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Reuss Junior Line




Meaning/Origin of the Flag

Coat of Arms

Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms



Numbers and Facts


Origin of the Country's Name


Flagge Fahne flag Fürstentum Principality Reuß jüngere Linie Reuß-Gera Reuss Junior Line
ca. 1820 to 1919,
Colours of the country,
ratio = 3:5,
Source, by: Jens Hild

Flagge Fahne flag Fürstentum Principality Reuß jüngere Linie Reuß-Gera Reuss Junior Line Fürst Prince
to 1918,
Flag of the Prince,
Source, by: Deutsche Wappen Rolle


Meaning/Origin of the Flag

The colours of all lines of Reuss was the colour-combination of black, red and gold, which were used as cockades, and, if ever, used on flags in normally horizontal arrangement. A vertical arrangement – especially for the principalities of Reuss younger line – did not exist, although some sources cite this sporadically.

The colours black, red and gold are similar to the colour of the German tricolour from the year of the revolution 1848. The reason for that is, that the colours black-red-gold in the Reussian Estates are older then 1848.

The Princes of Reuss of the 18th/19th century have been the Bailiffs of Weida in the middle ages. They got placed in their hands in the 13th century the Reussian Estates as directly to the empire belonging territories from the emperor for administration. The image of the coat of arms goes back to the Count Palatine Rudolf of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria, who officially confirmed it with a letter in 1294, if you will, as a copy of the coat of arms of the Palatinate: golden lion with red arms and crown on a black background. So it is not surprising that there were later used cockades in the coulours gold and black. Black, Red and Gold were first used in 1814 on medal ribbons, in 1820 also on documents and seals cords.

The prince had no own or special flag or banner. He used the black, red and golden flag of the country.

The colours of the German states are (called Landesfarben, are often derived from the colours of the coats of arms, and used as cockades, as well as flags), were formed – especially in the German inland countries – rather late, often after the French Revolution and the following wars of liberation. In the period from ca. 1815 to ca. 1830, this process was finally completed in all German states.

The colours of the small Thuringian States persisted after the abdication of the princes, even after the formation of the State of Thuringia on 5th of January in 1920, but they became territorial flags. On 25th of April in 1922 was adopted the "Regulation on the flagging of state buildings", which laid down, that the previous territorial flags have to be no longer in use. Just the abolition of the territories on 1st of April in 1923, was the end for the colours of the former Thuringian States.

Source: Volker Preuß, Jens Hild, Hartmut Grimm, Deutsche Wappen Rolle


Coat of Arms

Wappen coat of arms Fürstentum Principality Reuß jüngere Linie Reuß-Gera Reuss Junior Line
Blazon of the Reuss principalities,
Source, by: Deutsche Wappen Rolle


Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms

The Lords of the House of Reuss, coming from Thuringia in the 12th century, began to expand their rule in today's Vogtland as bailiffs of Weida, who took over administrative tasks on behalf of the emperor. In the 14th century they were raised to a prince-like rank and in the 17th century they became directly imperial counts. The family split into many dynastic lines, which gradually became princes from the end of the 18th century. All lines of the house always used the same coat of arms, the last remaining line – Reuss Koestritz – until today. The image of the coat of arms goes back to the Count Palatine Rudolf of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria, who officially confirmed it with a letter in 1294, if you will, as a copy of the coat of arms of the Palatinate: golden lion with red arms and crown on a black background.

After the purchase of the Dominion of Kranichfeld (= crane's field) the black shield was combined in quads with the heraldry of Kranichfeld. Kranichfeld came to Reuss in 1454 by purchase from the Castle's Counts of Kirchberg. To reduce debts Kranichfeld became mortgaged in the year 1615 for 80 000 Meissen Florins to Saxony-Weimar. It never got redeemed back but it was hereditary selled to Saxony-Gotha in the year 1686. But with it the Reuss dynasty reserves the right for itself to use the title "Masters of Kranichfeld" and to carry the crane in the coat of arms (source: Dr. Berthold Schmidt, "History of the Reussian Estates" 1927). The quartered coat of arms use the Reussian descendants until today.

Source: Volker Preuß, Hartmut Grimm, Deutsche Wappen Rolle



Kokarde Reuß jüngere Linie cockade Reuss Junior Line
to 1919,
Cockade of Reuss Junior Line


Read here:
Informations, history and facts about the theme "Cockades".

Kokarde cockade



The Thuringian Staates:

Source: Volker Preuß

The map shows the Principality of Reuss Junior Line (Reuss-Gera) between the years 1867 and 1918 in pale blue.


