How many emperors are there left?


Kaiser is the title for a kind of king who still stands above kings. The word comes from the Latin "Caesar". That was initially the name of the sole ruler Julius Caesar in ancient Rome. Later it was a title of his successors, including Augustus.

The Roman Empire was divided several times, for example in 395 into a west and an east. Not even 100 years later there was the last Roman emperor in the west. The Roman Empire persisted in Eastern Europe: today we call it the Byzantine Empire.

The empire of the Franks came into being in the west. His king, Charlemagne, was crowned Roman emperor in 800. Later, around 960, the Saxon Duke Otto became the first Emperor in the Holy Roman Empire. His last successor did not have to take off his imperial crown until 1806. But he immediately became Emperor of Austria. In Russia there was also the tsar. This word also comes from "Caesar".

But there was another emperor in Germany: The King of Prussia, Wilhelm, received the title of Kaiser in 1871. This Empire lasted until 1918. The German Kaiser was allowed to appoint the Chancellor, the head of government. Otherwise he didn't have as much control as he would have liked. The last Tsar was deposed in 1917, the German Kaiser and his colleague in Austria a year later.

Outside of Europe there were or are other rulers whose title has been translated as "emperor". They were the Emperor of China, the Shah of Persia and the Emperor of Ethiopia. Today there is only one emperor left, that of Japan.

Why does Germany no longer have an emperor?

Wilhelm the Second was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia. This statue is in the Netherlands. The ex-emperor lived in the house behind it until his death.

In 1918, many people in Germany were dissatisfied. The First World War had been going on for four years and it looked like Germany was going to lose. Many people were annoyed about Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wilhelm often appeared arrogant and bossy, in a way that one would not really want the emperor to be. It had given Germany a bad reputation, especially abroad.

Politicians in the Reichstag, the parliament, wanted his abdication. That is, the emperor should resign from his office. The politicians wanted to do a lot of things better in Germany, otherwise there might be a revolution like the one in Russia. The Russian Revolution brought with it a lot of violence and oppression. Wilhelm, however, refused to abdicate. Chancellor Max von Baden, the head of the German government, repeatedly urged him to do so.

On November 9, 1918, it was enough for Max von Baden: He feared that the people in Berlin could overthrow the government by force. Then he announced that the emperor had abdicated. That wasn't true at all. But he was believed. Germany became a republic. The other princes in Germany also lost their throne. Wilhelm lived abroad, in the Netherlands, as a former emperor for over 20 years. He was against the Weimar Republic and hoped for the National Socialists. But even these did not bring him back as head of state.

Why does Austria no longer have an emperor?

For a long time Austria was the most important country in the Holy Roman Empire. The Roman-German Emperor was almost always an Austrian from the House of Habsburg for 400 years. In 1804, however, the ruler of Austria began to see himself as the emperor of Austria. The most important ruler in Europe at the time, Napoleon Bonaparte from France, allowed him to do so. Two years later the Holy Roman Empire ended, which had been very weak for a long time. Since then, Emperor Franz II was only Emperor of Austria.

During the First World War, Emperor Franz Joseph the First, who had been the ruler of Austria-Hungary for a long time, died. Charles the First was emperor for two years until 1918. At that time the war ended. Many people were dissatisfied with Karl. Austria became a republic, just like Germany.

Charles the First wanted to keep the title of Kaiser and died in 1922. His son Otto Habsburg also refused to renounce the title. Therefore the government of Austria forbade him to enter the country. Otto Habsburg only resigned in 1961. The last Crown Prince was very old. He died in 2011. After his death, he was buried in Vienna next to the former Habsburg emperors.

  • Emperor Otto the Third was the son of Theophanu.

  • Franz Joseph the First as a young emperor in 1851

  • Wilhelm the First was the first emperor of the empire since 1871.

  • Emperor Naruhito and Empress Massako of Japan: The list of his ancestors goes back 2,500 years.