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Although the king of Germany was head of the feudal hierarchy of nobility, the extent of the personal power of each king depended on the amount of land which he himself held.For instance, King Heinrich III retained the duchies of Bavaria, Swabia, and Carinthia in his own hands.The "Bavarian" vote seems to have become attributed to the position of Pfalzgraf, both titles being held by Otto II Duke of Bavaria when he voted as such for the first time in 1237, but the process by which this occurred is far from clear.An additional vote was granted to Heinrich I Duke of Lower Bavaria in the 1273 election of King Rudolf I, as a practical solution to the opposition of Otakar II King of Bohemia.The territory had been part of the Frankish empire founded in 800 by Emperor Charles I "Charlemagne" and ruled by his descendants until their extinction in the male line in 911.The Franks had been only one of a number of tribes living in the area now identified as Germany.

The term "Germany" or "Deutschland" was not widely used before the 16th century.In 831, he was also granted Thuringia, Saxony, Frisia and the northernmost lands west of the Rhine.His half-brother Charles received Alemannia, Alsace and lands along the upper Meuse and Moselle.Nevertheless, during the 11th to 13th centuries, Germany achieved a degree of political and territorial integrity as a unit which was not to be repeated until the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871. Although the elevations of Konrad I in 911 and Heinrich I in 919 were described as "elections", the oath of allegiance and acclamation appear to have been the key elements of the procedure.With the accession of the Ottonian kings, the elective element declined even further, especially as each king started nominating his successor during his lifetime.

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