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Frankfurt (The Kalmar Union)

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Imperial City of Frankfurt
Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag of Frankfurt am Main Wappen-frankfurt
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital
(and largest city)
Frankfurt am Main
Language German
Emperor
Mayor Peter Landmann
Population 414,550 
Independence 1372
Currency HSK

The Imperial City of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, is a small constitutional republic in Western Europe. One of the largest sovereign Imperial Cities in the Empire it is bordered by Hochst, Isenburg and Wurzburg and divides the two halves of Hesse-Darmstadt from each other. The capital is Frankfurt am Main (to distinguish it from other Frankfurts in the Empire) and the population is around 414,000.

The Head of State is the Emperor (although all Imperial Cities are technically the Emperor's personal holdings only Frankfurt actually considers him Head of State).

The official language is German, though Yiddish is spoken widely amongst its Jewish population.

The currency is the Hesse Mark (HSK).

History

Probably established by the Romans in the 1st century at the shallowest point on the Main river, the city was founded by a supposed Frankish king Zuna in 146AD. 'Modern' Frankfurt was first recorded in 794 when it hosted an Imperial assembly and church synod presided over by Charlemagne. The election of Holy Roman Emperors in the city was established in the 9th century though they would actually be crowned in Aachen. This dignity effectively made it the political capital of East Francia.

Frederick II handed the city various rights but it was only in 1372 that the city received its freedom as an Imperial City. While the city and its territories remained under the jurisdiction of Imperially-appointed reeves, the populace was able to elect its own mayors who slowly sidelined direct Imperial control. During the Reformation a majority of citizens adopted the Lutheran creed a position which led it into allying with the Schmalkaldic League. Though the league would prove victorious in the First and Second Schmalkaldic War both wars saw the sacking of Frankfurt by Imperial troops. It would steer a neutral course following the division of Germany into the Catholic Holy Roman Empire and Protestant 'Schmalkaldic' Empire and would remain studiously neutral as the Fifty Years War broke out in 1618.

Mk Frankfurt Merian Stadtansicht

Frankfurt in 1612

Long a central for trade during the 16th century it became well-renowned for its arts and culture. In particular it became central to the European book trade. However its position as a neutral territory led to influxes of refugees escaping the war and its devastation. Plague would continually haunt the city throughout the duration of the conflict and beyond while its Jewish population, one of the largest in Germany, was often scapegoated and suffered considerably. However the recognition of the city's 'eternal neutrality' by most European powers following the Six Year War (or War of Regensburg Succession) allowed it to dismantle its constricting fortifications and its expansion began in earnest.

The end of the Fifty Years War had also led to the revival of a united Imperial Diet which sat in the city. The Diet still sits in the city for eight months a year and elections are still held in the Wahlkapelle chapel in Frankfurt Dom. The city, or at least its historic centre, regularly grinds to a halt with the number of Imperial events, a situation which annoys many business leaders who wish the city to modernise but the pageantry is mostly well-liked. Most of the Empire's overarching institutions such as the treasury, foreign offices have their headquarters within the city. This has also spurred a concentration of German banking, stock market and judicial activity in the city and it enjoys one of the highest GDPs in Germany but also, as many commentators point out, the highest levels of inequality.

Government

Frankfurt is governed by a single-chambered council with elections held every four years. Until 1932 there was a clear division between the 'city' representatives and those from the 'rural' areas of the territory but the two sides would be integrated in that year, effectively dissolving the city council permanently.

The Emperor is recognised as the Head of State of Frankfurt though he has no extra powers here compared to any other part of the Empire. The Mayor is elected by a free vote by all enfranchised citizens and is currently Peter Landmann.

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