margrave(redirected from margravates)
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originally an official in the Carolingian empire and the Holy Roman Empire.
The office of margrave was established by Charlemagne to administer marches. The margrave enjoyed broader powers than an ordinary count—particularly permanent military authority. With the development of feudalism, margraves became semi-independent or independent rulers of entire regions; in Germany they became princes. In France, Spain, and Italy, margrave (marquess) is one of the highest titles of nobility.