Rhine, League of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rhine, League of the


an association of medieval German cities.

The League of the Rhine of 1254 united more than 70 cities on both sides of the Rhine, including Mainz and Worms. Its goal was to provide, within the context of a feudally fragmented Germany, security for commerce, the abolition of custom duties arbitrarily imposed by feudal lords, and the establishment and continuation of a Landfriede. The league was at first successful and was recognized by Emperor William of Holland, but it soon dissolved for all practical purposes in 1257 as a result of internal contradictions and the opposition of German princes.

A new league was created in 1381, including Frankfurt, Mainz, and Worms. It contracted an alliance with the Swabian League of 1376, but the combined military forces of the alliance were defeated in 1388 by the count of the Rhenish Palatinate, after which the alliance ceased to have any political importance and finally disintegrated by the mid-15th century.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.