Free Imperial City of Kempten

For other uses, see Kempten (disambiguation).
Imperial City of Kempten in the Allgäu
Reichstadt Kempten im Allgäu
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
A view of Kempten in 1650
Capital Kempten im Allgäu
Government Republic
Historical era Middle Ages
  City founded before 50 BC
   City gained Imperial immediacy 1289
  Abbey sold property
    within Imperial City
  City converted
    to Protestantism
   Mediatised to Bavaria 1802/3 1802
  Cities united 1819
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Franconia
Electorate of Bavaria

The Free Imperial City of Kempten was a Free Imperial City in the Swabian Circle.[1]


In 1213, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II declared the abbots of Kempten Abbey members of the Imperial Diet and granted the abbot the right to bear the title of Duke, making the abbey the Imperial Ducal Abbey of Kempten.

In 1289, King Rudolf of Habsburg granted special privileges to the settlement in the river valley, making it an Imperial City. In 1525 the last property rights of the abbots in the Imperial City were sold in the so-called “Great Purchase”, marking the start of the co-existence of two independent cities bearing the same name next to each other.

The Imperial City converted to Protestantism in direct opposition to the Catholic monastery in 1527, signing the Augsburg Confession.

During the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War (1632–33), the city was destroyed by imperial forces.

During the Napoleonic Wars the Imperial City came under Bavarian rule (1802–03). In 1819, the city was united with the properties of the Abbey into a single communal entity.


  1. "Kempten". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2012 <>.

Coordinates: 47°43′40.66″N 10°48′48.5″E / 47.7279611°N 10.813472°E / 47.7279611; 10.813472

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