Numbers and Facts

Area: 319 square miles

Inhabitants: 139.200 (1910)

Density of Population: 436 inh./sq.mi.

Capital: Gera

Currency to 1875: 1 Taler = 30 Groschen = 360 Pfennige

Currency 1875–1919: 1 Mark = 100 Pfennig

Source: Wikipedia (D), Der Michel



ca 100 B.C. · in today's Vogtland settles the Germanic tribe of the Hermundurians

9 B.C.– 9 A.D. · today's Vogtland belongs to the Roman Empire

ca. 400 A.D. · the Germanic tribe of the Thuringians settles in the region, formation of the Thuringian kingdom

531 · the Thuringian kingdom becomes conquered by the Franks, the areas north of the river Unstrut come to Saxony, west of the river Saale invades the Slavic tribe of the Sorbs

936 · the German King Otto I. begins the eastward expansion against the Slavs

937 · campaign against the Sorbs, establish of the Margraviate of Zeitz under Margrave Gero

999 · the German King Otto III. gives the region around Gera to the monastery of Quedlinburg, the administration becomes transferred as Bailiwick of Gera to the Lords of Weida

1165–1190 · the Lords of Weida acquire the Bailiwicks of Gera, Greiz, Hof and Plauen (for the entire region arises the name 'Vogtland' → Vogt = Bailiff)

ca 1244 · division of the Bailiwick in the three lines of Weida, Gera and Plauen

The Line of Weida included initially Weida, Greiz, Ronneburg, Werde, the Regnitz Land, Hof and Hirschberg. In 1373 Hof and Regnitz became sold to the Viscount of Nuremberg, in 1427 Weida became sold to the Electorate of Saxony. In 1454 they purchased Wildenfels, and the name of the line became to 'Bailiffs of Weida and Wildenfels', which was hold until the extinction of the line in 1535.

The Line of Gera included initially Gera, Lobenstein, Schleiz, Saalburg and Reichenfels. However, they had to accept from 1371 to 1374 foreign (eg Bohemian) suzerainty over Lobenstein, Schleiz, Saalburg and Reichenfels. In 1450 Gera became besieged, conquered and destroyed. Between 1451 and 1538, there were several temporary divisions by inheritances. After the Battle of Muehlberg in 1547 they had to take Lobenstein, Schleiz, Saalburg and Reichenfels as a fiefdom from Bohemia, and they ceded Gera to Heinrich von Plauen, the Viscount of Meissen. The line of the 'Bailiffs of Gera' extincted in 1550, Heinrich von Plauen was the heir.

The Line of Plauen included initially Plauen and Vogtsberg. The founder of the line, Heinrich, the 'Bailiff of Plauen', had two sons, the line splited, with the eldest son, in the older line 'Plauen', and with the younger son, in the younger line 'Reuss of Plauen'. Until 1572 the older line managed the Viscounty of Meissen as fiefdom from the emperor. In 1550, the line of the 'Bailiffs of Gera' extincted, and the older line Plauen was the heir. In 1572 the older line of Plauen extincted too, and the younger line of 'Reuss of Plauen' was the heir. The younger line 'Reuss of Plauen' was founded by Heinrich the Reuss. He was the first of the Bailiffs who wore the name 'Reuss'. In 1325 Reichenbach and Mylau were given by the Emperor to the line of Plauen as fiefdom. In 1451 Upper and Lower Kranichfeld were acquired.

In 1564 the line 'Reuss' splited in three lines: 1st) the senior line 'Reuss of Plauen on Lower Greiz' (Reuss Senior Line). It extincted in 1927. 2nd) the middle line 'Reuss of Plauen on Upper Greiz'. It extincted already in 1616. 3rd) the junior line 'Reuss of Plauen to Gera'. It splited in 1647 into the lines of Reuss-Gera (from 1673 Counts, extincted in 1803, the heir was Reuss-Schleiz in 1848), Reuss-Saalburg (extincted in 1666, the heir was Reuss-Gera), Reuss-Schleiz (from 1673 Counts , from 1806 Princes) and Reuss-Lobenstein (from 1673 Counts, from 1790 Princes, extincted in 1824, the heir was Reuss-Ebersdorf). In 1678 the line of Reuss-Lobenstein was divided into the lines of Reuss-Lobenstein, Reuss-Ebersdorf (from 1790 Princes, abdicated in 1848) and Reuss-Hirschberg (extincted in 1711, the heir was Reuss-Lobenstein). To avoid the many heritage-divisions the primogeniture was introduced in 1690. This means that the entire inheritance goes to the eldest son. After 1690 arised two more, not entitled to inherit lines, which have been compensated by a Paragium: They received land, but they became not sovereign. That was the line of Reuss-Koestritz (from 1692), which was levied in 1855 to the rank of Princes, and the line of Reuss-Selbitz (1718-1824).

