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The County of Erfurt, Erfurt, is a small constitutional monarchy in central Europe. It is a member state of the Holy Roman Empire and is bordered by Electoral Saxony, Ducal Saxony, Rudolstadt and Gleichen. A small exclave to the north west borders Eichsfeld, Mulhausen, Electoral Saxony and Henneberg. The capital is Erfurt and the population around 141,000.
The Head of State is Prince Victor III.
The official language is German.
It uses the Erfurt Taler (EFT)
First mentioned in the 8th century Erfurt became wealthy on the back of the woad trade and an enviable position, situated on a ford over the Gera river and on one of the main routes between Western Europe and he Rus' and the Baltic and Italia.
It became part the extensive lands directly owned by the powerful archbishopric of Mainz. The siege and capture of the city in by Olaf III of Viken was one the defining events of his imperial campaign and would help 'persuade' the archbishop of Mainz to transfer their vote to him. Olaf subsequently made Erfurt his German capital and although upholding Erfurt's ecclesiastical status had a modest castle and estates there. Olaf's successors would sell the estate to the Luxembourgs as part of the price of breaking Elizabeth of Viken's arranged marriage to Sigismund.
The city had bought itself independence in 1258 and with a booming population founded its famous university in 1392. Martin Luther was a student there and was a priest in the cathedral after 1507 before moving to Wittenberg in 1511.
Despite the best efforts of the archbishops Erfurt embraced Lutheranism during the reformation and after the First Schmalkaldic War was severed completely from Mainz as the city absorbed the archbishopric's territories in the area. The Lutheran administrator, Jobst-Peter of Luxembourg turned his rule into a dynasty (officially a distaff branch of the main Luxembourg dynasty) and his descendants still reign over the territory. The counts' divided loyalties in the Fifty Years War earned the territory a debilitating attack by Emilie Heldenstein in 1625 and by Svealand in 1629. After 1639 it signed peace with Austria and played no further part.
The post-war rule of the counts was generally seen as benign and they helped foster a cultural boom in the early 1800s with several composers such as Johannes Oeheim or Reinhard Hässler receiving patronage and composing many of their finest works in the city.
Although the county's pre-eminence in the region ebbed away in the 18th and 19th centuries it is still proudly independent. Whilst in many ways still a agricultural city it is also well known for being the electrical engineering centre in Germany. Erfurt has rejected offers to join Ducal Saxony on four separate occasions, three times via unilateral rejection by the government and once via a referendum of the voting public.
Erfurt is governed by a single-chambered Diet with elections held every four years. These days the counts have very little executive power and merely act as figureheads.
The current Head of State is Count Victor III and his Chancellor is Fritz Glässner.