Electorate of Baden
Kurfürstentum Baden (German)
Electorate of Baden
Electorate of Baden
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
Common languagesGerman
GovernmentEnlightened despotism
Elector of Baden 
• 1803-1806
Karl Friedrich, Elector of Baden
Historical eraNapoleonic Wars
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Margraviate of Baden
Grand Duchy of Baden
Today part ofGermany

The Electorate of Baden (German: Kurfürstentum Baden) was a State of the Holy Roman Empire from 1803 to 1806. In 1803, Napoleon bestowed the office of Prince-elector to Charles Frederick, but in 1806, Francis II dissolved the Empire. Baden then achieved sovereignty, and Charles Frederick became Grand Duke.


The French Revolution began in 1789, and at its onset the Margraviate of Baden was united under Charles Frederick, but it did not form a compact territory. Its total area was only about 1,350 square miles (3,500 km2), consisting of a number of isolated districts lying on either bank of the upper Rhine. Charles Frederick endeavored to acquire the intervening stretches of land, so as to give territorial unity to his country. His opportunity to do so came during the French Revolutionary Wars. When war broke out between the French First Republic and the Holy Roman Empire in 1792, the Margraviate of Baden fought for the House of Habsburg. However, their country was devastated as a result, and in 1796 the Margrave was compelled to pay an indemnity and to cede his territories on the left bank of the Rhine to the French First Republic.

Fortune, however, soon turned his way. With the German Mediatisation of 1803, and largely owing to the good offices of Alexander I of Russia, Charles Frederick received the Bishopric of Constance, part of the Electorate of the Palatinate, and other smaller districts, together with the prestige of being named a Prince-elector. In 1805 he changed sides and fought for Napoleon. As a result, later in 1805, when the Peace of Pressburg occurred, he obtained Breisgau and other territories at the expense of the Austrian Empire (see Further Austria). In 1806, the Electorate of Baden signed the Rheinbundakte, joining the Confederation of the Rhine. Upon the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles Frederick declared sovereignty and thus created the Grand Duchy of Baden, receiving other territorial additions as well.