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Swabian League,association of Swabian cities and other powers in SW Germany for the protection of trade and for regional peace. The Swabian League of 1488–1534 is the best known of the long series dating from the 14th cent. Supported by the Holy Roman emperor as an instrument of imperial power, it comprised more than 26 cities and many nobles, knights, and prelates. The league had a court, a powerful army, and a formal constitution (renewed in 1496, 1500, 1512, and 1522). It backed the election (1519) of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and it used its military power to expel Duke Ulrich I from WürttembergWürttemberg
, former state, SW Germany. Württemberg was formerly also spelled Würtemberg and Wirtemberg. The former state bordered on Baden in the northwest, west, and southwest, on Hohenzollern and Switzerland (from which it was separated by Lake Constance) in
..... Click the link for more information. . The league played a leading role in putting down the knights' revolt led by Franz von SickingenSickingen, Franz von
, 1481–1523, German knight. Placed under the ban of the Holy Roman Empire because of his profitable forays along the Rhine, he served King Francis I of France and then made peace with Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, whose service he entered.
..... Click the link for more information. , and it helped defeat the peasants in the Peasants' WarPeasants' War,
1524–26, rising of the German peasants and the poorer classes of the towns, particularly in Franconia, Swabia, and Thuringia. It was the climax of a series of local revolts that dated from the 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. . The dissolution (1534) of the league resulted from the opposition of interests between its feudal members and its cities and from the religious split caused by the Reformation. Many Protestant members in 1531 joined the Schmalkaldic LeagueSchmalkaldic League
, alliance formed in 1531 at Schmalkalden by Protestant princes and delegates of free cities. It was created in response to the threat (1530) by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to stamp out Lutheranism.
..... Click the link for more information. . Later attempts by Charles V to restore the Swabian League failed.
a confederation of imperial knights and the imperial cities of southwestern Germany that was established in 1488 in the city of Esslingen, Swabia. Soon after its formation, the league was joined by several princes, including the electors of Mainz, Trier, and the Palatinate, the landgrave of Hesse, and the duke of Bavaria. In practice, the Swabian League became an instrument with which the princes carried out a policy designed to further divide Germany into feudal principalities, preserve feudal privileges, and subordinate the cities. The league played a major role in suppressing the insurgents in the Peasant War of 1524–26. Internecine strife among the members of the Swabian League resulted in its disintegration in late 1533 and early 1534.