- Kingdom of Saxony
Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Königreich Sachsen"
conventional_long_name = Kingdom of Saxony
common_name = Saxony
continent = Europe
region = Germany
country = Germany
year_start = 1806
year_end = 1918
p1 = Electorate of Saxony
flag_p1 = Flag_of_Electoral_Saxony.svg
s1 = Saxony
flag_s1 = Flag of Saxony.svg
image_map_caption = Kingdom of Saxony within the German Empire
capital = Dresden
national_anthem = "
government_type = Monarchy
Saxon thaler(till 1857) Saxon vereinsthaler(1857-1873)Goldmark (1873-1914) Papiermark (from 1914)
title_leader = King
leader1 = Frederick Augustus I
year_leader1 = 1806-1827
leader2 = Frederick Augustus III
year_leader2 = 1904-1918
stat_year1 = 1910
stat_area1 = 14993
stat_pop1 = 4806661
The Kingdom of Saxony ( _de. Königreich Sachsen), lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the
German Empire. It became a Free statein the era of Weimar Republicin 1918 after the end of World War Iand the abdication of King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. Its capital was the city of Dresden, and its modern successor state is the Free State of Saxony.
The Napoleonic Era and the German Confederation
Before 1806 Saxony was part of the
Holy Roman Empire, a thousand-year-old entity which had once aspired to be a single state, but had become highly decentralised over the centuries. The rulers of Electorate of Saxonyhad held the title of elector for several centuries. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved following the defeat of Emperor Francis II by Napoleonat the Battle of Austerlitz, the electorate was raised to the status of an independent kingdom with the support of France, then the dominant power in Central Europe. The last elector of Saxony became King Frederick Augustus I.
Following the defeat of Saxony's ally
Prussiaat the Battle of Jenain 1806, Saxony joined the Confederation of the Rhine, and remained within the Confederation until its dissolution in 1813 with Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Leipzig. Following the battle, in which Saxony - virtually alone of the German states - had fought alongside the French, King Frederick Augustus I was considered to have forfeited his throne by the allies, who put Saxony under Russian occupation and administration. This was probably more due to the Prussian desire to annex Saxony than to any crime on Frederick Augustus's part, and the fate of Saxony would prove to be one of the main issues at the Congress of Vienna. In the end, 40% of the Kingdom, including the historically significant Wittenberg, home of the Protestant Reformation, was annexed by Prussia, but Frederick Augustus was restored to the throne in the remainder of his kingdom, which still included the major cities of Dresdenand Leipzig. The Kingdom also joined the German Confederation, the new organization of the German states to replace the Holy Roman Empire.
The Austro-Prussian War and the German Empire
During the 1866
Austro-Prussian War, Saxony sided with Austria, and the Saxon army was generally seen as the only ally to bring substantial aid to the Austrian cause, having abandoned the defense of Saxony itself to join up with the Austrian army in Bohemia. This effectiveness probably allowed Saxony to escape the fate of other north German states which allied with Austria (notably the Kingdom of Hanover), which were annexed by Prussia after the war. The Austrians insisted as a point of honour that Saxony must be spared, and the Prussians acquiesced. Saxony nevertheless joined the Prussian-led North German Confederationthe next year. With Prussia's victory over Francein the Franco-Prussian Warof 1871, the members of the Confederation were organised by Otto von Bismarckinto the German Empire, with Wilhelm I as its Emperor. John I, as Saxony's incumbent king, was subordinate and owed allegiance to the Emperor, although he, like the other German princes, retained some of the prerogatives of a sovereign ruler, including the ability to enter into diplomatic relations with other states.
The end of the kingdom
Wilhelm I's grandson
KaiserWilhelm II abdicated in 1918 as a result of Germany's defeat in the First World War. King Frederick Augustus III of Saxonyfollowed him into abdication and the erstwhile Kingdom of Saxony became the Free State of Saxonywithin the newly-formed Weimar Republic, thus ceasing a somewhat brief history as a kingdom.
History of Saxony
* Kings of Saxony
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.