German Kings and Holy Roman Emperors

This list begins 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.

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NameYearsOther Names
Adolf of Nassau1292-1298(Adolph)
Albrecht I1298-1308(Albert)
Albrecht II the Magnanimous1438-1439(Albert)
Alfonso X of Castile1257; 1273
Ferdinand I1558-1564
Ferdinand II1619-1637
Ferdinand III1637-1657
Franz I1745-1765(Francis)
Franz II1792-1806(Francis)
Friedrich I Barbarossa1152-1190(Frederick)
Friedrich II1212-1250(Frederick)
Friedrich III the Peaceful1440-1493(Frederick)
Heinrich I the Fowler919-936(Henry)
Heinrich II1002-1024(Henry)
Heinrich III1039-1056(Henry)
Heinrich IV1056-1105(Henry)
Heinrich V1105-1125(Henry)
Heinrich VI1190-1197(Henry)
Heinrich VII1308-1313(Henry)
Joseph I1705-1711
Joseph II1765-1790
Karl I the Great800-814(Charlemagne)
Karl II the Bald875-877(Charles)
Karl III the Fat881-888(Charles)
Karl IV1346-1378(Charles)
Karl V1519-1558(Charles)
Karl VI1711-1740(Charles)
Karl VII Albrecht1742-1745(Charles, Albert)
Konrad I of Franconia911-918(Conrad)
Konrad II1024-1039(Conrad)
Konrad III1138-1152(Conrad)
Konrad IV1237-1254(Conrad)
Leopold I1658-1705
Leopold II1790-1792
Lothar I840-855(Lothair)
Lothar III of Saxony1125-1137(Lothair)
Ludwig I the Pious814-840(Louis)
Ludwig II the Younger855-875
Ludwig III the Child899-911(Louis)
Ludwig IV1314-1347(Louis)
Maximilian I1493-1519
Maximilian II1564-1576
Otto I the Great936-973
Otto II the Red973-983
Otto III983-1002
Otto IV1208-1215
Philipp of Swabia1198-1208(Philip)
Richard of Cornwall1257-1271
Rudolf I1273-1291(Rudolph)
Rudolf II1576-1612(Rudolph)
Wenzel1378-1400(Wenceslas, Wenceslaus)
William of Holland1247-1256