Mediatisation is the loss of imperial immediacy. Broadly defined it is the subsumption of one monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 into another monarchy in such a way that the ruler of the annexed state keeps his sovereign title and, sometimes, a measure of local power. For instance: when a sovereign county
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 is annexed to a larger realm
A realm is a dominion of a monarch or other sovereign ruler.The Old French word reaume, modern French royaume, was the word first adopted in English; the fixed modern spelling does not appear until the beginning of the 17th century...

, its reigning count might find himself subordinated to another sovereign ruler, but nevertheless remains a count of sovereign rank, if not actually fully sovereign in fact. His subjects owe allegiance to the higher prince through him, and so his sovereignty is said to be mediatised, that is, rendered intermediate.

The term "mediatisation" was originally applied to the reorganisation of the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 states during the early 19th century, although the process had been going on since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Mediatisation has occurred in a number of other countries: Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (e.g. Orsini, Doria
Doria, originally de Auria , meaning "the sons of Auria", and then de Oria or d'Oria, is the name of an old and extremely wealthy Genoese family who played a major role in the history of the Republic of Genoa and in Italy, from the 12th century to the 16th century.-Origins:According to legend, a...

, Pallavicini
The Pallavicini, Pallavicino, were an Italian noble family descended from Oberto I . The first Pallavicino fief was created by Oberto II, who received them it by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162...

), Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 (e.g. Sibirsky
Sibirsky was the foremost of many Genghisid families formerly living in Russia. It traced its descent from Kuchum, the last of the Siberian khans....

, Vorotynsky
Vorotynsky was one of the most eminent Rurikid princely houses of Muscovite Russia. Their lands lay principally in the Upper Oka region and comprised the towns of Peremyshl and Vorotynsk as well as parts of Novosil and Odoyev....

), and France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (e.g. Rohan
Rohan (family)
The House of Rohan is a family of viscounts, later dukes and princes, coming from the locality of Rohan in Brittany. Their line descends from the viscounts of Porhoët and said to trace back to the legendary Conan Meriadoc. Through the Porhoët, the Rohan are related to the Dukes of Brittany, with...

, de Bouillon
Bouillon is a municipality in Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region and Luxembourg Province.The municipality, which covers 149.09 km², had 5,477 inhabitants, giving a population density of 36.7 inhabitants per km².- History :...

 and Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

) are notable examples.

The term is also sometimes used in reference to some Indian princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...


Holy Roman Empire

Between 1803 and 1806, the vast majority of the states of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 were mediatised by Napoleon. These states lost their imperial immediacy (Reichsunmittelbarkeit) and became part of other states. The number of states was reduced from about three hundred to about thirty. Mediatisation went along with secularisation: the abolition of most of the ecclesiastic states.

The legal basis for mediatisation was the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803, which had become necessary under pressure from France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The Treaty of the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

 of 1806 continued the process of mediatisation. The constitution of the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 of 1815 confirmed the mediatisation, but gave certain rights to the mediatised princes, such as first instance jurisdiction
Court of first instance
A court of first instance is a trial court of original or primary jurisdiction.Specific courts called the Court of First Instance include:* European Court of First Instance, of the European Union* Court of First Instance...


Mediatised sovereign houses rank higher than other houses of nominally equal (or higher) rank, but who never ruled a state. This division had great social significance, as mediatised princes were considered equal to royals for marriage purposes; in essence they were regarded as royalty. Thus if a scion from the most obscure mediatised family (say the child of an impoverished mediatised count) married an emperor or a king, their alliance was considered equal, not morganatic, and their children could inherit dynastic rights. Thus the children of Ernst Count zu Lippe-Biesterfeld
Lippe-Biesterfeld is a cadet line of the House of Lippe, a morganatic title created in 1916, and since 1937 a title of the Dutch Royal House.-History:...

, though the children of a Count, were called princes, and the son of his second son, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, was fit to marry Juliana
Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana was the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1948 and 1980. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry...

, Crown Princess, later Queen, of the Netherlands and their eldest daughter, Beatrix
Beatrix of the Netherlands
Beatrix is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba. She is the first daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She studied law at Leiden University...

, today occupies the Dutch throne.

This is one of the reasons why so many monarchs married German princes: German mediatised families were especially abundant.

The authoritative guide to the royal and noble houses of Europe, the Almanach de Gotha
Almanach de Gotha
The Almanach de Gotha was a respected directory of Europe's highest nobility and royalty. First published in 1763 by C.W. Ettinger in Gotha at the ducal court of Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, it was regarded as an authority in the classification of monarchies, princely and ducal...

, is divided into three sections: sovereign houses, mediatised houses, and other noble houses.

See also

  • Mediatized houses - a list of German mediatized princely houses.
  • Protectorate
    In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

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