12 August 1851

Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.

Isaac Singer

Isaac Singer
Edward Harrison May - Isaac Merrit Singer - Google Art Project.jpg
portrait by Edward Harrison May (1869)
Isaac Merrit Singer

(1811-10-27)October 27, 1811
DiedJuly 23, 1875(1875-07-23) (aged 63)
Paignton, Devon, UK
NationalityUnited States
Net worthUSD $13 million at the time of his death (approximately 1/709th of US GNP)[1]
Parent(s)Adam Singer and Ruth Beson
Engineering career
InstitutionsSinger Sewing Machine Company
Significant advanceSewing machine

Isaac Merritt Singer (October 27, 1811 – July 23, 1875) was an American inventor, actor, and businessman. He made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of what became one of the first American multi-national businesses, the Singer Sewing Machine Company.[2]

Many others, including Walter Hunt and Elias Howe had patented sewing machines[3] before Singer, but his success was based on the practicality of his machine, the ease with which it could be adapted to home use, and its availability on an instalment payment basis.[4]

Singer died in 1875, a millionaire dividing his $14 million fortune unequally among 20 of his children by his wives and various mistresses; for one son who supported his first wife in her divorce case, only getting $500.[2]


Isaac Merritt Singer was born in 1811 in Schaghticoke, NY, USA [2] one of six children born to Adam Singer (1772–1855) and his wife Ruth, née Benson. Isaac's siblings were John Valentine Singer (1791–1877), Alexander[citation needed], Elizabeth (Singer) Colby (1801–1872), Christiana (Singer) Cleveland (1804–1887), and Elijah Singer (1813–1860).[citation needed]

His parents divorced in 1821, and Isaac had been abandoned by his mother from the age of ten [2] and finally ran away from home at the age of twelve,[5] [2] to join a traveling stage act the Rochester Players [2], after finding bits of work as a joiner, lathe operator, and in a funfair.[2]

In 1830, at nineteen he married fifteen year old [2] Catherine Maria Haley (1815–1884). The couple had two children, William (1834–1914) and Lillian (1841–1912), and he left her to join [2] the Baltimore Strolling Players. In 1860, he divorced Catherine on the basis of her adultery with Stephen Kent.[citation needed] His son William spoke up for his mother in the case and was snubbed by Singer, including in his will (see above).[2]

Ever unfaithful, Singer began a 25 year [2] affair with Mary Ann Sponsler (b. 1818) in 1836, while still married to Catherine. They had 10 children: Isaac Augustus Singer (27 July 1837 – 25 September 1902), Vouletti Theresa Singer Proctor (4 January 1840 – 14 December 1913), John Albert Singer, Fanny Elizabeth Singer, Jasper Hamlet Singer, Mary Olivia Singer (1848–1900), Julia Ann Singer, Caroline Virginia Singer, and two others who died at birth.[citation needed]

Financial success allowed Singer to buy a mansion on Fifth Avenue, into which he moved his second family.[citation needed] He and Mary Ann had abandoned their joint acting company, the Merritt Players, as his inventions were more successful.[2] He continued to live with Mary Ann, until she spotted him driving down Fifth Avenue seated beside Mary McGonigal, an employee, about whom Mary Ann already had suspicions.[citation needed] Singer also had an affair with her sister Kate McGonigal.[2]

Mary McGonigal bore Isaac Singer five children, who used the surname Matthews: Florence L., Mary, Charles A., and two others who died at birth.[citation needed]

And Mary Ann, still calling herself Mrs. I. M. Singer, had her husband arrested for bigamy. Singer was let out on bond and, disgraced, fled to London in 1862, taking Mary McGonigal with him.

In the aftermath, another of Isaac's families was discovered: he had a "wife", Mary Eastwood Walters, a machine demonstrator, and had had a daughter [2], Alice Eastwood Walters, in Lower Manhattan, who had adopted the surname Merritt. By 1860, Isaac had fathered and acknowledged eighteen children, sixteen of them still then living, by four women.[citation needed]

In 1861, his longstanding mistress Mary Ann Sponsor took him to court for abusing her and daughter Violette.[2] With Isaac in London, Mary Ann began setting about securing a financial claim to his assets by filing documents detailing his infidelities, and claiming that, though she had never been formally married to Isaac, they were wed under common law by living together for seven months after Isaac had been divorced from his first wife, Catherine. Eventually, a settlement was made, but no divorce was granted. However, she asserted that she was free to marry, and indeed she married John E. Foster.[citation needed]

Isaac, meanwhile, had renewed acquaintance with Isabella Eugenie Boyer, a nineteen year old Frenchwoman, said to be the model for the Statue of Liberty, [2] whom he had lived with in Paris when he was staying there in 1860. She left her husband and married Isaac who was by now fifty [2] under the name of Isabella Eugenie Sommerville on June 13, 1863, while she was pregnant.[citation needed] They had six children [2]: Sir Adam Mortimer Singer (1863–1929), Winnaretta Eugenie Singer (1865–1943), Washington Merritt Grant Singer (1866–1934), Paris Eugene Singer (1867–1932), Isabelle-Blanche Singer (1869–1896), and Franklin Merritt Morse Singer (12 February 1870 – 12 August 1939).[citation needed]

First inventions

In 1839, Singer obtained his first patent, for a machine to drill rock, selling it for $2,000 (or over $50,000 in 2018 dollars) to the I & M Canal Building Company. With this financial success, he opted to return to his career as an actor. He went on tour, forming a troupe known as the "Merritt Players", appearing onstage under the name "Isaac Merritt", with Mary Ann Sponsler (one of his mistresses, described below) also appearing onstage, calling herself "Mrs. Merritt".[citation needed] The tour lasted about five years. He developed and patented a "machine for carving wood and metal" on April 10, 1849.

At 38, with Mary Ann and eight children, he packed up his family and moved back to New York City, hoping to market his wood-block cutting machine there. He obtained an advance to build a working prototype, and constructed one in the shop of A. B. Taylor & Co. Here he met , who became Singer's financier and partner. However, not long after the machine was built, the steam boiler blew up at the shop, destroying the prototype. Zieber persuaded Singer to make a new start in Boston, a center of the printing trade. Singer went to Boston in 1850 to display his invention at the machine shop of Orson C. Phelps. Orders for Singer's wood cutting machine were not, however, forthcoming.

Lerow & Blodgett sewing machines were being constructed and repaired in Phelps' shop. Phelps asked Singer to look at the sewing machines,[5] which were difficult to use and produce. Singer concluded that the sewing machine would be more reliable if the shuttle moved in a straight line rather than a circle, with a straight rather than a curved needle. Singer was able to obtain US Patent number 8294 for his improvements on August 12, 1851.

I. M. Singer & Co

In 1856, manufacturers Grover & Baker, Singer, Wheeler & Wilson, all accusing each other of patent infringement, met in Albany, New York to pursue their suits. Orlando B. Potter, a lawyer and president of the Grover and Baker Company, proposed that, rather than squander their profits on litigation, they pool their patents. This was the first patent pool, a process which enables the production of complicated machines without legal battles over patent rights.[6] They agreed to form the Sewing Machine Combination, but for this to be of any use, they had to secure the cooperation of Elias Howe, who still held certain vital uncontested patents. Terms were arranged; Howe received a royalty on every sewing machine manufactured.[citation needed]

Sewing machines began to be mass-produced. I. M. Singer & Co manufactured 2,564 machines in 1856, and 13,000 in 1860 at a new plant on Mott Street in New York. Later, a massive plant was built near Elizabeth, New Jersey.[7]

Up to then, sewing machines had been industrial machines, made for garments, shoes, bridles and for tailors, but in 1856, smaller machines began to be marketed for home use. However, at the then enormous price of over $100 ($2,789 in 2018 dollars), few sold.[8] Singer invested heavily in mass production utilizing the concept of interchangeable parts developed by Samuel Colt and Eli Whitney for their firearms. He was able to cut the price in half, while at the same time increasing his profit margin by 530%.[8] Singer was the first who put a family machine, "the turtle back", on the market. Eventually, the price came down to $10 ($279 in 2018 dollars). According to PBS, "His partner, Edward Cabot Clark, pioneered installment purchasing plans and accepted trade-ins, causing sales to soar."[5]

Women were able to make items at home for their families or for sale and charitable groups began to support poorer women to find useful skills and respectable employment in sewing, such as (1875), , and associated magazines, pattern books and group classes began for the better off women who also wanted to have some form of useful, economic activity, which a sewing machine at home now offered.[2]

I. M. Singer expanded into the European market, establishing a factory in Clydebank, near Glasgow, controlled by the parent company, becoming one of the first American-based multinational corporations, with agencies in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.[citation needed]

Later as The Singer Manufacturing Company and its competitors expanded, due to its affordability (or purchase plan terms) by the 1940s there were 24,000 sewing classes a year running in the UK alone, and the 1944 Education Act made practical dressmaking a compulsory subject for girls in all state schools.[2] By the 1950s, there were and advertising campaigns to encourage girls to make their own fashions to attract boys' interest.[2]

Final years in Europe

Singer's grave in Torquay Cemetery

In 1863, I. M. Singer & Co. was dissolved by mutual consent with Edward Cabot Clark seeing Singer's reputation as a risk to growth; but the business continued with Singer owning 40% of shares and still on the Board, [2] as "The Singer Manufacturing Company," in 1887.

In 1871, Singer purchased an estate and settled with Isabella in Paignton, Devon, England.[2] He commissioned a 110 roomed Oldway Mansion as his private residence, with a hall of mirrors, maze and grotto garden[2]; it was rebuilt by Paris Singer, his third son from Isabella, in the style of the Palace of Versailles. And the area became known locally as 'Singerton'. [2] It has been named by the Victorian Society as a heritage building at risk of disrepair.[9]

Isaac Singer died in 1875, shortly after the wedding of his daughter by Mary Eastwood Walters, Alice, whose dress had cost as much as a London apartment.[2] His funeral was an elaborate affair with eighty horse-drawn carriages, and around 2000 mourners, to see him buried locally, at his request in three layers of coffin (cedar lined with satin, lead, English oak with silver decoration) and a marble tomb.[2]

Impact on garment industry

Singer's prototype sewing machine became the first to work in a practical way. It could sew 900 stitches per minute, far better than the 40 of an accomplished seamstress on simple work.[5] This started the industrialisation of garment and textile manufacturing, as a shirt took an hour to make compared to fifteen hours previously, but these still needed finishing by hand, and the finishers worked alone on piecework terms at home, but mass over-production by factories' machines, led to pressure on wages and to unemployment, a risk described in Karl Marx, Das Capital. In Scotland in 1861 there were 62,000 female dressmakers, thirty years later the USA had 300,000 mainly single women. [2]

In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed 140 people, 62 jumping to their deaths from upper floors, as doors were locked to keep out inspectors and union leaders. This led to safer working practices although sweatshops continued. Women workers sewing car seat covers in Ford Motor Company Limited's Dagenham plant, in the UK were getting 15% less pay than men doing the same job in 1968. A three week strike helped win their case and in 1970, the Equal Pay Act was passed. But in 2013, the East Midlands area in the UK still had 11,000 textile workers paid below the national minimum wage.[2]

Textile and garment sewing is now a global industry and sweatshop factories are often employing the poorest women, children and migrants, with few labour rights. A number of non-governmental organisations are attempting to end worker exploitation in clothing industry globally, such as Clean Clothes Campaign, Global Exchange, No Sweat, , Fairtrade, Fair Wear Foundation especially raised public awareness of the exploration of sewing workers, both after the 2012 garment factory disaster in Dhaka Bangladesh resulted in 117 dead and 200 injured from at least 1,600 people working on a nine storey factory on sewing machines, unable to escape the fire in similar sweatshop circumstances to those in New York a century earlier.[2] And again after 24 April 2013, as more were killed at Dhaka's Rana Plaza, another multi-story factory which housed multiple clothing manufacturing companies along with a bank and apartments, collapsed killing over 1,100 workers and injuring 2,000 more. So in November 2013, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the National Tripartite Action Plan, agreed to work for new workplace safety standards for clothing manufacturing factories.[10].


Son William Singer was, by marriage to , a brother-in-law of William Seward Webb (1851–1926) and his wife, Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt Webb (1860–1936). William's daughter, Florence Singer, Isaac's granddaughter, married into the European nobility becoming Countess von Dyhrn.[citation needed]

Daughter Winnaretta Singer (1865-1943), otherwise known as the Princess de Polignac, was married twice, and was a vital patron of 20th-century music. She held open salons at her house in Paris that were frequented by famous people including Marcel Proust, and where the wealthy encountered new musicians, including Debussy. She left a legacy in the Singer-Polignac foundation that helped young musicians.[citation needed]

Daughter Isabelle-Blanche Singer (1869–1896), was married in 1888 to French aristocrat Jean, Duc Decazes et de Glücksbierg.[citation needed]

Son (b. Paris, 20 February 1867; d. London, 24 June 1932), was married to Cecilia Henrietta Augusta ("Lillie") Graham (b. Perth Australia, 6 June 1867; d. Paignton, 7 March 1951). Singer Island, Florida, was named for him. He was a close friend of the Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner. Paris had a son with Isadora Duncan, Patrick Singer, who died in 1913 in a drowning accident while a small child.[citation needed]

Grandchildren include Daisy Fellowes, Mortimer Merritt Singer (b. New York City, ~1870; d. New York City ~1960, age 92), Herbert Monrose Singer (b. Paignton, 22 June 1888; d. London, 3 November 1941), Cecil Mortimer Singer (b. London, 16 July 1889; d. New York, 28 January 1954), Paris Graham Singer, and Georges Farquar Singer (b. London, 28 February 1892; d. Daytona Beach, Florida, 19 July 1955).[citation needed]


  1. ^ Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996), The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates—A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, p. xiii, ISBN 978-0-8065-1800-8, OCLC 33818143
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Hunter, Clare (2019). Threads of life : a history of the world through the eye of a needle. London: Sceptre (Hodder & Stoughton). pp. 256 - 266 269 -271. ISBN 9781473687912. OCLC 1079199690.
  3. ^ Forsdyke, Graham. "History of the Sewing Machine". International Sewing Machine Collectors Society. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  4. ^ Все о швейных машинах – История создания корпорации Зингер (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2008-06-12.
  5. ^ a b c d "Isaac Merritt Singer". PBS. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Hounshell, David (1985). From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 67. ISBN 9780801831584. ... litigation threatened the very existence of the [sewing machine] industry. The Great Sewing Machine Combination, the first important patent pooling arrangement in American history, changed all this.
  7. ^ "Sewing Machines: Historical Trade Literature in Smithsonian Institution Collections". Smithsonian Institution.
  8. ^ a b "Inventor of the Week / Isaac Merrit Singer (1811–1875)". Lemelson-MIT Program. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  9. ^ "Victorian Society reveals top 10 buildings 'crying out' to be saved". BBC News. BBC.
  10. ^ Al-Mahmood, Syed Zain (2013-11-21). "Safety Groups Agree on Standards for Bangladesh Garment Factories". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
Further reading
  • Brandon, Ruth, Singer and the Sewing Machine: A Capitalist Romance, Kodansha International, New York, 1977.
  • Glander, Angelika, SINGER-Der König der Nähmaschinen, Die Biographie, Norderstedt, 2009 (book, in German) ISBN 978-3-8370-3952-8
  • Hawthorne, Paul Oldway Mansion, historic home of the Singer family Torbay Books, Paignton, 2009 ISBN 978-0-9551857-6-2

External links

11 August 1952

Hussein bin Talal is proclaimed King of Jordan.

Hussein of Jordan

Hussein of Jordan in 1997.jpg
Hussein in 1997
King of Jordan
Reign11 August 1952 – 7 February 1999
Regency ended2 May 1953
SuccessorAbdullah II
Prime Ministers
Born(1935-11-14)14 November 1935
Amman, Transjordan
Died7 February 1999(1999-02-07) (aged 63)
Amman, Jordan
Burial8 February 1999
Dina bint Abdul-Hamid
(m. 1955; div. 1957)

Antoinette Gardiner
(m. 1961; div. 1972)

Alia Touqan
(m. 1972; died 1977)

Lisa Halaby
(m. 1978)
Details and adopted children
Princess Alia
Abdullah II
Prince Faisal
Princess Aisha
Princess Zein
Princess Haya
Prince Ali
Prince Hamzah
Prince Hashim
Princess Iman
Princess Raiyah
Full name
Hussein bin Talal bin Abdullah bin Hussein
FatherTalal of Jordan
MotherZein Al-Sharaf
ReligionSunni Islam
SignatureHussein's signature

Hussein bin Talal (Arabic: الحسين بن طلال‎, Al-Ḥusayn ibn Ṭalāl; 14 November 1935 – 7 February 1999) reigned as King of Jordan from 11 August 1952 until his death. According to Hussein, he was a 40th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad as he belonged to the Hashemite family which has ruled Jordan since 1921.

Hussein was born in Amman as the eldest child of Talal bin Abdullah and Zein Al-Sharaf. Hussein began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. After Talal became King of Jordan in 1951, Hussein was named heir apparent. The Parliament forced Talal to abdicate a year later due to his illness, and a regency council was appointed until Hussein came of age. He was enthroned at the age of 17 on 2 May 1953. Hussein was married four separate times and fathered eleven children: Princess Alia from Dina bint Abdul-Hamid; Abdullah II, Prince Faisal, Princess Aisha, and Princess Zein from Antoinette Gardiner; Princess Haya and Prince Ali from Alia Touqan; Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashim, Princess Iman, and Princess Raiyah from Lisa Halaby.

Hussein, a constitutional monarch, started his rule with what was termed a "liberal experiment," allowing, in 1956, the formation of the only democratically elected government in Jordan's history. A few months into the experiment, he forced that government to resign, declaring martial law and banning political parties. Jordan fought three wars with Israel under Hussein, including the 1967 Six-Day War, which ended in Jordan's loss of the West Bank. In 1970 Hussein expelled Palestinian fighters (fedayeen) from Jordan after they had threatened the country's security in what became known as Black September. The King renounced Jordan's ties to the West Bank in 1988 after the Palestine Liberation Organization was recognized internationally as the sole representative of the Palestinians. He lifted martial law and reintroduced elections in 1989 when riots over price hikes spread in southern Jordan. In 1994 he became the second Arab head of state to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

At the time of Hussein's accession, Jordan was a young nation and controlled the West Bank. The country had few natural resources, and a large Palestinian refugee population as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Hussein led his country through four turbulent decades of the Arab–Israeli conflict and the Cold War, successfully balancing pressures from Arab nationalists, the Soviet Union, Western countries, and Israel, transforming Jordan by the end of his 46-year reign to a stable modern state. After 1967 he increasingly engaged in efforts to solve the Palestinian problem. He acted as a conciliatory intermediate between various Middle Eastern rivals, and came to be seen as the region's peacemaker. He was revered for pardoning political dissidents and opponents, and giving them senior posts in the government. Hussein, who survived dozens of assassination attempts and plots to overthrow him, was the region's longest-reigning leader. The King died at the age of 63 from cancer on 7 February 1999. His funeral was the largest gathering of world leaders since 1995. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah II.

Early life

Hussein (age six) and his mother, Zein Al-Sharaf, 1941

Hussein was born in Amman on 14 November 1935 to Crown Prince Talal and Princess Zein Al-Sharaf.[1] Hussein was the eldest among his siblings, three brothers and two sisters – Princess Asma, Prince Muhammad, Prince Hassan, Prince Muhsin, and Princess Basma.[2] During one cold Ammani winter, his baby sister Princess Asma died from pneumonia, an indication of how poor his family was then – they could not afford heating in their house.[2]

Hussein was the namesake of his great-grandfather, Hussein bin Ali (Sharif of Mecca), the leader of the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire.[3] Hussein claimed to be an agnatic descendant of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and her husband Ali, the fourth caliph, since Hussein belonged to the Hashemite family, which had ruled Mecca for over 700 years – until its 1925 conquest by the House of Saud – and has ruled Jordan since 1921.[4][5] The Hashemites, the oldest ruling dynasty in the Muslim world, are the second-oldest-ruling dynasty in the world (after the Imperial House of Japan).[6]

The young prince started his elementary education in Amman. He was then educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt.[1] He proceeded to Harrow School in England, where he befriended his second cousin Faisal II of Iraq, who was also studying there.[1] Faisal was then King of Hashemite Iraq, but was under regency since he was the same age as Hussein.[1]

Hussein (age eleven) seen behind his grandfather King Abdullah I after the independence of Jordan was declared, 25 May 1946.

King Abdullah I, the founder of modern Jordan, did not see in his two sons Talal and Nayef potential for kingship, he focused his efforts on the upbringing of his grandson Hussein.[7] A special relationship grew between the two. Abdullah assigned Hussein a private tutor for extra Arabic lessons,[7] and Hussein acted as interpreter for his grandfather during his meetings with foreign leaders, as Abdullah understood English but could not speak it.[7] On 20 July 1951 15-year-old Prince Hussein traveled to Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque with his grandfather.[1] A Palestinian assassin opened fire on Abdullah and his grandson, amid rumors that the King had been planning to sign a peace treaty with the newly established state of Israel.[5] Abdullah died, but Hussein survived the assassination attempt and, according to witnesses, pursued the assassin.[5] Hussein was also shot, but the bullet was deflected by a medal on his uniform that his grandfather had given him.[5]



Abdullah's eldest son, Talal, was proclaimed King of Jordan.[8] Talal appointed his son Hussein as crown prince on 9 September 1951.[8] After a reign lasting less than thirteen months, the Parliament forced King Talal to abdicate due to his mental state – doctors had diagnosed schizophrenia.[8] In his brief reign, Talal had introduced a modern, somewhat liberal constitution in 1952 that is still in use today.[8] Hussein was proclaimed king on 11 August 1952, succeeding to the throne three months before his 17th birthday.[8] A telegram from Jordan was brought in to Hussein while he was staying with his mother abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland, addressed to 'His Majesty King Hussein'.[8] "I did not need to open it to know that my days as a schoolboy were over," Hussein later wrote in his memoirs.[8] He returned home to cheering crowds.[8]

A three-man regency council made up of the prime minister and heads of the Senate and the House of Representatives was appointed until he became 18 (by the Muslim calendar).[9] Meanwhile, Hussein pursued further study at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[1] He was enthroned on 2 May 1953, the same day that his cousin Faisal II assumed his constitutional powers as king of Iraq.[8]

First years

King Hussein in royal ceremonial dress, 1953

The teenaged king inherited not only the throne to Jordan, but also to the West Bank, captured by Jordan during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and annexed in 1950.[8] The country was poor in natural resources, and had a large Palestinian refugee population resulting from the war – the annexation of the West Bank had made Palestinians two-thirds of the population, outnumbering Jordanians.[8] Upon assuming the throne, he appointed Fawzi Mulki as prime minister.[8] Mulki's liberal policies, including freedom of the press, led to unrest as opposition groups started a propaganda campaign against the monarchy.[10] Palestinian fighters (fedayeen, meaning self-sacrificers) used Jordanian-controlled territory to launch attacks against Israel, sometimes provoking heavy retaliation.[8] One reprisal operation by Israel became known as the Qibya massacre; it resulted in the death of 66 civilians in the West Bank village of Qibya.[8] The incident led to protests, and in 1954 Hussein dismissed Mulki amid the unrest and appointed staunch royalist Tawfik Abu Al-Huda.[8] The country held parliamentary elections in October 1954, while the country's parties were not yet fully organized.[8] Abu Al-Huda lasted only a year, and the government underwent reshuffling three times within the following year.[8]

The 1955 Baghdad Pact was a Western attempt to form a Middle Eastern alliance to counter Soviet influence and Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt.[8] Jordan then found itself in the middle of Cold War tensions.[8] Britain, Turkey, and Iraq were members of the pact, and Jordan was pressured by Britain to join.[8] Nasserism (a socialist Pan-Arabist ideology) swept the Arab World in the 1950s, and the proposal to join the pact triggered large riots in the country.[8] Curfews imposed by the Arab Legion did little to alleviate the situation and tensions persisted throughout 1955.[8] The local unrest, periodically fueled by propaganda transmitted from Egyptian radios, was only calmed after the King appointed a new prime minister who promised not to enter the Baghdad Pact.[8] Saudi Arabia found common ground with Egypt in their suspicions of the Hashemites, both in Jordan and in Iraq.[8] The Saudis massed troops near Aqaba on Jordan's southern borders in January 1956, and only withdrew after the British threatened to intervene on Jordan's behalf.[8] Hussein realized that the Arab nationalist trend had dominated Arab politics, and decided to start downgrading Jordan's relationship with the British.[8] On 1 March 1956, Hussein asserted Jordanian independence by Arabizing the army's command: he dismissed Glubb Pasha as the commander of the Arab Legion and replaced all the senior British officers with Jordanians, thereby renaming it into the "Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army."[8] He annulled the Anglo-Jordanian treaty and replaced British subsidies with Arab aid.[8] Hussein's bold decisions were met with admiration at home and relations with Arab states improved.[8]

"A liberal experiment"

Egyptian President Nasser received an outpouring of support from the Arab public after the Egyptian–Czechoslovak arms deal was signed in September 1955,[11] and his popularity in Jordan skyrocketed following the nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956; his actions were seen as a powerful stance against Western imperialism.[12] Hussein was also supportive of the moves.[12] The coinciding events in Egypt had Jordanian leftist opposition parties leaning greatly towards Nasser.[11]

Hussein addressing his troops in 1956, as Ali Abu Nuwar, the army chief of staff, who in 1957 was involved in an alleged coup attempt, observes.

