List of German Kings and Emperors

This is a list of monarchs who ruled over the German territories of central Europe from the division of the Frankish Empire in 843 (by which a separate Eastern Frankish Kingdom was created), until the collapse of the German Empire in 1918. It also includes heads of the various German confederations after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1806, and head of the first federation state, the North German Confederation, from 1867 to 1871.

Note on titles

  1. The Kingdom of Germany started out as the eastern section of the Frankish kingdom, which was split by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. The rulers of the eastern area thus called themselves rex Francorum, king of the Franks, and later just rex. A reference to the "Germans", indicating the emergence of a German nation of some sort, did not appear until the eleventh century, when the pope referred to his enemy Henry IV as rex teutonicorum, king of the Teutons, in order to brand him as a foreigner. The kings reacted by consistently using the title rex Romanorum, King of the Romans, to emphasize their universal rule even before becoming emperor. This title remained until the end of the Empire in 1806, though after 1508 Emperors-elect added "king in Germany" to their titles. (Note: in this and related entries, the kings are called kings of Germany, for clarity's sake)
  2. The Kingdom of Germany was never entirely hereditary; rather, ancestry was only one of the factors that determined the succession of kings. The king was formally elected by the leading nobility in the realm, continuing the Frankish tradition. Gradually the election became the privilege of a group of princes called electors, and the Golden Bull of 1356 formally defined election proceedings.[1]
  3. In the Middle Ages, the king did not assume the title "Emperor" (since 982 the full title was Imperator Augustus Romanorum, Venerable Emperor of the Romans) until crowned by the pope. Moving to Italy, he was usually first crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, after which he assumed the title of rex Italiae, King of Italy. After this he would ride on to Rome and be crowned emperor by the pope. See Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor for more details.
  4. Maximilian I was the first king to bear the title of Elected Emperor. After the failure in 1508 of his attempt to march to Rome and be crowned by the pope, he had himself proclaimed Elected Emperor with papal consent. His successor Charles V also assumed that title after his coronation in 1520 until he was crowned emperor by the pope in 1530. From Ferdinand I onwards, all emperors were Elected Emperor, although they were normally referred to as emperors. At the same time, chosen successors of the emperors held the title of king of the Romans, if elected by the college of electors during their predecessor's lifetime. See King of the Romans for more details.

Emperors are listed in bold. Rival kings, anti-kings, and junior co-regents are italicized.

Kings of East Francia (Germany), 843-962


Seal Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Ludwig der Deutsche.jpg Louis the German Carolingian 11 August 843 -- 23 August 876 Son of Emperor Louis the Pious and grandson of Charlemagne
Louis the Younger
(Ludwig III der Jüngere)
Carolingian 28 August 876 -- 20 January 882 Son of Louis the German; ruled in East Francia, Saxony; from 880, also Bavaria
Carolingian 28 876 -- 22 March 880 Son of Louis the German; ruled in Bavaria; from 877, also King of Italy
Charles the Fat
(Karl III der Dicke)
Carolingian 28 August 876 12 February 881 11 November 887 Son of Louis the German; ruled in Alemannia, Raetia, from 882 in the entire Eastern Kingdom; from 879, also King of Italy
Arnulf of Carinthia
(Arnulf von Kärnten)
Carolingian 30 November 887 25 April 896 8 December 899 Son of Carloman
Louis the Child
(Ludwig IV das Kind)
Carolingian 21 January 900 -- 20/24 September 911 Son of Arnulf of Carinthia


Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Conrad I
(Konrad I)
Conradine (Franconian) 10 November 911 -- 23 December 918  

Ottonian dynasty

Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Henry I the Fowler
(Heinrich I der Vogler)
Liudolfing (Saxon) 23 April 919 -- 2 July 936  
Arnulf the Bad
(Arnulf der Böse, Herzog von Bayern)
Luitpolding (Bavarian) 919 -- 921 Rival king to Henry I

Germany within the Holy Roman Empire, 962-1806

The title "King of the Romans", used under the Holy Roman Empire, is considered equivalent to King of Germany. A king was chosen by the German electors and would then proceed to Rome to be crowned emperor by the pope.

