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27 Jul

Kingdom of Germany

The establishment of the Kingdom of Germany is traditionally dated to year 919 when Henry I the Fowler was crowned King of East Francia and Carolingian Dynasty finally lost the throne of East Francia. Henry I the Fowler united the stem duchies Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony and Franconia, and later also recaptured Lotharingia. In contrary to Conrad I who tried to subjugate the stem duchies, Henry I strengthened his position by allowing the dukes of Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony and Franconia a relatively wide authonomy. Henry I also did not follow the Carolingian principle of territorial division among all legal heirs and proclaimed his eldest son from his second marriage, Otto I his only heir.

Otto I the Great

Otto I the Great

Otto I was elected king by the assembly of the nobles in Aachen in 936. His election completed the formation of the Medieval German state which was started with the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Otto I conquered the Slavic lands between the Elbe and Oder rivers and tried to establish his influence in Burgundy and Northern Italy. He invaded Italy in 951, captured Pavia without any resistance and freed Adelaide of Italy who was imprisoned by a local noble Berengar of Ivrea. Afterwards he married with Adelaide and proclaimed himself King of Italy but Berengar established himself as king as soon as he left Italy. In addition, his campaign in Italy caused domestic problems.

Otto’s son from the first marriage Liutdolf feared for his inheritance, while the territorial expansion of Bavaria caused jealousy among other duchies. However, the threat of the Hungarian invasion in 954/955 forced the rebells to surrender. Otto I decisively defeated the Hungarians in the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 and proclaimed his six year old son Otto II (Liutdolf died meanwhile) King of Germany in 961. He returned to Italy on a call of Pope John XII. The Pope crowned him emperor at his arrival in Rome in 962, while Otto confirmed the Donation of Pepin but he retained the right to confirm the papal elections. Otto I assumed the title Holy Roman Emperor after the coronation in Rome in 962 and is traditionally regarded as the founder of the Holy Roman Empire.

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