The parliament that had been elected in 1954 was dissolved, and Hussein promised fair elections.[12] The parliamentary election held on 21 October 1956 saw the National Socialist Party emerge as the largest party, winning 12 seats out of 40 in the House of Representatives.[12] Hussein subsequently asked Suleiman Nabulsi, leader of the Party, to form a government, the only democratically elected government in Jordan's history.[12] Hussein called this a "liberal experiment," to see how Jordanians would "react to responsibility."[12] On 29 October 1956, the Suez Crisis erupted in Egypt, a "tripartite aggression" by Britain, France, and Israel.[12] Hussein was furious but Nabulsi discouraged him from intervening.[12] Nabulsi's policies frequently clashed with that of King Hussein's, including on how to deal with the Eisenhower Doctrine.[12] The King had requested Nabulsi, as prime minister, to crack down on the Communist Party and the media it controlled.[12] Nabulsi wanted to move Jordan closer to Nasser's regime, but Hussein wanted it to stay in the Western camp.[12] Disagreements between the monarchy and the leftist government culminated in March 1957 when Nabulsi provided Hussein with a list of senior officers in the military he wanted to dismiss; Hussein initially heeded the recommendations. However, Nabulsi then presented an expanded list, which Hussein refused to act upon.[13] Nabulsi's government was forced to resign on 10 April.[13]

Hussein receiving a warm welcome from his troops, 1 March 1957

On 13 April, rioting broke in the Zarqa army barracks and the 21 year-old Hussein went to end the violence between royalist and Arab nationalist army units after the latter group spread rumors that the King had been assassinated.[14] A 3,000-man Syrian force started moving south towards the Jordanian border in support of what they perceived as a coup attempt, but turned around after the army units showed their loyalty to the King.[15] Two principal accounts emerged regarding the events at Zarqa, with the royalist version holding that the incident was an abortive coup by army chief of staff Ali Abu Nuwar against King Hussein, and the dissident version asserting that it was a staged, American-backed counter-coup by Hussein against the pan-Arabist movement in Jordan.[16] In either case, Abu Nuwar and other senior Arabist officers resigned and were allowed to leave Jordan for Syria, where they incited opposition to the Jordanian monarchy.[16] Hussein reacted by imposing martial law.[17] Although he eventually relaxed some of these measures, namely military curfews and severe press censorship, Hussein's moves significantly curtailed the constitutional democracy that existed in Jordan in the mid-1950s.[18] The alleged conspirators were sentenced to 15 years in absentia, but later on were pardoned by Hussein in 1964 as part of his reconciliation efforts with his exiled opposition, and were entrusted with senior positions in the government.[18]

Arab Federation between Iraq and Jordan

The 1950s became known as the Arab Cold War, due to the conflict between states led by Nasserist Egypt and traditionalist kingdoms led by Saudi Arabia.[19] Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic (UAR) on 1 February 1958, with the Republic's presidency occupied by Nasser.[19] As a counterweight, Hussein and his cousin, King Faisal II of Hashemite Iraq, established the Arab Federation on 14 February 1958 in an Amman ceremony.[19] The two rival entities launched propaganda wars against each other through their radio broadcasts.[19] Jordanian and Syrian forces clashed in March along the border.[19] UAR-inspired conspiracies started to emerge against the Hashemite federation.[20] An officer in Jordan was arrested for plotting to assassinate Hussein.[19] It also emerged in Jordan that the UAR was planning to overthrow both Hashemite monarchies in July 1958.[19] Jordan reacted by arresting 40 suspected army officers, and Hussein called in Iraqi army chief of staff Rafiq Aref to brief him on the exposed plot.[19] Aref replied, "You look after yourselves. Iraq is a very stable country, unlike Jordan. If there are any worries it is Jordan that should be worried."[19] Although Faisal and Hussein enjoyed a very close relationship, Faisal's Iraqi entourage looked down on Jordan; Hussein attributed this attitude to Iraqi crown prince 'Abd al-Ilah's influence.[19]

Hussein with his cousin King Faisal II (left) of the Kingdom of Iraq, 1957. In February 1958, the two Hashemite Kingdoms formed the Arab Federation that lasted until Faisal was deposed in a bloody coup on 14 July 1958.

The Lebanese, pro-Western government of Camille Chamoun was also threatened to be toppled by growing UAR-supported domestic opposition groups.[21] The Iraqis sent a brigade to Jordan on 13 July at Hussein's request.[21] The Iraqi brigade's departure to Jordan gave the conspirators in Iraq, led by Brigadier Abd al-Karim Qasim, the opportunity to strike.[21] On 14 July, an Iraqi unit stormed the royal palace in Iraq, executed all members of the Iraqi royal family, and mutilated the bodies of the crown prince and the Iraqi Prime Minister of the Arab Federation, Nuri Al-Said.[21] Devastated, Hussein ordered a Jordanian expedition led by Sharif Nasser to reclaim the Iraqi throne,[21] but it was recalled after it was 150-mile (241 km) inside Iraq.[21] Hussein, worried about a similar coup in Jordan, tightened martial law.[21] American troops landed in both Lebanon and Jordan as a show of support for pro-Western regimes in the region against the Nasserist tide.[21] By October, the situation had calmed, and Western troops were recalled.[21]

Hussein went on a vacation to Switzerland on 10 November. As he was flying his own plane over Syria, it was intercepted by two Syrian jets that attempted to attack.[21] Hussein outmaneuvered the Syrians and survived the assassination attempt, landing safely in Amman, where he received a hero's welcome – his popularity in Jordan skyrocketed overnight.[21] Golda Meir, an Israeli politician who would later become prime minister, was reported in 1958 as saying: "We all pray three times a day for King Hussein's safety and success."[21] The Israelis preferred that Hussein remained in power, rather than a Nasserist regime.[21]

In 1959, Hussein embarked on a tour to different countries to consolidate bilateral ties.[22] His visit to the United States gained him many friends in Congress after he spoke openly against Soviet influence in the Middle East, returning with a $50 million aid package.[22] Sadiq Al-Shar'a, an army general who accompanied Hussein to the United States, was found to have been plotting a coup against the monarchy.[22] News of the arrest of the conspiring officers in Jordan coincided with Hussein's visit to the US.[23] Hussein was tipped off to Al-Shar'a's involvement, but did not reveal it until they both landed back in Jordan.[22] Al-Shar'a was tried and received the death penalty; Hussein reduced his sentence to life imprisonment.[22] Four years later, Al-Shar'a was pardoned and appointed director of Jordan's passport office.[22]

Assassination attempts

Hazza' Majali was appointed by Hussein to form a government; it consisted of loyalists who had persuaded Hussein to launch an offensive against the Iraqi government to restore the Hashemite monarchy.[24] The expedition was cancelled amid British opposition and the weakened state of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.[24] UAR agents assassinated Prime Minister Majali with a bomb planted in his office. Twenty minutes later, another explosion went off;[24] it was intended for Hussein as it was expected he would run to the scene, which he did – he was a few minutes late.[24] Hussein, persuaded by Habis Majali, Hazza's cousin and the army chief of staff, prepared for a retaliation against Syria, whose intelligence service was responsible for the assassination.[24] He prepared three brigades in the north, but the operation was called off after combined pressures from the Americans and the British.[24] Egyptian radios denounced Hussein as the "Judas of the Arabs."[24]

Smoke rising out of the Jordanian government house after the explosion that killed Prime Minister Hazza' Majali on 29 August 1960.

Hussein would be subjected to several more assassination attempts.[24] One involved replacing his nose drops with strong acid. Another plot was uncovered after a large number of cats were found dead in the royal palace; it emerged that the cook had been trying poisons to use against the king.[24] Assassination attempts against the king subsided after a successful coup toppled the Syrian regime on 28 September 1961 and the UAR collapsed.[24] With a calmed situation in Jordan, the King issued his slogan "Let us build this country to serve this nation."[24] But critics considered the slogan mere lip service, saying Hussein showed little interest in the economic situation of the country, unlike the military and foreign relations aspects.[24]

In January 1962 Wasfi Tal was appointed prime minister.[25] The young politician who worked to bring sweeping reforms resigned after Hussein sought to solidify his position following the rise of the Nasser-supporting Ba'ath party to the governments of Iraq and Syria in two 1963 coups.[25] The first direct contacts between Jordan and Israel started in early 1960s; Hussein had a Jewish doctor named Emmanuel Herbert who acted as intermediary between the two nations during Hussein's visits to London.[25] In the talks, Hussein highlighted his commitment to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[25] His secret rapprochement with Israel was followed by a public rapprochement with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1964, which bolstered Hussein's popularity both in Jordan and in the Arab world.[25] Hussein received a warm welcome after visiting West Bank cities afterwards.[25] The rapprochement with Nasser happened during the 1964 Arab League summit in Cairo, where the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were established, and where Jordan agreed to join the United Arab Command.[25] During the summit Nasser also attempted to convince Hussein to purchase Soviet weapons, but the Americans provided Hussein with tanks and jets instead, with the understanding that they would not be used in the West Bank at Israel's request.[25] The PLO identified itself as a representative of the Palestinian people, which clashed with Jordan's sovereignty claim over the West Bank.[25] The PLO started to demand that the Jordanian government legalize their activities, including the setting up of Palestinian armed units to fight Israel; the requests were denied.[25]

Samu Incident

King Hussein and Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser at the 1964 Arab League Summit in Egypt, 11 September 1964

Hussein later stated that during one of his meetings with Israeli representatives: "I told them I could not absorb a serious retaliatory raid, and they accepted the logic of this and promised there would never be one."[26] The Palestinian nationalist organization Fatah under the PLO started organizing cross-border attacks against Israel in January 1965, often drawing Israeli reprisals on Jordan.[27] One such reprisal was the Samu Incident, an attack launched by Israel on 13 November 1966 on the Jordanian-controlled West Bank town of As-Samu after three Israeli soldiers were killed by a Fatah landmine.[28] The assault inflicted heavy Arab casualties.[28] Israeli writer Avi Shlaim argues that Israel's disproportionate retaliation exacted revenge on the wrong party, as Israeli leaders knew from their coordination with Hussein that he was doing everything he could to prevent such attacks.[28] The incident drew fierce local criticism of Hussein amid feelings he had been betrayed by the Israelis; Hussein also suspected that Israel had changed its attitude towards Jordan and was intending to escalate matters in order to capture the West Bank.[28] Yitzhak Rabin, the then Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, later admitted the disproportionate reaction by Israel, and that the operation would have been better directed at Syria, which was supporting such attacks: "We had neither political nor military reasons to arrive at a confrontation with Jordan or to humiliate Hussein."[28]

If we look at water, it was a problem that both of us suffered from. If we look at even a flu epidemic, it affected both of us. Every aspect of life was interrelated and interlinked in some way or another. And to simply ignore that was something I could not understand. Maybe others could, others who were distant, who were not equally aware or involved. By now there were Palestinians and Jordanians, and their rights, their future was at stake. One had to do something; one had to explore what was possible and what was not.

Hussein recounting his secret meetings with Israeli representatives[29]

The events at Samu triggered large-scale anti-Hashemite protests in the West Bank for what they perceived as Hussein's incompetency for defending them against Israel: rioters attacked government offices, chanted pro-Nasser slogans, and called on Hussein to have the same fate as Nuri As-Said – the Iraqi prime minister who had been killed and mutilated in 1958 along with the Iraqi royal family.[30] Jordanians believed that after this incident, Israel would march on the West Bank whether or not Jordan joined the war.[30] Perception of King Hussein's efforts to come to peaceful terms with Israel led to great dissatisfaction among some Arab leaders.[31] President Nasser of Egypt denounced Hussein as an "imperialist lackey."[31] In a meeting with American officials, Hussein, sometimes with tears in his eyes, said: "The growing split between the East Bank and the West Bank has ruined my dreams," and, "There is near despair in the army and the army no longer has confidence in me."[30] Hussein travelled to Cairo on 30 May 1967 and hastily signed an Egyptian-Jordanian mutual defense treaty, returning home to cheering crowds.[32] Shlaim argues that Hussein had possessed options, but had made two mistakes: the first was in putting the Jordanian army under Egyptian command; the second was in allowing the entry of Iraqi troops into Jordan, which raised Israeli suspicions against Jordan.[30] Egyptian general Abdul Munim Riad arrived in Jordan to command its army pursuant to the pact signed with Egypt.[30]

Six-Day War

Hussein flying over the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem when the West Bank was under Jordanian control, 1965

On 5 June 1967 the Six-Day War began after an Israeli strike wiped out Egypt's Air Force.[33] The Egyptian army commander in Cairo transmitted to General Riad that the Israeli strike had failed, and that Israel's Air Force was almost wiped out.[33] Based on the information from Cairo, Riad ordered the Jordanian army to take offensive positions and attack Israeli targets around Jerusalem.[33] Jordanian Hawker Hunters made sorties but were destroyed by Israel when they went to refuel; Syria's and Iraq's air forces followed.[33] Israel's air superiority on the first day of war proved decisive.[33] Two Israeli jets attempted to assassinate Hussein; one was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery, and the other shot directly at Hussein's office in the royal palace.[33] Hussein was not there, the CIA director in Amman Jack O'Connell relayed a message threatening the Israelis, and the attempts stopped.[33] The Jordanians had prepared a war strategy, but the Egyptian commander insisted to build his strategy based on the misleading information from Egypt.[33]

By 7 June fighting led the Jordanians to withdraw from the West Bank, and Jerusalem's Old City and the Dome of the Rock were abandoned after desperate fighting.[34] Israel blew up the bridges between the two banks to consolidate its control.[34] Jordan suffered a severe setback with the loss of the West Bank, which contributed 40% to Jordan's GDP in the tourism, industrial, and agricultural sectors.[34] Around 200,000 Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan, destabilizing Jordan's demographics.[34] The loss of Jerusalem was critical to Jordan, and specifically for Hussein who held the Hashemite custodianship of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.[34] Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, believed to be where Muhammad ascended to heaven.[34] By 11 June Israel had decisively won the war by capturing the West Bank from Jordan, Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria.[34] Nasser and Hussein, recognizing their defeat, sought to work together towards a more moderate stance.[34]

On 22 November 1967 the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved resolution 242, which became one of Jordan's foreign policy cornerstones.[35] It denounced acquisition of territory by force and called on Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in the 1967 war.[35] Israel rejected the resolution.[35] Hussein restarted talks with Israeli representatives throughout 1968 and 1969, but the talks went nowhere – Shlaim claims the Israelis stalled and that Hussein refused to cede any West Bank territory.[36]

Black September

Hussein after checking an abandoned Israeli tank in the aftermath of the Battle of Karameh, 21 March 1968

After Jordan lost control of the West Bank in 1967, Palestinian fighters (fedayeen, meaning self-sacrificers) moved their bases to Jordan and stepped up their attacks on Israel and Israeli occupied territories.[37] One Israeli retaliation on a PLO camp based in Karameh, a Jordanian town along the border with the West Bank, developed into a full-scale battle.[37] It is believed that Israel had wanted to punish Jordan for its perceived support for the PLO.[38] After failing to capture Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, Israeli forces withdrew or were repulsed, but not before destroying the Karameh camp[39] and sustaining relatively high casualties.[40] The perceived joint Jordanian-Palestinian victory in the 1968 Battle of Karameh led to an upsurge of support in the Arab World for Palestinian fighters in Jordan.[41] The PLO in Jordan grew in strength, and by the beginning of 1970 the fedayeen groups started to openly call for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy.[37] Acting as a state within a state, the fedayeen disregarded local laws and regulations, and even attempted to assassinate King Hussein twice, leading to violent confrontations between them and the Jordanian army.[37] Hussein wanted to oust the fedayeen from the country, but hesitated to strike because he did not want his enemies to use it against him by equating Palestinian fighters with civilians.[37] PLO actions in Jordan culminated in the Dawson's Field hijackings incident on 10 September 1970, in which the fedayeen hijacked three civilian aircraft and forced their landing in Zarqa, taking foreign nationals as hostages, and later bombing the planes in front of the international press.[37] Hussein saw this as the last straw, and ordered the army to move.[37]

On 17 September the Jordanian army surrounded cities that had a PLO presence, including Amman and Irbid, and began shelling the fedayeen, who had established themselves in Palestinian refugee camps.[37] The next day, a force from Syria with PLO markings started advancing towards Irbid, which the fedayeen declared a "liberated" city.[37] On 22 September, the Syrians withdrew after the Jordanian army launched an air-ground offensive that inflicted heavy Syrian losses, and after Israeli Air Force jets flew over Syrian units in a symbolic show of support of Hussein, but did not engage.[37] An agreement brokered by Egyptian President Nasser between Arafat and Hussein led to an end to the fighting on 27 September. Nasser died the following day of a heart attack.[37] On 13 October Hussein signed an agreement with Arafat to regulate the fedayeen's presence,[37] but the Jordanian army attacked again in January 1971.[37] The fedayeen were driven out of Jordanian cities one by one until 2,000 fedayeen surrendered after being encircled in a forest near Ajloun on 17 July, marking the end of the conflict.[37]

Hussein in a meeting during Black September with Prime Minister Wasfi Tal (right) and Army Chief of Staff Habis Majali (left), 17 September 1970

Jordan allowed the fedayeen to leave for Lebanon through Syria, an event that led to the Lebanese Civil War in 1975.[37] The Black September Organization was founded the same year, named after the conflict.[37] The organization claimed responsibility for the assassination of Jordanian prime minister Wasfi Tal in 1971, and the highly publicized 1972 Munich massacre against Israeli athletes.[37]

In a speech to the Jordanian parliament on 15 March 1972, Hussein announced his "United Arab Kingdom" plan.[42] Unlike the unitary state that had existed between the West Bank and Jordan during Jordan's annexation of the West Bank (1950–1967), this plan envisaged two federal entities on each bank of the Jordan River.[42] According to the proposal, the two districts of the federation would be autonomous, excluding the military and the foreign and security affairs that would be determined by an Amman central government.[42] But the implementation of the plan was to be conditional upon achieving a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.[42] Ultimately, Hussein's proposal was ruled out after it was vehemently rejected by Israel, the PLO, and several Arab states.[42]

Yom Kippur War

After the 1967 war Gunnar Jarring was appointed by the UN as a special envoy for the Middle East peace process, leading the Jarring Mission.[43] The talks between Arab countries and Israel resulted in a deadlock.[43] The stalemate led to renewed fears of another war between Arab countries and Israel.[44] Worried that Jordan would be dragged into another war unprepared, Hussein sent Zaid Al-Rifai to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in December 1972 to inquire.[44] Sadat informed Al-Rifai that he had been planning a limited incursion in the Sinai that would allow some political manoeuvring.[44] Sadat then invited Al-Rifai and Hussein to a summit on 10 September 1973 with him and Hafez Al-Assad, who had become president of Syria.[44] The summit ended with a restoration of ties between Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.[44] Sadat disclosed to Assad and Hussein his intention to initiate military action.[44] Hussein refused Sadat's request to allow the fedayeen's return to Jordan but agreed that in case of a military operation, Jordanian troops would play a limited defensive role in assisting the Syrians in the Golan Heights.[44]

Hussein addressing crowds in Mafraq through his car's megaphone, 12 July 1974

Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War against Israel in the Sinai and in the Golan Heights on 6 October 1973 without Hussein's knowledge.[45] Between 10 September and 6 October, Hussein secretly met with Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in Tel Aviv on 25 September. Israeli leaks of the meeting led to rumors in the Arab World that Hussein had tipped off Meir about Arab intentions.[46] Hussein only discussed with Meir what both already knew, that the Syrian army was on alert.[45] On 13 October Jordan joined the war and sent the 40th brigade to assist the Syrians in the Golan Heights.[47] Some see it as ironic that it was the same brigade that had been sent to deter the Syrian invasion during Black September in 1970.[45] Subsequent peace talks with Israel collapsed; while Jordan wanted a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Israel preferred to retain control but with Jordanian administration.[47]

In the 1974 Arab League summit held in Morocco on 26 October, a Fatah plot to assassinate Hussein upon his arrival was uncovered by the Moroccan authorities.[45] The plot did not deter Hussein from joining the summit, but at the end Jordan had to join all the Arab countries in recognizing the PLO as "the sole representative of the Palestinian people," a diplomatic defeat for Hussein.[45] The relationship between Jordan and the United States deteriorated when Jordan refused to join the Camp David Accords.[48] The Accords formed the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and allowed the withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai.[48] In 1978 Hussein went to Baghdad for the first time since 1958; there, he met Iraqi politician Saddam Hussein.[48] When Saddam became president of Iraq in 1979, Hussein supported Saddam's Iran–Iraq War that stretched from 1980 to 1988.[48] The relationship grew as Saddam provided Jordan with subsidized oil, and Jordan allowed Iraq to use the Port of Aqaba for its exports.[48]

Involvement in peace initiatives

When the PLO moved to Lebanon from Jordan after 1970, repeated attacks and counter-attacks occurred in southern Lebanon between the PLO and Israel.[49] Two major Israeli incursions into Lebanon occurred in 1978, and the other in 1982, the latter conflict troubled Hussein as the IDF had laid siege to Beirut.[49] The PLO was to be expelled from Lebanon, and Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense minister, suggested they be moved to Jordan where the monarchy would be toppled and Jordan would serve as an "alternative Palestinian homeland."[49] Sharon boasted: "One speech by me will make King Hussein realize that the time has come to pack his bags."[49] However, Arafat rejected Sharon's suggestion, and the fedayeen were transported to Tunisia under American cover.[49]

Hussein with American president Jimmy Carter, Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanou Farah (from left to right), 31 December 1977

In 1983 American president Ronald Reagan suggested a peace plan that became known as the Reagan plan, similar to Hussein's 1972 federation plan.[50] Hussein and Arafat both agreed to the plan on 1 April, but the PLO's executive office rejected it.[50] A year and a half later, a renewed effort by Hussein to jumpstart the peace process culminated in the establishment of a Jordan–PLO accord that sought a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an unprecedented milestone for the PLO and a Jordanian diplomatic victory.[50] The accord was opposed by Israel and garnered no international support from either the United States or the Soviet Union.[50] Around the same time, Hussein met Israel prime minister Shimon Peres on 19 July 1985 in the United Kingdom, where Peres assented to the accord, but later the rest of his government opposed it due to the PLO's involvement.[50] Subsequent talks between the PLO and Jordan collapsed after the PLO refused to make concessions; in a speech Hussein announced that "after two long attempts, I and the government of Jordan hereby announce that we are unable to continue to coordinate politically with the PLO leadership until such time as their word becomes their bond, characterized by commitment, credibility and constancy."[50]

Jordan started a crackdown on the PLO by closing their offices in Amman after the then Israeli minister of defense, Yitzhak Rabin, requested it from Hussein in a secret meeting.[50] Jordan announced a $1.3 billion five-year development plan for the West Bank, in a bid to enhance its image in the West Bank residents at the expense of the PLO.[50] Around the same time, Hussein became troubled after he heard that Israel had been selling American weapons to Iran, thereby lengthening the conflict between Iraq and Iran, both supporters of the PLO.[50] The relationship between Hussein and Saddam became very close – Hussein visited Baghdad 61 times between 1980 and 1990,[50] and Saddam used Hussein to relay messages to several countries, including the US and Britain.[50] In June 1982, after Iran's victory seemed imminent, Hussein personally carried to Saddam sensitive photographic intelligence forwarded to him by the US.[50] In return, Saddam provided incentives for Jordanian exports to Iraq, which accounted for a quarter of all Jordan's exports, valued at $212.3 million in 1989.[50] Iraqi aid helped Jordan's finances; Hussein had felt it humiliating to keep asking Gulf countries for assistance.[50] Hussein made a little-known attempt to heal the rift between the two Ba'ath regimes of Iraq and Syria in April 1986.[50] The meeting between Hafez Al-Assad and Saddam Hussein occurred at an airbase in Al-Jafr in the eastern Jordanian desert.[50] The talks lasted for a day, after which no progress was made.[50] Saddam was angry at Al-Assad for supporting Iran against an Arab country, Iraq,[50] and Al-Assad was adamant about establishing a union between Iraq and Syria, which Saddam rejected.[50]

