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After the Thirty Years War

emden landesmuseum 10

After the order was restored, there was an incomparable extension of power for the East Frisian estates which became widely independent. This fact resulted in many more disputes, but the attempt to restore the power of the sovereign failed. Rising from the representation of the ostfriesen estates, the Ostfriesische Landschaft (East Frisian landscape) was born, which even today has its own coat of arms, but which changed over the years from a political institution to an institution of culture.

At that time, the principality of Ostfriesland was under the influence of the Netherlands and adapted politically, culturally and in economic aspects. It became a satellite of the Netherlands, which stationed troops at important places (like for example at Leerort near Leer).

In 1726/27, the so-called “Appell” war manifested in a new conflict between prince Georg Albrecht and a part of the estates; these estates were divided into obeying and refractory estates. The prince emerged as the winner of this conflict. Even the town of Emden, which was on the top of the refractory estates, bowed to him. But because of bad negotiating skills of the prince’s chancellor, Enno Rudolph Brenneysen, the negotiations didn't result in a peaceful agreement. Although the chancellor and the prince requested a strong punishment of the refractory group, the Emperor granted a pardon to them in 1732. When Prince Georg Albrecht died on the 11th of June, 1734, Carl Edzard took over the official duties at the age of 18 as the last living descendant. But he too could not resolve the conflicts with the estates.

At that time, a new course was set for the assumption of power in Ostfriesland by Prussia. Here, the town of Emden took an important position. It was politically isolated and economically very weakened after the Apell war. It now had to regain the position as „capital of the estates” and trade centre to Emden. From 1740 on, in Emden the opinion existed that this objective could only be achieved with the help of Prussia. For this, a contract had to be drafted, accepting the Prussian expectation in Ostfriesland. The economic position of Emden had to be supported by contractually stipulated protection measures and promotion, and the existing privileges of the town were to be confirmed.

On the Prussian side, the Direktorialrat (Prussian privy counselor) in the Lower Rhine-Westphalia Imperial district, Sebastian Anton Homfeld, led the negotiations and presented a first draft on the 8th of November, 1740. Homfeld was considered to be one of the leading representatives of the refractory estates. After initial problems, on the 14th of March, 1744, two contracts on that base were stipulated, together called the Emder Konvention (Convention of Emden).

On the one hand, it was the “Königliche Special-Declarations- und Versicherungsakte” (Royal Special Declaration and Assurance Act), on the other hand, the “Agitations- und Konventionsakte” (Agitation and Convention Act), where special economic regulations were stipulated. That aside, Prussia supported the “Expektanz” (expectancy) written in 1694 by the Emperor Leopold I., which secured the right of investiture of the principality Ostfriesland in the case there were no male heirs. Despite the resistance of the Kingdom of Hanover, Prussia succeeded in gaining Ostfriesland. After the death of the last Governor Karl Edzard from the house Cirksena, Frederick the Great took over the county of Ostfriesland in 1744.


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