Ottonian dynasty (continued)

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Otto signum.png Otto I the Great
(Otto I der Große)
Ottonian 7 August 936 2 February 962 7 May 973 Son of Henry I; first king crowned in Aachen Cathedral since Lothair I; crowned as Otto by the grace of God King;[2] crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 961
Otton2.JPG Otto II the Red
(Otto II)
Ottonian 26 May 961 25 December 967 7 December 983 Son of Otto I;
Otto by the grace of God King[2] under his father 961-973;
also crowned Emperor in his father's lifetime
Meister der Reichenauer Schule 002.jpg Otto III
(Otto III)
Ottonian 25 December 983 21 May 996 21 January 1002 Son of Otto II; Otto by the grace of God King[2]
Kronung Heinrich II.jpg Henry II
(Heinrich II der Heilige)
Ottonian 7 June 1002 26 April 1014 13 July 1024 Great-grandson of Henry I

Salian dynasty

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Konrád2.jpg Conrad II
(Konrad II)
Salian (Frankish) 8 September 1024 26 March 1027 4 June 1039 Great-great-grandson of Otto I
Heinrich III..jpg Henry III
(Heinrich III)
Salian 14 April 1028 25 December 1046 5 October 1056 Son of Conrad II;
King (of the Germans?)[2] under his father 1028-1039
Heinrich 4 g.jpg Henry IV
(Heinrich IV)
Salian 17 July 1054 21 March 1084 31 December 1105 Son of Henry III;
King of Germany under his father, 1054-1056
Grabplatte Rudolf von Rheinfelden Detail.JPG Rudolf of Rheinfelden
(Rudolf von Rheinfelden)
Rheinfeld 15 March 1077 -- 15 October 1080 Rival king to Henry IV
Town Hall Eisleben-Smaller Detail.jpg Hermann of Salm
(Hermann von Luxemburg, Graf von Salm)
Salm 6 August 1081 -- 28 September 1088 Rival king to Henry IV
Conrad II of Italy.jpg Conrad
Salian 30 May 1087 -- 27 July 1101 Son of Henry IV;
King of Germany under his father, 1087-1098,
King of Italy, 1093-1098, 1095-1101 in rebellion.
Herrschaftsübergabe von Heirich IV. an Heinrich V.jpg Henry V
(Heinrich V)
Salian 6 January 1099 13 April 1111 23 May 1125 Son of Henry IV;
King of Germany under his father, 1099-1105, forced his father to abdicate

Supplinburger dynasty

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Siegel Lothar III.jpg Lothair II
(Lothar II)
Supplinburger 30 August 1125 4 June 1133 4 December 1137 He was Lothair II of Germany, but Lothair III of Italy

Hohenstaufen and Welf

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Konrad III Miniatur 13 Jahrhundert.jpg Conrad III
(Konrad III)
Hohenstaufen 7 March 1138 -- 15 February 1152 Grandson of Henry IV (through his mother);
Previously Rival King to Lothair III 1127-1135
Henry Berengar
(Heinrich (VI))
Hohenstaufen 30 March 1147 -- August? 1150 Son of Conrad III;
King of Germany under his father 1147-1150
Friedrich-barbarossa-und-soehne-welfenchronik 1-1000x1540.jpg Frederick I Barbarossa
(Friedrich I Barbarossa)
Hohenstaufen 4 March 1152 18 June 1155 10 June 1190 Nephew of Conrad III
Kaiser Heinrich VI. im Codex Manesse.jpg Henry VI
(Heinrich VI)
Hohenstaufen 15 August 1169 14 April 1191 28 September 1197 Son of Frederick I;
King of Germany under his father 1169-1190
Frederick II and eagle.jpg Frederick II
(Friedrich II)
Hohenstaufen 1197 -- 1197 Son of Henry VI;
King of Germany under his father, 1196
Vad-0321 040 Philipp von Schwaben.jpg Philip of Swabia
(Philipp von Schwaben)
Hohenstaufen 6 March 1198 -- 21 August 1208 Son of Frederick I; rival king to Otto IV
OttoIVgb.jpg Otto IV
(Otto IV von Braunschweig)
Welf 29 March 1198 4 October 1209 5 July 1215 Rival king to Philip of Swabia; later opposed by Frederick II; deposed, 1215; died 19 May 1218
Frederick II and eagle.jpg Frederick II
(Friedrich II)
Hohenstaufen 5 December 1212 22 November 1220 26 December 1250 Son of Henry VI;
Rival king to Otto IV until 5 July 1215
Jindra7.jpg Henry
(Heinrich (VII))
Hohenstaufen 23 April 1220 -- 15 August 1235 Son of Frederick II;
King of Germany under his father, 1220-1235
Conrad IV of Germany.jpg Conrad IV
(Konrad IV)
Hohenstaufen May 1237 -- 1 May 1254 Son of Frederick II;
King of Germany under his father, 1237-1250


Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Heinrich Raspe.jpg Henry Raspe
(Heinrich Raspe)
Thuringia 22 May 1246 -- 16 February 1247 Rival King to Frederick II and great-great-great grandson of Henry IV
Guillaume II de Hollande.png William of Holland
(Wilhelm von Holland)
Holland 3 October 1247 -- 28 January 1256 Rival King to Frederick II and Conrad IV, 1247-1254
Richard of Cornwall .jpg Richard of Cornwall
(Richard von Cornwall)
Plantagenet 13 January 1257 -- 2 April 1272 Brother-in-law of Frederik II; rival king to Alfonso of Castile; held no real authority.
TumboAKing.jpg Alfonso of Castile
(Alfons von Kastilien)
House of Burgundy 1 April 1257 -- 1275 Grandson of Philip; rival king to Richard of Cornwall; held no authority; later opposed by Rudolf I; relinquished claims 1275, died 1284

Habsburg and Nassau

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Kaiser Rudolf I. 1275.jpg Rudolf I
(Rudolf I von Habsburg)
Habsburg -- 15 July 1291 First of the Habsburgs
Siegel König Adolf von Nassau.jpg Adolf of Nassau
(Adolf von Nassau)
Nassau 5 May 1292 -- 23 June 1298 According to some historians, Adolf's election was preceded by the short-lived kingship of Conrad, Duke of Teck. See his article for details.
Albrecht Erste Habsburg.jpg Albert I
(Albrecht I von Habsburg)
Habsburg 24 June 1298 -- 1 May 1308 Son of Rudolf I; Rival king to Adolf of Nassau, 1298

Luxemburg and Wittelsbach

Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Henry Lux head.jpg Henry VII
(Heinrich VII, Luxemburger)
Luxembourg 27 November 1308 13 June 1311 24 August 1313 Holy Roman Emperor
Ludovico il Bavaro.jpeg Louis IV
(Ludwig IV, der Bayer, Wittelsbacher)
Wittelsbach 20 October 1314 17 January 1328 11 October 1347 Grandson of Rudolf I; rival king to Frederick the Fair, 1314-1322
Friedrich der Schöne.jpg Frederick the Fair
(Friedrich der Schöne, Habsburger)
Habsburg 19 October 1314/
5 September 1325
-- 28 September 1322/
13 January 1330
Son of Albert I;
rival king to Louis IV, 1314-1322;
associate king with Louis IV, 1325-1330
Charles IV-John Ocko votive picture-fragment.jpg Charles IV
(Karl IV von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 11 July 1346 5 April 1355 29 November 1378 Grandson of Henry VII; rival king to Louis IV, 1346-1347;
also King of Bohemia, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor
Guenther von schwarzburg.jpg Günther von Schwarzburg
(Günther von Schwarzburg)
Schwarzburg 30 January 1349 -- 24 May 1349 Rival king to Charles IV
Vasikzfrkronik.jpg Wenceslaus
(Wenzel von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 10 June 1376 -- 20 August 1400 Son of Charles IV; king of Germany under his father 1376-1378; deposed 1400;
also by inheritance King of Bohemia; died 1419
Ruprecht III (Pfalz).jpg Rupert of the Palatinate
(Ruprecht von der Pfalz, Wittelsbacher)
Wittelsbach 21 August 1400 -- 18 May 1410 Great-grandnephew of Louis IV
Pisanello 024b.jpg Sigismund
(Sigismund von Luxemburg)
Luxembourg 20 September 1410
/21 July 1411
3 May 1433 9 December 1437 Son of Charles IV
Jo?t Lucemburský.jpg Jobst of Moravia
(Jobst von Mähren, Luxemburger)
Luxembourg 1 October 1410 -- 8 January 1411 Nephew of Charles IV; rival king to Sigismund


Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Albrecht II. von Habsburg.jpg Albert II
(Albrecht II)
Habsburg 18 March 1438 -- 27 October 1439 4th in descent from Albert I;
son-in-law of Sigismund
Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. 005.jpg Frederick III
(Friedrich III)
Habsburg 2 February 1440 16 March 1452 19 August 1493 4th in descent from Albert I; 2nd cousin of Albert II
Ambrogio de Predis - Maximilian I Holy Roman Emperor.jpg Maximilian I
(Maximilian I)
Habsburg 16 February 1486 4 February 1508
12 January 1519 Son of Frederick III; King of Germany under his father, 1486-1493; assumed the title "Elected Emperor" in 1508 with the pope's approval
Carlos V pintado por Arias Fernández.jpg Charles V
(Karl V)
Habsburg 28 June 1519 28 June 1519
3 August 1556 Grandson of Maximilian I; died 21 September 1558
Hans Bocksberger (I) - Emperor Ferdinand I - WGA02326.jpg Ferdinand I
(Ferdinand I)
Habsburg 5 January 1531 14 March 1558
25 July 1564 Grandson of Maximilian I; brother of Charles V; King of Germany under his brother Charles V 1531-1556; last king to be crowned in Aachen Cathedral. Emperor
Nicolas Neufchâtel 002.jpg Maximilian II
(Maximilian II)
Habsburg 22 November 1562 25 July 1564
12 October 1576 Son of Ferdinand I;
King of Germany under his father 1562-1564
Joseph Heintz d. Ä. 002.jpg Rudolf II
(Rudolf II)
Habsburg 27 October 1575 2 November 1576
20 January 1612 Son of Maximilian II;
King of Germany under his father, 1575-1576
Lucas van Valckenborch - Emperor Matthias as Archduke, with baton.jpg Matthias
Habsburg 13 June 1612 13 June 1612
20 March 1619 Son of Maximilian II
Kaiser Ferdinand II. 1614.jpg Ferdinand II
(Ferdinand II)
Habsburg 28 August 1619 28 August 1619
15 February 1637 Grandson of Ferdinand I
Frans Luycx 002 - Emperor Ferdinand III.jpg Ferdinand III
(Ferdinand III)
Habsburg 22 December 1636 15 February 1637
2 April 1657 Son of Ferdinand II;
King of Germany under his father 1636-1637
Anselmus-van-Hulle-Hommes-illustres MG 0432.tif Ferdinand IV
(Ferdinand IV)
Habsburg 31 May 1653 -- 9 July 1654 Son of Ferdinand III;
King of Germany under his father
Benjamin von Block 001.jpg Leopold I
(Leopold I)
Habsburg 18 July 1658 18 July 1658
5 May 1705 Son of Ferdinand III
Joseph I Holy Roman Emperor.png Joseph I
(Joseph I)
Habsburg 23 January 1690 5 May 1705
17 April 1711 Son of Leopold I; King of Germany under his father 1690-1705
Johann Gottfried Auerbach 004.jpg Charles VI
(Karl VI)
Habsburg 27 October 1711 27 October 1711
20 October 1740 Son of Leopold I


Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.PNG Charles VII
(Karl VII)
Wittelsbach 14 January 1742 14 January 1742
20 January 1745 Great-great-grandson of Ferdinand II; Husband of Maria Amalia, daughter of Joseph I


Image Name House King Emperor Ended Notes
Martin van Meytens 006.jpg Francis I
(Franz I)
Lorraine 13 September 1745 13 September 1745
18 August 1765 Great-grandson of Ferdinand III; Husband of Maria Theresa, daughter of Charles VI
Anton von Maron 006.png Joseph II
(Joseph II)
Habsburg-Lorraine 27 March 1764 18 August 1765
20 February 1790 Son of Francis I and Maria Theresa; King of Germany under his father 1764-1765
Johann Daniel Donat, Emperor Leopold II in the Regalia of the Golden Fleece (1806).png Leopold II
(Leopold II)
Habsburg-Lorraine 30 September 1790 30 September 1790
1 March 1792 Son of Francis I and Maria Theresa
Friedrich von Amerling 003a.jpg Francis II
(Franz II)
Habsburg-Lorraine 7 July 1792 7 July 1792
6 August 1806 Son of Leopold II; Dissolved the Holy Roman Empire; also Emperor of Austria 1804-1835; President of the German Confederation (1815-1835), died 1835

