|Burgraviate of Rheineck|
|c. 1180 - 1801|
| Bad Breisig|
Counts of Westphalia
|Ceded to France||1801|
The Burgraviate of Rheineck was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire based around Castle Rheineck in Bad Briesig in the far north of modern Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The burgraviate was a member of the Electoral Rhenish Circle and was a member of the Bench of Counts of Westphalia in the Imperial Diet.
Castle Rheineck was built by Count Otto of Salm during the early 12th Century and was the first to name himself "Count of Rheineck". His family was involved in a feud with the Counts of Stahleck, concerning amongst other things the office of the County Palatine of the Rhine. In 1150 the last of Otto's family died. Rheineck passed to the Archbishop of Trier however this was disputed by the Counts of Stahleck. In 1151 the Emperor had the castle demolished to prevent war.
The castle was quickly reestablished by the Archbishopric of Cologne which saw its strategic importance. The castle allowed the archbishops to consolidate their more southern territories of Andernach and Rhens, and a souring in relations with the Count Palatine of the Rhine necessitated its need. The County Palatine had by this time been reduced to the remaining hereditary possessions of Franconian Hohenstaufens but they refused to renounce their rights to territories along the Rhine. More importantly, the dispute centred around a feud between Archbishop Rainald of Dassel and Count Palatine Conrad which developed at the siege of Milan. It appeared that a battle at Andernach would occur between the two, however the Archbishop of Trier supported the Archbishop of Cologne. Conrad withdrew without battle.
In 1180 the Archbishop gave the castle in fief as a burgraviate to the Knights of Ulmen, who quickly assumed the name "von Rheineck". The burgraviate comprised of the castle, four small positions on the Rhine, Drachenfels and the Odenkirchen Alps. The family provided many cathedral members and canons. However the family also took to being robber-barons. In 1300 the Archbishop complained to the emperor of them. The following year the burgrave came into dispute with the three Rhenish archbishops. In 1303 the Emperor reprimanded the burgrave and confirmed the vassalage to the Archbishop.
The burgraves became reknowned for their prowess at war. Burgrave John V achieved fame in the Kempernicher Feud in 1330 as a skilled mounted knight. His son John VI was favoured by the Emperor Charles IV. Dispite this he was beheaded in 1381 after a fight with the knight of Sinzig in the presence of the Archbishop of Cologne.
In 1539 the family became extinct. The archbishops invested the castle to the Lord of Metternich-Brohl, Frederick, who in 1556 gave Rheineck to his brother Bertram of Metternich-Schweppenburg. However this was disputed by the the barons of Warsberg, who were related to the mother of the last Ulmen burgrave. After a session at the Imperial Chamber Court, in 1571 the archbishop relented and Rheineck was invested to them. The barons don't appear to have cared much of the territory as the quickly sold off most of the allodial properties, leaving the burgraviate as little more than the castle. In 1654 baron Philip sold Rheineck, with its circle and Imperial diet seats, to Count Rudolph of Sinzendorf for 7,000 ducats.
The Sinzendorfs were high wanking members of Austrian nobility who held several duties and rights in the Empire, and had several territories in Austria, Bohemia and Moravia. Rheineck was occupied by France during the Wars of the French Revolution, and was formally ceded by the Empire in 1801. The Counts of Sinzendorf were compensated in 1803 with the Burgraviate of Winterrieden in Swabia, a territory formerly belonging to the Abbey of Ochsenhausen.
|Electoral Rhenish Circle|
|Arenberg | Beilstein | Coblenz | Cologne | Lower Isenburg | Mainz | Palatinate|
Rheineck | Thurn and Taxis | Trier
|Gelnhausen | Neuenahr | Reifferscheid | Selz | St Maximin|