On 11 April 1987, after Yitzhak Shamir became prime minister of Israel, Hussein engaged in direct talks with Shamir's foreign minister, Peres, in London.[51] After reaching an agreement between Hussein and Peres on establishing an international peace conference, Shamir and the rest of the ministers in his cabinet rejected the proposal.[51] On 8 November 1987 Jordan hosted an Arab League summit; Hussein enjoyed good relations with rival Arab blocs, and he acted as conciliatory intermediate.[51] He helped mobilize Arab support for Iraq against Iran, and for Jordan's peace efforts, and helped to end the decade-long Arab boycott of Egypt – a boycott that began after it unilaterally signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.[51] Hussein described the summit as one of the best moments in his life.[51]

Disengagement from West Bank

Hussein flying an airplane with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 1984

On 9 December 1987 an Israeli truck driver ran over four Palestinians in a Gaza refugee camp, sparking unrest that spread to violent demonstrations in the West Bank.[52] What began as an uprising to achieve Palestinian independence against the Israeli occupation turned into an upsurge of support for the PLO, which had orchestrated the uprising, and consequently diminished Jordanian influence in the West Bank.[52] Jordanian policy on the West Bank had to be reconsidered following renewed fears that Israel would revive its proposal for Jordan to become an "alternative Palestinian homeland."[52] US Secretary of State George P. Shultz set up a peace process that became known as the Scultz Initiative.[52] It called for Jordan rather than the PLO to represent the Palestinians; however, when Schultz contacted Hussein about the plan, he reversed his position and told him it was a matter for the PLO to decide.[52]

The orchestrators of the Intifada were the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, which issued its 10th communiqué on 11 March 1988, urging its followers to "intensify the mass pressure against the [Israel] occupation army and the settlers and against collaborators and personnel of the Jordanian regime."[52] West Bank Palestinians deviation from the Jordanian state highlighted the need for a revision in Jordan's policy, and Jordanian nationalists began to argue that Jordan would be better off without the Palestinians and without the West Bank.[52] Adnan Abu Oudeh, a Palestinian descendant who was Hussein's political advisor, Prime Minister Zaid Al-Rifai, army chief of staff Zaid ibn Shaker, royal court chief Marwan Kasim, and mukhabarat director Tariq Alaeddin, helped the King prepare West Bank disengagement plans.[52] The Jordanian Ministry of Occupied Territories Affairs was abolished on 1 July 1988, its responsibilities taken over by the Palestinian Affairs Department.[52] On 28 July Jordan terminated the West Bank development plan.[53] Two days later a royal decree dissolved the House of Representatives, thereby removing West Bank representation in the Parliament.[52] In a televised speech on 1 August, Hussein announced the "severing of Jordan's legal and administrative ties with the West Bank," essentially surrendering claims of sovereignty over the West Bank.[54] The move revoked the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinians in the West Bank (who had obtained it since Jordan annexed the territory in 1950), but not that of Palestinians residing in Jordan.[52] Nevertheless, the Hashemite custodianship over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem was retained.[52] Israeli politicians were stunned, thinking it was a political manoeuvre so that the Palestinians could show support for Hussein, but later realized that it represented a shift in Jordan's policy after Hussein asked his West Bank supporters not to issue petitions demanding that he relent.[52] In a meeting in November 1988 the PLO accepted all United Nations resolutions and agreed to recognize Israel.[52]

1989 riots

Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank led to a slowing of the Jordanian economy.[55] The Jordanian dinar lost a third of its value in 1988, and Jordan's foreign debt reached a figure double that of its gross national product (GNP).[55] Jordan introduced austere measures to combat the economic crisis.[56] On 16 April 1989 the government increased prices of gasoline, licensing fees, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes, between 15% to 50%, in a bid to increase revenues in accordance with an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[56] The IMF agreement was to enable Jordan to reschedule its $6 billion debt, and obtain loans totaling $275 million over 18 months.[56] On 18 April riots in Ma'an spread to other southern towns such as Al-Karak and Tafila, where the New York Times reported that around 4,000 people gathered in the streets and clashed with the police,[56] resulting in six protesters killed and 42 injured, and two policemen killed and 47 injured.[57]

Despite the fact that the protests were triggered by a troubling economic situation, the crowds' demands became political.[55] Protesters accused Zaid Al-Rifai's government of rampant corruption and demanded that the martial law in place since 1957 be lifted and parliamentary elections be resumed.[55] The last parliamentary election had taken place in 1967, just before Jordan lost the West Bank, and when the parliament's tenure ended in 1971, no elections could be held due to the fact that the West Bank was under Israeli occupation, but the West Bank's status became irrelevant after Jordan's disengagement in 1988.[55] Hussein relented to the demands by dismissing Al-Rifai, and appointed Zaid ibn Shaker to form a new government.[55] In 1986 a new electoral law was passed, which allowed the reintroduction of parliamentary elections to proceed smoothly.[55] The cabinet passed amendments to the electoral law that removed articles dealing with West Bank representation.[55] In May 1989, just before the elections, Hussein announced his intention to appoint a 60-person royal commission to draft a reformist document named the National Charter.[55] The National Charter sought to set a timetable for democratization acts.[55] Although most members of the commission were regime loyalists, it included a number of opposition figures and dissidents.[55] Parliamentary elections were held on 8 November 1989, the first in 22 years.[58] The National Charter was drafted and ratified by parliament in 1991.[55]

Gulf War

1990 Iraqi stamp of the Arab Cooperation Council, showing President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, King Hussein of Jordan, president Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and president Husni Mubarak of Egypt (from left to right)

A UN-brokered ceasefire became active in July 1988, ending the Iran-Iraq war.[59] Hussein had advised Saddam after 1988 to polish his image in the West by visiting other countries, and by appearing at the United Nations for a speech, but to no avail.[60] The Iraqi-Jordanian relationship developed into the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), which also included Egypt and Yemen, on 16 February 1989, serving as a counter to the Gulf Cooperation Council.[60] Saddam's invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 led six months later to international intervention to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait in what became known as the Gulf War.[60] Iraq's invasion of Kuwait caught Hussein by surprise; he was the ACC chairman at that time, and a personal friend of Saddam's.[60] After informing the then American president George H. W. Bush of his intention to travel to Baghdad to contain the situation,[60] Hussein travelled to Baghdad on 3 August for a meeting with Saddam; at the meeting, the latter announced his intention to withdraw Iraqi troops from Kuwait only if Arab governments refrained from issuing statements of condemnation, and no foreign troops were involved.[60] On Hussein's way back from Baghdad, Egypt issued a condemnation of the Iraqi invasion.[60] To Hussein's dismay, Egyptian president Husni Mubarak refused to reverse his position and called for Iraq's unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait.[60] An Arab League summit held in Cairo issued a condemnation of Iraq with a fourteen-vote majority, despite calls by Jordan's foreign minister Marwan Al-Kasim that this move would hinder Hussein's efforts to reach a peaceful resolution.[60] Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia viewed Hussein with suspicion – they distrusted him and believed he was planning to obtain a share of Kuwait's wealth.[60]

Hussein meeting with American president George H. W. Bush on 12 March 1992

On 6 August American troops arrived at the Kuwait-Saudi Arabian border, Saddam's conditions were ignored, and Hussein's role as mediator was undermined.[61] Saddam then announced that his invasion had become "irreversible," and on 8 August he annexed Kuwait.[61] Jordan, along with the international community, refused to recognize the Iraqi-installed regime in Kuwait.[61] The United States, seeing Jordan's neutrality as siding with Saddam, cut its aid to Jordan – aid on which Jordan depended; Gulf countries soon followed.[61] Hussein's position in the international community was severely affected, so severe that he privately discussed his intention to abdicate.[61] Jordan's public opinion was overwhelmingly against international intervention, and against Gulf rulers who were perceived to be greedy and corrupt.[61] Hussein's popularity among Jordanians reached its zenith, and anti-Western demonstrations filled the streets.[61] But Western pundits viewed Hussein's actions as impulsive and emotional, claiming that he could have dampened Jordanian public support for Iraq through better leadership.[61] Hussein's brother, Crown Prince Hassan, also disagreed with Hussein, but the King refused to recognize Saddam's wrongdoings.[61] In late August and early September Hussein visited twelve Western and Arab capitals in an effort to promote a peaceful resolution.[61] He finished his tour by flying directly to Baghdad to meet Saddam, where he warned: "Make a brave decision and withdraw your forces; if you don't, you will be forced out."[61] Saddam was adamant but agreed to Hussein's request to release Western nationals who were being held as hostages.[61] Threats of a war between Israel and Iraq were rising, and in December 1990 Hussein relayed a message to Saddam saying that Jordan would not tolerate any violations of its territory.[61] Jordan dispatched an armored division to its borders with Iraq, and Hussein's eldest son Abdullah was in charge of a Cobra helicopter squadron.[61] Jordan also concentrated its forces near its border with Israel.[61] Adding to Jordan's deteriorating situation was the arrival of 400,000 Palestinian refugees from Kuwait, who had all been working there.[61] By 28 February 1991 the international coalition had successfully cleared Iraqi forces from Kuwait.[61]

Peace with Israel

Peace demands no less courage than war. It is the courage to meet the adversary, his attitudes and arguments, the courage to face hardships, the courage to bury senseless illusions, the courage to surmount impeding obstacles, the courage to engage in a dialogue to tear down the walls of fear and suspicion. It is the courage to face reality.

King Hussein, 12 October 1991 before the Jordanian Parliament in Amman [62]

Jordan participated in the imposition of economic sanctions against Iraq even though the sanctions would severely affect its economy.[61] The effects of the Gulf War, the sanctions on Iraq, and the flow of refugees to Jordan were estimated by a UN report to be $1.5 billion out of a gross domestic product (GDP) of $4.2 billion in 1990, and $3.6 billion out of a GDP of $4.7 billion in 1991.[63] The end of the Gulf War coincided with the end of the Cold War.[63] This allowed the United States to play a more active role in solving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[63] The Bush administration were still angry at Hussein for the Gulf War events but realized they needed Jordan's participation in any peace process.[63] Hussein agreed to an American request to join an international peace conference so that Jordan could start repairing its relationship with the United States, and end its political isolation.[63] Hussein's moves towards democratization in 1989 and his stance during the 1990 Gulf War had won him considerable popularity across Jordan's political spectrum.[63] But when Hussein replaced his conservative prime minister, Mudar Badran, with liberal Palestinian Taher Al-Masri, who was in favor of peace negotiations with Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood – Jordan's main opposition group, who at that time occupied 22 out of 80 seats in the House of Representatives, and whose members and support came mostly from Palestinians in the country – vehemently rejected the new prime minister by voting against him during the vote of confidence.[63] The Brotherhood also refused to participate in the National Congress where the King hoped to gather support for a peace settlement.[63]

Hussein was tasked by the United States with forming a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation to participate in the Madrid Peace Conference.[63] The 28-member delegation consisted of 14 Jordanians and 14 Palestinians.[63] Along with solving the Palestinian problem, Jordan sought to safeguard its interests in relation to security, the economy, water, and the environment.[63] The peace conference convened on 30 October 1991, with delegations representing all parties to the conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union as co-sponsors, and the United Nations as observer.[63] The conference set a framework for negotiations, and PLO representatives offered to accept a Palestinian state under a confederation with Jordan.[63] At home, the Muslim Brotherhood considered Al-Masri and his government as too liberal, and the Brotherhood merged with independent Islamists and formed the Islamic Action Front (IAF), increasing its representation to 34 in the 80-member House of Representative, a force strong enough to bring down the royally appointed government with a motion of a vote of no confidence.[63] Hussein then replaced Al-Masri with his conservative cousin Zaid ibn Shaker.[63] Subsequent peace talks continued in Washington, D.C., stretching from December 1991 to September 1993.[64]

Hussein shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during the Washington declaration that ended the "state of belligerency" as American President Bill Clinton observes, 13 September 1994.

Hussein could not participate in the details of the talks, a task he handed to his brother Hassan.[63] Hussein was referred to the Mayo Clinic in the United States after having urological problems; he had his left kidney removed after tests showed his ureter contained precancerous cells.[63] When Hussein went back healed to Jordan, he received a hero's welcome – a third of Jordan's population filled the streets to greet him.[63] On 23 November 1992 he gave an unusually aggressive speech.[63] He called on extremists on both the right and left of the political spectrum to end their opposition to the peace negotiations, denounced what he saw as the Gulf countries' undemocratic nature, and called on Saddam to introduce democracy to Iraq.[63] Meanwhile, Yitzhak Rabin, under the leftist Labor Party, emerged as prime minister of Israel.[63] Thus, the PLO and Israeli representatives were quick to reach an agreement, which culminated in the 1993 Oslo Accords.[63] The Accords were held in secrecy between Arafat and Rabin without Hussein's knowledge, completely marginalizing Jordan and the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation in Washington.[63]

The parliamentary elections held on 8 November 1993 were the first multi-party elections since 1956, but the proportional representation voting system was replaced by the controversial one man, one vote system.[65] The latter system was introduced to limit the Islamist opposition's representation in the House of Representatives, by gerrymandering Palestinian majority areas and encouraging independents over partisan candidates.[65] Consequently, the IAF's seats decreased from 34 to 21 seats out of 80.[65] On 25 July 1994 Rabin and Hussein appeared at the White House and signed the Washington declaration, which announced the "end of the state of belligerency."[65] Subsequent negotiations culminated in the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, signed on 26 October in a ceremony in Wadi Araba.[65] The treaty was a culmination of over 58 secret meetings over 31 years between Hussein and Israeli leaders.[65] The treaty recognized Jordan's role in Jerusalem's holy sites, which angered Arafat who had sought such a position.[65] Jordan's relations with the United States greatly improved: $700 million worth of Jordan's debt was forgiven by the United States Congress, and Bill Clinton's administration authorized a substantial flow of aid to Jordan.[65]

After 1995 Hussein became increasingly critical of Saddam's rule in Iraq.[65] On 4 November 1995 Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist, who aimed to undermine Rabin's peace efforts with the Palestinians.[65] Due to the close relationship forged with Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin during the negotiations of the treaty, Hussein was invited to give a speech during Rabin's funeral.[65] The funeral, held in Jerusalem, was the first time Hussein had been in Jerusalem since 1967.[65] Hussein drew parallels between Rabin's assassination and his grandfather's assassination in 1951: "We are not ashamed, nor are we afraid, nor are we anything but determined to continue the legacy for which my friend fell, as did my grandfather in this city when I was with him and but a boy."[65]

Jordan's signing of a peace treaty with Israel, and other issues, were met with disdain by Syria's president Hafez Al-Assad.[66] The CIA handed the King a detailed report in December 1995 warning him of a Syrian plot to assassinate him and his brother Hassan.[66] A month later, the CIA sent Hussein another report warning Jordan of Iraqi plots to attack Western targets in Jordan to undermine Jordan's security due to its support for the Iraqi opposition.[66] In Israel, Shimon Peres of the leftist Labor Party and Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party, were competing for the post of prime minister.[66] Hussein's popularity in Israel had peaked after the peace treaty was signed, and he was expected to express support for a candidate.[66] Hussein initially remained neutral, but invited Netanyahu to Amman on elections eve.[66] The Israeli general election held on 29 May 1996 witnessed Netanyahu's ascension to the prime ministry.[66]

Incidents with Israel

Hussein during a press conference at the White House with American secretary of Defense William Cohen, 2 April 1997

Hussein's support for Netanyahu soon backfired.[67] Israel's actions during the 1996 Qana massacre in Southern Lebanon, the Likud government's decision to build settlements in East Jerusalem, and the events at the Temple Mount where clashes between Palestinian and Israeli police ensued after Israeli tunnel diggings around the Mount, generated an uproar of criticism for Netanyahu in the Arab World.[67] On 9 March 1997 Hussein sent Netanyahu a three-page letter expressing his disappointment.[67]

Four days later, on 13 March, a Jordanian soldier patrolling the borders between Jordan and Israel in the north near the Island of Peace, killed seven Israeli schoolgirls and wounded six others.[67] The King, who was on an official visit to Spain, returned home immediately.[67] He travelled to the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh to offer his condolences to the grieving families of the Israeli children killed.[67] He went on his knees in front of the families, telling them that the incident was "a crime that is a shame for all of us." "I feel as if I have lost a child of my own. If there is any purpose in life it will be to make sure that all the children no longer suffer the way our generation did."[68] His gesture was received very warmly in Israel, and Hussein sent the families $1 million in total as compensation for the loss of life.[67] The soldier was determined to be mentally unstable by a Jordanian military tribunal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which he served entirely.[67]

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza and the West Bank surfaced.[67] Hussein's wife, Queen Noor, later claimed her husband was having trouble sleeping: "Everything he had worked for all his life, every relationship he had painstakingly built on trust and respect, every dream of peace and prosperity he had had for Jordan's children, was turning into a nightmare. I really did not know how much more Hussein could take."[67]

On 27 September 1997 eight Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) agents entered Jordan using fake Canadian passports and attempted to assassinate Jordanian citizen Khaled Mashal, head of the militant Islamist Palestinian group Hamas.[67] Hussein was preparing for a 30-year Hamas-Israel truce three days prior to the attempt, after Hamas had launched two attacks in Jerusalem.[67] Two Mossad agents followed Mashal to his office and injected poison into his ears, but they were caught by Mashal's bodyguard.[67] The two agents were then held by the Jordanian police, while the six other agents hid in the Israeli embassy.[67] Furious, Hussein met with an Israeli delegate who attempted to explain the situation; the King said in a speech about the incident that he felt that somebody "had spat in his face."[67] Jordanian authorities requested Netanyahu to provide an antidote to save Mashal's life, but Netanyahu refused to do so.[67] Jordan then threatened to storm the Israeli embassy and capture the rest of the Mossad team, but Israel argued that it would be against the Geneva Conventions.[67] Jordan replied that the Geneva Conventions "do not apply to terrorists," and a special operations team headed by Hussein's son Abdullah was put in charge of the operation.[67] Hussein called American President Clinton and requested his intervention, threatening to annul the treaty if Israel did not provide the antidote.[67] Clinton later managed to get Israel's approval to reveal the name of the antidote, and complained about Netanyahu: "This man is impossible!"[67] Khaled Mashal recovered, but Jordan's relations with Israel deteriorated and Israeli requests to contact Hussein were rebuffed.[67] The Mossad operatives were released by Jordan after Israel agreed to release 23 Jordanian and 50 Palestinian prisoners including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.[67]

Mounting opposition in Jordan to the peace treaty with Israel led Hussein to put greater restrictions on freedom of speech.[67] Several dissidents were imprisoned including Laith Shubeilat, a prominent Islamist. A few months into his imprisonment, the King personally gave Shubeilat, his fiercest critic, a ride home from the Swaqa prison.[69] However, the crackdown led the opposition groups in Jordan to boycott the 1997 parliamentary elections.[67] In 1998 Jordan refused a secret request from Netanyahu to attack Iraq using Jordanian airspace after claiming Saddam held weapons of mass destruction.[67]

Illness, death and funeral

Royal Jordanian 1 is escorted on 4 February 1999 by a F-16 of the Minnesota Air National Guard during King Hussein's return to Jordan. He died 3 days later.

In May 1998 Hussein, a heavy smoker, was admitted to the Mayo Clinic, but doctors were unable to diagnose his ailment.[70] Hussein returned to the clinic in July after suffering severe fevers; doctors then diagnosed him with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[70] He stayed in the clinic until the end of 1998, his brother Hassan, who had been crown prince since 1965, acted as regent.[70] He was given six courses of chemotherapy for his lymph gland cancer over a five-month period.[70] Hussein gained the respect of the Mayo Clinic staff for his warmth and kindness; on one occasion, a janitor cried uncontrollably after Hussein prepared a birthday party for her in his suite.[71]

In October 1998 Bill Clinton invited Hussein, during his stay at the clinic for chemotherapy treatment, to attend the Wye Plantation talks after a stalemate was reached between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations.[72] Hussein, who looked bald and weakened, arrived and urged both Arafat and Netanyahu to overcome the obstacles.[72] Encouraged by his presence, the two leaders agreed to resolve their difficulties.[72] Hussein received a standing ovation at the ceremony and praise from Clinton for interrupting his treatment and coming over.[72]

At home, 1998 was a difficult year for Jordanians: GDP growth had slowed considerably and could not keep pace with an accelerating population growth.[71] Other incidents included a government scandal involving contamination of the country's water supply.[71] Samih Batikhi, the director of the General Intelligence Directorate (mukhabarat), visited Hussein during his stay at the Mayo Clinic to keep him updated.[71] Batikhi discredited the King's brother Hassan, and often voiced his support for Hussein's eldest son Abdullah as successor.[71] Abdullah, who was 36 years old at the time, enjoyed great support from the army.[71] He was crown prince when he was born in 1962, but Hussein transferred the title to his brother Hassan in 1965 due to political uncertainty back then.[71] King Hussein had changed his line of succession a total of four times: "From his brother Muhammad, to his infant son Abdullah, to his second brother Hassan, and again to his then-grown-up son Abdullah."[73] On his way back to Jordan in January 1999, Hussein stopped in London.[74] Doctors advised him to rest and stay in England for a few weeks, as he was still too fragile to travel.[74] According to Jordanian government sources, Hussein stated that:

I need very much to feel the warmth of my people around me, there is work to be done and I will get the strength from my people to finish the business.[75]

Upon his arrival in Jordan, after a six-month medical absence from the country, he announced he was "completely cured."[76] Hussein returned and publicly criticized his brother Hassan's management of Jordanian internal affairs. He also accused him of abusing his powers as regent and crown prince.[76] On 24 January 1999, Hussein replaced Hassan with his son Abdullah as heir apparent.[76] Hassan gracefully accepted the King's decision on television, and congratulated his nephew Abdullah on his designation as crown prince.[77]

Mourners line up along Zahran street in Amman on 8 February 1999 as royal motorcade transported King's coffin.

On 25 January, the day after he proclaimed Abdullah as crown prince, Hussein returned abruptly to the United States, after experiencing fevers – a sign of recurrent lymphoma.[78] On 4 February it was reported that Hussein had suffered internal organ failure, and was in critical condition.[78] The next day, and at his request, he was flown to Jordan where he arrived in a coma after a second bone marrow transplant failed.[78] Fighter jets from several countries flew with his plane as it passed over their territories, including the United States, Britain, and Israel.[78] Hussein arrived at the King Hussein Medical Center in Amman where it was raining heavily, yet thousands flocked from all over Jordan and gathered at the main entrance.[79] The crowds chanted his name, some weeping, others holding his pictures.[79] At 11:43 on 7 February, Hussein was pronounced dead.[79]

Hussein's flag-draped coffin, accompanied by honor guard troops wearing Keffiyeh, was taken on a 90-minute procession through the streets of the capital city of Amman.[80] An estimated 800,000 Jordanians braved chilly winds to bid their leader farewell. Riot police were stationed along the nine-mile-long route to try to hold back the crowds who scrambled for a glimpse of the coffin.[80]

The UN General Assembly held an Emergency Special Session in "Tribute to the Memory of His Majesty the King of Jordan" on the same day.[81] The King's funeral was held in the Raghadan Palace. The funeral was the largest gathering of foreign leaders since 1995, and it was the first time that Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad was in the same room with Israeli statesmen.[80] Khaled Mashal was also in the same room as the Mossad leaders who had tried to assassinate him just two years earlier.[80] Four American presidents were present: Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford.[80] Bill Clinton said about the funeral: "I don't think I have ever seen a greater outpouring of the world's appreciation and the world's love for a human being than I've seen today."[82] Hussein was succeeded as king by his eldest son, Abdullah II.[80]



All what we hope for is that a day will come, when we have all gone, when people will say that this man has tried, and his family tried. This is all there is to seek in this world.

