The arms of Isenburg

The Sovereign Principality of Isenburg was the name of a state of Germany during the Napoleonic Wars, based around Birstein, Büdingen and Offenbach in modern Hesse, Germany. The Principality of Isenburg, which superseded Isenburg-Birstein, was a member state of the Confederation of the Rhine and was mediatised to Hesse-Darmstadt at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

In 1801 Napoleon I Bonaparte defeated the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, and the influence of the French threatened the existence of Charles I's minor principality of Isenburg-Birstein amongst others. Charles travelled to Paris to engage in separate negotiations with Napoleon and guaranteed from him the future of his statelet. Thus when in July Napoleon announced the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine independent of the Empire, Prince Charles I was one of the sixteen founding members. Charles mediatised the counties of Isenburg-Büdingen, Isenburg-Wächtersbach and Isenburg-Meerholz, which were ruled by other members of the House of Isenburg, and created a federative principality.

In 1814 Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, and Charles was forced into exile as the Austrians annexed the principality. Unable to attend the Congress of Vienna to decide the future of the states of Germany, he was represented instead by his wife Charlotte of Erbach. Despite using all her political clout, Charlotte was unable to secure the principality's future. It was mediatised to Hesse-Darmstadt in 1815. Charles died in 1820 as the last ruling member of Isenburg.




Charles I Frederick Louis Maurice1806 - 1815Prince of Isenburg-Birstein Prior to 1806

Member States of the Confederation of the Rhine
Anhalt-Bernburg | Anhalt-Dessau | Anhalt-Köthen | Arenberg | Baden | Bavaria | Berg | Frankfurt | Hesse-Darmstadt
Hohenzollern-Hechingen | Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen | Isenburg | Leyen | Liechtenstein | Lippe-Detmond
Mecklenburg-Schwerin | Mecklenburg-Strelitz | Nassau | Oldenburg | Reuss-Ebersdorf | Reuss-Greiz
Reuss-Lobenstein | Reuss-Schleiz | Salm-Kyrburg | Salm-Salm | Saxe-Coburg | Saxe-Gotha | Saxe-Hildburghausen
Saxe-Meiningen | Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach | Saxony | Schaumburg-Lippe | Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen | Waldeck | Westphalia | Württemberg | Würzburg