The small independent country of Hohenzollern in southwestern Germany was run by two princes until 1850, when it was given away to the king of Prussia, who was a distant cousin to the princes (also descending from the Hohenzollern family).

Prussia expanded mainly with war, but in this particular case, Wikipedia does not say why the country of Hohenzollern was given away to Prussia in the German, French or English versions.

Since this happened before the war of 1866 (where Prussia basically took over most of Germany by defeating Austria), I do not see why the Hohenzollern princes would do such a thing as losing their independence.

  • In at least the case of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, it was a cash sale. "On 7 December 1849, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Konstantin sold the country to his relative, King Frederick William IV of Prussia" - from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenzollern-Hechingen#History Apr 24, 2016 at 16:03
  • No, wikipedia says enough (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen):Its ruler, Charles, was deposed in the revolutions of 1848. His son, Karl Anton, succeeded him, and turned to Prussia for aid. Prussian troops arrived in August 1849, and in a treaty signed in December Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was annexed by Prussia, effective in March 1850.... The question is the example of "use google!" questions.
    – Gangnus
    Apr 24, 2016 at 20:00
  • 1
    @Gangnus No, I read that already. WP Tells what happened, but not why. I'm asking why this happened, not what happened.
    – Bregalad
    Apr 24, 2016 at 20:17
  • So, is this Hohenzollern-Hechingen or Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen? Dec 27, 2023 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


The Swabian princes were "overthrown" in the Revolution of 1848 and forced by democratic forces to accept constitutional monarchies. When they couldn't get along with the democrats, they turned to the Prussians for military help to restore "order." Prussia was by far the most militaristic power in Germany and it had interests in protecting their Rhine territories from "revolution" even though the center of its power (Berlin) was at the opposite end of modern Germany from Swabia. And the fact that they were related to the Prussian rulers was a factor in the speed and power of the Prussian response.

At this point, the princes chose the "lesser of two evils" which was to hand over their principalities to Prussia (and keep it in the Hohenzollern family), or lose control altogether. The princes also made cash sales of their principalities that enabled them to maintain their lifestyles and a semblance of their former dignity.

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