Quote by King Hussein a year before his death.[83]

Israeli writer Avi Shlaim sees that the assassination of Hussein's grandfather King Abdullah I in Jerusalem was the most formative event in Hussein's life, as he had witnessed the event personally at the age of 15.[84] Two years later, the 17-year old schoolboy would become King.[84] Hussein inherited the throne to a young Kingdom, whose neighbors questioned its legitimacy, along with the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.[84] From an early age he had to shoulder a heavy responsibility.[84] The Kingdom had few natural resources, and a large Palestinian refugee population.[84] He was able to gain his country considerable political weight on a global scale despite its limited potential.[84] Hussein was able to survive through four turbulent decades of the Arab-Israel conflict and the Cold War, successfully balancing pressures from Arab nationalists, Soviet Union, Western countries and Israel.[84] In 1980, an Israeli intelligence report described Hussein to be as "a man trapped on a bridge burning at both ends, with crocodiles in the river beneath him."[85]

Hussein inaugurating a police station in Amman with Prime Minister Suleiman Nabulsi to his right, 24 December 1956

Hussein considered the Palestinian issue to be the overriding national security issue, even after Jordan lost the West Bank in 1967 and after it renounced claims to it in 1988.[84] Initially, Hussein attempted to unite both banks of the Jordan River as one people, but with the formation of the PLO in the 1960s, it became difficult to maintain such a policy.[84] He was relentless in pursuit of peace, viewing that the only way to solve the conflict was by peaceful means, excluding his decision to join the war in 1967.[84] The decision cost him half his kingdom and his grandfather's legacy.[84] After the war he emerged as an advocate for Palestinian statehood.[84] After renouncing ties to the West Bank in 1988, he remained committed to solving the conflict.[84] His 58 secret meetings held with Israeli representatives since 1963 culminated in the signing of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty in 1994, which he considered to be his "crowning achievement."[84]

Hussein's policy of co-opting the opposition was his most revered.[84] He was the region's longest reigning leader, even though he was subject to dozens of assassination attempts and plots to overthrow him.[84] He was known to pardon political opponents and dissidents, including those who had attempted to assassinate him.[84] He entrusted some of them with senior posts in the government.[84] One one occasion before his death, he gave his fiercest critic a ride home from prison after having ordered his release.[69] He was described as being a "benign authoritarian."[86]

Hussein inaugurating the East Ghor Canal in 1961

During his 46-year-reign, Hussein, who was seen as a charismatic, courageous, and humble leader, became widely known among Jordanians as the "builder king."[86] He turned the Kingdom from a backwater divided polity into a reasonably stable well-governed modern state.[87] By 1999 90% of Jordanians had been born during Hussein's reign.[86] From the very start, Hussein concentrated on building an economic and industrial infrastructure to stimulate the economy and raise the standard of living.[87] During the 1960s, Jordan's main industries – including phosphate, potash and cement – were developed, and the very first network of highways was built throughout the kingdom.[87] Social indicators reflect King Hussein's successes.[87] Whereas in 1950 water, sanitation, and electricity were available to only 10% of Jordanians, at the end of his rule these had reached 99% of the population.[87] In 1960 only 33% of Jordanians were literate; by 1996 this number had climbed to 85.5%.[87] In 1961 the average Jordanian consumed a daily intake of 2,198 calories; by 1992 this figure had increased by 37.5% to reach 3,022 calories.[87] UNICEF statistics show that between 1981 and 1991, Jordan had achieved the world's fastest annual rate of decline in infant mortality – from 70 deaths per 1,000 births in 1981 to 37 per 1,000 in 1991, a drop of over 47%.[87]

Hussein established the Al-Amal medical center in 1997, a clinic specializing in cancer treatment in Jordan.[88] Renamed in 2002 to the King Hussein Cancer Center in honor of the late King, the center is a leading medical facility in the region, treating around 4,000 patients each year.[88]


Hussein dancing the dabkeh with Bedouins in the Jordanian Badia, 1960

The King disliked paperwork, and had no solid view for the economy.[84] He was dubbed the "fundraiser-in-chief": throughout his reign he managed to obtain foreign aid from different sources, leaving a legacy of a foreign aid-dependent Jordan.[84] British aid in the early 1950s, American aid from 1957 onwards, Gulf aid in the 1960s and 1970s, Arab League and Iraqi aid in the early 1980s, and, after formalizing peace with Israel, American aid in the 1990s.[84]

He was also seen as too lenient toward some ministers who were alleged to be corrupt.[89] The price of establishing peace with Israel in 1994 he had to pay domestically, with mounting Jordanian opposition to Israel concentrating its criticism on the King.[84] The King reacted by introducing restrictions on freedom of speech, and changing the parliamentary electoral law into the one-man, one-vote system in a bid to increase representation of independent regime loyalists and tribal groups at the expense of Islamist and partisan candidates.[86] The moves impeded Jordan's path towards democracy that had started in 1956 and resumed in 1989.[86]


  • "He won the respect and admiration of the entire world and so did his beloved Jordan. He is a man who believed that we are all God's children, bound to live together in mutual respect and tolerance." – United States President Bill Clinton[90]
  • "He was an extraordinary and immensely charismatic persuader for peace. At the peace talks in America when he was extremely ill, he was there, talking to both sides, urging them forward, telling them nothing must stand in the way of peace." – British Prime Minister Tony Blair[90]
  • “King Hussein was a leader of international prestige, who contributed greatly to all efforts towards finding a solution to the Middle East problem, he was an exceptional figure, who spoke his mind and dealt with matters in such a way that Jordan, despite its many enemies, managed to survive as an independent state. He also contributed greatly to preventing war in the region” — Cypriot President, Glafcos Clerides[91]
  • “King Hussein was irreplaceable, someone who would have a very distinguished place in history, How can one pay tribute that is adequate? He was a unique person. He had wonderful qualities as well as being a very great monarch.” — former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher[92]
  • "President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian people and leadership have received with great sorrow and pain the news," it said in a statement. – The Palestinian Authority[90]
  • "He was a generous brother and a dear friend," said a statement. – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak[90]
  • South African President Nelson Mandela believed the death would be "deeply mourned by all peace-loving people."[90]
  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan paid tribute to the late king, praising him for his "lifelong struggle to bring peace."[90]

Personal life

King Hussein and Queen Dina at their wedding in 1955

King Hussein married four times and had eleven children:

Hussein was an enthusiastic ham radio operator and an Honorary Member of The Radio Society of Harrow and a life member of the American Radio Relay League.[95] He was popular in the amateur radio community and insisted that fellow operators refer to him without his title.[96] His call sign was JY1, which inspired the name for Jordan's first cube-sat. The JY1-SAT was launched in 2018.[97]

Hussein was a trained pilot, flying both airplanes and helicopters as a hobby.[98] In a 1999 interview Henry Kissinger described being flown by Hussein, saying that "...he was a daring pilot, and he would be zooming along at treetop level, and my wife, in order to be politely insistent would say, 'You know I didn't know helicopters could fly so low.' 'Oh!' said the King, 'They can fly lower!' and went below tree top level just skimming along on the ground. That really aged me rapidly."[98]

Hussein was also an avid fan of motorcycles.[98] The cover of the paperback version of Queen Noor's book Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life features a photo of the King and Queen riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.[98] The King was also a fan of race-car driving, water sports, skiing, and tennis.[1]

In December 2017, media reports claimed that Hussein had a relationship with American actress Susan Cabot in 1959. Her attorney alleged that Cabot's son was from Hussein.[99]


Titles and honours


Styles of
King Hussein of Jordan
Coat of arms of Jordan.svg
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleSir
  • 14 November 1935 – 20 July 1951: His Royal Highness Prince Hussein of Jordan
  • 20 July 1951 – 11 August 1952: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Jordan
  • 11 August 1952 – 7 February 1999: His Majesty The King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


Streets, squares, parks

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be "Biography - His Majesty King Hussein". kinghussein.gov.jo. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Miller, Judith (8 February 1999). "Death of a King; Cautious King Took Risks In Straddling Two Worlds". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Kingdom remembers Sharif Hussein Bin Ali". The Jordan Times. The Jordan Times. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  4. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 2.
  5. ^ a b c d "King Hussein is dead". CNN. CNN. 7 February 1999. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Profile: King Abdullah II of Jordan". themuslim500.com. 1 January 2017. Archived from the original on 18 December 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Shlaim 2009, p. 44–45.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "King Hussein of Jordan". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. 8 February 1999. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  9. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 56.
  10. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 65.
  11. ^ a b Shlaim 2009, p. 106-128.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Shlaim 2009, p. 106–128.
  13. ^ a b Hiro 2003, p. 352.
  14. ^ Dann 1989, p. 59.
  15. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 135.
  16. ^ a b Shlaim 2009, p. 133.
  17. ^ Yitzhak 2012, p. 125.
  18. ^ a b Pearson 2010, p. 110.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shlaim 2009, p. 153–159.
  20. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 157.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Shlaim 2009, p. 159–196.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Shlaim 2009, p. 174.
  23. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 171.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Shlaim 2009, p. 176–184.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shlaim 2009, p. 185–218.
  26. ^ Bowen 2003, p. 26 (citing Amman Cables 1456, 1457, 11 December 1966, National Security Files (Country File: Middle East), LBJ Library (Austin, Texas), Box 146).
  27. ^ "1970: Civil war breaks out in Jordan". BBC Online. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  28. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 223–224.
  29. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 222.
  30. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 226–240.
  31. ^ a b BBC on this Day, Egypt and Jordan unite against Israel. Retrieved 8 October 2005.
  32. ^ "1967 war: Six days that changed the Middle East". BBC News. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Shlaim 2009, p. 241–245.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h Shlaim 2009, p. 243–255.
  35. ^ a b c Shlaim 2009, p. 272–274.
  36. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 272-274.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Shlaim 2009, p. 311–340.
  38. ^ Dishon (1 October 1973). Middle East Record 1968. John Wiley & Sons. p. 407. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  39. ^ "GUERRILLAS BACK AT JORDAN CAMP; Attack by Israelis Failed to Destroy Base at Karameh or Wipe Out Commandos". The New York Times. 28 March 1968. Retrieved 26 October 2015.(subscription required)
  40. ^ Spencer C. Tucker; Priscilla Roberts (12 May 2005). Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 569–573.
  41. ^ Muki Betser (22 June 2011). Secret Soldier. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 200. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  42. ^ a b c d e Salibi 1998, p. 251–252.
  43. ^ a b "The Jarring initiative and the response," Israel's Foreign Relations, Selected Documents, vols. 1–2, 1947–1974. Retrieved 9 June 2005.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g Shlaim 2009, p. 358–360.
  45. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 363–384.
  46. ^ Kumaraswamy, P.R. (11 January 2013). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 9781136328954. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  47. ^ a b Shlaim 2009, p. 363–382.
  48. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 405–411.
  49. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 417.
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Shlaim 2009, p. 425–438.
  51. ^ a b c d e Shlaim 2009, p. 440–452.
  52. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shlaim 2009, p. 453–467.
  53. ^ "Jordan Drops $1.3 Billion Plan For West Bank Development". AP. The New York Times. 29 July 1988. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  54. ^ John Kifner (1 August 1988). "Hussein surrenders claims on West Bank to the PLO, U.S. peace plan in jeopardy". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Russell E. Lucas (2012). Institutions and the Politics of Survival in Jordan: Domestic Responses to External Challenges, 1988-2001. SUNY Press. p. 25.
  56. ^ a b c d Alan Cowell (21 April 1989). "Jordan's Revolt Is Against Austerity". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  57. ^ "Hussein Goes on TV And Vows an Election". Reuters. The New York Times. 27 April 1989. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  58. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p. 148 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  59. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 468.
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shlaim 2009, p. 468–506.
  61. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Shlaim 2009, p. 478–506.
  62. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 512.
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Shlaim 2009, p. 507–531.
  64. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 507-531.
  65. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Shlaim 2009, p. 532–546.
  66. ^ a b c d e f g Shlaim 2009, p. 547–560.
  67. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Shlaim 2009, p. 560–581.
  68. ^ Jerrold Kessel (16 March 1997). "With condolence visit to Israel, King Hussein spurs talks". CNN. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  69. ^ a b "King Hussein Gives His Foe Ride From Jail". Reuters. The New York Times. 10 November 1996. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  70. ^ a b c d "King Hussein Returns to U.S. With Possible Cancer Relapse". Douglas Jehl. The New York Times. 27 January 1999. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  71. ^ a b c d e f g Shlaim 2009, p. 582–608.
  72. ^ a b c d Jerrold M. Post (24 November 2014). Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory. Cambridge University Press. p. 166. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  73. ^ https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/analyzing-king-abdullahs-change-in-the-line-of-succession
  74. ^ a b "King to address Jordanians tonight ahead of Tuesday return". Jordan embassy. 16 January 1999. Archived from the original on 31 August 2006. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  75. ^ Mideastnews.com; 8 February 1999
  76. ^ a b c Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla (12 May 2008). The Encyclopedia of the Arab–Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 25. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  77. ^ "Hussein's cancer relapse prompts 10 more days of chemotherapy". CNN. 28 January 1999. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  78. ^ a b c d "Jordan's King Flies Home". Chicago Tribune. 5 February 1999. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  79. ^ a b c "King Hussein dies". BBC. 7 February 1999. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  80. ^ a b c d e f "Jordan's Hussein Laid to Rest as World Leaders Mourn". Douglas Jehl. The New York Times. 9 February 1999. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  81. ^ "U.N. Tribute to the Memory of His Majesty King Hussein Ibn Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. 8 February 1999". UN. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  82. ^ "DEATH OF A KING: THE AMERICANS; Clinton Lauds King Hussein As Man of Vision and Spirit". The New York Times. 9 February 1999. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  83. ^ "King Hussein quotes". kinghussein.org. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  84. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Shlaim 2009, p. 609–616.
  85. ^ "From the desert he rose". The Economist. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  86. ^ a b c d e "King Hussein's legacy". The Economist. 28 January 1999. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  87. ^ a b c d e f g h "King Hussein Bin Talal 1935-1999". Petra News Agency. 1 January 2010. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  88. ^ a b "Expansion of KHCC to put centre on regional map — director". The Jordan Times. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  89. ^ Shlaim 2009, p. 473.
  90. ^ a b c d e f "King Hussein dies". BBC News. 7 February 1999. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  91. ^ "News in English". Cyprus News Agency. 8 February 1999. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  92. ^ "Blair joins leaders for Hussein funeral". BBC News. 8 February 1999. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  93. ^ "International sports community pays tribute to FEI Honorary President HRH Princess Haya". FEI.
  94. ^ The Office of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. "HRH Princess Haya Biog - The Official Website of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein". princesshaya.net.
  95. ^ "In Memory of JY1". Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  96. ^ "The Radio Society of Harrow - Dedication to JY1". G3EFX. Retrieved 5 March 2015..
  97. ^ "Crown Prince announces launch of first Jordanian mini satellite". The Jordan Times. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  98. ^ a b c d Nightline: Hussein of Jordan, ABC Evening News for Friday, 5 February 1999
  99. ^ Roth, Daniel (12 January 2018). "New CIA documents show Jordan's King Hussein had lovechild with American Jewish actress". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  100. ^ Kamal Salibi (15 December 1998). The Modern History of Jordan. I.B.Tauris. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  101. ^ "Family tree". alhussein.gov. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  102. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw "Jordanian genealogy details". Royal Ark. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  103. ^ a b "Key Street in Astana Named After Late King Hussein". Petra News Agency. Jordanian Embassy in Washington DC. 19 May 2014. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  104. ^ "Deputy Mayor of Amman welcomes a Chechen delegation to discuss strengthening of relations between Amman and Grozny". Greater Amman Municipality. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2017.



External links


Media coverage

Hussein of Jordan
Born: 14 November 1953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Jordan
Succeeded by
Abdullah II

10 August 1948

Candid Camera makes its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.

Candid Camera

Candid Camera
GenreComedy reality
Created byAllen Funt
Developed byAllen Funt
Presented by
Narrated byDurward Kirby (1960–66)
Bess Myerson (1966–67)
Theme music composerFrank Grant
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons38
No. of episodes1,000+
Executive producer(s)Allen Funt (1948–92)
Bob Banner (1960-67)
Peter Funt (1996-2004; 2014)
Ben Silverman (2014)
Production location(s)Various on-location
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Allen Funt Productions
(1953; 1960–67; 1974-79; 1983; 1987-88; 1991-1992)
Bob Banner Associates
Vin Di Bona Productions
King World Productions
Candid Camera, Inc.
(1996-2004; 2014)
TV Land Original Production
DistributorCBS Enterprises
Allen Funt Productions
Firestone Film Syndication
King World Productions
Electus International
Original networkABC (1948–49)
NBC (1949–51)
Syndication (1951–54)
NBC (1954–59)
CBS (1959–67)
ABC (1974)
Syndication (1974–79)
NBC (1983)
CBS (1987–1988)
Syndication (1991–1992)
CBS (1996–2001)
PAX (2001–04)
TV Land (2014)
Picture format480i SDTV (1953-2004)
1080i HDTV (2014)
Original releaseOriginal version: 1948–54
1960 version: 1960–67
The New Candid Camera: 1974–79
The Candid Camera Show: 1987–88
The All-New Candid Camera: 1991–92
1996 version: 1996–2004
TV Land version: 2014
Preceded byCandid Microphone
External links

Candid Camera was a popular and long running American hidden camera reality television series. Versions of the show appeared on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes, and initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947.

After a series of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept came to television on August 10, 1948, and continued into the 1970s. Aside from occasional specials in the 1980s and 1990s, the show was off air until making a comeback on CBS in 1996, before moving to PAX in 2001. This incarnation of the weekly series ended on May 5, 2004, concurrent with the selling of the PAX network itself. Beginning on August 11, 2014, the show returned in a new series with hour-long episodes on TV Land, but this incarnation only lasted a single season.

The format has been revived numerous times, appearing on U.S. TV networks and in syndication (first-run) in each succeeding decade, as either a regular show or a series of specials. Funt, who died in 1999, hosted or co-hosted all versions of the show until he became too ill to continue. His son Peter Funt, who had co-hosted the specials with his father since 1987, became the producer and host. A United Kingdom version of the format aired from 1960 to 1976.


The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera." The catchphrase became a song with music and lyrics by Sid Ramin.

The show often played its hidden-camera pranks on celebrities as well: one episode had actress Ann Jillian scheduled to make a small donation to a Lithuanian charity. When police officers informed her a con artist was behind the charity, they convinced her to donate a much larger amount with the assurance that he would be arrested when he accepted the check. After the arrest attempt, Jillian was told the man was running a legitimate charity, a set-up that forced her into acting as though she had intended to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars all along.

In another episode, the show filmed the reactions of citizens after they saw the former President Harry S. Truman walking down the street. After being advised that the former president and his Secret Service entourage would be taking a walk in downtown Manhattan, the program tracked them with a hidden camera in a van. A young woman who was a champion runner was planted at a street corner they would pass, and she was asking directions from a passerby when she saw Truman and shouted hello. In a stunt suggestive of the classic radio play The Hitchhiker, she then ran around the block so she could be ahead of Truman and was at the next corner where she again said hello to him as he approached. After this was done several times, she asked President Truman if something seemed familiar. The former president replied he expected she had something to do with the van that had been following him, and pointed straight into the camera with his walking stick without turning to look.

Some of Funt's pieces did not involve pranks but consisted simply of interviews with ordinary people. There were bizarre sequences in which people, sometimes children, gave one-of-a-kind interpretations of works of art. A little girl once told Funt that The Discus Thrower by Praxiteles showed a man throwing his little girl's allowance to her while she stood in the back yard.

Radio history

The Candid Microphone was first heard on Saturday, June 28, 1947, at 7:30 p.m. on ABC radio.[1] That series came to an end on September 23, 1948.[citation needed]

Beginning June 6, 1950, The Candid Microphone was broadcast by CBS on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., sponsored by Philip Morris,[1] which continued for three months until August 29.[citation needed] The announcer for the radio program was Dorian St. George[citation needed] (1911–2004).

TV history

Funt brought his program to ABC television in 1948, using the Candid Microphone title of the radio series, and then switched to NBC in the fall of 1949 (for Philip Morris, with Ken Roberts as his announcer), at which point its name was changed to Candid Camera. The format moved to syndication in 1951 and continued for three years before returning to NBC in 1958 as a segment of Jack Paar's The Tonight Show. The segment reappeared in 1959 on CBS as a feature on The Garry Moore Show, before once again becoming a standalone show in 1960.

Its longest uninterrupted run came in the CBS Sunday evening version. Debuting in October 1960, dominating its 10pm time slot for seven years, the program reached its peak in 1963 placing second for the year in the national Nielsen Ratings. In these shows producer/host Funt was joined on stage by several co-hosts. Veteran CBS broadcaster Arthur Godfrey for the first season, Garry Moore's long time announcer and sidekick Durward Kirby from 1961 to 1966 and, for the final prime time season, TV hostess and former Miss America, Bess Myerson. The 1966-67 season, with Miss Myerson, saw the series first use of color film. Appearances on the show by silent film comedy legend Buster Keaton were included in the 1987 Thames Television tribute documentary "Buster Keaton: A Hard Act To Follow". Among the standout favorite segments was 1965's traffic cop Vic Cianca with the Pittsburgh Police, who gained national exposure through the show and later appeared in Budweiser commercials, as well as Italian TV and the movie Flashdance.[2] A then-unknown Woody Allen was one of the writers for the show in the early 1960s and performed in some scenarios. Though a rarity, a few celebrities appeared in the last CBS season; among them were baseball legend Jackie Robinson, impressionists George Kirby and Rich Little, singer Mike Douglas and rock vocal group The Four Seasons.

Following an ABC special in the summer of 1974 celebrating the program's 25th anniversary, Candid Camera returned that fall for a five-year run in weekly syndication, with Funt as emcee again and John Bartholomew Tucker and Dorothy Collins as early co-hosts. Fannie Flagg, one of Funt's writers during the 1960s run, also shared emcee duties with Funt during the 1970s era, as did Phyllis George, Betsy Palmer and Jo Ann Pflug. This version was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for its first season, then moved to WTVF in Nashville for the remainder of its run.

The network TV version celebrated its 35th anniversary with an NBC special in 1983. Four years later, a series of occasional Candid Camera specials aired on CBS with Peter Funt joining his father as co-host.

The show also aired a season in daily syndication (1991–92) with Dom DeLuise as host and Eva LaRue as co-host.[3] Produced by Vin Di Bona, Funt authorized this version, but did not approve of the format or host. He stated in his biography Candidly (1994) that he deeply regretted his decision (which he made strictly for financial reasons) mainly because he did not think DeLuise understood the spirit of the show or was an appropriate host, and also because he felt the bits were weak, uninteresting, and too preoccupied with incorporating the show's sponsor, Pizza Hut, into them in an overtly commercial way.[4]

A 1996 CBS program celebrating the 50th anniversary of the format (dating back to the Candid Microphone days) led to another series of occasional Candid Camera specials, and then to its return as a weekly CBS show with Peter Funt and Suzanne Somers as co-hosts. The show moved to the Pax network in 2001 with Dina Eastwood taking over as co-host, remaining on the air for three more years before suspending production.

In April 2014, it was announced that the TV Land cable channel was reviving the show, ordering ten episodes. Peter Funt returned as a host, joined by actress Mayim Bialik as co-host, with the series premiering on August 11.[5] However, it was not renewed for a second season. Notable guests included the actor Harold Davies.


The 1960–67 run was arguably the most successful version of the show, according to the Nielsen ratings:

  • 1960–61: #7 (27.3 rating)[6]
  • 1961–62: #10 (25.5 rating)[7]
  • 1962–63: #2 (31.1 rating)[8]
  • 1963–64: #7 (27.7 rating)[9]


In 1970, Funt wrote, narrated, directed and produced an X-rated Candid Camera-style theatrical reality film, What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? A second film, Money Talks, followed in 1972.

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? eventually led to a series of videotapes of an adult-oriented (containing nudity) version of Candid Camera, produced in the 1980s, called Candid Candid Camera. These videos would be shown on HBO and the Playboy Channel.

The Candid Camera crew is currently working on a documentary about Allen Funt.


The 1960s version was seen in reruns on CBS daytime at 10 am EST from September 26, 1966 to September 6, 1968, with local stations continuing to air the series for the next several years. It also aired on the Ha! comedy network in 1990-91.

The 1970s version continued to play on local stations for several years after its cancellation, followed by a run on cable's USA Network later in the 1980s, and another go-round on both Comedy Central and E! in the early 1990s.

Reruns of the Pax version were carried by GMC TV for a time in 2011. Both the 1960s and 1970s versions aired on JLTV from 2012 to 2013, and returned to their weekday schedule in December 2016.



