These lists begin with Karl/Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne. He was the ruler of the Frankish Kingdom the 9th century, which was at the time comprised of France, western Germany, and northern Italy (see Kings of the Franks
). In the year 800 the Pope Leo III decided that Charlemagne should be declared the Roman Emperor (Latin Romanorum Gubernans Imperium
"governing the Empire of the Romans"). His son Ludwig/Louis also became Emperor, but following Ludwig's death the Frankish Kingdom was split between his sons, the forerunners of the kings of Germany, France, Italy and Burgundy, and the title was granted to various people. However, starting with Otto the Great in 962, the Emperor (if there was one) was always the person who was the king of Germany. Crowned by the pope, the Holy Roman Emperor was thought of as the ruler of all of Christendom.
Beginning in the 10th century, the German king was elected by the dukes, the leaders of the duchies that made up the realm. These duchies were semi-sovereign and often acted independently, though theoretically they were under the command of the king/Emperor.
After Friedrich III all of the kings of Germany and the Holy Roman Emperors were from the Habsburg family, with the exception of one. The Habsburgs personally possessed extensive territories in Austria, and later in Bohemia, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. By this time the Emperors were no longer crowned by the popes. The last Holy Roman Emperor was removed by Napoleon in 1806.
German Kings and Holy Roman Emperors Chronologically
German Kings and Holy Roman Emperors by Frequency of Name
German Kings and Holy Roman Emperors Alphabetically (Grouped by Name)