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Historical Flags of Rhineland States (Germany)

Last modified: 2012-10-19 by pete loeser
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Most of the information concerning the Napoleonic era is based on articles by Dr. Günter Mattern published in The Flag Bulletin for 1976, 1982 and 1983. Since the French revolutionaries did not accept the agreements of the French kings concerning these territories, starting in the early 1790s these were seized. Since the annexation by France was a step by step process, I am not concerned with the uncertainties in the 1790s and immediately thereafter; in any, event, from 1793 on the French had de facto control.
Norman Martin, 21 July 2000

Free City and Free Imperial City were synonymous expressions. The imperial cities were concentrated in Swabia; outside that region there were just a few — in the 17th and 18th centuries Nuremberg, Regensburg, Schweinfurt, Frankfurt, (Donauwörth), Rothenburg, Worms, Speyer, Wetzlar, Muehlhausen, Nordhausen, Goslar, Aachen, Cologne, Dortmund, Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck. The list did undergo changes; in the middle ages Nijmegen and Duisburg belonged to the list.
Alexander Ganse, 12 November 2001

With respect to Cologne, Mainz and Trier, the flags I cited were those of the electors (who were the prince bishops). I don't know if the Imperial Cities had flags during this period, but if they did, I don't have the data.
Norman Martin, 28 Feb 2002

Archbishopric of Cologne 1475-1794
Erzbistum Köln

[Cologne 1475-1794 (Germany)] Image by by Jaume Ollé

A black St. George cross on a white flag. In use from 14th century until the late 18th century.
Norman Martin, Apr 1998

After the Napoleonic era, Cologne became part of Prussia in 1815.
Santiago Dotor, 27 Feb 2001

Without concrete evidence to the contrary, I find this attribution [to the city of Cologne] doubtful. The traditional colours of the city are red and white. The black cross does however appear in the arms of the archdiocese of Cologne (Erzbistum Köln), see for instance the arms of the present-day Rhein-Erft-Kreis County.
Stefan Schwoon, 28 Feb 2002

Archbishopric of Mainz 14th Century - 1797
Erzbistum Mainz

[Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé

A white wheel on a red field. In use from 14th century until the late 18th century.
Norman Martin, Apr 1998

After the Napoleonic era, Mainz became part of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1816.
Santiago Dotor, 27 Feb 2001

Editor's note: see also the nowadays city of Mainz (Stadt Mainz).

Principality of Rheina-Wolbeck since 1803
Fürstentum Rheina-Wolbeck

[Rheina-Wolbeck (Germany)] Image by Santiago Dotor

Colors red-yellow. In use during the Napoleonic era. Created 31 January 1803.
Norman Martin, Apr 1998

From Brockhaus Kleines Konversations-Lexikon 1914 (my translation):

     "A princely state belonging to the [Prussian] provinces Westphalia and Hanover; 556 km2 and 30,000 inhabitants. Until 1803 part of the diocese of Münster, then to the family Looz-Corswarem, 1836 by marriage to the Count de Lannoy-Clervaux, who in 1840 was nominated Prince of Rheina-Wolbeck."
     "Wolbeck is a place southeast of Münster. Rheine were two municipalities left and right of the Ems, with Schloss Bentlage, residence of the Prince of Rheine-Wolbeck — part of the town Rheine. Rheina and Rheine are both used as name of the town."
Jarig Bakker, 19 July 2000

I understand that the Principality of Rheine-Wolbeck passed to Prussia at some point after 1840 and was divided between Provinz Westfalen and Provinz Hannover.
Santiago Dotor, 19 July 2000

The Principality of Rheina-Wolbeck was formed in 1803 (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) as a compensation for his territories lost to France for the duke of Looz and Corswaren. The Principality became in 1806 part of the grandduchy of Berg (for the General Murat), came in 1811 to France, and in 1915 to Prussia.
Source: Gerhard Koebler, Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Laender, 5th edition, Muenchen 1995.
A. Birken, 21 Aug 2002

Protector of the Rhine Confederation

[Napoleon's Standard as Protector of the Rhine Confederation (Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé

Rhine Confederation: no Confederate flag. The French flag was used. Napoleon was the Protector and used his personal standard.
Jaume Ollé, 23 Aug 1998

County of Leyen until 1798
Grafschaft Leyen

[County of Leyen (Germany)] Image by Santiago Dotor

Colors blue-white-blue. Probably traditionally in use and certainly used after the arrival of French troops. Use abandoned 16 March 1798, when the county was annexed.
Norman Martin, Apr 1998

Croy-Dulmen 1803-1806

[Croy-Dulmen 1803-1806 (Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé

Existed between 1803 to 1806. Supposed flag (Flag Bulletin no. 102).
Jaume Ollé, 23 Aug 1998

Kingdom of Westphalia 1807-1813

[Kingdom of Westphalia 1807-1813 (Germany)]      [Kingdom of Westphalia 1807-1813 (Germany), variant]
Images by Santiago Dotor

Granted to Jerôme Bonaparte. Lucien Philippe gives white over blue flag (1807-1813). Also white over dark red is reported.
Jaume Ollé, 1998


[Isenburg (Germany)] Image by Santiago Dotor

Unknown dates. Light blue over yellow.
Jaume Ollé, 1998

Principality of Wied 1784-1815
Fürstentum Wied

[Principality of Wied 1784-1815 (Germany)] Image by Jaume Ollé, 25 Aug 1998

Principality created 1784. Transferred to Nassau 1806, and included in the Prussian Rhenish territory in 1815, as a mediated principality. The flag is the Nassau one, with a yellow canton with the dynastic symbol. Reconstructed image.
Jaume Ollé, 25 Aug 1998

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