A British version of Candid Camera began in 1960 and ran for seven years. It was initially presented by David Nixon and featured Jonathan Routh and Arthur Atkins as pranksters. The show briefly returned in 1974, hosted by Peter Dulay, with Arthur Atkins and Sheila Bernette. Another series was aired in 1976 with Jonathan Routh in charge, with Dulay as producer. These two 1970s series reappeared in 1986, with an opening sequence from Peter Dulay. Jeremy Beadle made his name hosting prank shows, notably Beadle's About in the 1980s and 1990s. Channel 4 and Dom Joly developed Trigger Happy TV in the early part of the 21st century. A similar style show with no real presenter went out as Just For Laughs on the BBC around the same time.

An Australian version of Candid Camera, with the same name, began in the late 1990s and ran until the end of the 20th century. It was successful until the show was canceled for unknown reasons. Quebec saw its own adaptation titled Les insolences d'une caméra.

A German variant of Candid Camera, known as Verstehen Sie Spaß?, was begun in 1980 and continues to air today.

A wave of other American hidden-camera prank shows began in the 1980s: Totally Hidden Video was shown on Fox from 1989 until 1992. MTV's Ashton Kutcher vehicle, Punk'd, devised elaborate pranks on celebrities. Some shows have been criticized because of the potential cruelty inherent in the pranks, such as Scare Tactics. Oblivious was a series which gave cash prizes to unsuspecting subjects in the street who answered trivia questions but did not realize they were on a game show. More recent prank shows have been Girls Behaving Badly, Just for Laughs: Gags,[10] The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Boiling Points, Trigger Happy TV, and Howie Do It. Perhaps the most ambitious of all was The Joe Schmo Show in which Matt Kennedy Gould was surrounded by actors and hoaxed for the entire series.

One episode of Supermarket Sweep from 1991 featured Johnny Gilbert mentioning during the Big Sweep to a team member named Barry (who also appeared on Monopoly): "He thinks he's on Candid Camera, but he knows he's on Supermarket Sweep!".[11]

In a 2010 interview,[12] Peter Funt commented on some of these shows, saying,

We’ve always come at it from the idea that we believe people are wonderful and we’re out to confirm it. Our imitators and other shows, whether it’s Jamie Kennedy or Punk’d, often seem to come at it from the opposite perspective, which is that people are stupid, and we’re going to find ways to underscore that.


In 1964, Cornell University's Department of Psychology asked for and received permission to maintain an archive of Candid Camera and Candid Microphone episodes for educational research and study purposes.[13]

Home media


  • Candid Camera Christmas
  • Candid Camera Golf Gags
  • Candid Camera's All-Time Funniest Moments Parts I & II
  • Candid Camera's Biggest Surprises
  • Candid Camera's Pets & Animals
  • Candid Candid Camera (adult content)
  • Candid Kids


  • Best of the 1960s Volume One
  • Best of the 1960s Volume Two
  • Best of the 1970s Volume One
  • Best of the 1970s Volume Two
  • Best of the 1980s Volume One
  • Best of the 1990s Volume One
  • Best of Today Volume One
  • Best of Today Volume Two
  • Candid Camera: Greatest Moments
  • Candid Camera: Fooling The Senses
  • Green Kid
  • Inspirational Smiles
  • Most Requested Characters
  • The Funt Family Collection

Classic audio CD

  • Candid Microphone (1960)


  1. ^ a b Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 135. ISBN 9780195076783.
  2. ^ Nereim, Vivian (January 26, 2010). "Obituary: Victor S. Cianca, Sr./Famous city traffic cop". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2009). The complete directory to prime time network and cable TV shows, 1946-present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 216. ISBN 9780307483201.
  4. ^ Reed, Allen Funt with Philip (1994). Candidly, Allen Funt: A Million Smiles Later. New York: Barricade Books. ISBN 1-56980-008-1.
  5. ^ "'Candid Camera' Gets a TV Land Reboot: EP Peter Funt Talks 'Derivative' Shows, Drones, and a More Gullible Public". TheWrap. April 9, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "TV Ratings: 1960–1961". Classic TV Hits.
  7. ^ "TV Ratings: 1961–1962". Classic TV Hits.
  8. ^ "TV Ratings: 1962–1963". Classic TV Hits.
  9. ^ "TV Ratings: 1963–1964". Classic TV Hits.
  10. ^ Just for Laughs: Gags "This crazy Quebec-based troupe uses the city as its stage, and its inhabitants, or victims, as characters! People are caught in a twisted yet funny web of comedic deception. This updated Candid Camera is a tad more risque and a little kookier with its practical jokes. The little snippets last only a few minutes, and some look more painful than others."
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^ Glasgow, Greg. "Peter Funt carries on 'Candid Camera' legacy". University of Denver. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  13. ^ Segelken, Roger (September 8, 1999). "Allen Funt's Candid Camera stunts still inform, prompt smiles in academia". The Cornell Chronicle. Ithaca, NY. Retrieved December 10, 2015.

Further reading

  • Funt, Allen. Eavesdropper at Large: Adventures in Human Nature with "Candid Mike". Vanguard Press, 1952.
  • Funt, Allen. Candid Kids. Bernard Geis, 1964.

External links

9 August 1973

Mars 7 is launched from the USSR.

Mars 7

Mars 7
Mission typeMars flyby/lander[1]
COSPAR IDBus: 1973-053A
Lander: 1973-053D[2]
SATCAT no.Bus: 6776
Lander: 7224[2]
Mission duration7 months (launch to nearest approach)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft3MP No.51P
Launch mass3,260 kg (fueled lander and bus)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date9 August 1973, 17:00:17 (1973-08-09UTC17:00:17Z) UTC[3]
Launch siteBaikonur 81/24
End of mission
Last contact"contact was maintained until 25 March 1974"[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric
Flyby of Mars
Spacecraft componentBus
Closest approach9 March 1974
Mars flyby (failed landing)
Spacecraft componentLander
Closest approach9 March 1974
Distance1,300 km (810 mi)

Mars 7 (Russian: Марс-7), also known as 3MP No.51P was a Soviet spacecraft launched to explore Mars. A 3MP bus spacecraft which comprised the final mission of the Mars programme, it consisted of a lander and a coast stage with instruments to study Mars as it flew past. Due to a malfunction, the lander failed to perform a maneuver necessary to enter the Martian atmosphere, missing the planet and remaining in heliocentric orbit along with the coast stage.


Mars 7 spacecraft carried an array of instruments to study Mars. The lander was equipped with a thermometer and barometer to determine the surface conditions, an accelerometer and radio altimeter for descent, and instruments to analyse the surface material including a mass spectrometer.[5] The coast stage, or bus, carried a magnetometer, plasma traps, cosmic ray and micrometeoroid detectors, stereo antennae, and an instrument to study proton and electron fluxes from the Sun.[5]

Built by Lavochkin, Mars 7 was the second of two 3MP spacecraft launched to Mars in 1973, having been preceded by Mars 6. Two orbiters, Mars 4 and Mars 5, were launched earlier in the 1973 Mars launch window and were expected to relay data for the two landers. However, Mars 4 failed to enter orbit, and Mars 5 failed after a few days in orbit.


Mars 7 was launched by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Blok D upper stage, flying from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 81/24.[3] The launch occurred at 17:00:17 UTC on 9 August 1973, with the first three stages placing the spacecraft and upper stage into a low Earth parking orbit before the Blok D fired to propel Mars 7 into heliocentric orbit bound for Mars. The spacecraft performed a course correction on 16 August 1973.[5]

Mars 7's lander separated from the flyby bus on 9 March 1974. Initially, it failed to separate. However, it was eventually released to begin its descent. Due to a retrorocket failure, the probe missed the atmosphere of Mars, and, instead of landing, flew past along with the coast stage, with a closest approach of 1,300 km (810 mi).[5] Known faults with the spacecraft's transistors were blamed for the failure, along with that of Mars 4.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Interplanetary Probes". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Mars 7". US National Space Science Data Centre. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  4. ^ https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/beyond-earth-tagged.pdf
  5. ^ a b c d e Siddiqi, Asif A. (2002). "1973". Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000 (PDF). Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 24. NASA History Office. pp. 101–106.

8 August 1793

The insurrection of Lyon occurs during the French Revolution.

Revolt of Lyon against the National Convention

The revolt of Lyon against the National Convention was a counter-revolutionary movement in the city of Lyon during the time of the French Revolution. It was a revolt of moderates against the more radical National Convention, the third government during the French Revolution. It broke out in June 1793 and was put down in December of the same year, after government forces had besieged the city.

The city confronts economic crisis

In 1789 Lyon was the only city in France other than Paris with a population above 100,000. The city was a regional focus for banking, commerce and manufacturing. In terms of employment its leading industry was silk weaving, which directly supported a third of the population. The silk industry in 1789 was in crisis, reflecting the wider economic crisis afflicting France at that time. The city was visited by the keen eyed English documentary writer Arthur Young in December of that year: he estimated that 20,000 people were living from charity and starving.[1]

Tax riots broke out in June 1789 and again in July 1790. Citizens hoped that the Estates-General of 1789 would cancel the taxation privileges of the city's merchant oligarchs whereby the burden of taxation fell on those least able to pay, by means of the octroi, a tax on basic necessities. City elections returned a local government that retained the octroi, triggering a new riot in the city. Continuing mutual intransigence over the taxation issue led to fresh riots accompanied by the ransacking of several of the houses belonging to Lyon's richest citizens along with a continuation of the taxation on necessities.[1]

These social conflicts bound together the interests of the old royalist elite under the leadership of Jacques Imbert-Colomès with those of the revolutionary patriots surrounding the local industrialist turned politician Jean-Marie Roland. Lower down the social scale, small-scale employers were opposed to taxation that increased living costs of employees whose salaries could therefore not be further cut, and the affected employees thereby felt closer affinity with their bosses and with the manufacturing interest in the city than with the desperate plight of the large numbers of unemployed.[1]

Political opposition 1790–1793

Louis François Perrin de Précy, Leader of the Lyon insurgents, painted by Jean-Joseph Dassy.

During September 1790 the city's working class activists established 32 revolutionary societies to which they gave the name "Peoples' associations of friends of the [revolutionary] constitution" («Sociétés populaires des Amis de la Constitution»). These were established in opposition to more bourgeois revolutionary societies such as "The association of friends of the revolution" («Société des Amis de la Révolution»), membership of which was restricted to "active citizens", and the "Friends of the constitution" («Amis de la Constitution»), which was affiliated to the network of Jacobin Clubs springing up around France in the wake of the revolution. A central committee, which quickly became known as the "Central Club" («Club central»), provided a meeting point for delegates from the city's many sectional revolutionary societies. The "Central Club" was initially controlled by the Rolandin faction, but quickly came under the direction of the more dynamic elements around Joseph Chalier.[2]

At this time each department was governed under a local version of the national directoral structure, and the departmental directory of Rhône-et-Loire, which since 1790 had been the department centred on Lyon, was dominated by constitutional royalists. The Rolandin Louis Vitet became mayor of Lyon in 1790. The "Central Club", headed up by Chalier, was strongly opposed to the approach taken by the local regime.[3]

In the summer of 1792, the troop of revolutionary volunteers passed through on their way from Marseilles to Paris, which radicalised the mood in Lyon. While the local manufacturer Roland was in Paris, serving as the nation's Interior Minister, eight officers and four priests were killed.[3]

In November 1792, the girondin Nivière-Chol was elected mayor of Lyon in place of Vitet who had been elected to sit in the National Convention in Paris. Confronted by economic stagnation, he persuaded the assembly to agree an interest free loan of three million francs to be divided between the citizens in proportion to their wealth. This enraged the bourgeoisie but gained approval from royalists.[3]

Matters came to a head in February 1793 when Chalier's "Central Club" called for the creation of a Revolutionary Tribunal. The mayor was not in favour of this idea and set about mobilising troops. which provoked a popular insurrection.[3] As more time went on the hostility between the upper and lower classes only increased. Joseph Chalier started to become known as a fanatic and having too radical of policies towards the upper class in the city of Lyons. Most famously he was known for saying that towards any that opposed that he was "prepared to exterminate all that goes by the name of aristocrat, moderate, royalist."[4] The combination of Joseph Chalier's extreme radicalism and the confused environment of Lyons contributed towards the general Jacobin population losing control over city affairs.

To try to defuse the crisis, Mayor Nivière-Chol now resigned and was re-elected. Meanwhile, allies and opponents of Chalier argued in the various "Peoples' Associations" which were now finding themselves opposing the "Central Club". Mayor Nivière-Chol resigned again, and was replaced by the moderate Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert who was elected in a contest against an ally of Chalier's named Antoine-Marie Bertrand. As news came through of the treason (in Jacobin eyes) of Dumouriez, Gilibert's position became unsustainable and he was succeeded as mayor on 9 March 1793 by Bertrand: this ushered in a period of 80 days during which the city hall operated under the control of Chalier's faction.[3]

A series of radical enactments followed, starting on 14 March 1793 with the establishment of a municipal bakery. Taxation was imposed on food (which disappeared from the shops) and a volunteer force was recruited. A seven-man Lyon Committee of Public Safety (taking its name and inspiration from the national institution of that name established under Robespierre a few weeks earlier in Paris) was set up on 8 April 1793. Urging further progress down the revolutionary path, on 4 May the "Central Club" proposed the guillotine become a permanent fixture, together with the "Popular Associations" and called again for the creation of a Revolutionary Tribunal. They also called for a Committee of Revolutionary Surveillance and of a Revolutionary Army to replace the National Guard which had itself been established only in 1789 as a force for stability. And they called for a forced cash levy on the rich. A few days later, on 14 May 1793, the city council duly voted to create a Revolutionary Army and a 6 million franc fund, to be created from taxing the rich, to pay for it all.[5]

They also voted for a joint meeting, every day, for representatives from the department, the district and the commune. This last measure triggered a counter-offensive. During the days that followed a growing proportion, and ultimately a majority, of delegates at these meetings opposed the municipal law of 14 May. Meanwhile, in Paris, the Girondist deputy Chasset persuaded the revolutionary government to annul the laws originating with locally based extraordinary "tribunals". Events in Lyon, France's second city, were of particular concern to the national government which now sent four of its own members to Lyon, these being the deputies Albitte, Dubois-Crancé, Gauthier and Nioche. Their doubts thus endorsed, virtually the entire Lyon tribunal voted down the law of 14 May 1793.[6]

Chalier's fall

On 29 May, a meeting at the Arsenal building of the various sectional delegates decided to replace the radical municipal government, which in military terms was only lightly defended. Gauthier and Nioche, two of the high-level representatives from the national government, arrived and were placed under guard. During the night Chalier's partisans were arrested and a moderate named Bénami was nominated as provisional president. The following day a man named Coindre became mayor and Judge Ampère (better remembered by posterity as the father of the electricity pioneer, André-Marie Ampère) received instructions to launch the trial of Joseph Chalier and his friends.[6]

Meanwhile, events in the capital were moving fast, and the violent events of 31 May – 2 June 1793 saw the girondists ejected from the national government, under pressure from Paris-based extremists. The newly extremist national government saw the events in Lyon as part of a more widespread Girondist revolt threatening the authority of central government: Such concerns proved well justified a couple of weeks later, as during June 1793, the municipal leaders in Lyon were linking up both with neighbouring departments and with other "insurgent cities" in the French south, Marseille, Nîmes and Bordeaux. Lyon now insisted on a meeting among the potentially separatist municipalities and departments to be convened at Bourges, as a form of alternative to the National Convention meeting in Paris. The municipality also had command of an army of approximately 10,000 which, though largely popular in its composition, was commanded by royalists led by the Count of Précy, with an aristocratic group of officers including Stanislas Marie Adelaide, comte de Clermont-Tonnerre, Virieu, Pantigny, Nolhac, Villeneuve, La Roche d'Angly and de Melon.[6]

The National Convention sent Robert Lindet to negotiate with the leaders in Lyon, but he found the local representatives in the Arsenal Building in an uncompromising mood: intransigence was stiffened by the presence at Lyon of Jean Bonaventure Birotteau, one of the girondist deputies whom the government had so recently expelled from their own National Convention. On 30 June 1793, 207 delegates representing nearby cantons, the department and the urban districts appointed a "Popular Republican Commission for the Public Safety of Rhône-et-Loire", which published an "Address from the authorities duly constituted at Lyon to the armies, the citizens and all the departments in the republic". The National Convention, its orders having been ignored by the leaders in Lyon, now promulgated a series of decrees on 12 and 14 July 1793. They declared Birotteau an outlaw, dismissed the Lyon leaders, confiscating their assets; and they ordered the Revolutionary Army of the Alps to re-establish in Lyon the Laws of the Republic.[6]

It was in this context of exacerbated conflict that Chalier found himself condemned to death on 16 July 1793. He was guillotined the next day, followed on 31 July 1793 by Ryard, the man who had commanded the commune troops on 31 May 1793. A partisan of Chatelier's called Higgins killed himself in prison, and another of the local montagnard leaders was cut down in the street. At the same time within the city leadership moderate republicans were being progressively replaced by royalists.[6]

Siege of Lyon

Siège de Lyon

The Army of the Alps, under the command of Kellermann, was engaged in a campaign in Savoy against the Piedmontese when it received the assignment to head west in order to re-establish central government authority in Lyon, and was able to turn its attention to its new mission only a month later, on 10 August 1793. Two days after that, on 12 August 1793, the rebellious department was split into two, creating on the western side of the river the department of Loire with its capital at Feurs and, on the eastern side, the department of Rhône. Just over a week later, on 21 August, the Paris government sent to Lyon a high level team that included Georges Couthon, a leading member of the Committee of Public Safety and a close colleague of Robespierre himself. The next day the revolutionary army began its bombardment. During September Lyon was encircled, and on 29 September 1793, on the south-western side of the city, the fort at Sainte-Foy was destroyed.[6]

On 3 October 1793, Couthon called upon the Lyonnais to surrender, and a truce was observed until 7 October. The various representatives leading the city held a succession of group discussions, and on 8 October they sent a team to negotiate with the government representatives, albeit in the face of the opposition of Précy. At the same time two more of the defenders' forts fell, at Saint-Irénée and Saint-Just.[6]

The next day, at dawn, Précy escaped via a district in the north-west of Lyon called Vaise, and went into hiding, turning up shortly afterwards in Switzerland. The city's civil authorities surrendered to the central government representatives at midday.[6]

On 11 October, the government delegates decided on the destruction of the city walls. On 12 October Barère, a leading member of the government, put a decree through the convention that Lyon was to lose its name, and would instead be known as Ville-Affranchie (Liberated City) and would be destroyed. All the properties occupied by rich people would be demolished, leaving just the houses of the poor and the homes of duped or banished patriots, buildings specially dedicated to industry and monuments dedicated to humanity and public instruction. On the ruins of Lyon would be erected a commemorative column which would testify to posterity the crimes committed and the punishment received by the city's royalists, with the inscription "Lyon made war on liberty: Lyon is no more!" In the event, of 600 houses scheduled for demolition, only about fifty were actually destroyed.[6]


Moving quickly, on 9 October, the government representatives had created both a "Military Commission", charged with judging people who had taken up arms, and a "Commission of Peoples' Justice" which was to judge the other "rebels". Three days later the National Convention itself decided to create a five-member "Extraordinary Commission" which they tasked with imposing "immediate military punishment" on the "criminal counter-revolutionaries of Lyon".[7]

Joseph Fouché

The "Military Commission" began work on 11 October and ordered the shooting of 106 people who had served the rebels' military leader, Précy. The "Commission of Peoples' Justice" got off to a slower start, beginning its work only on 21 October: it ordered the guillotining of 79 people including three of the moderates who had replaced Chalier back at the end of May, Bénami, Coindre and Judge Ampère. Both of these commissions disappeared on 9 December, by which time the centrally mandated "Extraordinary Commission" had taken over the application of retributive justice in Lyon.

The "Extraordinary Commission" sat between 30 November 1793 and 6 April 1794. It was presided over by General Parein, and decided early on to substitute collective shootings for the individual firing squad killings and guillotinings which had been imposed by the earlier commissions. On 4 December 1793, 60 of the condemned were killed using three canons loaded with grape shot, and a further 208 or 209 were killed in the same way the next day. The killings ordered by the Commission took place on open ground in the Les Brotteaux quarter, near to the granary at La Part-Dieu. This method of killing was abandoned on 17 December 1793.[7]

These massacres have been blamed both on Commission Chairman Parein and on the government representatives Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois and Joseph Fouché whom the Convention had appointed the previous month when they recalled Coulthon to Paris. The victims of the commission were a diverse and in many cases distinguished group, including a former president of the department called Debrost, a former member of the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly called Merle, the architect Morand, the executioner who had executed Chalier, the Canon Roland, the Hôtel-Dieu Head Surgeon Pierre Bouchet,[8] Feuillants, Rolandins, priests and other members of religious orders, merchants and manufacturers along with other aristocrats and commoners. The list also includes counter-revolutionaries sent to the Commission at Lyon from Feurs, from Montbrison, from Saint-Étienne and from the neighboring departments of Loire, Ain, Saône-et-Loire, Isère and Allier. This variety makes an objective quantification of the executions difficult. At its final sitting on 6 April 1794[9] the "Extraordinary Commission" itself reported that it had ordered the execution of 1,684 and the detention of a further 162: 1,682 were reported as having been acquitted.[10]


The aftermath of the revolt was highlighted by three major results: the decimated silk trade, the lower wages of the people of Lyon, and the rift that was perpetuated between the people of Lyon and the National Convention.

The most noticeable effect was primarily the decimation of the silk trade. Prior to the revolt, it had been mainly an artisanal industry with Lyon being one of the largest pre-Industrial Revolution centers of production in France. Although Lyon continued to lead France in industry after the unsuccessful attempt to quell federalist sentiments, the silk trade was certainly affected, and local artisans needed to rebuild. This disruption had lasting effects on the silk industry in the city that continued for years before normal business was again established.

Another result of the revolt of Lyon was the dramatic decrease in wages after the suppression of the revolt and the introduction of larger-scale industry into the process of silk production.[11] The decrease of specialization of labor in the silk industry greatly lowered the wage rates themselves. With the process of industrialization that occurred, anyone could become a master silk weaver. In some circles, the decrease in wages was seen as a public injustice.1 As silk production in Lyon was being rebuilt, the emphasis was placed more and more on centralized industrial production and less on the traditional artisan system.[11]

Finally, as well as disrupting the silk trade, the revolt caused a lasting rift between the people of Lyon and the radical government of Paris.[12] A sense of resentment and outrage against Paris was especially prevalent in Lyon due to the extreme actions taken during this suppression. While Lyon did not organize another revolt, a general sense of distrust against Paris continued to permeate the population of Lyon, especially among the families of those who had been executed.[13] This anti-Parisian, federalist sentiment which had existed before the revolt, and its subsequent violent suppression, persisted in the city, as many in Lyon continued to see Paris as too radically revolutionary. There is evidence that few citizens of Lyon moved away in the aftermath, likely due to the fact that most of the architecture of Lyon did remain intact, contrary to the rhetoric of the leaders of the suppression, which suggested that it should be completely destroyed.[14] Those who did move tended to migrate further south, towards Marseille and away from Paris, in an attempt to further distance themselves from Paris.[14]

Although revolutionary intervention was meant as a way to increase fervor for the new republic and its politics, it only succeeded in creating a more strongly polarized environment through the violent suppression of the revolt. It did not do well in quelling counterrevolutionary thought, rather prompting these thoughts and giving direction to their complaints against the republic. If anything, the violence soured relations. By December 1794, some 2,000 people had been executed in Lyon.[13] Politically speaking, a commission of citizens from Lyon travelled to Paris to petition the National Convention, asking to be reconciled with the Republic. Jean-Marie Collot also returned to Paris to block Lyon's petition, and when the Convention turned it over to the Committee of Public Safety, Collot and the other committee members did not act on it.[13]


A list of the victims of Parein's commission is kept in a Carthusian Chapel of Penitence erected on the site of the mass shootings. It was compiled using the commission's own records.

The bones of the 209 Lyonnais shot dead on 3 December 1793 at Brotteuax have been conserved in the crypt of the Chapel of Brotteaux in the sixth arrondissement, in the north-eastern part of central Lyon since the Bourbon restoration.[15]

In 1989, France celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of the French revolution, and two organisations named Lyon 89 and Lyon 93[16] brought together descendants of the victims of the siege and of the ensuing repression. A third organisation, called Rhône 89, though overtly republican and secularist, also placed a greater priority on historical understanding of the events.[17]

The siege of Lyon also inspired several popular songs.

