Free Imperial City of Kempten

The Free Imperial City of Kempten was a Free Imperial City in the Swabian Circle.[1]

Imperial City of Kempten in the Allgäu

Reichstadt Kempten im Allgäu
A view of Kempten in 1650
StatusFree Imperial City
(State of the Holy Roman Empire)
CapitalKempten im Allgäu
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 City founded
before 50 BC
 City gained Imperial immediacy
 Abbey sold property within Imperial City
 Abbey united with city
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Franconia
Electorate of Bavaria


In 1213, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II declared the abbots of Kempten Abbey members of the Imperial Diet and granted the abbot the right to bear the title of Duke, making the abbey the Imperial Ducal Abbey of Kempten.

In 1289, King Rudolf of Habsburg granted special privileges to the settlement in the river valley, making it an Imperial City. In 1525 the last property rights of the abbots in the Imperial City were sold in the so-called "Great Purchase", marking the start of the co-existence of two independent cities bearing the same name next to each other.

The Imperial City converted to Protestantism in direct opposition to the Catholic monastery in 1527, signing the Augsburg Confession.

During the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War (1632–33), the city was destroyed by imperial forces.

During the Napoleonic Wars the Imperial City came under Bavarian rule (1802–03). In 1819, the city was united with the properties of the Abbey into a single communal entity.


  1. "Kempten". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2012

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