Principality of Lippe

Lippe (later Lippe-Detmold and then again Lippe) was a historical state in Germany, ruled by the House of Lippe. It was located between the Weser river and the southeast part of the Teutoburg Forest.

Principality of Lippe

Fürstentum Lippe
Coat of arms
Lippe within the German Empire
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
State of the Confederation of the Rhine
State of the German Confederation
State of the North German Confederation
Federal State of the German Empire
Common languagesWest Low German
Church of Lippe
 Raised to County
 Raised to Principality
 German Revolution
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Saxony
Free State of Lippe


The founder of what would become the County of Lippe (1528–1789), then the Principality of Lippe (1789–1918) was Bernhard I, who received a grant of territory from Lothair III in 1123. Bernhard I assumed the title of Edler Herr zu Lippe (noble Lord to Lippe). The history of the dynasty and its further acquisitions of land really began with Bernard II. His territory was probably formed out of land he acquired on the destruction of the Duchy of Saxony following the demise of Henry the Lion in 1180. From 1196 to 1666 the descendants of Bernard II passed their holdings from father to sons for sixteen generations. Thereafter until 1905, a collateral branch passed Lippe from father to sons for eight generations. A distant relation then became the last ruler until the Revolution of 1918 when Lippe became the Free State of Lippe.[1] Simon V was the first ruler of Lippe to style himself as a count (Graf) in 1528.[2]

Following the death of Simon VI in 1613, the county was partitioned between his three sons; Lippe-Detmold went to Simon VII, Lippe-Brake to Otto and Lippe-Alverdissen went to Philip I. The county of Lippe-Brake was reunited with the main Detmold line in 1709. Another branch of the family was founded by Jobst Herman, a son of Simon VII, who was founder of the Lippe-Biesterfeld line.[2] From this branch, the branch Lippe-Weissenfeld was later to be separated. Both the Counties of Lippe-Biesterfeld and Lippe-Weissenfeld were sold to the princely line of Lippe(-Detmold) in 1762.

The Counts of Lippe-Detmold were granted the title of Imperial prince in 1789.[2]

Shortly after becoming a member state of the German Empire in 1871, the Lippe-Detmold line died out on 20 July 1895. This resulted in an inheritance dispute between the neighbouring principality of Schaumburg-Lippe and the Lippe-Biesterfeld line. The dispute was resolved by the Imperial Court in Leipzig in 1905, with the lands passing to the Lippe-Biesterfeld line who, until this point, had no territorial sovereignty.[2]

The Principality of Lippe came to an end on 12 November 1918 with the abdication of Leopold IV, with Lippe becoming a Free State. In 1947, Lippe merged into the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The princely family still owns the estate and Fürstliches Residenzschloss in Detmold.[3]

Lords of Lippe (1123–1528)[4]

  • Bernard I, Lord 1123–1158 (c.1090–1158)
    • Hermann of Lippe (died c. 1160)
      • Herman I, Lord 1158–1167 (died 1167)
      • Bernard II, Lord 1167–1196, resigned to the Church (c. 1140–1224)
        • Herman II, Lord 1196–1229 (1175–1229)
          • Bernard III, Lord 1229–1265 (c. 1194– 1265)
            • Herman III, Lord in Lippstadt 1265–1274 (c. 1233–1274)
            • Bernard IV, Lord in Rheda 1265–1275 (c. 1230–1275)
              • Simon I, Lord 1273–1344 at first Rheda only (c. 1261–1344)
                • Simon II, Lord 1344 with his brothers (died 1344)
                • Bernard V, Lord of Lippe in Rheda 1344–1364 (died 1364)
                • Otto, Lord of Lippe in Lemgo 1344–1360 (died 1360)

Raised to County in 1528.

Counts of Lippe (-Detmold from 1613)[5]

Raised to Principality 1789.

Princes of Lippe[6]

  • Leopold I, 1st Prince 1789–1802 (1767–1802)

Lippe-Biesterfeld line (see above) succeeded as senior line:

Line of succession[7]

  • Rudolph Ferdinand, Count of Lippe-Sternberg-Schwalenberg (1671–1736)
    • Frederick Karl Augustus, Count of Lippe-Sternberg-Schwalenberg (1706–1781), since 1762 of Lippe-Biesterfeld
      • Karl Ernest Casimir, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1735–1810)
        • William Ernest, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1777–1840)
          • Julius Peter Hermann August, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1812–1884)
            • Ernest Kasimir Frederick Karl Eberhard, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1842–1904), regent of the Principality 1897–1904
              • Leopold IV, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld 1904–1905, Regent 1904–1905 and 6th Prince of Lippe 1905–1949 (1871–1949), abdicated 1918
                • Armin, 7th Prince 1949–2015 (1924–2015)
                  • Stephan, 8th Prince 2015–present (born 1959)
                    • (1) Bernhard Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Lippe (born 1995)
                    • (2) Prince Heinrich Otto (born 1997)
                    • (3) Prince Benjamin (born 1999)
              • Prince Julius Ernst (1873–1952)
            • Prince Rudolf Wolfgang Ludwig Ernst Leopold (1856–1931)
              • Prince August Friedrich Wilhelm (1890–1938)
                • (6) Prince Rudolf Ferdinand Ludwig Eberhard Bernhard (born 1937)
                  • (7) Prince Jean Friedrich Christian Wladimir Hermann Simon Heinrich (born 1982)

See also


  1. G. Benecke, Society and Politics in Germany, 1500–1750, Routletge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1974, p. 41.
  2. Chisholm 1911, p. 740.
  3. "Wo Deutschland fast noch eine Monarchie ist" by Andreas Fasel, Die Welt, 25 December 2015 (in German)
  4. Marek, Miroslav. "lippe/lippe1.html".
  5. Marek, Miroslav. "lippe/lippe3.html".
  6. Marek, Miroslav. "lippe/lippe4.html".
  7. Online Gotha – Lippe



Further reading

  • A. Falkmann, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Fürstenthums Lippe (Detmold, 1857–1892; 6 vols.)
  • Schwanold, Das Fürstentum Lippe, das Land und 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 um die Thronfolge im Fürstentum Lippe (Leipzig, 1903)
  • P. Laband, Die Thronfolge im Fürstentum Lippe' (Freiburg, 1891)
  • Schiedsspruch in dem Rechtstreit über die Thronfolge im Fürstentum Lippe vom 25 Okt. 1905 (Leipzig, 1906)
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