Prince-Bishopric of Minden

The Prince-Bishopric of Minden (German: Fürstbistum Minden; Bistum Minden; Hochstift Minden; Stift Minden) was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire. It was progressively secularized following the Protestant Reformation when it came under the rule of Protestant rulers, and by the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 given to Brandenburg as the Principality of Minden. It must not be confused with the Roman Catholic diocese of Minden, which was larger, and over which the prince-bishop exercised spiritual authority.

Prince-Bishopric of Minden
Hochstift Minden
Coat of arms
Map of part of the Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle in
1560, Prince-Bishopric of Minden highlighted in red
Common languagesNorthern Low Saxon
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 Founded by Charlemagne
 Gained Reichsfreiheit
 Possessed Hamelin
 Peace of Westphalia:
    Secularised to
 Ceded to Westphalia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Saxony
Margraviate of Brandenburg
Historic view of Minden around 1647


The diocese was founded by Charlemagne in 803, after he had conquered the Saxons. It was subordinate to the Archbishopric-Electorate of Cologne.

It became the Prince-Bishopric of Minden (German: Fürstbistum Minden) in 1180, when the Duchy of Saxony was dissolved.

As to the diocese of Minden, it ceased to exist following the Swedish takeover of 1648.

Prior to its dissolution, the diocesan area comprised, in addition to the temporal prince-bishopric, parts of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and all of Schaumburg-Lippe. The defunct diocese came under the care of by the Apostolic Vicariate of the Nordic Missions in 1667. Between 1709 and 1780 it formed part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Upper and Lower Saxony, before it was reincorporated into the Nordic Missions. In 1821 the former Minden diocesan area within the former prince-bishopric boundary became part of the Diocese of Paderborn, whereas the Brunswickian part became part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anhalt and Brunswick in 1825, only to join the Diocese of Hildesheim in 1834. The Schaumburg-Lippe area stayed with the Nordic Missions until their dissolution in 1930, becoming first part of the Diocese of Osnabrück and then of Hildesheim as of 1965.

Transition to a secular principality

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation was starting to take hold in the state, under the influence of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Minden was occupied by Sweden in the Thirty Years' War, and secularized. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 gave it to the Margraviate of Brandenburg as the Principality of Minden (German: Fürstentum Minden).

After 1719 Minden was administered by Brandenburg-Prussia together with the adjacent County of Ravensberg as Minden-Ravensberg. In 1807, it became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia. In 1814, it returned to Prussia and became part of the Province of Westphalia.

As of 1789, the principality had an area of 1,100 km2 (420 sq mi). It was bordered by (clockwise from the north): an exclave of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), the Electorate of Hanover, the County of Schaumburg-Lippe, another exclave of Hesse-Kassel, the Principality of Lippe, the County of Ravensberg, and the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück. Cities included Minden and Lübbecke.

Famous bishops

Auxiliary bishops

  • Johann Christiani von Schleppegrell, O.S.A. (1428–1468)[1]
  • Johannes Tideln, O.P. (1477–1501)[2]
  • Johannes Gropengeter, O.S.A. (1499–1508)[3]
  • Ludwig von Siegen, O.F.M. (1502–1508)[4]
  • Heinrich von Hattingen, O. Carm. (1515–1519)[5]

See also

  • Ostwestfalen-Lippe


  1. "Bishop Johann Christiani von Schleppegrell, O.S.A." David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  2. "Bishop Johannes Tideln, O.P. David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  3. "Bishop Johannes Gropengeter, O.S.A. David M. Cheney. Retrieved July 28, 2016
  4. "Bishop Ludwig von Siegen, O.F.M." David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  5. "Bishop Heinrich von Hattingen, O. Carm. David M. Cheney. Retrieved July 28, 2016
  • At Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888 (in German)
  • At (with map) (in German)
  • Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Minden" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
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