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Counts Palatine of Lotharingia (915–1085)
The Palatinate emerged from the County Palatine of Lotharingia, which came into existence in the 10th century.
- Wigeric of Lotharingia, count of the Bidgau (c. 915/916–922)
- Godfrey, count of the Jülichgau (c. 940)
House of Ezzonen
During the 11th century, the Palatinate was dominated by the Ezzonian dynasty, who governed several counties on both banks of the Rhine. These territories were centered around Cologne-Bonn, but extended south to the Mosel and Nahe Rivers. The southernmost point was near Alzey.
- Hermann I of Lotharingia, 945–994
- Ezzo of Lotharingia, 994–1034
- Otto I of Lotharingia, 1034–45 (Duke of Swabia 1045–47)
- Heinrich I of Lotharingia, 1045–61
- Hermann II of Lotharingia, 1061–85 (in tutelage to Anno II, archbishop of Cologne until 1064)
Counts Palatine of the Rhine (1085–1356)
From about 1085/1086, after the death of the last Ezzonian palatine count, Herman II of Lotharingia, the Palatinate lost its military importance in Lotharingia. The territorial authority of the count palatine was reduced to his counties along the Rhine, from then on called County Palatine of the Rhine.
- Heinrich II of Laach, 1085–95
- Sigfried of Ballenstadt, 1095–1113
- Gottfried of Kalw, 1113–29
- William of Ballenstedt, 1129–39
- Henry IV Jasomirgott, 1139–42
- Hermann III of Stahleck, 1142–55
Hohenstaufen Counts Palatine
The first hereditary Count Palatine of the Rhine was Conrad of Hohenstaufen who was the younger brother of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The territories attached to this hereditary office started from those held by the Hohenstaufens in Franconia and Rhineland (other branches of the Hohenstaufens received other areas including Swabian lands and Franche-Comté). Much of this originated from their imperial ancestors, the Franconian emperors, and a part from Conrad's maternal ancestry, the Saarbrücken. This background helps to explain the composition of the inheritance that comprised the Upper and Rhenish Palatinate in the following centuries.
- Conrad of Hohenstaufen, 1156–95
Welf Counts Palatine
In 1195, the Palatinate passed to the House of Welf through the marriage of Agnes, heir to the Staufen count.
- Henry V of Welf, 1195–1213
- Henry VI of Welf, 1213–14
Wittelsbach Counts Palatine
In the early 13th century, with the marriage of the Welf heiress Agnes, the territory fell to the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria, who were also dukes and counts palatine of Bavaria.
- Louis I, 1214–27
- Otto II, 1227–53
- Louis II (Duke of Upper Bavaria), 1253–94
During a later division of territory among the heirs of Duke Louis II of Upper Bavaria in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in the Bavarian "Nordgau" (Bavaria north of the Danube river) with the centre around the town of Amberg. As this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz) became common from the early 16th century in contrast to the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine.
- Rudolf I, 1294–1317
- Adolf, 1317–27
With the Treaty of Pavia in 1329, the emperor Louis IV, a son of Louis II, returned the Palatinate to his nephews Rudolf and Rupert.
- Rudolf II, 1329–53
- Rupert I, 1353–56
Electors Palatine (1356 – Present)
In the Golden Bull of 1356, the Palatinate was recognized as one of the secular electorates, and given the hereditary offices of archsteward (Erztruchseß) of the Empire and imperial vicar (Reichsverweser) of Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine, and southern Germany. From that time forth, the Count Palatine of the Rhine was usually known as the Elector Palatine (Kurfürst von der Pfalz). The position as prince-elector had already existed earlier (for example, two rival kings of Germany were elected in 1257: Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso of Castile) though it is difficult to determine the exact start of that office.