House of Zähringen

The House of Zähringen (German: Zähringer) was a dynasty of Swabian nobility. The family's name derived from Zähringen Castle near Freiburg im Breisgau. The Zähringer in the 12th century used the title of Duke of Zähringen, in compensation for having conceded the title of Duke of Swabia to the Staufer in 1098. The Zähringer were granted the special title of Rector of Burgundy in 1127, and they continued to use both titles until the extinction of the ducal line in 1218.

House of Zähringen
Seal of Berthold IV (r. 1152–1186)
Parent familyAlaholfings
CountryDuchy of Carinthia
March of Verona
Margraviate of Baden
Founded11th century
FounderBerthold I of Zähringen
Final rulerLast Duke of Zähringen:
Berthold V
TitlesCount, Duke, Margrave
Dissolution1218 (ducal branch of Zähringen)
Cadet branchesBaden (extant)
Teck (extinct in 1439)

The territories and fiefs held by the Zähringer were known as the 'Duchy of Zähringen' (Herzogtum Zähringen), but it was not seen as a duchy in equal standing with the old stem duchies. The Zähringer attempted to expand their territories in Swabia and Burgundy into a fully recognized duchy, but their expansion was halted in the 1130s due to their feud with the Welfs. Pursuing their territorial ambitions, the Zähringer founded numerous cities and monasteries on either side of the Black Forest, as well as in the western Swiss Plateau. After the extinction of the ducal line in 1218, parts of the family's territories reverted to the crown (attained imperial immediacy), while other parts were divided between the houses of Kyburg, Urach and Fürstenberg.


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