Holy Roman Empire (feb 2, 962 – aug 6, 1806)
Back in the year 800, the Pope of the Catholic Church appointed Frankish King Charlemagne the new "Emperor" of Rome as an offence to the Byzantines due to terrible relations that had broke down between the Pope and the Byzantine Empire. This position of Emperor was passed down through Charlemagne's descendents, and after the three-way split of the Frankish Empire the crown was disputed by different rulers in Middle Francia and eventually the Kingdom of Italy. By the 960s the King of East Francia, named Otto was convinced he was the rightful ruler of any "Roman Empire" that existed. He associated himself with the Catholic Church in Italy and eventually in 962 Pope John XII crowned Otto as the new Emperor of Rome.
Otto immediately became ruler of a loose confederation of hundreds of Germanic territories and small kingdoms including those of what-is-now Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and the northern half of Italy. This new political state was termed the "Holy Roman Empire".
Over the next eight centuries, various emperors would come and go from the Holy Roman throne, with some of the states and kingdoms within it becoming entierly independent themselves. Eventually, it was in 1805 when it all came to an end.
It was during the Napoleonic wars when Europe as a whole was dealt a significant blow at the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoleon Bonaparte defeated an army made up of Russian and Austrian soldiers led by the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. This was significant as it meant that the French took control of the majority of the German states, rendering the Holy Roman Empire useless. Francis II abdicated his throne and thus the 800-year-old empire came to an end. In its place Napoleon organized the Germans into a rough collection of states known as the Confederation of the Rhine.
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