From Academic Kids

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The 'Franconian Rake' is the symbol and unofficial coat of arms of Franconia, also appearing in emblems of many Franconian cities

Franconia (German: Franken), an historic region in Germany, now forms three administrative districts of the state of Bavaria: Lower Franconia (Unterfranken), Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken), and Upper Franconia (Oberfranken). The ancient name was resurrected in 1837 by Ludwig I, King of Bavaria.

Though its area has shifted, Franconia was one of the five original stem duchies that eventually made up the Holy Roman Empire. Franconia, east of the Rhine (with the cities of Mainz, Speyer and Worms on the west bank), was part of the Eastern Frankish kingdom, Austrasia. At the failure of the direct Carolingian male line in 911, Conrad, Duke of Franconia was acclaimed King of the Germans but failed to establish an heir in the imperial title. Instead, the Emperor Otto I crushed the rebellion of Conrad's brother, Duke Eberhard; then, rather than appoint a new duke from his own circle, in 939 Otto divided the threatening power of the Duchy of Franconia among the great ecclesiastics with and through whom he ruled, who had remained faithful to his cause: the Bishop of Würzburg, and the Abbot of Fulda; they were later joined (1008) by a new bishopric erected on former ducal territory, Bamberg. The great abbeys and episcopal seats that Boniface and his successors had established in southwestern Germany had a monopoly on literacy and were territorial magnates in Franconia on a par with the counts of lands farther west (Cantor 1993). They had another virtue in the Ottonian scheme: as celibates they were less likely to establish hereditary lineages. By contrast, Otto's son-in-law, Conrad the Red, whom he had installed as duke of Lorraine (944-955), extended his power base in Franconia, establishing the Salian dynasty of the following century.

Two Franconian duchies emerged, at least on paper, Rhenish Franconia along the Rhine, and Eastern Franconia.

Rhenish Franconia (Rheinfranken), which gave the empire the Franconian or Salian dynasty of Emperors (10241125; Conrad II, Henry III, Henry IV and Henry V), was virtually an empty title held by the Ottonian emperors until 1024, when Conrad, the Salian count of Speyer and of Worms, became emperor. Rhenish Franconia's lands were actually governed in a constellation of free cities (like Frankfurt and Worms), bishoprics (Mainz, Speyer and Worms), the Rhenish Palatinate, Hesse and many smaller territories. The Salian Franconian territories were granted as a fief in 1093 to the count palatine at Aachen, a territory that would evolve into the important German principality of the Rhenish Palatinate. In this way the Rhenish Franconia was divided and extinguished.

In 1115 Emperor Henry V awarded the territory of Eastern Franconia (Ostfranken) to his nephew Conrad of Hohenstaufen, who used the title "Duke of Franconia"; as the Hohenstaufen were increasingly preoccupied in Sicily, however, it came increasingly under the control of the bishops of Würzburg, whose rights were formalized in 1168. The name "Franconia" fell out of usage, but the Bishop of Würzburg revived it in his own favour in 1442 and held it until Napoleon's reforms.

In 1803, Napoleon incorporated the Bishop of Würzburg's Eastern Franconia into Bavaria, to which it still belongs today. Culturally it is in many ways different from Bavaria proper, however. While "Old Bavaria" is overwhelmingly Catholic, Franconia is a mixed area. Some parts such as Würzburg, Aschaffenburg and Bamberg are predominantly Catholic, while others such as Bayreuth, Ansbach and Nuremberg are predominantly Protestant. Many Franconians do not like to be called Bavarians.

The state colours (Landesfarben) of Franconia are red and white.

See also: East Franconian, Franconian language

External links

  • Dukes of Franconia (


The name Franconia has also been applied to places in the United States of America:

eo:Frankonio fr:Franconie ru:Франкония


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