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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Lippe, Germany (State)

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A principality of Germany and constituent state of the German empire, bounded N.W., W. and S. by the Prussian province of Westphalia and N.E. and E. by the Prussian provinces of Hanover and Hesse-Nassau and the principality of WaldeckPyrmont. It also possesses three small enclaves - Kappel and Lipperode in Westphalia and Grevenhagen near Hoxter. The area is 469 sq. m., and the population (1905) 145,610, showing a density of 125 to the sq. m. The greater part of the surface is hilly, and in the S. and W., where the Teutoburger Wald practically forms its physical boundary, mountainous. The chief rivers are the Weser, which crosses the north extremity of the principality, and its affluents, the Werre, Exter, Kalle and Emmer. The Lippe, which gives its name to the country, is a purely Westphalian river and does not touch the principality at any point. The forests of Lippe, among the finest in Germany, produce abundance of excellent timber. They occupy 28% of the whole area, and consist mostly of deciduous trees, beech preponderating. The valleys contain a considerable amount of good arable land, the tillage of which employs the greater part of the inhabitants. Small farms, the larger proportion of which are under 22 acres, are numerous, and their yield shows a high degree of prosperity among the peasant farmers. The principal crops are potatoes, beetroot (for sugar), hay, rye, oats, wheat and barley. Cattle, sheep and swine are also reared, and the "Senner" breed of horses, in the stud farm at Lopshorn, is celebrated. The industries are small and consist mainly in the manufacture of starch, paper, sugar, tobacco, and in weaving and brewing. Lemgo is famous for its meerschaum pipes and Salzuflen for its brine-springs, producing annually about 150o tons of salt, which is mostly exported. Each year, in spring, about 15,000 brickmakers leave the principality and journey to other countries, Hungary, Sweden and Russia, to return home in the late autumn.

The roads are well laid and kept in good repair. A railway intersects the country from Herford (on the Cologne-Hanover main line) to Altenbeken; and another from Bielefeld to Hameln traverses it from W. to E. More than 95% of the population in 1905 were Protestants. Education is provided for by two gymnasia and numerous other efficient schools. The principality contains seven small towns, the chief of which are Detmold, the seat of government, Lemgo, Horn and Blomberg. The present constitution was granted in 1836, but it was altered in 1867 and again in 1876. It provides for a representative chamber of twenty-one members, whose functions are mainly consultative. For electoral purposes the population is divided into three classes, rated according to taxation, each of which returns seven members. The courts of law are centred at Detmold, whence an appeal lies to the court of appeal at Celle in the Prussian province of Hanover. The estimated revenue in 1909 was b13,000 and the expenditure £I r6,000. The public debt in 1908 was £64,000. Lippe has one vote in the German Reichstag, and also one vote in the Bundesrat, or federal council. Its military forces form a battalion of the 6th Westphalian infantry.


The present principality of Lippe was inhabited in early times by the Cherusii, whose leader Arminius (Hermann) annihilated in A.D. 9 the legions of Varus in the Teutoburger Wald. It was afterwards occupied by the Saxons and was subdued by Charlemagne. The founder of the present reigning family, one of the most ancient in Germany, was Bernard I. (1113-1144), who received a grant of the territory from the emperor Lothair, and assumed the title of lord of Lippe (edler Herr von Lippe). He was descended from a certain Hoold who flourished about 950. Bernard's successors inherited or obtained several counties, and one of them, Simon III. (d. 1410), introduced the principles of primogeniture. Under Simon V. (d. 1536), who was the first to style himself count, the Reformation was introduced into the country. His grandson, Simon VI. (1555-1613), is the ancestor of both lines of the princes of Lippe. In 1613 the country, as it then existed, was divided among his three sons, the lines founded by two of whom still exist, while the third (Brake) became extinct in 1709. Lippe proper was the patrimony of the eldest son, Simon VII. (1587-1627), upon whose descendant Frederick William Leopold (d. 1802) the title of'prince of the empire was bestowed in 1789, a dignity already conferred, though not confirmed, in 1720. Philip, the youngest son of Simon VI., received but a scanty part of his father's possessions, but in 1640 he inherited a large part of the countship of Schaumburg, including Biickeburg, and adopted the title of count of Schaumburg-Lippe. The ruler of this territory became a sovereign prince in 1807. Simon VII. had a younger son, Jobst Hermann (d. 1678), who founded the line of counts of Lippe-Biesterfeld, and a cadet branch of this family were the counts of Lippe-Weissenfeld. In 1762 these two countiesBiesterfeld and Weissenfeld - passed by arrangement into the possession of the senior and ruling branch of the family. Under the prudent government of the princess Pauline (from 1802 to 1820), widow of Frederick William Leopold, the little state enjoyed great prosperity. In 1807 it joined the Confederation of the Rhine and in 1813 the German Confederation. Pauline's son, Paul Alexander Leopold, who reigned from 1820 to 1851, also ruled in a wise and liberal spirit, and in 1836 granted the charter of rights upon which the constitution is based. In 1842 Lippe entered the German Customs Union ( Zollverein ), and in 1866 threw in its lot with Prussia and joined the North German Confederation.

