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Mediatization

From Academic Kids

Mediatization, defined broadly, is the annexation of one monarchy by another monarchy in such a way that the ruler of the annexed state keeps his or her noble title, and sometimes a measure of power. Thus, for example, when a sovereign county is annexed to a larger principality, its reigning count might find himself subordinated to a prince, but would nevertheless remain a count, rather than be stripped of his title. Often, mediatized noble houses were officially ranked higher than other houses of nominally equal rank who had never ruled a state.

The term "mediatization" was originally applied to the reorganization of the German states during the early 19th century. This process is sometimes known simply as "the Mediatization". There are a number of other countries in which mediatization has occurred, however, with Italy and Russia being notable examples.

Holy Roman Empire

Between 1803 and 1806, the vast majority of the states of the Holy Roman Empire were mediatized. These states lost their Reichsunmittelbarkeit ("imperial immediacy") and became part of other states. The number of states was reduced from about three hundred to about thirty. Mediatization went along with secularization: the abolition of most of the ecclesiastic states.

The legal basis for mediatization was the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803, which had become necessary under pressure of France. The Treaty of the Confederation of the Rhine of 1806 continued the process of mediatization. The constitution of the German Confederation of 1815 confirmed the mediatization, but gave certain rights to the mediatized princes, such as first instance jurisdiction.

See mediatized houses for a list of mediatized princely houses. See German Mediatization for a detailed discussion.

nl:Mediatisering de:Mediatisierung

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