Swabian League

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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
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. 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.
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, 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.
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. 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.
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. Later attempts by Charles V to restore the Swabian League failed.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Swabian League


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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The politics of the Swabian League, Three Cities' League, and Schmalkaldic League established a pattern of communication and cooperation between the urban centers, and these networks carried over into the religious changes brought by the Protestant Reformation.
This claim to authority by Bader, which was not, in fact, aimed at an actual usurpation, was connected by the authorities of Nearer Austria and the Swabian League with the intrigues directed toward the restoration of Duke Ulrich of Wurttemberg.
q Manchester, Dry Bar YOUR VEGAS + The Swabian League + The Cut + Onions
Maximilian next set out to reestablish his family's ancestral domination of Switzerland, in alliance with the Swabian League of minor principalities in southern Germany under the slogan `The Swiss, too, must have a master.'
Because of its importance, and because its organization was typical of many other city-leagues (such as the Rhenish League, the Saxon League, the Swabian League, and others), I will take the case of the Hansa as representative of city-leagues in general.