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1519: The Acquisition of Württemberg by Charles V

Charles V’s acquisition of Württemberg marked the apex of Habsburg power in Swabia. The Swabian Alliance, the most important instrument of Habsburg authority in southwest Germany, acted against Duke Ulrich of Württemberg. Ulrich’s mistreatment of his wife Sabine forced a number of powerful figures to act. After his sister’s flight to Bavaria, Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria assembled an army at Ulm and, with the help of the Swabian Alliance, conquered Württemberg. Duke Ulrich was forced to flee from his homeland to Mömpelgard (Montbélieard) west of the Rhine.

Maximilian de Berghes, Lord of Zevenberghen, a councilor of Archduchess Margareta, completed Austria’s acquisition of Württemberg. At de Berghes’ insistence Charles V eventually agreed on March 28, 1520 to assume the costs of the campaign and to incorporate the duchy into the Habsburg domains. Negotiations with the Swabian Alliance concerning the war costs owed by Charles dragged on until February 6, 1520. Already heavily in debt, the emperor refused the Alliance’s demand of 300,000 guilders.

However, on February 6, 1520 an unauthorized act by de Berghes finalized the acquisition of Württemberg. The Swabian Alliance was compensated with 220,000 guilders and Württemberg was given to Charles V.

Matthias PFaffenbichler

© KHM-Museumsverband, Wissenschaftliche Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts.
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