Main source

  • Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, Quadrige/PUF, 1989, p. 688-696, entrée « Lyon » de Jean-René Suratteau


  1. ^ a b c Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 689.
  2. ^ Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 689-690.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 690.
  4. ^ Baron Thugut and Austria's Response to the French Revolution“FRUSTRATIONS, 1795”. 1987. FRUSTRATIONS, 1795. In Baron Thugut and Austria's Response to the French Revolution, 170–200. Princeton University Press.
  5. ^ Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 690-691.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 691.
  7. ^ a b Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française .....[chargée de] « punir militairement et sans délai les criminels contre-révolutionnaires de Lyon, 2005, p. 693.
  8. ^ Louis-Auguste Rougier (1839). Eloge historique de Claude-Antoine Bouchet, ancien chirurgien-major de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon: lu à la Société de médecine de Lyon, le 30 décembre 1839, par... Rougier. Impr. Louis Perrin. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  9. ^ The date is sometimes shown according to the revolutionary calendar, as 17 Germinal
  10. ^ Jean-René Suratteau, « Lyon », in Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, 2005, p. 693-694.
  11. ^ a b William Sewell. Work and revolution in France: The language of labor from the Old Regime to 1848, 1980, p.156-161.
  12. ^ Thomas Chantal and David F. Bell. Terror in Lyon, 1998.
  13. ^ a b c Robert Palmer. "Chapter VII Doom at Lyons." Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution, 2005, p. 153-176.
  14. ^ a b Richard Cobb. Reactions to the French Revolution, 1972. p. 52.
  15. ^ At the end of the nineteenth century the chapel was destroyed and rebuilt twenty meters along the road
  16. ^ L'Association Lyon 93 a été fondée par l'ingénieur Jacques Tournier en 190 ans après les événements. Voir Daniel Bideau, Lyon sera détruite, Lyon, La Taillanderie, 1988, 143 pages, p. 132.
  17. ^ Bruno Benoit, L'identité politique de Lyon, entre violences collectives et mémoire des élites (1786–1905), Paris, L'Harmattan, 1999, 239 pages, introduction de Maurice Garden, p. 14 ISBN 2738474659.

Further reading

  • Edmonds, W. D. Jacobinism and the Revolt of Lyon, 1789-1793. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990. Print.
  • Kafker et al. The French Revolution: Conflicting Interpretations. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company, 2002. Print.
  • Palmer, R. R. Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 2005. Print.

7 August 936

Coronation of King Otto I of Germany.

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

Otto the Great
Siegel Otto I Posse.JPG
Depiction of Otto I on his seal in 968
Holy Roman Emperor
Reign2 February 962 – 7 May 973
Coronation2 February 962[1]
Old St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
PredecessorBerengar of Friuli
SuccessorOtto II
King of Italy
Reign25 December 961 – 7 May 973
Coronation10 October 951[a]
PredecessorBerengar II
SuccessorOtto II
King of Germany (East Francia)
Reign2 July 936 – 7 May 973
Coronation7 August 936
Aachen Cathedral
PredecessorHenry the Fowler
SuccessorOtto II
Duke of Saxony
Reign2 July 936 – 7 May 973
PredecessorHenry the Fowler
SuccessorBernard I
Born23 November 912
possibly Wallhausen, East Francia[2]
Died7 May 973(973-05-07) (aged 60)
Memleben, Holy Roman Empire
SpouseEadgyth of England (930–946)
Adelaide of Italy (951–973)
IssueWilliam, Archbishop of Mainz
Liutgarde of Saxony
Liudolf, Duke of Swabia
Matilda, Abbess of Quedlinburg
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
FatherHenry the Fowler
ReligionRoman Catholic
Signum manusOtto the Great's signature

Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (German: Otto der Große, Italian: Ottone il Grande), was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973.[b] He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.

Otto inherited the Duchy of Saxony and the kingship of the Germans upon his father's death in 936. He continued his father's work of unifying all German tribes into a single kingdom and greatly expanded the king's powers at the expense of the aristocracy. Through strategic marriages and personal appointments, Otto installed members of his family in the kingdom's most important duchies. This reduced the various dukes, who had previously been co-equals with the king, to royal subjects under his authority. Otto transformed the Roman Catholic Church in Germany to strengthen royal authority and subjected its clergy to his personal control.

After putting down a brief civil war among the rebellious duchies, Otto defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, thus ending the Hungarian invasions of Western Europe.[3] The victory against the pagan Magyars earned Otto a reputation as a savior of Christendom and secured his hold over the kingdom. By 961, Otto had conquered the Kingdom of Italy. The patronage of Otto and his immediate successors facilitated a so-called "Ottonian Renaissance" of arts and architecture. Following the example of Charlemagne's coronation as "Emperor of the Romans" in 800, Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 by Pope John XII in Rome.

Otto's later years were marked by conflicts with the papacy and struggles to stabilize his rule over Italy. Reigning from Rome, Otto sought to improve relations with the Byzantine Empire, which opposed his claim to emperorship and his realm's further expansion to the south. To resolve this conflict, the Byzantine princess Theophanu married his son Otto II in April 972. Otto finally returned to Germany in August 972 and died at Memleben in May 973. Otto II succeeded him as Holy Roman Emperor.

Early life and family

Otto was born on 23 November 912, the oldest son of the Duke of Saxony, Henry the Fowler and his second wife Matilda, the daughter of Dietrich of Ringelheim, a Saxon count in Westphalia.[4] Henry had previously married Hatheburg of Merseburg, also a daughter of a Saxon count, in 906, but this marriage was annulled, probably in 909 after she had given birth to Henry's first son and Otto's half-brother Thankmar.[5] Otto had four full siblings: Hedwig, Gerberga, Henry and Bruno.[4]


On 23 December 918, Conrad I, King of East Francia and Duke of Franconia, died.[6] According to the Res gestae saxonicae by the Saxon chronicler Widukind of Corvey, Conrad persuaded his younger brother Eberhard of Franconia, the presumptive heir, to offer the crown of East Francia to Otto's father Henry.[7] Although Conrad and Henry had been at odds with one another since 912, Henry had not openly opposed the king since 915. Furthermore, Conrad's repeated battles with German dukes, most recently with Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, and Burchard II, Duke of Swabia, had weakened the position and resources of the Conradines.[8] After several months of hesitation, Eberhard and the other Frankish and Saxon nobles elected Henry as king at the Imperial Diet of Fritzlar in May 919. For the first time, a Saxon instead of a Frank reigned over the kingdom.[9]

Burchard II of Swabia soon swore fealty to the new king,[10] but Arnulf of Bavaria did not recognize Henry's position. According to the Annales iuvavenses, Arnulf was elected king by the Bavarians in opposition to Henry, but his "reign" was short-lived; Henry defeated him in two campaigns. In 921, Henry besieged Arnulf's residence at Ratisbon (Regensburg) and forced him into submission. Arnulf had to accept Henry's sovereignty; Bavaria retained some autonomy and the right to invest bishops in the Bavarian church.[11]

Heir apparent

12th-century stained glass depiction of Otto I, Strasbourg Cathedral

Otto first gained experience as a military commander when the German kingdom fought against Wendish tribes on its eastern border. While campaigning against the Wends/West Slavs in 929, Otto's illegitimate son William, the future Archbishop of Mainz, was born to a captive Wendish noblewoman.[12] With Henry's dominion over the entire kingdom secured by 929, the king probably began to prepare his succession over the kingdom. No written evidence for his arrangements is extant, but during this time Otto is first called king (Latin: rex) in a document of the Abbey of Reichenau.[13]

While Henry consolidated power within Germany, he also prepared for an alliance with Anglo-Saxon England by finding a bride for Otto. Association with another royal house would give Henry additional legitimacy and strengthen the bonds between the two Saxon kingdoms. To seal the alliance, King Æthelstan of England sent Henry two of his half-sisters, so he could choose the one which best pleased him.[14] Henry selected Eadgyth as Otto's bride and the two were married in 930.[6]

Several years later, shortly before Henry's death, an Imperial Diet at Erfurt formally ratified the king's succession arrangements. Some of his estates and treasures were to be distributed among Thankmar, Henry, and Bruno.[15] But departing from customary Carolingian inheritance, the king designated Otto as the sole heir apparent without a prior formal election by the various dukes.[16]

Reign as king


Side view of the Throne of Charlemagne at Aachen Cathedral, where Otto was crowned King of Germany in 936.

Henry died from the effects of a cerebral stroke on 2 July 936 at his palace, the Kaiserpfalz in Memleben, and was buried at Quedlinburg Abbey.[17] At the time of his death, all of the various German tribes were united in a single realm. At the age of almost 24, Otto assumed his father's position as Duke of Saxony and King of Germany. His coronation was held on 7 August 936 in Charlemagne's former capital of Aachen, where Otto was anointed and crowned by Hildebert, the Archbishop of Mainz.[18] Though he was a Saxon by birth, Otto appeared at the coronation in Frankish dress in an attempt to demonstrate his sovereignty over the Duchy of Lotharingia and his role as true successor to Charlemagne, whose last heirs in East Francia had died out in 911.[19]

According to Widukind of Corvey, Otto had the four other dukes of the kingdom (from the duchies of Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria and Lorraine) act as his personal attendants at the coronation banquet: Arnulf I of Bavaria as marshal (or stablemaster), Herman I, Duke of Swabia as cupbearer, Eberhard of Franconia as steward (or seneschal) and Gilbert of Lorraine as Chamberlain.[c][20] By performing this traditional service, the dukes signaled cooperation with the new king, and clearly showed their submission to his reign.[19]

Despite his peaceful transition, the royal family was not harmonious during his early reign. Otto's younger brother Henry also claimed the throne, contrary to his father's wishes. According to her biography, Vita Mathildis reginae posterior, their mother had favored Henry as king: in contrast to Otto, Henry had been "born in the purple" during his father's reign and shared his name.[21]

Otto also faced internal opposition from various local aristocrats. In 936, Otto appointed Hermann Billung as Margrave, granting him authority over a march north of the Elbe River between the Limes Saxoniae and Peene Rivers. As military governor, Hermann extracted tribute from the Polabian Slavs inhabiting the area and often fought against the Western Slavic tribes of the Lutici, Obotrites, and Wagri. Hermann's appointment angered his brother, Count Wichmann the Elder. As the elder and wealthier of the two, Wichmann believed his claim to the office was superior to his brother's. Additionally, Wichmann was related by marriage to the dowager queen Matilda.[22] In 937, Otto further offended the nobility through his appointment of Gero to succeed his older brother Siegfried as Count and Margrave of a vast border region around Merseburg that abutted the Wends on the lower Saale. His decision frustrated Thankmar, Otto's half-brother and Siegfried's cousin, who felt that he held a greater right to the appointment.[23]

Rebellion of the dukes

Central Europe, 919–1125. The Kingdom of Germany included the duchies of Saxony (yellow), Franconia (blue), Bavaria (green), Swabia (orange) and Lorraine (pink left). Various dukes rebelled against Otto's rule in 937 and again in 939.

Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, died in 937 and was succeeded by his son Eberhard. The new duke quickly came into conflict with Otto, as Eberhard opposed the king's sovereignty over Bavaria under the peace treaty between King Henry and Arnulf. Refusing to recognize Otto's supremacy, Eberhard rebelled against the king. In two campaigns in the spring and fall of 938, Otto defeated and exiled Eberhard from the kingdom and stripped him of his titles. In his place, Otto appointed Eberhard's uncle Berthold, a count in the March of Carinthia, as the new Duke of Bavaria on the condition that Berthold would recognize Otto as the sole authority to appoint bishops and to administer royal property within the duchy.[24]

At the same time, Otto had to settle a dispute between Bruning, a Saxon noble, and Duke Eberhard of Franconia, the brother of the former king Conrad I of Germany. After the rise of a Saxon to kingship, Bruning, a local lord with possessions in the borderland between Franconia and Saxony, refused to swear fealty to any non-Saxon ruler. Eberhard attacked Bruning's Helmern castle near Peckelsheim, killed all of its inhabitants and burned it down. The king called the feuding parties to his court at Magdeburg, where Eberhard was ordered to pay a fine, and his lieutenants were sentenced to carry dead dogs in public, which was considered a particularly shameful punishment.[25]

Infuriated with Otto's actions, Eberhard joined Otto's half-brother Thankmar, Count Wichmann, and Archbishop Frederick of Mainz and rebelled against the king in 938.[26] Duke Herman I of Swabia, one of Otto's closest advisors, warned him of the rebellion and the king moved quickly to put down the revolt. Wichmann was soon reconciled with Otto and joined the king's forces against his former allies. Otto besieged Thankmar at Eresburg and had him killed at the altar of the Church of St. Peter. Following their defeats, Eberhard and Frederick sought reconciliation with the king. Otto pardoned both after a brief exile in Hildesheim and restored them to their former positions.[27]

War in France

Shortly after his reconciliation, Eberhard planned a second rebellion against Otto. He promised to assist Otto's younger brother Henry in claiming the throne and recruited Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine, to join the rebellion. Gilbert was married to Otto's sister Gerberga of Saxony, but had sworn fealty to King Louis IV of West Francia. Otto exiled Henry from East Francia, and he fled to the court of King Louis. The West Frankish king, in hopes of regaining dominion over Lorraine once again, joined forces with Henry and Gilbert. In response, Otto allied with Louis's chief antagonist, Hugh the Great, Count of Paris, and husband of Otto's sister Hedwige.[28] Henry captured Merseburg and planned to join Gilbert in Lorraine, but Otto besieged them at Chevremont near Liège. Before he could defeat them, he was forced to abandon the siege and moved against Louis, who had seized Verdun. Otto subsequently drove Louis back to his capital at Laon.

While Otto gained some initial victories against the rebels, he was unable to capture the conspirators and end the rebellion. Archbishop Frederick sought to mediate a peace between the combatants, but Otto rejected his proposal. Under Otto's direction, Duke Herman of Swabia led an army against the conspirators into Franconia and Lorraine. Otto recruited allies from the Duchy of Alsace who crossed the Rhine River and surprised Eberhard and Gilbert at the Battle of Andernach on 2 October 939. Otto's forces claimed an overwhelming victory: Eberhard was killed in battle, and Gilbert drowned in the Rhine while attempting to escape. Left alone to face his brother, Henry submitted to Otto and the rebellion ended. With Eberhard dead, Otto assumed direct rule over the Duchy of Franconia and dissolved it into smaller counties and bishoprics accountable directly to him. The same year, Otto made peace with Louis IV, whereby Louis recognized his suzerainty over Lorraine. In return, Otto withdrew his army and arranged for his sister Gerberga (the widow of Gilbert) to marry Louis IV.

In 940, Otto and Henry were reconciled through the efforts of their mother. Henry returned to East Francia, and Otto appointed him as the new Duke of Lorraine to succeed Gilbert. Henry had not dropped his ambitions for the German throne and initiated another conspiracy against his older brother. With the assistance of Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, Henry planned to have Otto assassinated on Easter Day, 941, at Quedlinburg Abbey. Otto discovered the plot and had the conspirators arrested and imprisoned at Ingelheim. The king later released and pardoned both men only after they publicly performed penance on Christmas Day that same year.

Consolidation of power

The decade between 941 and 951 was marked by Otto's exercise of undisputed domestic power. Through the subordination of the dukes under his authority, Otto asserted his power to make decisions without their prior agreement. He deliberately ignored the claims and ranks of the nobility, who wanted dynastic succession in the assignment of office, by freely appointing individuals of his choice to the kingdom's offices. Loyalty to Otto, not lineage, was the pathway towards advancement under his rule. His mother Matilda disapproved of this policy and was accused by Otto's royal advisers of undermining his authority. After Otto briefly exiled her to her Westphalian manors at Enger in 947, Matilda was brought back to court at the urging of his wife Eadgyth.

The nobility found it difficult to adapt to Otto, as the kingdom had never before followed individual succession to the throne. Whereas tradition dictated that all the sons of the former king were to receive a portion of the kingdom, Henry's succession plan placed Otto at the head of a united kingdom at the expense of his brothers. Otto's authoritarian style was in stark contrast to that of his father. Henry had purposely waived Church anointment at coronation as a symbol of his election by his people and governing his kingdom on the basis of "friendship pacts" (Latin: amicitia). Henry regarded the kingdom as a confederation of duchies and saw himself as a first among equals. Instead of seeking to administer the kingdom through royal representatives, as Charlemagne had done, Henry allowed the dukes to maintain complete internal control of their holdings as long as his superior status was recognized. Otto, on the other hand, had accepted Church anointment and regarded his kingdom as a feudal monarchy with himself holding the "divine right" to rule it. He reigned without concern for the internal hierarchy of the various kingdoms' noble families.

This new policy ensured Otto's position as undisputed master of the kingdom. Members of his family and other aristocrats who rebelled against Otto were forced to confess their guilt publicly and unconditionally surrender to him, hoping for a pardon from their king. For nobles and other high-ranking officials, Otto's punishments were typically mild and the punished were usually restored to a position of authority afterwards. His brother Henry rebelled twice and was pardoned twice after his surrenders. He was even appointed Duke of Lorraine and later Duke of Bavaria. Rebellious commoners were treated far more harshly; Otto usually had them executed.[29]

Otto continued to reward loyal vassals for their service throughout his tenure as king. Although appointments were still gained and held at his discretion, they were increasingly intertwined with dynastic politics. Where Henry relied upon "friendship pacts", whereas Otto relied upon family ties. Otto refused to accept uncrowned rulers as his equal. Under Otto, the integration of important vassals took place through marriage connections. King Louis IV of France had married Otto's sister Gerberga in 939, and Otto's son Liudolf had married Ida, the daughter of Hermann I, Duke of Swabia, in 947. The former dynastically tied the royal house of West Francia to that of East Francia, and the latter secured his son's succession to the Duchy of Swabia, as Hermann had no sons. Otto's plans came to fruition when, in 950, Liudolf became Duke of Swabia, and in 954 Otto's nephew Lothair of France became King of France.

In 944, Otto appointed Conrad the Red as Duke of Lorraine and brought him into his extended family through his marriage to Otto's daughter Liutgarde in 947. A Salian Frank by birth, Conrad was a nephew of former king Conrad I of Germany. Following the death of Otto's uncle Berthold, Duke of Bavaria, in 947, Otto satisfied his brother Henry's ambition through his marriage to Judith, Duchess of Bavaria, daughter of Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, and appointed him as the new Duke of Bavaria in 948. This arrangement finally achieved peace between the brothers, as Henry thereafter abandoned his claims to the throne. Through his familial ties to the dukes, Otto had strengthened the sovereignty of the crown and the overall cohesiveness of the kingdom.[30]

On 29 January 946, Eadgyth died suddenly at the age of 35, and Otto buried his wife in the Cathedral of Magdeburg.[31] The union had lasted sixteen years and produced two children; with Eadgyth's death, Otto began to make arrangements for his succession. Like his father before him, Otto intended to transfer sole rule of the kingdom to his son Liudolf upon his death. Otto called together all leading figures of the kingdom and had them swear an oath of allegiance to Liudolf, thereby promising to recognize his sole claim to the throne as Otto's heir apparent.[32]

Foreign relations


The West Frankish kings had lost considerable royal power after internal struggles with their aristocracy, but still asserted their authority over the Duchy of Lorraine, a territory also claimed by East Francia. The German king was supported by Louis IV's chief domestic rival, Hugh the Great. Louis IV's second attempt to reign over Lorraine in 940 was based on his asserted claim to be the rightful Duke of Lorraine due to his marriage to Gerberga of Saxony, Otto's sister and the widow of Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine. Otto did not recognize Louis IV's claim and appointed his brother Henry as duke instead. In the following years, both sides tried to increase their influence in Lorraine, but the duchy remained a part of Otto's kingdom.

Despite their rivalry, Louis IV and Hugh were both tied to Otto's family through marriage bonds. Otto intervened for peace in 942 and announced a formal reconciliation between the two. As a part of the deal, Hugh was to perform an act of submission to Louis IV, and in return Louis IV was to waive any claims to Lorraine. After a short period of peace, the West Frankish kingdom fell into another crisis in 946. Normans captured Louis IV and handed him over to Hugh, who released the King only on condition of the surrender of the fortress of Laon. At the urging of his sister Gerberga, Otto invaded France on behalf of Louis IV, but his armies were not strong enough to take the key cities of Laon, Reims, and Paris. After three months, Otto finally lifted the siege without defeating Hugh, but managed to depose Hugh of Vermandois from his position as Archbishop of Reims, restoring Artald of Reims to his former office.[33]

To settle the issue of control over the Archdiocese of Reims, Otto called for a synod at Ingelheim on 7 June 948.[34] The assembly was attended by more than 30 bishops, including all the archbishops of Germany[35] - a demonstration of Otto's strong position in East and West Francia alike. The synod confirmed Otto's appointment of Artald as Archbishop of Reims, and Hugh was admonished to respect his king's royal authority. But it was not until 950 that the powerful vassal accepted Louis IV as king; the opponents were not fully reconciled until March 953.[36]


Otto continued the peaceful relationship between Germany and the Kingdom of Burgundy initiated by his father. King Rudolf II of Burgundy had previously married Bertha of Swabia, the daughter of one of Henry's chief advisers, in 922. Burgundy was originally a part of Middle Francia, the central portion of Charlemagne's empire prior to its division under the Treaty of Verdun in 843. On 11 July 937, Rudolf II died and Hugh of Provence, the King of Italy and Rudolf II's chief domestic opponent, claimed the Burgundian throne. Otto intervened in the succession and with his support, Rudolf II's son, Conrad of Burgundy, was able to secure the throne. Burgundy had become an integral, but formally independent, part of Otto's sphere of influence and remained at peace with Germany during his reign.[37]


Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia, assumed the Bohemian throne in 935. The next year, following the death of Otto's father, King Henry the Fowler, Boleslaus stopped paying tribute to the German Kingdom (East Francia) in violation of the peace treaty Henry had established with Boleslaus' brother and predecessor, Wenceslaus I. Boleslaus attacked an ally of the Saxons in northwest Bohemia in 936 and defeated two of Otto's armies from Thuringia and Merseburg. After this initial large-scale invasion of Bohemia, hostilities were pursued, mainly in the form of border raids. The war was not concluded until 950, when Otto besieged a castle owned by Boleslaus' son. Boleslaus decided to sign a peace treaty, promising to resume payment of tribute.[38] Boleslaus became Otto's ally, and his Bohemian force helped the German army against the common Magyar threat at the Lech river in 955.[39] Later he went on to crush an uprising of two Slavic dukes (Stoigniew and Nako) in Mecklenburg, probably to ensure the spread of Bohemian estates to the east.[40][41]

Byzantine Empire

During his early reign, Otto fostered close relations with Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who ruled over the Byzantine Empire from 913 until his death in 959; East Francia and Byzantium sent several ambassadors to one another. Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, a medieval chronicler, records: "After this [Gilbert's defeat in 939], legates from the Greeks [Byzantines] twice brought gifts from their emperor to our king, both rulers being in a state of concord."[42] It was during this time that Otto first tried to link himself to the Eastern Empire through marriage negotiations.[43]

Slavic Wars

As Otto was finalizing actions to suppress his brother's rebellion in 939, the Slavs on the Elbe River revolted against German rule. Having been subdued by Otto's father in 928, the Slavs saw Henry's rebellion as an opportunity to regain their independence.[44] Otto's lieutenant in east Saxony, Count Gero of Merseburg, was charged with the subjugation of the pagan Polabian Slavs. According to Widukind, Gero invited about thirty Slavic chieftains to a banquet; after the feast his soldiers attacked and massacred the unsuspecting drunken guests.[45] The Slavs demanded revenge and marched against Gero with an enormous army. Otto agreed to a brief truce with his rebellious brother Henry and moved to support Gero. After fierce fighting, their combined forces were able to repel the advancing Slavs; Otto then returned west to subdue his brother's rebellion.[44]

In 941, Gero initiated another plot to subdue the Slavs. He recruited a captive Slav named Tugumir, a Hevelli chieftain, to his cause. Gero promised to support him in claiming the Hevellian throne, if Tugumir would later recognize Otto as his overlord. Tugumir agreed and returned to the Slavs. Due to Gero's massacre, few Slavic chieftains remained, and the Slavs quickly proclaimed Tugumir as their prince. Upon assuming the throne, Tugumir murdered his chief rival and proclaimed his loyalty to Otto, incorporating his territory into the German kingdom. Otto granted Tugumir the title of "duke" and allowed Tugumir to rule his people, subject to Otto's suzerainty, in the same manner as the German dukes.[46] After the coup by Gero and Tugumir, the Slavic federation broke apart. In control of the key Hevelli stronghold of Brandenburg, Gero was able to attack and defeat the divided Slavic tribes. Otto and his successors extended their control into Eastern Europe through military colonization and the establishment of churches.[47]

Expansion into Italy

Disputed Italian throne

Upon the death of Emperor Charles the Fat in 888, the empire of Charlemagne was divided into several territories: East Francia, West Francia, the kingdoms of Lower and Upper Burgundy, and the Kingdom of Italy, with each of the realms being ruled by its own king. Though the pope in Rome continued to invest the kings of Italy as "emperors" to rule Charlemagne's empire, these "Italian emperors" never exercised any authority north of the Alps. When Berengar I of Italy was assassinated in 924, the last nominal heir to Charlemagne was dead and the imperial title was left unclaimed.[48]

Statues of Otto I, right, and Adelaide in Meissen Cathedral. Otto and Adelaide were married after his annexation of Italy.

