Lordship of Anholt
Herrschaft Anholt
1169 - 1815

Lower Rhenish-West.
Counts of Westphalia
Established 1169
Immediate 13th / 14th Century
Occupied by Guelders 1512 - 1540
Annexed to France 1810
To Russia and Prussia 1813
Abolished 1815

The Lordship of Anholt was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the northwest of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, around the castle of Anholt astride the border with the Netherlands. The castle of Anholt was built in 1169 and was ruled by a branch of the Lords of Zuylen. At the early 14th Century by the latest, the lordship was granted immediacy. Anholt passed to Gemen with the extinction of this line, then to Bronchhorst in 1402, and finally passed to the House of Salm in 1641. Anholt was an Imperial Estate from 1653 with a vote on the Bench of Counts of Westphalia.

The Lordship of Anholt (1169 - 1402)Edit

The castle of Anholt was built by the Prince-Bishop of Utrecht William I to protect the newly established territories in the southeast of the diocese. The responsibility of protecting the new castle fell to the House of Zuylen, to the branch of Zuylen-Anholt from 1234. The latest the Lordship could have been granted immediacy is during the rule of Stephen I (ruled 1317 - 1343). The immediate lords of Anholt had to protect their interests from the expanding Prince-Bishopric of Münster, eventually allying with the Counts and Lords of Rheda, Steinfurt and Gemen.

In 1346 the Lordship first exercised its' right to mint money. The village which was established around Anholt was granted city rights by Lord Theodoric in 1349. The last male of the Zuylen-Anholt line died in 1380, leaving the Lordship to Herberga, the wife of the Herman III of Gemen. The Lordship passed officially to Gemen with Herberga's death in 1399. As Herman and Herberga's only surviving children were two daughters, with Herman's death in 1402 to the Lordship of Anholt passed to the House of Bronchhorst's line of Batenburg through Margaret, one of his daughters.

Anholt under the Bronchhorsts (1402 - 1641)Edit

The Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund confirmed the Bronchhorst-Batenburgs as Lords of Anholt in 1431, as well as confirming their rights to mint coinage, immediacy, and to hold festivals. During the reign of Jacob I (1473 - 1516) Anholt was brought into the difficult Guelders Feud between the Duchy of Burgundy and the Duchy of Guelders when the Burgundians access to the hinterland of Guelders through his territory although he sided with the Dukes of Guelders. However the feud was ended by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in 1499 at Emmerich. This led to Jacob siding with the Dukes of Cleves who also held feud against Guelders and has attempts to leave the Holy Roman Empire.

Charles of Guelders failed to conquer Anholt in 1499, although he remained a threat to the Lordship. After an outbreak of plague in 1512 Charles again invaded the Lordship, plundered the city and besieged the castle, capturing it after a three month siege. The field captain Floris of Ysselstein sent by the Emperor to bring relief to Anholt was subjected to heavy losses and failed to defeat Charles or reconquer the Lordship. The Emperor Charles V confirmed all immediate rights of the Lordship to the Bronchhorsts in 1531 and had Theodoric III recognised as Lord of Anholt in 1537 although the Lordship was still held by Guelders. It was not until 1540 that the Bronchhorsts actually recovered Anholt.

Years of peace and reconstruction followed the return of the Bronchhorsts. During the Eighty Years' War (1568 - 1648) between the Spanish and the Dutch, Anholt was again brought into struggle. The Lords refused to sign into the Union of Utrecht (an alliance of the Protestant provinces of the Netherlands) on the grounds that his lands were Catholic. In 1580 a Dutch army under Colonel Walter Hagemann appeared, and the Anholtians entered into negotiations. The Dutch promised not to bring arms into the city where the negotiations were agreed to take place, however once the gates were opened the Dutch set fire to the town, robbed the churches and plundered the castle. When Duke William the Rich of Cleves sent relief across the Rhine, the Dutch fled.

In the decades which followed in the lead up to the Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648), Anholt came under increasing pressure from zealots of both the Protestant and Catholic cause. Theodoric IV issued a decree in 1578 officially keeping the status quo, which initially met with success. However in 1591 and 1598 difficulties occurred, with further troubles ensuing during the Thirty Years' War. The Emperor Ferdinand II granted to the Theodoric IV high honours and Imperial Count recognition in 1621. Theodoric IV died in 1641 leaving only a daughter Bronchhorst-Batenburg who was married to the Prince of Salm-Salm, thereby passing Anholt to the House of Salm.

Anholt Under Salm (1641 - 1810)Edit

In 1647 the Lordship was officially recognised as having passed to Salm. Anholt was raised to an Imperial Estate with a vote on the Bench of Counts of Westphalia in 1653. Peace and prosperity returned to Anholt following the Thirty Years' War. The 18th Century brought further disruption and troubles to the Lordship. In 1711 the neutrality of the lordship was violated and the town was plundered. In 1738 the line of Salm-Salm became extinct and Anholt passed to the line of Salm-Hoogstraten which renamed itself to Salm-Salm the following year. After the French Revolution, the German territories west of the Rhine were occupied by France, and the Princes lost their Wild- and Rhinegraviate territories. Despite being among the first four German states to join Napoleon Bonaparte's Confederation of the Rhine in 1806, the French occupied and annexed all of Salm's territories in 1810 to enforce the Continental Blockade against Great Britain.

Anholt Following Mediatisation (1810 - 1815)Edit

Anholt remained French until 1813 when it was occupied by Russian and Prussian soldiers. The Congress of Vienna revoked the immediacy and independence of the Lordship and it was annexed to Prussia as part of the Province of Westphalia.

Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle
Aachen | Anholt | Beilstein | Bentheim | Berg | Blankenheim and Gerolstein | Cambrai | Cleves | Cologne
Cornelismünster | Corvey | Delmenhorst | Diepholz | Dortmund | East Frisia | Essen | Fagnolle | Gemen | Gimborn
Gronsfeld | Hallermund | Herford | Holzapfel | Hoya | Jülich | Kerpen-Lommersum | Liège | Lingen | Lippe
Malmédy | Marck | Minden | Moers | Münster | Myllendonk | Nassau-Dietz | Nassau-Dillenburg | Nassau-Hademar
Oldenburg | Osnabrück | Paderborn | Pyrmont | Ravensberg | Reckheim | Reichenstein | Rietberg | Sayn
Schaumburg | Schaumburg-Hesse | Schaumburg-Lippe | Schleiden | Spiegelberg | Stavelot | Steinfurt
Tecklenburg | Thorn | Verden | Virneburg | Werden | Wickrath | Wied | Winneburg | Wittem

Earlier Members
Brakel | Bronchhorst | Cambrai | Duisburg | Düren | Echternach | Herford | Lemgo | Luxembourg | Manderscheid
Marck-Arenberg | Salm-Reifferscheid | Soest | Someruff | Utrecht | Verden | Warburg | Wesel