1792, 1796, 1800 and 1805 · invasions of French revolutionary troops under Napoleon in the German Empire, the German Empire subjectes and becomes territorially transformed

1802 · the line of Reuss-Gera extinkts, the Principality of Reuss-Gera is managed by the remaining lines of Reuss-Lobenstein, Reuss-Ebersdorf and Reuss-Schleiz in common administration

1803 · German Mediatisation (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss), transformation of the territorial partition of the German Empire, ecclesiastical possessions become confiscated, old princely territories and free cities become confiscated or dissolved or annexed to old or new principalities, the number of sovereign authorities and estates of the empire is thus reduced from 300 to 60

12th of July in 1806 · Napoleon forces the creation of the Rhine Confederation, an alliance of sixteen southern and southwestern German states under French protectorate

1st of August 1806 · the states of the Rhine Confederation declare themselves sovereign and resign from the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation

6th of August in 1806 · Emperor Franz II. lays down the crown of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, the empire ends

18th of April in 1807 · the Principalities of Reuss Junior Line (Reuss-Schleiz, Reuss-Lobenstein and Reuss-Ebersdorf) join the Rhine Confederation

October 1813 · Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig, the Rhine Confederation begins to fall apart, Napoleon and his troops withdraw behind the Rhine River

1814–1815 · Congress of Vienna, reconstruction of Europe after the era of Napoleon, the ownership and the administrative partitions in the former German Empire become restored, but not the sovereignty of the ecclesiastical countries, their possessions become transferred to old or new principalities, the 39 remaining German states – in this way the Principalities of Reuss Junior Line too – become organized in a loose association, the German Confederation

1824 · the line of Reuss-Lobenstein extincts, the heir is Reuss-Ebersdorf, the Principalities of Reuss-Ebersdorf and Reuss-Lobenstein become united to the Principality of Reuss-Lobenstein and Ebersdorf

1st of October in 1848 · Prince Heinrich LXXII. of Lobenstein-Ebersdorf abdicates in favor of the line of Reuss-Schleiz, the line of Reuss-Schleiz was left as the last sovereign line of the junior line of Reuss, which called itself from now on 'Reuss Junior Line', the territories of Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf, Reuss-Schleiz and Reuss-Gera become united in the Principality of Reuss Junior Line

1849 · adopting of a constitution

1866 · German War (Fratricidal War) of Prussia and its allies against Austria its her allies, Prussia wins, Reuss Junior Line stands on the side of Prussia

28th of June in 1866 · Reuss Junior Line joins the North German Confederation

1871 · the Principality of Reuss Junior Line joins the German Empire

1902 · death of Heinrich XXII. of Reuss-Greiz (Reuss Senior Line), his son is incapacitated, and Reuss Junior Line takes on the guardianship over Reuss Senior Line, both Reuss countries are ruled now in personal union

11th of November in 1918 · fall of the monarchy, rename in People's State of Reuss-Gera, creating a common administration for both Reuss states

1919 · unification of the two Reuss states in the People's State of Reuss

1st of May in 1920 · dissolved into the Land Thuringia

1945 · the House of Reuss Junior Line extincts, as the last line of the House of Reuss still exists the line Reuss-Koestritz, which calles itself since 1927 (extinction of Reuss Senior Line) only 'Reuss of Koestritz'

Source: Wikipedia (D), RetroLib Retrobibliothek, Atlas zur Geschichte, HGISG Geoinform


Origin of the Country's Name

1.) The name goes back to Heinrich II., one of the Bailiffs of Plauen. For his courage and dedication in the fight against the Polish, in 1247 they have given him the name "The Reuss". Then they have the Polish sometimes called as Reuss, although that is actually the name for the Russians. 2.) Following other sources Heinrich II. was merried with a Russian wife, and thats why they gave him the name "The Reuss". 3.) The from 1918 for the country of "Reuss younger line" used name was "Reuss-Gera". It was chosen a little bit unlucky. Certainly, the largest city in the country should have been assessed in this way. However, one gets the impression, as it could be the estate of the family line of Reuss zu Gera (Reuss-Gera), which already extincted in 1802. In reality the familiy line of Reuss-Schleiz was the last of the younger lines which ruled here until 1918, and extincted in 1945.

Source: 1.) RetroLib Retrobibliothek, 2.) Wikipedia (D), 3.) Volker Preuß




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