Holy Roman Empire


Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire (German: "Heiliges Römisches Reich", in the 15th century: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation) was a collection of regions and free cities which all came under the rule of an emperor who was elected by the princes and magistrates of the regions and cities which comprised it, that existed in central Europe. When Charlemagne died, his Frankish Empire was given to his children and divided into 3 different countries: West Francia, Lotharingia and East Francia. The Holy Empire started when Otto I of East Francia became Holy Emperor in 962, and it was ended by Napoleon in 1806. The emperors claimed to be heirs of Charlemagne and that the Empire dates from 800 (when Charlemagne became Frankish Emperor).
In the 17th century the Empire was shattered by the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Nearly thirty percent of the population of the Empire had been killed. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation lost parts of its territory.
Until the 13th century, the Holy Roman Empire was powerful. Later, all the duchies and counties inside the Empire started to get more power. At the end, the Emperors didn't have a lot of real power any more, and the country existed only in name.
Voltaire, a French philosopher, once joked that the empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.


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