Principality of Orange-Nassau

Principality of Orange-Nassau
Fürstentum Nassau-Oranien
State of the Holy Roman Empire (until 1806)

Coat of arms

So weit die Welt reicht!
Capital Diez, Germany
Government Principality
   1702–1711 John William Friso
  1711–1751 William IV
  1751–1806 William V
  1806, 1813–1815 William VI
Historical era Modern
   Establishment 1702
   Abolition 1815
Preceded by
Succeeded by
County of Nassau
Duchy of Nassau
Kingdom of Prussia

Orange-Nassau (also named Nassau-Orange) (German: Oranien-Nassau or Nassau-Oranien) was a principality which was part of the Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle within the Holy Roman Empire. It existed under this name between 1702 and 1815. The territory of the former state of Orange-Nassau is now part of Germany. It was ruled by the House of Orange-Nassau.

In 1702 the first House of Orange-Nassau became extinct with the death of William III, Prince of Orange, the Stadtholder in the Netherlands and King of England, Scotland and Ireland. John William Friso, Prince of Nassau-Dietz inherited the title "Prince of Orange" from his cousin William III. From then on the rulers conducted the title Fürst van Nassau-Oranien in Germany and in the Netherlands the title Prins van Oranje-Nassau (English: Prince of Orange-Nassau). The principality soon became larger with the incorporation of other Nassau territories, this due to the extinction of other branches of the House of Nassau. In 1711 the branch Nassau-Hadamar died out. Although belonging to the remaining branches Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dillenburg and Orange-Nassau the principality Nassau-Hadamar was not divided; it was provisionally administered by the ruler of Nassau-Dillenburg. When subsequently in 1739 and in 1743 the branches Nassau-Dillenburg and Nassau-Siegen died out, all Nassau areas of the Ottonian Line were reunited and inherited by the branch Orange-Nassau. The Prince of Orange-Nassau from then on had two seats in the Council of Princes of the Reichstag: Hadamar-Nassau and Nassau-Dillenburg.

By article 24 of the Treaty of the Confederation on 12 July 1806 William VI, Prince of Orange lost all the territories of the Principality of Orange-Nassau. The counties Siegen, Dillenburg and Hadamar, and the Herrlichkeit Beilstein were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Berg. By German Mediatisation, the county Dietz and its dependencies, and the Lordships Wehrheim and Burbach, all came under the sovereignty of the Duke of Nassau-Usingen and the Prince of Nassau-Weilburg. In 1808 the Prince of Orange also lost his rights as mediatized prince and all his property were confiscated.

After the French troops were expelled from Germany in 1813, the Prince of Orange could retake the territories that were lost to the Grand Duchy of Berg in 1806. In addition, the following mediatised areas were added under his sovereignty: the Herrlichkeit Westerburg, the Herrlichkeit Schadeck, and that part of the county Wied-Runkel that lay on the right bank of the river Lahn. On 26 November 1813, the Prince of Orange concluded a treaty with the Duchy of Nassau, in which also the county of Nassau-Dietz was returned to the prince. The Amt Wehrheim, however, remained to the Duchy of Nassau.

However, the restoration was short-lived. On 31 May 1815 Prince William VI concluded a treaty at the Congress of Vienna with his Prussian brother-in-law and first cousin King Frederick William III, by which he ceded the Principality of Orange-Nassau to the Kingdom of Prussia in exchange for Luxembourg, which was elevated to a Grand Duchy. On the same day the Prussians gave most of the principality to the Duchy of Nassau (thereby uniting the areas of the Ottonian Line and the Walram Line of the House of Nassau). Only Siegen remained with Prussia.

In 1815 the prince became the new King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg with the name William I of the Netherlands. To this day the Netherlands is ruled by the members of the House of Orange-Nassau.

Territories part of the principality

See also

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