The line of rulers in Lippe dates back, as already mentioned, to Simon VI. But besides this, the senior line, the two collateral lines of counts, Lippe-Biesterfeld and Lippe-Weissenfeld and the princely line of Schaumburg-Lippe, also trace their descent to the same ancestor, and these three lines stand in the above order as regards their rights to the Lippe succession, the counts being descended from Simon's eldest son and the princes from his youngest son. These facts were not in dispute when in March 1895 the death of Prince Woldemar, who had reigned since 1875, raised a dispute as to the succession. Woldemar's brother Alexander, the last of the senior line, was hopelessly insane and had been declared incapable of ruling. On the death of Woldemar, Prince Adolph of Schaumburg-Lippe, fourth son of Prince Adolph George of that country and brother-in-law of the German emperor, took over the regency by virtue of a decree issued by Prince Woldemar, but which had until the latter's death been kept secret. The Lippe house of representatives consequently passed a special law confirming the regency in the person of Prince Adolph, but with the proviso that the regency should be at an end as soon as the disputes touching the succession were adjusted; and with a further proviso that, should this dispute not have been settled before the death of Prince Alexander, then, if a competent court of law had been secured before that event happened, the regency of Prince Adolph should continue until such court had given its decision. The dispute in question had arisen because the heads of the two collateral countly lines had entered a caveat. In order to adjust matters the Lippe government moved the Bundesrat, on the 5th of July 1895, to pass an imperial law declaring the Reichsgericht (the supreme tribunal of the empire) a competent court to adjudicate upon the claims of the rival lines to the succession. In consequence the Bundesrat passed a resolution on the 1st of February 1896, requesting the chancellor of the empire to bring about a compromise for the appointment of a court of arbitration between the parties. Owing to the mediation of the chancellor a compact was on the 3rd of July 1896 concluded between the heads of the three collateral lines of the whole house of Lippe, binding "both on themselves and on the lines of which they were the heads." By clause 2 of this compact, a court of arbitration was to be appointed, consisting of the king of Saxony and six members selected by him from among the members of the supreme court of law of the empire. This court was duly constituted, and on the 22nd of June 1897 delivered judgment to the effect that Count Ernest of Lippe-Biesterfeld, head of the line of LippeBiesterfeld, was entitled to succeed to the throne of Lippe on the death of Prince Alexander. In consequence of this judgment Prince Adolph resigned the regency and Count Ernest became regent in his stead. On the 26th of September 1904 Count Ernest died and his eldest son, Count Leopold, succeeded to the regency; but the question of the succession was again raised by the prince of Schaumburg-Lippe, who urged that the marriage of Count William Ernest, father of Count Ernest,with Modeste von Unruh, and that of the count regent Ernest himself with Countess Carline von Wartensleben were not ebenbiirtig (equal birth), and that the issue of these marriages were therefore excluded from the `succession. Prince George of Schaumburg-Lippe and the count regent, Leopold, thereupon entered into a compact, again referring the matter to the Bundesrat, which requested the chancellor of the empire to agree to the appointment of a court of arbitration consisting of two civil senates of the supreme court, sitting at Leipzig, to decide finally the matter in dispute. It was further provided in the compact that Leopold should remain as regent, even after the death of Alexander, until the decision of the court had been given. Prince Alexander died on the 1 3 th of January 1905; Count Leopold remained as regent, and on the 25th of October the court of arbitration issued its award, declaring the marriages in question (which were, as proved by document, contracted with the consent of the head of the house in each case) ebenbiirtig, and that in pursuance of the award of the king of Saxony the family of Lippe-Biesterfeld, together with the collateral lines sprung from Count William Ernest (father of the regent, Count Ernest) were in the order of nearest agnates called to the succession. Leopold (b. 1871) thus became prince of Lippe.

See A. Falkmann, Beitreige zur Geschichte des Fiirstenthums Lippe (Detmold, 1857-1892; 6 vols.); Schwanold, Das Frstentum Lippe, das Land and seine Bewohner (Detmold, 1899); Piderit, Die lippischen Edelherrn im Mittelalter (Detmold, 1876)

, A. Falkmann and O. Preuss, Lippische Regenten (Detmold, 1860-1868); H. Triepel, Der Streit urn die Thronfolge im Furstentum Lippe (Leipzig, 1903); and P. Laband, Die Thronfolge im Furstentum Lippe (Freiburg, 1891); and Schiedsspruch in dem Rechtstreit'fiber die Thronfolge im Furstentum Lippe vom 25 Okt. 1905 (Leipzig, 1906).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Lippe, Germany (State)'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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