King Rudolf II of Upper Burgundy and Hugh, Count of Provence, the effective ruler of Lower Burgundy, competed to gain dominion over Italy. In 926, Hugh defeated Rudolf, established de facto control over the Italian peninsula and was crowned as King of Italy.[49] His son Lothair was elevated to co-ruler in 931.[50] Hugh and Rudolf II eventually concluded a peace treaty in 933; four years later Lothair was betrothed to Rudolf's infant daughter Adelaide.[51]

In 940, Berengar II, Margrave of Ivrea, a grandson of former King Berengar I, led a revolt of Italian nobles against his uncle Hugh. Forewarned by Lothair, Hugh exiled Berengar II from Italy, and the margrave fled to the protection of Otto's court in 941. In 945, Berengar II returned and defeated Hugh with the support of the Italian nobility. Hugh abdicated in favor of his son and retired to Provence; Berengar II made terms with Lothair and established himself as the decisive power behind the throne. Lothair married the sixteen-year-old Adelaide in 947 and became nominal king when Hugh died on 10 April 948, but Berengar II continued to hold power as mayor of the palace or viceroy.[52][53]

Lothair's brief "reign" came to an end with his death on 22 November 950, and Berengar II was crowned king on 15 December, with his son Adalbert of Italy as co-ruler.[54] Failing to receive widespread support, Berengar II attempted to legitimize his reign and tried to force Adelaide, the respective daughter, daughter-in-law and widow of the last three Italian kings, into marriage with Adalbert. Adelaide fiercely refused and was imprisoned by Berengar II at Garda Lake. With the help of Count Adalbert Atto of Canossa, she managed to escape from imprisonment. Besieged by Berengar II in Canossa, Adelaide sent an emissary across the Alps seeking Otto's protection and marriage. A marriage to Adelaide would have strengthened the king's position to claim the Italian throne and ultimately the emperorship. Knowing of her great beauty and immense wealth, Otto accepted Adelaide's marriage proposal and prepared for an expedition into Italy.

First Italian Expedition

In the early summer of 951, before his father marched across the Alps, Otto's son Liudolf, Duke of Swabia, invaded Lombardy in northern Italy.[55][d] The exact reasons for Liudolf's action are unclear, and historians have proposed several possible motives. Liudolf may have tried to help Adelaide, a distant relative of Liudolf's wife Ida, or he intended to strengthen his position within the royal family. The young heir was also competing with his uncle, Duke Henry of Bavaria, both in German affairs and Northern Italy.[56] While Liudolf was preparing his expedition, Henry influenced the Italian aristocrats not to join Liudolf's campaign.[55] When Liudolf arrived in Lombardy, he found no support and was unable to sustain his troops. His army was near destruction until Otto's troops crossed the Alps. The king reluctantly received Liudolf's forces into his command, angry at his son for his independent actions.

The Iron Crown of the Lombards was passed to Otto in 951 during his first Italian campaign.

Otto and Liudolf arrived in northern Italy in September 951 without opposition from Berengar II. As they descended into the Po River valley, the Italian nobles and clergy withdrew their support for Berengar and provided aid to Otto and his advancing army. Recognizing his weakened position, Berengar II fled from his capital in Pavia. When Otto arrived at Pavia on 23 September 951, the city willingly opened its gate to the German king. In accordance with Lombard tradition, Otto was crowned with the Iron Crown of the Lombards on 10 October. Like Charlemagne before him, Otto was now concurrent King of Germany and King of Italy. Otto sent a message to his brother Henry in Bavaria to escort his bride from Canossa to Pavia, where the two married.[57]

Soon after his father's marriage in Pavia, Liudolf left Italy and returned to Swabia. Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, the Primate of Germany and Otto's long-time domestic rival, also returned to Germany alongside Liudolf. Disturbances in northern Germany forced Otto to return with the majority of his army back across the Alps in 952. Otto did leave a small portion of his army behind in Italy and appointed his son-in-law Conrad, Duke of Lorraine, as his regent and tasked him with subduing Berengar II.[58]


In a weak military position with few troops, Otto's regent in Italy attempted a diplomatic solution and opened peace negotiations with Berengar II. Conrad recognized that a military confrontation would impose great costs upon Germany, both in manpower and in treasure. At a time when the kingdom was facing invasions from the north by the Danes and from the east by the Slavs and Hungarians, all available resources were required north of the Alps. Conrad believed that a client state relationship with Italy would be in Germany's best interest. He offered a peace treaty in which Berengar II would remain King of Italy on the condition that he recognized Otto as his overlord. Berengar II agreed and the pair traveled north to meet with Otto to seal the agreement.[59]

Manuscript depiction (c. 1200) of Otto accepting the surrender of Berengar II of Italy. The headline reads Otto I Theutonicorum rex ("Otto the First, King of the Germans")

Conrad's treaty was met with disdain by Adelaide and Henry. Though Adelaide was Burgundian by birth, she was raised as an Italian. Her father Rudolf II of Burgundy was briefly king of Italy prior to being deposed and she herself had briefly been queen of Italy until her husband Lothair II of Italy's death. Berengar II imprisoned her when she refused to marry his son, Adalbert of Italy. Henry had other reasons to disapprove of the peace treaty. As Duke of Bavaria, he controlled territory on the northern side of the German-Italian border. Henry had hope that, with Berengar II being deposed, his own fiefdom would be greatly expanded by incorporating territory south of the Alps. Conrad and Henry were already not on good terms, and the proposed treaty drove the two dukes further apart. Adelaide and Henry conspired together to persuade Otto to reject Conrad's treaty.[60]

Conrad and Berengar II arrived at Magdeburg to meet Otto, but had to wait three days before an audience was granted. This was a humiliating offense for the man Otto had named his regent.[61] Though Adelaide and Henry urged the treaty's immediate rejection, Otto referred the issue to an Imperial Diet for further debate. Appearing before the Diet in August 952 in Augsburg, Berengar II and his son Adalbert were forced to swear fealty to Otto as his vassals. In return, Otto granted Berengar II Italy as his fiefdom and restored the title "King of Italy" to him. The Italian king had to pay an enormous annual tribute and was required to cede the Duchy of Friuli south of the Alps. Otto reorganized this area into the March of Verona and put it under Henry's control as reward for his loyalty. The Duchy of Bavaria therefore grew to become the most powerful domain in Germany.[62]

Otto and the Catholic Church

A medieval king investing a bishop with the symbols of office. Otto centralized his control over Germany through the investiture of bishops and abbots, making the clergy-class his personal vassal.

Beginning in the late 940s, Otto changed his internal policy and began to use the Catholic Church as a tool of his dominance. He increasingly associated himself with the Church and his "divine right" to rule the kingdom, viewing himself as the protector of the Church. As a key element of this change in domestic structures, Otto sought to strengthen ecclesiastical authorities, chiefly bishops and abbots, at the expense of the secular nobility who threatened his power. Otto controlled the various bishops and abbots by investing them with the symbols of their offices, both spiritual and secular, so the clerics were appointed as his vassals through a commendation ceremony. Historian Norman Cantor concludes: "Under these conditions clerical election became a mere formality in the Ottonian empire, and the king filled up the ranks of the episcopate with his own relatives and with his loyal chancery clerks, who were also appointed to head the great German monasteries."[63]

The most prominent member of this blended royal-ecclesiastical service was his own brother Bruno the Great, Otto's Chancellor since 940, who was appointed Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lorraine in 953. Other important religious officials within Otto's government included Archbishop William of Mainz (Otto's illegitimate son), Archbishop Adaldag of Bremen, and Hadamar, the Abbot of Fulda. Otto endowed the bishoprics and abbeys of his kingdom with numerous gifts, including land and royal prerogatives, such as the power to levy taxes and to maintain an army. Over these Church lands, secular authorities had neither the power of taxation nor legal jurisdiction. This raised the Church above the various dukes and committed its clerics to serve as the king's personal vassals. In order to support the Church, Otto made tithing mandatory for all inhabitants of Germany.

Otto granted the various bishops and abbots of the kingdom the rank of count as well as the legal rights of counts within their territory. Because Otto personally appointed all bishops and abbots, these reforms strengthened his central authority, and the upper ranks of the German Church functioned in some respect as an arm of the royal bureaucracy. Otto routinely appointed his personal court chaplains to bishoprics throughout the kingdom. While attached to the royal court, the chaplains would perform the work of the government through services to the royal chancery. After years within the royal court, Otto would reward their service with promotion to a diocese.

Liudolf's Civil War

Rebellion against Otto

With the humiliating failure of his Italian campaign and Otto's marriage to Adelaide, Liudolf became estranged from his father and planned a rebellion. On Christmas Day 951, he held a grand feast at Saalfeld that was attended by many important figures from across the kingdom, most notably Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, the Primate of Germany.[61] Liudolf was able to recruit his brother-in-law Conrad, Duke of Lorraine, to his rebellion. As Otto's regent in Italy, Conrad had negotiated a peace agreement and an alliance with Berengar II and believed that Otto would confirm this treaty. Instead of an ally, Berengar II was made Otto's subject and his kingdom was subsequently reduced. Conrad felt betrayed and insulted over Otto's decision, especially with the additional empowerment of Henry. Conrad and Liudolf viewed Otto as being controlled by his foreign-born wife and power-hungry brother and resolved to free the kingdom from their domination.[64]

In winter 952, Adelaide gave birth to a son, whom she named Henry after her brother-in-law and the child's grandfather, Henry the Fowler. Rumors spread that Otto had been persuaded by his wife and brother to propose this child as his heir instead of Liudolf.[65] For many German nobles, this rumor represented Otto's final transformation from a policy focused on Germany to an Italian-centered one. The idea that Otto would ask them to revoke the succession rights of Liudolf prompted many nobles into open rebellion. Liudolf and Conrad first led the nobles against Henry, the Duke of Bavaria, in spring 953. Henry was unpopular with the Bavarians due to his Saxon heritage, and his vassals quickly rebelled against him.[66]

Word of the rebellion reached Otto at Ingelheim. In order to secure his position, he traveled to his stronghold at Mainz. The city was also the seat of Archbishop Frederick of Mainz, who acted as mediator between Otto and the appearing rebels. Recorded details of the meeting or the negotiated treaty do not exist, but Otto soon left Mainz with a peace treaty favorable to the conspirators, most likely confirming Liudolf as heir apparent and approving Conrad's original agreement with Berengar II. These terms rendered the treaty incompatible with the wishes of Adelaide and Henry.

When Otto returned to Saxony, Adelaide and Henry persuaded the king to void the treaty. Convening the Imperial Diet at Fritzlar, Otto declared Liudolf and Conrad as outlaws in absentia.[67] The king reasserted his desires for dominion over Italy and to claim the imperial title. He sent emissaries to the Duchy of Lorraine and stirred the local nobles against Conrad's rule. The duke was a Salian Frank by birth and unpopular with the people of Lorraine, so they pledged their support to Otto.

Otto's actions at the Diet provoked the people of Swabia and Franconia into rebellion. After initial defeats by Otto, Liudolf and Conrad fell back to their headquarters in Mainz. In July 953, Otto and his army laid siege to the city, supported by Henry's army from Bavaria. After two months of siege, the city had not fallen and rebellions against Otto's rule grew stronger in southern Germany. Faced with these challenges, Otto opened peace negotiations with Liudolf and Conrad. Bruno the Great, Otto's youngest brother and royal chancellor since 940, accompanied his older brothers and oversaw the arrangements for the negotiations. As the newly appointed Archbishop of Cologne, Bruno was eager to end the civil war in Lorraine, which was in his ecclesiastical territory. The rebels demanded ratification of the treaty they had previously agreed to with Otto, but Henry's provocation during the meeting caused the negotiations to break down.[68] Conrad and Liudolf left the meeting to continue the civil war. Angered by their actions, Otto stripped both men of their duchies of Swabia and Lorraine, and appointed his brother Bruno as the new Duke of Lorraine.

While on campaign with Otto, Henry appointed the Bavarian Count Palatine, , to govern his duchy in his absence. Arnulf II was a son of Arnulf the Bad, whom Henry had previously displaced as duke, and he sought revenge: he deserted Henry and joined the rebellion against Otto. Lifting the siege of Mainz, Otto and Henry marched south to regain control over Bavaria. Without the support of the local nobles, their plan failed and they were forced to retreat to Saxony.[69] The duchies of Bavaria, Swabia, and Franconia were in open civil war against the King, and even in his native Duchy of Saxony revolts began to spread. By the end of 953, the civil war was threatening to depose Otto and permanently end his claims to be Charlemagne's successor.

End of the rebellion

In early 954, Margrave Hermann Billung, Otto's long-time loyal vassal in Saxony, was facing increased Slavic movements in the east. Taking advantage of the German civil war, the Slavs raided deeper and deeper into the adjacent border areas. Meanwhile, the Hungarians began extensive raids into Southern Germany. Though Liudolf and Conrad prepared defenses against the invasions in their territories, the Hungarians devastated Bavaria and Franconia. On Palm Sunday, 954, Liudolf held a great feast at Worms and invited the Hungarian chieftains to join him. There, he presented the invaders with gifts of gold and silver.[70]

Otto's brother Henry soon spread rumors that Conrad and Liudolf had invited the Hungarians into Germany in hopes of using them against Otto. Public opinion quickly turned against the rebels in these duchies. With this change in opinion and the death of his wife Liutgarde, Otto's only daughter, Conrad began peace negotiations with Otto, which were eventually joined by Liudolf and Archbishop Frederick.[71] A truce was declared, and Otto called a meeting of the Imperial Diet on 15 June 954 at Langenzenn. Before the assembly convened, Conrad and Frederick were reconciled with Otto. At the Diet, tensions flared up again when Henry accused his nephew Liudolf of conspiring with the Hungarians. Though Conrad and Frederick implored the enraged Liudolf to seek peace, Liudolf left the meeting determined to continue the civil war.[72]

Liudolf, with his lieutenant Arnulf II (the effective ruler of Bavaria), took his army south towards Regensburg in Bavaria, quickly followed by Otto. The armies met at Nuremberg and engaged in a deadly, though not decisive, battle. Liudolf retreated to Regensburg, where he was besieged by Otto. Though Otto's army was unable to break through the city walls, starvation set in within the city after two months of siege. Liudolf sent a message to Otto seeking to open peace negotiations; the king demanded unconditional surrender, which Liudolf refused.[73] After Arnulf II had been killed in continuous fighting, Liudolf fled from Bavaria for his domain of Swabia, quickly followed by Otto's army. The adversaries met at Illertissen near the Swabian-Bavarian border and opened negotiations. Liudolf and Otto called a truce until an Imperial Diet would be assembled to ratify the peace. The king forgave his son all transgressions and Liudolf agreed to accept any punishment his father felt appropriate.[74]

Soon after this peace agreement, the aging and sick Archbishop Frederick died in October 954. With the surrender of Liudolf, the rebellion had been put down throughout Germany except in Bavaria. Otto convened the Imperial Diet in December 954 at Arnstadt. Before the assembled nobles of the kingdom, Liudolf and Conrad declared their fealty to Otto and yielded control over all the territories that their armies still occupied. Though Otto did not restore their former ducal title to them, he did allow them to retain their private estates. The Diet ratified Otto's actions:

  • Liudolf was promised regency over Italy and command of an army to depose Berengar II
  • Conrad was promised military command against the Hungarians
  • Burchard III, son of former Swabian Duke Burchard II, was appointed Duke of Swabia (Liudolf's former duchy)
  • Bruno remained as new Duke of Lorraine (Conrad's former duchy)
  • Henry was confirmed as Duke of Bavaria
  • Otto's oldest son William was appointed Archbishop of Mainz and Primate of Germany
  • Otto retained direct rule over the Duchy of Saxony and over the territories of the former Duchy of Franconia

The king's measures in December 954 finally brought an end to the two-year-long civil war. Liudolf's rebellion, though temporarily weakening Otto's position, ultimately strengthened it as absolute ruler of Germany.

Hungarian invasions

Europe shortly after Otto's reign. The Hungarians (orange), located to the east of Otto's realm (blue), invaded Germany in 954 and 955.

The Hungarians (Magyars) invaded Otto's domain as part of the larger Hungarian invasions of Europe and ravaged much of Southern Germany during Liudolf's civil war. Though Otto had installed the Margraves Hermann Billung and Gero on his kingdom's northern and northeastern borders, the Principality of Hungary to the southeast was a permanent threat to German security. The Hungarians took advantage of the kingdom's civil war and invaded the Duchy of Bavaria in spring 954. Though Liudolf, Duke of Swabia, and Conrad, Duke of Lorraine, had successfully prevented the Hungarians from invading their own territories in the west, the invaders managed to reach the Rhine River, sacking much of Bavaria and Franconia in the process.

The Hungarians, encouraged by their successful raids, began another invasion into Germany in the spring of 955. Otto's army, now unhindered by civil war, was able to defeat the invasion, and soon the Hungarians sent an ambassador to seek peace with Otto. The ambassador proved to be a decoy: Otto's brother Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, sent word to Otto that the Hungarians had crossed into his territory from the southeast. The main Hungarian army had camped along the Lech River and besieged Augsburg. While the city was defended by Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg, Otto assembled his army and marched south to face the Hungarians.[75]

Otto and his army fought the Hungarian force on 10 August 955 at the Battle of Lechfeld. Under Otto's command were Burchard III, Duke of Swabia and Bohemian troops of Duke Boleslaus I. Though outnumbered nearly two to one, Otto was determined to push the Hungarian forces out of his territory. According to Widukind of Corvey, Otto "pitched his camp in the territory of the city of Augsburg and joined there the forces of Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, who was himself lying mortally ill nearby, and by Duke Conrad with a large following of Franconian knights. Conrad's unexpected arrival encouraged the warriors so much that they wished to attack the enemy immediately."[76]

A 1457 illustration of the Battle of Lechfeld in Sigmund Meisterlin's codex about the history of Nuremberg

The Hungarians crossed the river and immediately attacked the Bohemians, followed by the Swabians under Burchard. Confusing the defenders with a rain of arrows, they plundered the baggage train and made many captives. As Otto received word of the attack, he ordered Conrad to relieve his rear units with a counter-attack. Upon the successful completion of his mission, Conrad returned to the main forces and the King launched an immediate assault. Despite a volley of arrows, Otto's army smashed into the Hungarian lines and was able to fight them in hand-to-hand combat, giving the traditionally nomadic warriors no room to use their preferred shoot-and-run tactics; the Hungarians suffered heavy losses and were forced to retreat in disorder.[77][e]

According to Widukind of Corvey, Otto was proclaimed Father of the Fatherland and Emperor at the following victory celebration.[f] While the battle was not a crushing defeat for the Hungarians, as Otto was not able to chase the fleeing army into Hungarian lands, the battle ended nearly 100 years of Hungarian invasions into Western Europe.[79]

While Otto was fighting the Hungarians with his main army deployed in Southern Germany, the Obotrite Slavs in the north were in a state of insurrection. Count Wichmann the Younger, still Otto's opponent over the King's refusal to grant Wichmann the title of Margrave in 936, marauded through the lands of the Obotrites in the Billung March, causing the followers of Slavic Prince Nako to revolt. The Obotrites invaded Saxony in the fall of 955, killing the men of arms-bearing age and carrying off the women and children into slavery. In the aftermath of the Battle of Lechfeld, Otto rushed to the north and pressed far into their territory. A Slav embassy offered to pay annual tribute in return for being allowed self-government under German overlordship instead of direct German rule.[80] Otto refused, and the two sides met on 16 October at the Battle of Recknitz. Otto's forces gained a decisive victory; after the battle, hundreds of captured Slavs were executed.[81]

Celebrations for Otto's victory over the pagan Hungarians and Slavs were held in churches across the kingdom, with bishops attributing the victory to divine intervention and as proof of Otto's "divine right" to rule. The battles of Lechfeld and Recknitz mark a turning point in Otto's reign. The victories over Hungarians and Slavs sealed his hold on power over Germany, with the duchies firmly under royal authority. From 955 on, Otto would not experience another rebellion against his rule and as a result was able to further consolidate his position throughout Central Europe.

Otto's son-in-law, Conrad, the former Duke of Lorraine, was killed in the Battle of Lechfeld and the king's brother Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, was mortally wounded, dying a few months later on 1 November of that year. With Henry's death, Otto appointed his four-year-old nephew Henry II, to succeed his father as duke, with his mother Judith of Bavaria as his regent. Otto appointed Liudolf in 956 as the commander of an expedition against King Berengar II of Italy, but he soon died of fever on 6 September 957. Archbishop William buried his half-brother at St. Alban's Abbey near Mainz.[82] The deaths of Henry, Liudolf, and Conrad took from Otto the three most prominent members of his royal family, including his heir apparent. Additionally, his first two sons from his marriage to Adelaide of Italy, Henry and Bruno, had both died in early childhood by 957.[65][83] Otto's third son by Adelaide, the two-year-old Otto, became the kingdom's new heir apparent.[84]

Reign as emperor

Second Italian Expedition and imperial coronation

The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire. Otto was crowned as Emperor on February 2, 962 by Pope John XII.

Liudolf's death in the fall of 957 deprived Otto of both an heir and a commander of his expedition against King Berengar II of Italy.[82] Beginning with the unfavorable peace treaty signed in 952 in which he became Otto's vassal, Berengar II had always been a rebellious subordinate. With the death of Liudolf and Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, and with Otto campaigning in northern Germany, Berengar II attacked the March of Verona in 958, which Otto had stripped from his control under the 952 treaty, and besieged Count Adalbert Atto of Canossa there. Berengar II's forces also attacked the Papal States and the city of Rome under Pope John XII. In autumn 960, with Italy in political turmoil, the Pope sent word to Otto seeking his aid against Berengar II. Several other influential Italian leaders arrived at Otto's court with similar appeals, including the Archbishop of Milan, the bishops of Como and Novara, and Margrave Otbert of Milan.[85]

After the Pope agreed to crown him as Emperor, Otto assembled his army to march upon Italy. In preparation for his second Italian campaign and the imperial coronation, Otto planned his kingdom's future. At the Imperial Diet at Worms in May 961, Otto named his six-year-old son Otto II as heir apparent and co-ruler, and had him crowned at Aachen Cathedral on 26 May 961.[86] Otto II was anointed by the Archbishops Bruno I of Cologne, William of Mainz, and Henry I of Trier. The King instituted a separate chancery to issue diplomas in his heir's name,[87] and appointed his brother Bruno and illegitimate son William as Otto II's co-regents in Germany.[88]

Otto's army descended into northern Italy in August 961 through the Brenner Pass at Trento. The German king moved towards Pavia, the former Lombard capital of Italy, where he celebrated Christmas and assumed the title King of Italy for himself. Berengar II's armies retreated to their strongholds in order to avoid battle with Otto, allowing him to advance southward unopposed. Otto reached Rome on 31 January 962; three days later, he was crowned Emperor by Pope John XII at Old St. Peter's Basilica. The Pope also anointed Otto's wife Adelaide of Italy, who had accompanied Otto on his Italian campaign, as empress. With Otto's coronation as emperor, the Kingdom of Germany and the Kingdom of Italy were unified into a common realm, later called the Holy Roman Empire.[89]

Papal politics

On 12 February 962, Emperor Otto I and Pope John XII called a synod in Rome to finalize their relationship. At the synod, Pope John XII approved Otto's long-desired Archdiocese of Magdeburg.[90] The Emperor had planned the establishment of the archdiocese to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Lechfeld over the Hungarians and to further convert the local Slavs to Christianity. The Pope named the former royal monastery of St. Maurice as provisional center of the new archdiocese, and called upon the German archbishops for support.[91]

Replica of the Magdeburger Reiter, an equestrian monument traditionally regarded as a portrait of Otto I (Magdeburg, original c. 1240)

The following day, Otto and John XII ratified the Diploma Ottonianum, confirming John XII as the spiritual head of the Church and Otto as its secular protector. In the Diploma, Otto acknowledged the earlier Donation of Pepin of 754 between Pepin the Short, King of the Franks and Pope Stephen II. Otto recognized John XII's secular control over the Papal States, and expanded the Pope's domain by the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Duchy of Spoleto, the Duchy of Benevento and several smaller possessions. Despite this confirmed claim, Otto never ceded real control over those additional territories. The Diploma granted the clergy and people of Rome the exclusive right to elect the pontiff. The pope-elect was required to issue an oath of allegiance to the emperor before his confirmation as pope.[92]

With the Diploma signed, the new Emperor marched against Berengar II to reconquer Italy. Being besieged at San Leo, Berengar II surrendered in 963. Upon the successful completion of Otto's campaign, John XII began to fear the Emperor's rising power in Italy and opened negotiations with Berengar II's son, Adalbert of Italy to depose Otto. The Pope also sent envoys to the Hungarians and the Byzantine Empire to join him and Adalbert in an alliance against the Emperor. Otto discovered the Pope's plot and, after defeating and imprisoning Berengar II, marched on Rome. John XII fled from Rome, and Otto, upon his arrival in Rome, summoned a council and deposed John XII as Pope, appointing Leo VIII as his successor.[93]

Otto released most of his army to return to Germany by the end of 963, confident his rule in Italy and within Rome was secure. The Roman populace, however, considered Leo VIII, a layman with no former ecclesiastical training, unacceptable as Pope. In February 964, the Roman people forced Leo VIII to flee the city. In his absence, Leo VIII was deposed and John XII was restored to the chair of St. Peter. When John XII died suddenly in May 964, the Romans elected Pope Benedict V as his successor. Upon hearing of the Romans’ actions, Otto mobilized new troops and marched on Rome. After laying siege to the city in June 964, Otto compelled the Romans to accept his appointee Leo VIII as Pope and exiled Benedict V.[94]

Third Italian Expedition

caption = Contemporary image of Otto I, lower left, in one of the Magdeburg Ivories (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Otto presents Magdeburg Cathedral to Christ and Saints, and is depicted smaller than them as a sign of humility.

