- A central German state that formed a customs union with Prussia in 1828 but sided with Austria in the Seven Weeks’ War and became a constituent member of the German Empire in 1871.In response to Napoleon ’s successful military campaigns, Hesse-Darmstadt sought to come to terms with Europe’s new hegemonic power and consequently entered the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806. As a reward, the state was raised to the status of a grand duchy. When the tide turned against Napoleon in 1813, Hesse-Darmstadt joined the triumphant allied forces. After the territorial readjustments made between 1806 and 1815, membership in the Prussian customs union as the first of the south German states in 1828 further increased the prospects for economic growth. Moreover, Hesse-Darmstadt’s accession as one of the larger central German states paved the way for the formation and future enlargement of the Zollverein.The grand duchy nonetheless signed an anti-Prussian convention with her traditional ally Austria in 1866. After the end of the Seven Weeks’ War, victorious Prussia treated most of the defeated southern states with general benevolence, and Hesse-Darmstadt was the only southern state that had to cede considerable parts of her territory north of the Main River. Although she did not form part of the emerging North German Confederation, the grand duchy later signed a military pact with Prussia and joined the war against France on Prussia’s side. In 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt became one of the constituent states of the German Empire.See also <
>; < >.FURTHER READING:Lange, Thomas. Hessen-Darmstadts Beitrag für das heutige Hessen. Wiesbaden: Hessische Landeszentral für politische Bildung, 1998; Schüßler, Wilhelm. Hessen-Darmstadt und die deutschen Großmächte. Darmstadt: Großherzoglich Hessischer Staatsverlag, 1919.ULRICH SCHNAKENBERG
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.