Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel" "Kurfürstentum Hessen"
conventional_long_name = Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel
Electorate of Hesse
common_name = Hesse-Kassel
continent = Europe
region = Germany
country = Germany
status = Vassal
status_text = State of the Holy Roman Empire State of the German Confederation
empire = Holy Roman Empire
government_type = Principality
year_start = 1567
year_end = 1866
life_span = 15671806 18131866
event_start =
date_start =
event_end = Annexed by Prussia
date_end =
event1 = Raised to Electorate
date_event1 = 1803
event2 = Annexed by France
date_event2 = 1806
event3 = Reestablished
date_event3 = 1813
p1 = Landgraviate of Hesse
flag_p1 = Flag of Hesse.svg
s1 = Province of Hesse-Nassau
flag_s1 = Flagge Preußen - Provinz Hessen-Nassau.svg

symbol_type = Coat of arms (1818)

image_map_caption = Hesse-Kassel
capital = Kassel
common_languages = German
religion = Protestant (Calvinist)
stat_year1 = 1864
stat_area1 = 9581
stat_pop1 = 745063
currency = Hesse-Kassel thaler(to 1858) Hesse-Kassel vereinsthaler(1858-1873)
footnotes =
title_leader = Landgrave
leader1 = William IV of Hesse
year_leader1 = 1567–1592
leader2 = Frederick I of Sweden
year_leader2 = 1730–1751

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel ( _de. Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel) or Hesse-Cassel was a "Reichsfrei" principality of the Holy Roman Empire that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the capital of Kassel. The other sons received the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Rheinfels and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was elevated to the Electorate of Hesse ("Kurfürstentum Hessen", or "Kurhessen") in 1803. It was then annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866 after the Austro-Prussian War and subsequently became the Province of Hesse-Nassau.

17th and 18th centuries

The House of Hesse was a dynasty which descended from Catholic and Protestant luminaries. Landgraves Philip I, William V, and Maurice married descendants of King George of Bohemia. From William VI onwards, mothers of the heads of Hesse-Kassel were always descended from William the Silent, the leader of the Dutch to independence on basis of Calvinism.

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel expanded in 1604 when Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, inherited the Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg from his childless uncle, Louis IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Marburg (1537-1604).

During the Thirty Years' War, Calvinist Hesse-Kassel proved to be Sweden's most loyal German ally. Landgrave William V and, after his death in 1637, his widow Amelia of Hanau, a granddaughter of William the Silent, as regent supported the Protestant cause and the French and Swedes throughout the war and maintained an army, garrisoning many strongholds, while Hesse-Kassel itself was occupied by Imperial troops.

William V was succeeded by Landgraves William VI and William VII. Under King Frederick I of Sweden the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was in personal union with Sweden from 1730-51. But in fact the King's younger brother, William VIII, reigned in Kassel until 1760.

Although it was a fairly widespread practice at the time to rent out troops to other princes, it was the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel who became infamous for hiring out contingents of their army as mercenaries during the 17th and 18th centuries. Frederick II, notably, hired out so many troops to his nephew King George III of the United Kingdom for use in the American Revolution, that "Hessian" has become an American slang term for all German soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Frederick used the revenue to finance his opulent lifestyle. One of these regiments that saw service in America was the Musketeer Regiment Prinz Carl.

During the 17th century, the landgraviate was internally divided for dynastic purposes, without allodial rights, into:
* Landgraviate of Hesse-Rotenburg (1627–1834)
* Landgraviate of Hesse-Wanfried-(Rheinfels) (1649–1755)
* Landgraviate of Hesse-Philippsthal
* Landgraviate of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld

These were reunited with the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel when each particular branch died out without issue.

19th century

Following the reorganization of the German states during the German mediatisation of 1803, the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was raised to the Electorate of Hesse and Landgrave William IX was elevated to Imperial Elector, taking the title William I, Elector of Hesse. The principality thus became known as "Kurhessen", although still usually referred to as Hesse-Kassel.

In 1806, William I was dispossessed by Napoleon Bonaparte for his support of the Kingdom of Prussia, and Kassel became the capital of a new Kingdom of Westphalia under Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte as king. The elector was restored following Napoleon's defeat in 1813, and although the Holy Roman Empire was now defunct, William retained his title of Elector, as it gave him pre-eminence over his cousin, the Grand Duke of Hesse. From 1813 onwards, the Electorate of Hesse was an independent country and, after 1815, a member of the German Confederation.

William's grandson, Elector Frederick William, sided with the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War, and after the Prussian victory his lands were annexed by Prussia in 1866. Along with the annexed Duchy of Nassau and Free City of Frankfurt, Hesse-Kassel became part of the new Province of Hesse-Nassau of the Kingdom of Prussia.

20th century

In 1918, Hesse-Nassau became part of the Free State of Prussia until 1944. From 1944-45 as part of Nazi Germany, it was divided into the Prussian provinces of Kurhessen and Nassau. From 1945-46, it was renamed Greater Hesse ("Großhessen") and was part of the US occupation zone in Germany. From 1946 onwards, it was reorganised into the state of Hesse ("Bundesland Hesse"), in the Federal Republic of Germany'.

In 1918, Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, younger brother of the head of the house and a brother-in-law of Emperor William II, was elected by the pro-German Finnish government to be King of Finland, but he never reigned.

In 1968, the head of the House of Hesse-Kassel became the head of the entire House of Hesse due to the extinction of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt.


The village of Hessen Cassel, Indiana near Fort Wayne, founded by German immigrants, is named for the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel.

Hesse-Kassel maintained 7 percent of its entire population under arms throughout the eighteenth century. This force served as a source of mercenaries for other European states. [Tilly, Charles "Coercion, Capital, and European States."]

See also

* List of rulers of Hesse
* List of Swedish monarchs
* List of Finnish monarchs
* Line of succession to the Hesse Throne
* New Sweden
* Pennsylvania Dutch
* New Netherland


External links

* [http://www.hoeckmann.de/germany/hesse-north.htm Map of Hesse in 1789 - Northern Part]
* [http://www.hoeckmann.de/germany/hesse-south.htm Map of Hesse in 1789 - Southern Part]

office = List of Swedish monarchs
years = 1720–51
preceded = House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
succeeded = House of Holstein-Gottorp
Template group
list =

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