Otto returned to Germany in January 965, believing his affairs in Italy had been settled.[95] On 20 May 965, the Emperor's long-serving lieutenant on the eastern front, Margrave Gero, died and left a vast march stretching from the Billung March in the north to the Duchy of Bohemia in the south. Otto divided this territory into five separate smaller marches, each ruled by a margrave: the Northern March under Dietrich of Haldensleben, the Eastern March under Odo I, the March of Meissen under , the March of Merseburg under Günther, and the March of Zeitz under Wigger I.[96]

Peace in Italy, however, would not last long. Adalbert, the son of the deposed King Berengar II of Italy, rebelled against Otto's rule over the Kingdom of Italy. Otto dispatched Burchard III of Swabia, one of his closest advisors, to crush the rebellion. Burchard III met Adalbert at the on 25 June 966, defeating the rebels and restoring Italy to Ottonian control. Pope Leo VIII died on 1 March 965, leaving the chair of St. Peter vacant. The Church elected, with Otto's approval, John XIII as new Pope in October 965. John XIII's arrogant behavior and foreign backing soon made him disliked among the local population. In December of the same year, he was taken into custody by the Roman people but was able to escape a few weeks later. Following the Pope's request for help, the Emperor prepared his army for a third expedition into Italy.[97]

In August 966 at Worms, Otto announced his arrangements for the government of Germany in his absence. Otto's illegitimate son Archbishop William of Mainz would serve as his regent over all of Germany, while Otto's trusted lieutenant, Margrave Hermann Billung, would be his personal administrator over the Duchy of Saxony. With preparations completed, Otto left his heir in William's custody and led his army into northern Italy via Strasbourg and Chur.[98]

Reign from Rome

Italy around 1000, shortly after Otto's reign. Otto's expansion campaigns brought northern and central Italy into the Holy Roman Empire.

Upon Otto's arrival in Italy, John XIII was restored to his papal throne in mid-November 966 without opposition by the people. Otto captured the twelve leaders of the rebel militia, which had deposed and imprisoned the Pope, and had them hanged.[99] Taking up permanent residence at Rome, the Emperor travelled, accompanied by the Pope, to Ravenna to celebrate Easter in 967. A following synod confirmed Magdeburg's disputed status as a new archdiocese with equal rights to the established German archdioceses.[100]

With his matters arranged in northern Italy, the Emperor continued to expand his realm to the south. Since February 967, the Prince of Benevento, Lombard Pandolf Ironhead, had accepted Otto as his overlord and received Spoleto and Camerino as fiefdom. This decision caused conflict with the Byzantine Empire, which claimed sovereignty over the principalities of southern Italy. The eastern Empire also objected to Otto's use of the title Emperor, believing only the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas was the true successor of the ancient Roman Empire.[101]

The Byzantines opened peace talks with Otto, despite his expansive policy in their sphere of influence. Otto desired both an imperial princess as a bride for his son and successor Otto II as well as the legitimacy and prestige of a connection between the Ottonian dynasty in the West and the Macedonian dynasty in the East. In order to further his dynastic plans, and in preparation for his son's marriage, Otto returned to Rome in the winter of 967 where he had Otto II crowned co-Emperor by Pope John XIII on Christmas Day 967.[102] Although Otto II was now nominal co-ruler, he exercised no real authority until the death of his father.[103]

In the following years, both empires sought to strengthen their influence in southern Italy with several campaigns. In 969, John I Tzimiskes assassinated and succeeded Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros in a military revolt.[104] Finally recognizing Otto's imperial title, the new eastern emperor sent his niece Theophanu to Rome in 972, and she married Otto II on 14 April 972.[105] As part of this rapprochement, the conflict over southern Italy was finally resolved: the Byzantine Empire accepted Otto's dominion over the principalities of Capua, Benevento and Salerno; in return the German Emperor retreated from the Byzantine possessions in Apulia and Calabria.[105]

Final years and death

Grave of Otto I in Magdeburg

With his son's wedding completed and peace with the Byzantine Empire concluded, Otto led the imperial family back to Germany in August 972.[90] In the spring of 973, the Emperor visited Saxony and celebrated Palm Sunday in Magdeburg. At the same ceremony the previous year, Margrave Hermann Billung, Otto's trusted lieutenant and personal administrator over Saxony during his years in Italy, had been received like a king by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg – a gesture of protest against the Emperor's prolonged absence from Germany.[106]

Celebrating Easter with a great assembly in Quedlinburg, Emperor Otto was the most powerful man in Europe.[107] According to Thietmar of Merseburg, Otto received "the dukes Miesco [of Poland] and Boleslav [of Bohemia], and legates from the Greeks [Byzantium], the Beneventans [Rome], Magyars, Bulgars, Danes and Slavs".[108] Ambassadors from England and Muslim Spain arrived later the same year.[108] To mark the Rogation Days, Otto travelled to his palace at Memleben, the place where his father had died 37 years earlier. While there, Otto became seriously ill with fever and, after receiving his last sacraments, died on 7 May 973 at the age of 60.[109]

The transition of power to his seventeen-year-old son Otto II was seamless. On 8 May 973, the lords of the Empire confirmed Otto II as their new ruler. Otto II arranged for a magnificent thirty-day funeral, in which his father was buried beside his first wife Eadgyth in Magdeburg Cathedral.[110]

Family and children

German royal dynasties
Ottonian dynasty
Henry I 919 – 936
Otto I 936 – 973
Otto II 973 – 983
Otto III 983 – 1002
Henry II 1002 – 1024
Family tree of the German monarchs
Category:Ottonian dynasty
Preceded by
Conradine dynasty
Followed by
Salian dynasty

Although never Emperor, Otto's father Henry I the Fowler is considered the founder of the Ottonian dynasty. In relation to the other members of his dynasty, Otto I was the son of Henry I, father of Otto II, grandfather of Otto III, and great-uncle to Henry II. The Ottonians would rule Germany (later the Holy Roman Empire) for over a century from 919 until 1024.

Otto had two wives and at least seven children, one of which was illegitimate.[111]

  • With an unidentified Slavic woman:
  1. William (929 – 2 March 968) – Archbishop of Mainz from 17 December 954 until death[112]
  1. Liudolf (930 – 6 September 957) – Duke of Swabia from 950 to 954, Otto's expected successor from 947 until death[114]
  2. Liutgarde (932[115]–953) – married Conrad, Duke of Lorraine, in 947[116]
  1. Henry (952–954)[65]
  2. Bruno (probably 954–957)[83]
  3. Matilda (954–999) – Abbess of Quedlinburg from 966 until death[118]
  4. Otto II (955 – 7 December 983) – Holy Roman Emperor from 973 until death[84]


Ottonian Renaissance

A limited renaissance of the arts and architecture in the second half of the 10th century depended on the court patronage of Otto and his immediate successors. The "Ottonian Renaissance" was manifest in some revived cathedral schools, such as that of Bruno I, Archbishop of Cologne, and in the production of illuminated manuscripts, the major art form of the age, from a handful of elite scriptoria, such as that at Quedlinburg Abbey, founded by Otto in 936. Extant manuscripts of this era are the Diploma Ottonianum, the Marriage Charter of Empress Theophanu, and the Gero Codex, an evangeliary drawn up around 969 for Archbishop Gero.[119] The Imperial abbeys and the Imperial courts became centers of religious and spiritual life; prestigious convents like Gandersheim and Quedlinburg were led by women of the royal family.[120]

Modern World

Otto I was selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin, the €100 Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire commemorative coin, issued in 2008 by the Austrian Mint. The obverse shows the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire. The reverse shows Emperor Otto I with Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in the background, where his coronation took place.[121] Among others, three exhibitions in Magdeburg, opening in 2001, 2006 and 2012, have documented Otto's life and his influence on medieval European history.[122]



  1. ^ Berengar II ruled from 952 until 961 as "King of Italy", but as Otto's vassal.
  2. ^ The precise terms King of the Germans and Holy Roman Empire were not in common use until the 11th and 12th century, respectively.
  3. ^ Widukind of Corvey, Res gestae saxonicae (in Latin) Book 2, chapter 2: "...; duces vero ministrabant. Lothariorum dux Isilberhtus, ad cuius potestatem locus ille pertinebat, omnia procurabat; Evurhardus mensae preerat, Herimannus Franco pincernis, Arnulfus equestri ordini et eligendis locandisque castris preerat; Sigifridus vero, Saxonum optimus et a rege secundus, gener quondam regis, tunc vero affinitate coniunctus, eo tempore procurabat Saxoniam, ne qua hostium interim irruptio accidisset, nutriensque iuniorem Heinricum secum tenuit." Bibliotheca Augustana.
  4. ^ From his stronghold in Swabia, located just north of the Alps, Liudolf was in closer proximity to the Italian border than his father in Saxony.
  5. ^ During the following days scattered parts of the Hungarian army were repeatedly attacked from nearby villages and castles; a second Bohemian force under Duke Boleslaus I was able to intercept and defeat them.[78]
  6. ^ Widukind of Corvey, Res gestae saxonicae (in Latin) Book 3, chapter 49: "De triumpho regis. Triumpho celebri rex factus gloriosus ab exercitu pater patriae imperatorque appellatus est; ..." Bibliotheca Augustana.


  1. ^ Heather 2014, p. 281.
  2. ^ Freund, Stephan (2013). Wallhausen – Geburtsort Ottos des Großen, Aufenthaltsort deutscher Könige und Kaiser (in German). Schnell und Steiner. ISBN 978-3-7954-2680-4.
  3. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 254.
  4. ^ a b Keller 2008, p. 26.
  5. ^ Keller 2008, pp. 24, 26.
  6. ^ a b Reuter 1991, p. 319.
  7. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 136.
  8. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 73–79.
  9. ^ Reuter 1991, pp. 137–139.
  10. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 140.
  11. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 45.
  12. ^ Beumann 2000, p. 42.
  13. ^ Becher 2012, p. 97.
  14. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 40.
  15. ^ Bernhardt 1993, p. 3.
  16. ^ Arnold 1997, p. 136.
  17. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 145–146.
  18. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 148.
  19. ^ a b Schutz 2010, p. 43.
  20. ^ Beumann 2000, p. 54.
  21. ^ Vita Mathildis reginae posterior, chapter 9.
  22. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 158.
  23. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 159–160.
  24. ^ Beumann 2000, p. 58.
  25. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 123–124.
  26. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 152.
  27. ^ Holland, Tom (2009). Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom. Abacus. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-349-11972-4.
  28. ^ Gwatkin et al. 1922, p. 189.
  29. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 48.
  30. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 154.
  31. ^ Keller 2008, pp. 36, 55–56.
  32. ^ Becher 2012, p. 158.
  33. ^ McKitterick, Rosamond (1983). The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians. Addison-Wesley Longman. p. 317. ISBN 978-0-582-49005-5.
  34. ^ Becher 2012, p. 146.
  35. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 178.
  36. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 146–147.
  37. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 166.
  38. ^ Barraclough 1946, p. 37.
  39. ^ Ruckser, David. "Boleslav I (the Cruel) – c. 935-c. 972" (PDF). Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  40. ^ "Boje polabských Slovanů za nezávislost v letech 928 – 955" (in Czech). E-středověk.cz. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  41. ^ "Boleslav I." (in Czech). leccos.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  42. ^ Thietmar, Chronicon Thietmari Merseburgensis, II.34.
  43. ^ Hoffmann, Tobias (2009). Althoff, Gerd; Keller, Hagen; Meier, Christel (eds.). "Diplomatie in der Krise. Liutprand von Cremona am Hofe Nikephoros II. Phokas". Frühmittelalterliche Studien (in German). Walter de Gruyter (published 2010). 43: 121. ISBN 978-3-11-020794-1.
  44. ^ a b Becher 2012, p. 133.
  45. ^ Becher 2012, p. 153.
  46. ^ Zimmermann 2010, pp. 713–714.
  47. ^ Zimmermann 2010, pp. 714–715.
  48. ^ Arnold 1997, p. 83.
  49. ^ Becher 2012, p. 91.
  50. ^ Beumann 2000, p. 51.
  51. ^ Becher 2012, p. 161.
  52. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 162–163.
  53. ^ Beumann 2000, pp. 66–67.
  54. ^ Becher 2012, p. 163.
  55. ^ a b Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 186.
  56. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 164–165.
  57. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 167–168.
  58. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 188–189.
  59. ^ Zimmermann 2010, pp. 732–733.
  60. ^ Zimmermann 2010, pp. 733–734.
  61. ^ a b Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 189.
  62. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 735.
  63. ^ Cantor 1994, p. 213.
  64. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 155.
  65. ^ a b c Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 193.
  66. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 736.
  67. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 738.
  68. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 741.
  69. ^ Zimmermann 2010, pp. 742–743.
  70. ^ Becher 2012, p. 182.
  71. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 747.
  72. ^ Keller 2008, pp. 42–43.
  73. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 198–199.
  74. ^ Zimmermann 2010, p. 750.
  75. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 186–189.
  76. ^ "Otto I Defeats the Hungarians". A Source Book for Medieval History. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1907. Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  77. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 191–194.
  78. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 193–194.
  79. ^ Bóna, István (2000). "A kalandozó magyarság veresége. A Lech-mezei csata valós szerepe" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  80. ^ Reuter 1991, pp. 161–162.
  81. ^ Thompson 1928, p. 489.
  82. ^ a b Keller 2008, p. 45.
  83. ^ a b c Baldwin, Stewart. "Otto the Great". Medieval Genealogy. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  84. ^ a b Seibert, Hubertus (1998). Otto II. NDB Volume 19 (in German). Historische Kommission, BAdW. pp. 660–662.
  85. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 207.
  86. ^ Becher 2012, p. 219.
  87. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 219–220.
  88. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 208–209.
  89. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 220–221.
  90. ^ a b Reuter 1991, p. 321.
  91. ^ Althoff 2013, p. 114.
  92. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 56.
  93. ^ Luttwak, Edward (2009). The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. Harvard University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-674-03519-5.
  94. ^ McBrien 2000, p. 159.
  95. ^ Becher 2012, p. 231.
  96. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 234–235.
  97. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 238–239.
  98. ^ Becher 2012, p. 239.
  99. ^ Becher 2012, pp. 239–240.
  100. ^ Althoff 2013, p. 125.
  101. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, pp. 221–224.
  102. ^ Duckett 1968, p. 90.
  103. ^ Reuter 1991, p. 159.
  104. ^ Collins 2010, p. 413.
  105. ^ a b Becher 2012, p. 250.
  106. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 228.
  107. ^ Reuter 1991, pp. 144–145.
  108. ^ a b Reuter 1991, p. 145.
  109. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 64.
  110. ^ Keller & Althoff 2008, p. 229.
  111. ^ a b Althoff, Gerd (1998). Otto I. der Große. NDB Volume 19 (in German). Historische Kommission, BAdW. pp. 656–660. ISBN 978-3-428-00200-9.
  112. ^ Uhlirz, Karl (1898). Wilhelm. Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German). Historische Kommission, BAdW. pp. 115–117.
  113. ^ Poole 1911, p. 313.
  114. ^ Schnith, Karl (1985). Liudolf. NDB Volume 14 (in German). Historische Kommission, BAdW. pp. 717 f.
  115. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 41.
  116. ^ Reuter 1991, pp. 154, 337.
  117. ^ Holböck 2002, p. 127.
  118. ^ Freise, Eckhard (1990). Mathilde. NDB Volume 16 (in German). Historische Kommission, BAdW. pp. 376–378.
  119. ^ Becher 2012, p. 210.
  120. ^ Bernhardt 1993, pp. 138–161.
  121. ^ "100 Euro gold coin – The Crown of the Holy Roman Empire". Austrian Mint. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  122. ^ Germany.info (17 September 2012). "Major Exhibit on German King and Emperor Otto I in Magdeburg". German Missions in the United States. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  123. ^ a b Cawley, Charles, FRANCONIA, NOBILITY, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy
  124. ^ Cawley, Charles, FRANCONIA, NOBILITY, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]


  • Althoff, Gerd (2013). Die Ottonen: Königsherrschaft ohne Staat (in German) (3rd ed.). W. Kohlhammer. ISBN 978-3-17-022443-8.
  • Arnold, Benjamin (1997). Medieval Germany , 500–1300 A Political Interpretation. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-61091-6.
  • Barraclough, Geoffrey (1946). The Origins of Modern Germany. Basil Blackwell. – via Questia (subscription required)
  • Becher, Matthias (2012). Otto der Große (in German). C.H.Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-63061-3.
  • Bernhardt, John W. (1993). Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c. 936–1075. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-52183-3.
  • Beumann, Helmut (2000). Die Ottonen (in German) (5th ed.). W. Kohlhammer. ISBN 978-3-17-016473-4.
  • Cantor, Norman F. (1994). The Civilization of the Middle Ages. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-092553-6.
  • Collins, Roger (2010). Early Medieval Europe 300–1000 (3rd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-00673-7.
  • Duckett, Eleanor Shipley (1968). Death and Life in the Tenth Century. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-06172-3.
  • Gwatkin, H. M.; Whitney, J. P.; Tanner, J. R.; Previté-Orton, C. W., eds. (1922). The Cambridge Medieval History: Volume III. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-04534-6.
  • Heather, Peter (2014). The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-936852-5.
  • Holböck, Ferdinand (2002). Married Saints and Blesseds: Through the Centuries. Ignatius Press.
  • Keller, Hagen (2008). Die Ottonen (in German) (4th ed.). C.H.Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-44746-4.
  • Keller, Hagen; Althoff, Gerd (2008). Die Zeit der späten Karolinger und der Ottonen: 888–1024. Gebhardt Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte Band 3 (in German). Klett-Cotta. ISBN 978-3-608-60003-2.
  • McBrien, Richard P. (2000). Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-087807-8.
  • Poole, Reginald L. (April 1911). "Burgundian Notes". The English Historical Review. 26 (102): 310–317. doi:10.1093/ehr/xxvi.cii.310.
  • Reuter, Timothy (1991). Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-49034-5.
  • Schutz, Herbert (2010). The Medieval Empire in Central Europe: Dynastic Continuity in the Post-Carolingian Frankish Realm, 900–1300. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 41–70. ISBN 978-1-4438-1966-4.
  • Thompson, James Westfall (1928). Feudal Germany (2 vols.). University of Chicago Press. – via Questia (subscription required)
  • Zimmermann, Wilhelm (2010) [1st. pub. 1877]. A Popular History of Germany: From the Earliest Period to the Present Day, Volume II. Henry J. Johnson. ISBN 978-1-145-40896-8.

Primary sources

  • Arnulf of Milan (1072–1077). "Liber gestorum recentium" (PDF). In Zey, Claudia (ed.). Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH). Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi. Vol. 67 (1994). Translated by W. North. Hahnsche Buchhandlung. ISBN 978-3-7752-5388-8.
  • Thietmar of Merseburg (1012–1018). "Chronicon Thietmari Merseburgensis". In Warner, David A. (ed.). Ottonian Germany. The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg (2001). Translated by David A. Warner. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-4926-2.
  • Vita Mathildis reginae posterior (c. 1003, written for Matilda's great-grandson Henry II), ed. Bernd Schütte. Die Lebensbeschreibungen der Königin Mathilde. MGH SS rer. Germ. in usum scholarum 66. Hannover, 1994. 143–202. Edition by Georg Heinrich Pertz. MGH SS 4: 282–302; tr. in Sean Gilsdorf, Queenship and Sanctity, 88–127. Digital MGH archive.

Further reading

  • Bachrach, David (2009). "Exercise of royal power in early medieval Europe: the case of Otto the Great 936–73". Early Medieval Europe. Wiley-Blackwell. 17 (4): 389–419. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0254.2009.00283.x.
  • Gallagher, John Joseph (1938). Church and state in Germany under Otto the Great (936–973). Catholic University of America. OCLC 3235092.
  • Hill, Boyd H., Jr. (1972). Medieval Monarchy in Action: The German Empire from Henry I to Henry IV. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-389-04652-3.
  • Howorth, H. H. (1880). "The Spread of the Slaves. Part III. The Northern Serbs or Sorabians and the Obodriti". The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 9: 181–232. doi:10.2307/2841974. JSTOR 2841974. (subscription required)
  • Lasko, Peter (1995). Ars Sacra: 800–1200. Yale University Press. chapter 9. ISBN 978-0-300-06048-5.
  • Menzel, Wolfgang (2011) [1st. pub. 1871]. The History of Germany: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time Vol. I. Bell & Daldy. ISBN 978-1-178-77378-1.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  • Reuter, Timothy (2000). The New Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. III: c. 900–c. 1024. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36447-8.

In German

  • Althoff, Gerd; Keller, Hagen (1985). Heinrich I. und Otto der Grosse: Neubeginn auf karolingischem Erbe. Muster-Schmidt. ISBN 978-3-7881-0122-0.
  • Hiller, Helmut (1980). Otto der Große und seine Zeit. List. ISBN 978-3-471-77847-0.
  • Laudage, Johannes (2001). Otto der Große: (912–973). Eine Biographie. Friedrich Pustet. ISBN 978-3-7917-1750-0.
  • Schneidmüller, Bernd (2003). Schneidmüller, Bernd; Weinfurter, Stefan (eds.). Otto I. Die deutschen Herrscher des Mittelalters. Historische Porträts von Heinrich I bis Maximilian I (919–1519). C.H. Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-50958-2.
  • Wies, Ernst W. (1998). Otto der Große. Kämpfer und Beter (3rd ed.). Bechtle. ISBN 978-3-7628-0483-3.
  • Zeller, Bernhard (2006). Liudolfinger als fränkische Könige? Überlegungen zur sogenannten Continuatio Reginonis. Corradini, Richard: Text & identities in the early middle ages, Denkschriften , 344. Band. Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters vol. 12. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse. pp. 137–151. ISBN 978-3-7001-3747-4.

External links

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Born: November 23, 912 Died: May 7, 973
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Holy Roman Emperor
with Otto II (967–973)
Succeeded by
Otto II
Preceded by
Berengar II
King of Italy
Preceded by
Duke of Franconia
Preceded by
Henry I
King of Germany
with Otto II (961–973)
Duke of Saxony
Succeeded by
Bernard I