History Highlights, Southern Germany

In 1806 Württemberg became a Kingdom

The Kingdom of Württemberg was a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia. Its traditional capital was Stuttgart.

1806 Württemberg

The kingdom had creative inventors, among them entrepreneurs whose companies are known worldwide:

Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz founded the companies that would become Mercedes-Benz…they have always had plants near Stuttgart. 

At Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin constructed his airships starting in 1897.

In 1886, Robert Bosch opened his first ‘Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering’ in Stuttgart.

In the 1930s, the first prototypes of the VW Beetle were manufactured in Stuttgart based on a design by Ferdinand Porsche.

The name Württemberg originates from a steep Stuttgart hill, close to Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. The House of Württemberg emerged in the 11th century in Stuttgart, the seat of their ancestral castle. First they ruled the Duchy of Swabia, then after the extinction of the Hohenstaufen ducal line, they ruled the state of Württemberg within the Holy Roman Empire. 

In 1806 Württemberg became a Kingdom allied with Napoleon after the French defeated and disbanded the Holy Roman Empire. Their coat of arms is depicted here…with 3 lions for the whole region of Swabia, and 3 antlers for its largest ruling dynasty…along with the motto: Fearless and Loyal. Ironically, given their new motto of loyalty, In 1813 at the battle of Leipzig, Württemberg deserted Napoleon and changed sides to join with Prussia, Austria and Russia who then defeated the French. They were not loyal to Napoleon, but I suppose you could say they were always secretly loyal to the German cause. Regardless, because they changed sides, the Kingdom of Württemberg continued on after Napoleon’s defeat until 1918, when all royalty in Germany collapsed and the country re-emerged as the Weimar Republic. 

After WWII, in 1952, parts of the former States of Baden and Württemberg were merged. Today, Baden-Württemberg is Germany’s third largest state.

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