Confederation of the Rhine, 1806-1813

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Emperor of the French
King of Italy
Napoleon crop.jpg Protector of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Bonaparte 12 July 1806 19 October 1813
Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg,
Prince-Archbishop of Regensburg
Grand Duke of Frankfurt
Portrait of Karl Theodor von Dalberg by Franz Stirnbrand.jpg Prince Primate of the
Confederation of the Rhine
25 July 1806 26 October 1813
Eugène de Beauharnais,
Grand Duke of Frankfurt
EugeneBeau.jpg Prince Primate of the
Confederation of the Rhine
Beauharnais 26 October 1813 December 1813

German Confederation, 1815-1866

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Francis I,
Emperor of Austria
(Franz I, Kaiser von Österreich)
Friedrich von Amerling 003a.jpg Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria[3] Habsburg-Lorraine 20 June 1815 2 March 1835
Ferdinand I,
Emperor of Austria
(Ferdinand I, Kaiser von Österreich)
Ferdinand I; Keizer van Oostenrijk.jpg Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria[3] Habsburg-Lorraine 2 March 1835 12 July 1848
Archduke John of Austria
(Erzherzog Johann von Österreich)
Leopold Kupelwieser 001.jpg Imperial Vicar (Reichsverweser) of the revolutionary German Empire[4] Habsburg-Lorraine 12 July 1848 20 December 1849
Frederick William IV, King of Prussia
(Friedrich Wilhelm IV, König von Preußen)
FWIV.jpg Emperor of the Germans elect Hohenzollern Elected Emperor of the Germans by the Frankfurt National Assembly on 28 March 1849, but refused the crown on 28 April 1849[5]
Presidium of the Union (Unionsvorstand) of the
Erfurt Union[6]
26 May 1849 29 November 1850
Francis Joseph I,
Emperor of Austria
(Franz Joseph I, Kaiser von Österreich)
Franz joseph1.jpg Head of the presiding power (Präsidialmacht) Austria Habsburg-Lorraine 1 May 1850 24 August 1866

North German Confederation, 1867-1871

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Wilhelm I,
King of Prussia
(Wilhelm I, König von Preußen)
Holder of the Bundespräsidium of the
North German Confederation
Hohenzollern 1 July 1867 1 January 1871[7]

German Empire, 1871-1918

Name Portrait Title House Began Ended
Wilhelm I,
German Emperor
(Wilhelm I, Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern 1 January 1871[7] 9 March 1888
Friedrich III,
German Emperor
(Friedrich III, Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern 9 March 1888 15 June 1888
Wilhelm II,
German Emperor
(Wilhelm II, Deutscher Kaiser)
German Emperor Hohenzollern 15 June 1888 9/28 November 1918[8]

See also


  1. ^ Germany - Britannica Educational Publishing
  2. ^ a b c d Medieval Europeans: studies in ethnic identity and national perspectives in medieval Europe By Alfred P. Smyth, Palgrave Macmillan (1998), p. 64
  3. ^ a b Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Vol. I: Reform und Restauration 1789 bis 1830. 2nd edition, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [] 1967, p. 589.
  4. ^ Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Vol. I: Reform und Restauration 1789 bis 1830. 2nd edition, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [] 1967, p. 625-627, 808.
  5. ^ Manfred Botzenhart: Deutscher Parlamentarismus in der Revolutionszeit 1848-1850. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1977, pp. 697/698.
  6. ^ Anlage II: Additional-Akte zu dem Entwurf der Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs. In: Thüringer Landtag Erfurt (ed.): 150 Jahre Erfurter Unionsparlament (1850-2000) (= Schriften zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus in Thüringen. H. 15) Wartburg Verlag, Weimar 2000, ISBN 3-86160-515-5, S. 27-44, here pp. 185-187.
  7. ^ a b Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Band III: Bismarck und das Reich. 3. Auflage, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1988, S. 750/751.
  8. ^ His abdication was announced by the Chancellor on 9 November, and the Emperor went into exile in the Netherlands. He did not formally abdicate until 28 November.

External links

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