituent diet,” consisting entirely of the most “advanced” politicians, assembled. It had little chance of doing more than make speeches; the country was in the hands of an armed mob of civilians and mutinous soldiers; and, meanwhile, the grand-duke of Baden had joined with Bavaria in requesting the armed intervention of Prussia, which was granted on the condition that Baden should join the League of the Three Kings.

From this moment the revolution in Baden was doomed, and with it the revolution in all Germany. The Prussians, under Prince William (afterwards emperor), invaded Baden in the middle of June. The insurgent forces were under the command of the Pole, Ludwig von Mieroslawski (1814-1878), who reduced them to some semblance of order. On the 20th he met the Prussians at Waghäusel, and was completely defeated; on the 25th Prince William entered Karlsruhe; and at the end of the month the members of the provisional government, who had taken refuge at Freiburg, dispersed. Such of the insurgent leaders as were caught, notably the ex-officers, suffered military execution; the army was dispersed among Prussian garrison towns; and Baden was occupied for the time by Prussian troops. The grand-duke returned on the 19th of August, and at once dissolved the diet. The elections resulted in a majority favourable to the new ministry, and a series of laws were passed of a reactionary tendency with a view to strengthening the government.

The grand-duke Leopold died on the 24th of April 1852, and was succeeded by his second son, Frederick, as regent, the eldest, Louis (d. 22nd of January 1858), being incapable of ruling.[1] The internal affairs of Baden during the period that followed have comparatively little general interest. In the greater politics of Germany, Baden, between 1850 and 1866, was a consistent supporter of Austria; and in the war of 1866 her contingents, under Prince William, had two sharp engagements with the Prussian army of the Main. Two days before the affair of Werbach (24th of July), however, the second chamber had petitioned the grand-duke to end the war and enter into an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia. The grand-duke had from the first been opposed to the war with Prussia, but had been forced to yield owing to popular resentment at the policy of Prussia in the Schleswig-Holstein question (q.v.). The ministry, now at one, resigned; Baden announced her withdrawal from the German confederation; and on the 17th of August a treaty of peace and alliance was signed with Prussia. The adhesion of Baden to the North German confederation was prevented by Bismarck himself, who had no wish to give Napoleon III. so good an excuse for intervention; but it was the opposition of Baden to the formation of a South German confederation that made the ultimate union inevitable. The troops of Baden took a conspicuous share in the war of 1870; and it was the grand-duke of Baden, who, in the historic assembly of the German princes at Versailles, was the first to hail the king of Prussia as German emperor.

The internal politics of Baden, both before and after 1870, centre in the main round the question of religion. The signing on the 28th of June 1859 of a concordat with the Holy See, by which education was placed under the oversight of the clergy and the establishment of religious orders was facilitated, led to a constitutional struggle, which ended in 1863 with the victory of Liberal principles, the communes being made responsible for education, though the priests were admitted to a share in the management. The quarrel between Liberalism and Clericalism was, however, not ended. In 1867, on the accession to the premiership of Julius von Jolly (1823-1891), several constitutional changes in a Liberal direction were made; responsibility of ministers, freedom of the press, compulsory education. In the same year (6th of September) a law was passed to compel all candidates for the priesthood to pass the government examinations. The archbishop of Freiburg resisted, and, on his death in April 1868, the see was left vacant, In 1869 the introduction of civil marriage did not tend to allay the strife, which reached its climax after the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility in 1870. The “Kulturkampf” raged in Baden, as in the rest of Germany; and here as elsewhere the government encouraged the formation of Old Catholic communities. Not till 1880, after the fall of the ministry of Jolly, was a reconciliation with Rome effected; in 1882 the archbishopric of Freiburg was again filled up. The political tendency of Baden, meanwhile, mirrored that of all Germany. In 1891 the National Liberals had but a majority of one in the diet; from 1893 they could maintain themselves only with the aid of the Conservatives; and in 1897 a coalition of Ultramontanes, Socialists, Social-democrats and Radicals (Freisinnige), won a majority for the opposition in the chamber.

Amid all these contests the wise and statesmanlike moderation of the grand-duke Frederick won him universal esteem. By the treaty under which Baden had become an integral part of the German empire, he had reserved only the exclusive right to tax beer and spirits; the army, the post-office, railways and the conduct of foreign relations were placed under the effective control of Prussia. In his relations with the German empire, too, Frederick proved himself rather a great German noble than a sovereign prince actuated by particularist ambitions; and his position as husband of the emperor William I.'s only daughter, Louise (whom he had married in 1856), gave him a peculiar influence in the councils of Berlin. When, on the 20th of September 1906, the grand-duke celebrated at once the jubilee of his reign and his golden wedding, all Europe combined to do him honour. King Edward VII. sent him, by the hands of the duke of Connaught, the order of the Garter. But more significant, perhaps, was the tribute paid by the Temps, the leading Parisian paper. “Nothing more clearly demonstrates the sterile paradox of the Napoleonic work,” it wrote, “than the history of the grand-duchy. It was Napoleon, and he alone, who created this whole state in 1803 to reward in the person of the little margrave of Baden a relative of the emperor of Russia. It was he who after Austerlitz aggrandized the margravate at the expense of Austria; transformed it into a sovereign principality and raised it to a grand-duchy. It was he too who, by the secularization on the one hand and by the dismemberment of Württemberg on the other, gave the grand-duke 500,000 new subjects. He believed that the recognition of the prince and the artificial ethnical formation of the principality would be pledges of security for France. But in 1813 Baden joined the coalition, and since then that nation created of odds and ends (de bric et de broc) and always handsomely treated by us, had not ceased to take a leading part in the struggles against our country. The grand-duke Frederick, grand-duke by the will of Napoleon, has done France all the harm he could. But French opinion itself renders justice to the probity of his character and to the ardour of his patriotism, and nobody will feel surprise at the homage with which Germany feels bound to surround his old age.” He died at Mainau on the 28th of September 1907, and was succeeded by his son, the grand-duke Frederick II.

Bibliography.—Das Grossherzogtum Baden in geographischer ... Hinsicht dargestellt (Karlsruhe, 1885); Wielandt, Das Staatsrecht des Grossherzogtums Baden (Freiburg, 1895); F. von Weech, Badische Geschichte (Karlsruhe, 1890); Die Zähringer in Baden (Karlsruhe, 1881); Baden unter den Grossherzögen Karl Friedrich, Karl Ludwig (Freiburg, 1863); Geschichte der badischen Verfassung (Karlsruhe, 1868); and Baden in den Jahren 1852 bis 1877 (Karlsruhe, 1877); C. F. Nebenius and F. von Weech, Karl Friedrich von Baden (Karlsruhe, 1868); L. H. Häusser, Denkwürdigkeiten zur Geschichte der badischen Revolution (Heidelberg, 1851); L. Müller, Badische Landtagsgeschichte (Berlin, 1899-1902); E. von Chrismar, Genealogie des Gesamthauses Baden vom 16. Jahrhundert bis heute (Gotha, 1892); E. H. Meyer, Badisches Volksleben im 19. Jahrhundert (Strassburg, 1900); F. J. Mone, Quellensammlung zur badischen Landesgeschichte (Karlsruhe, 1848-1867); Badische Biographien, edited by F. von Weech (Karlsruhe, 1875-1891).


  1. Frederick assumed the title of grand-duke on the 5th of September 1856.