County of Württemberg
|County of Württemberg|
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
Division of Württemberg by the Treaty of Nürtingen
|Count of Württemberg|
|•|| ca 1089–1122
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|•|| County founded
by Conrad I
before 1081 1083
|•||Treaty of Nürtingen
|•||Treaty of Münsingen
|•||Raised to duchy||1495|
|Today part of||Germany|
The County of Württemberg was a historical territory with origins in the realm of the House of Württemberg, the heart of the old Duchy of Swabia. Its capital was Stuttgart. From the 12th century until 1495, it was a county within the Holy Roman Empire. It later became a duchy and, after the breakup of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom.
The Hohenstaufen family controlled the Duchy of Swabia until the death of Conradin in 1268, when a considerable part of its lands fell to the Count of Württemberg, Conrad von Beutelsbach. He took this name from his ancestral castle of Württemberg: records of this family are found from approximately 1080 onwards. The earliest historical details of a Count of Württemberg relate to Ulrich I, who ruled from 1241 to 1265. He served as marshal of Swabia and advocate of the town of Ulm, had large possessions in the valleys of the Neckar and the Rems, and acquired Urach in 1260. Under his sons, Ulrich II and Eberhard I, as well as their successors, the power of the family grew steadily. Eberhard I (died 1325) fought against three different German kings, and was often successful. He doubled the area of his county and transferred his residence from Württemberg Castle to the "Old Castle", in the centre of modern Stuttgart.
Though less prominent, his successors increased the size of the Württemberg lands. In 1381, the Duchy of Teck was bought, and marriage to an heiress led to the acquisition of Montbéliard in 1397. Several times, the family divided up its lands among different inheritors; in 1482, though, the Treaty of Münsingen reunited the territory, declared it indivisible, and handed control over it to Count Eberhard V, who is described as im Bart (the Bearded). This arrangement received the sanction of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, as well as that of the Imperial Diet in 1495. Unusually for Germany, Württemberg had a bicameral parliament from 1457 onwards, the Landtag, known otherwise as the "diet" or "Estates" of Württemberg: all new taxation had to receive the approval of this parliament. In 1477, Count Eberhard founded the University of Tübingen and expelled the Jews.
This county was named after a hill of the same name in the district of Untertürkheim in Rotenberg, Stuttgart, on which Wattenberg Castle stood until 1819. Until about 1350, the county appeared in records only with the spelling "Wirtenberg".
The House of Württemberg first appeared in the late 11th century. The first family member mentioned in records was Konrad I, in 1081, who is believed to have built the castle. The Württembergs became counts in the 12th century. In 1250, the House of Hohenstaufen's reign over the Duchy of Swabia ended; this allowed the Württembergs to expand their territory to include the duchy. Stuttgart (which later became the capital) was included within the county as a result of the marriage between Ulrich I and Mechthild of Baden in 1251.
The Württemberg territory expanded further under the rule of Ulrich III, Eberhard II and Eberhard III. Under Eberhard III, Württemberg assimilated the County of Montbéliard (German: Mömpelgard) through the betrothal of his son, Eberhard IV, to Henriette, Countess of Montbéliard in 1397.
In 1442, the Treaty of Nürtingen was signed between Ulrich V and his brother Ludwig I. As a result, Württemberg was divided into two parts. Ulrich received the Stuttgart area (Württemberg-Stuttgart), including the towns of Bad Cannstatt, Göppingen, Marbach am Neckar, Neuffen, Nürtingen, Schorndorf and Waiblingen. Ludwig received the Bad Urach section (Württemberg-Urach), including the towns of Balingen, Calw, Herrenberg, Münsingen, Tuttlingen and Tübingen. This section grew to include the County of Montbéliard as well after the death of Henriette in 1444.
As a result of the Treaty of Münsingen in 1482 and the Treaty of Esslingen in 1492, Count Eberhard V succeeded in reuniting Württemberg and rose to the rank of duke. The childless Eberhard became the sole ruler of this reunited country. The reigning Count Eberhard VI of Württemberg-Stuttgart was designated as his successor, and was to govern in association with a committee of twelve "honourables", representatives of the country's two estates (lords and commons).