- Historical event:
- 6 August 1806
- It was the end of a thousand-year empire since it had nominally been established back in the year 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome.
On this day in 1806, Emperor Francis II (Empress Maria Theresa’s grandson) abdicated and thus abolished the Holy Roman Empire.
It was the end of a thousand-year empire since it had nominally been established back in the year 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome. Indeed, Charlemagne’s empire can be considered a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire, whose founding can be dated back to the pre-Christian era.
The Holy Roman Empire (Latin: Sacrum Romanum Imperium) was an interesting political construct. It was based on the tradition of the Roman Empire but, already in the Middle Ages, its territory was for the most part limited to the German and Italian lands. After the Middle Ages, its territory was further reduced, making it for the most part limited to German lands. Thus, it started to be called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation or the Roman-German Empire.
The vast majority of the Holy Roman Emperors from the 10th century onwards were of German descent, and all the emperors from the 15th century were descendants of the Habsburg dynasty, with only one exception (Charles VII from the Wittelsbach dynasty). This meant that, from the end of the Middle Ages, the emperor mostly ruled from the Habsburg capital in Vienna. From the 16th century, the Imperial Diet met in Regensburg.