SCHWARZBURG-RUDOLSTADT, a principality of Germany, an independent member of the German empire, and one of the Thuringian states (see THURINGIA). It shares with SchwarzburgSondershausen the possessions of the old house of Schwarzburg, consisting of the upper barony (Oberherrschaft) in Thuringia, on the Gera, Ilm and Saale, and the lower barony ( Unterherrschaft), an isolated district on the Wipper and Helbe, about 25 m. to the north, surrounded by the Prussian province of Saxony. As the dignity of prince is held in virtue of the Oberherrschaft alone, a share of both baronies was given to each sub-line of the main house. The total area of SchwarzburgRudolstadt is 363 sq. m., of which 283 are in the upper and 80 in the lower barony; the chief towns in the former district are Rudolstadt (pop. 12,500 in 1905), the capital, and Blankenburg (2000), and in the latter Frankenhausen (6374). Both baronies are hilly, the highest elevation being attained in the Grossfarmdenkopf, 2900 ft. The scenery of the Thuringian portion of Schwarzburg- Rudolstadt attracts many visitors annually, the most beautiful spots being the gorge of the Schwarza and the lovely circular valley in which the village of Schwarzburg nestles at the foot of a curiously isolated hill, crowned by the ancient castle of the princely line. Cattle-rearing and fruit-growing flourish in the lower barony, while the upper barony is finely wooded. Of the whole country 44% is under forest (mainly coniferous trees), and 50% is devoted to agriculture and pasture. The chief grain crops are rye, oats, barley and potatoes. Great attention is paid to poultry farming and beekeeping, and the exports from these sources are considerable. About 14% of the population are engaged in agriculture and forestry, 21% in mining and cognate industries. Trade and manufactures are insignificant; iron, lignite, cobalt, alum and vitriol are among the mineral productions. In 1905 the population was 96,835 or about 265 to the square mile. Nearly all these were Protestants.
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt is a limited hereditary monarchy, its constitution resting on laws of 1854 and 1870. A diet has met at intervals since 1816, and is now entitled to be summoned every three years. The present diet consists of sixteen members elected for three years, four chosen by the highest assessed taxpayers, the others by general election. The troops of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt have been incorporated with the Prussian army since the convention of 1867. The principality has one vote in the Reichstag and one in the federal council.
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt is the cadet branch of the house of Schwarzburg, descended from Albrecht VII. (1605). In 1710 the count was made a prince, in spite of the remonstrances of the elector of Saxony, although he was prevented from taking his seat in the imperial college at Regensburg until 1754. The principality entered the Confederation of the Rhine in 1807 and the German League in 1815. In 1819 it redeemed the Prussian claims of superiority by surrendering portions of its territory.
See Sigismund, Landeskunde des Furstentums SckivarzburgRudolstadt (2 vols., Rudolstadt, 1862-1863).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)