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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NameYears
Karl I the Great800-814
Ludwig I the Pious814-840
Lothar I840-855
Ludwig II the Younger855-875
Karl II the Bald875-877
Karl III the Fat881-888
Arnulf896-899
Ludwig III the Child899-911
Konrad I of Franconia911-918
Heinrich I the Fowler919-936
Otto I the Great936-973
Otto II the Red973-983
Otto III983-1002
Heinrich II1002-1024
Konrad II1024-1039
Heinrich III1039-1056
Heinrich IV1056-1105
Heinrich V1105-1125
Lothar III of Saxony1125-1137
Konrad III1138-1152
Friedrich I Barbarossa1152-1190
Heinrich VI1190-1197
Philipp of Swabia1198-1208
Otto IV1208-1215
Friedrich II1212-1250
Konrad IV1237-1254
William of Holland1247-1256
Richard of Cornwall1257-1271
Alfonso X of Castile1257; 1273
Rudolf I1273-1291
Adolf of Nassau1292-1298
Albrecht I1298-1308
Heinrich VII1308-1313
Ludwig IV1314-1347
Karl IV1346-1378
Wenzel1378-1400
Ruprecht1400-1410
Sigismund1410-1437
Albrecht II the Magnanimous1438-1439
Friedrich III the Peaceful1440-1493
Maximilian I1493-1519
Karl V1519-1558
Ferdinand I1558-1564
Maximilian II1564-1576
Rudolf II1576-1612
Matthias1612-1619
Ferdinand II1619-1637
Ferdinand III1637-1657
Leopold I1658-1705
Joseph I1705-1711
Karl VI1711-1740
Karl VII Albrecht1742-1745
Franz I1745-1765
Joseph II1765-1790
Leopold II1790-1792
Franz II1792-1806