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A German principality, surrounded by the Prussian province of Westphalia Hanover, and an exclave of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau (the Prussian County of Schaumburg). Schaumburg-Lippe has an area of about 131 square miles and (1910) 46,650 inhabitants. As regards population it is the smallest state of the German Confederation; in area it is larger than Reuss-Greitz, Lübeck, and Bremen. In 1905, of 44,992 inhabitants 43,888 were Lutherans, 653 Catholics, and 246 Jews. Thus the Catholics are 1 5 per cent of the population. The principality of Schaumburg-Lippe has sprung from the old County of Schaumburg, in early days also called Schauenburg, which was situated on the middle course of the River Weser, and was given as a fief by the German Emperor Conrad (1024-39) to Adolph of Santersleben. Adolph built the castle of Schaumburg on the Nettelberg, which is on the southern slope of the Weser Mountains, east of Rinteln. The descendants of Adolph of Schaumburg, among other possessions, acquired the County of Holstein and the Duchy of Schleswig also.

In the year 1619 the Schaumburg family were made counts of the empire; however, soon after this, in 1640, the male line became extinct by the death of Count Otto V. At the division of the inheritance the County of Schaumburg went to the mother of Otto V, Elizabeth, Countess of Lippe. Elizabeth gave it to her brother Count Philip of Lippe, the younger brother of Count Simon VII, ruler of the County of Lippe. The Margrave of Hesse-Cassel and the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg also laid claim to parts of the old County of Schaumburg, and an adjustment was made which was confirmed in the Treaty of Westphalia. On account of this agreement the county was divided, one part going to Hesse-Cassel, another to Brunswick, while what was left, including the Barony of Buckeburg, came to Count Philip who now called himself Count of Lippe-Buckeburg. The first one of his descendants to call himself Count of Schaumburg-Lippe was Count Philip Ernest (d. 1787). Thus the territory of the present principality of Schaumburg-Lippe has never had any constitutional connection with the present principality of Lippe. The two countries have not arisen by partition of another principality.

The districts of the old County of Schaumburg that fell to Hesse-Cassel, among which were the castle and the district of Schaumburg, became Prussian territory when the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel was suppressed (1866), and since then these districts, under the name of the government district of Rinteln, have formed an exclave of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Since 1905 Rinteln has been called the Prussian County of Schaumburg. George William of Schaumburg-Lippe (d. 1860) joined the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806, and received the hereditary title of prince. After the dissolution of the Confederation of the Rhine he joined the German Confederation (1815). At the outbreak of the Prusso-Austrian War (1866) Prince Adolph George (d 1893) at first agreed to the demand of Austria for the mobilizing of the forces of the Confederation against Prussia, but after the Prussian victories he withdrew from the German Confederation and joined Prussia and the North German Confederation. In 1871 the little country became a state of the German Empire, Prince Adolph (b. 1883) succeeded as ruler in 1911, in which year he was still unmarried. At the time of the great religious revolt of the sixteenth century the territory of the old County of Schaumburg belonged, in ecclesiastical matters, to the Diocese of Minden (founded by Charlemagne about 800). The Reformation was introduced into the country between 1560 and 1570, after the death of Adolph III, Archbishop of Cologne (d. 1556) and of his brother Anthony (d. 1558), both of whom belonged to the Schaumburg dynasty. The reigning Count Otto IV, brother of these two, was won over to the new doctrine after his marriage with Elizabeth Ursula, daughter of Duke Ernst of Brunswick-Lüneburg (called the "Confessor" on account of his zealous adherence to and championship of Protestantism ).

The childless Count Ernst (d. 1622) was succeeded by a Catholic Count, Jobst Hermann, who also died without children (1636). Jobst, indeed, attempted to bring up his probable successor, the later Count Otto V, in the Catholic Faith, but Otto's mother, Elizabeth, had him educated in the Reformed doctrines. Upon the death of Otto V the male heirs of the Schaumburg line were extinct. What remained of the country after the partition, the present principality of Schaumburg-Lippe, came under the House of Lippe, which had also adopted the Reformed teachings, so that since this era the ruler of the country and his family have been Protestants, and the national Church is the Lutheran. However, the ruler of the country has by law supreme ecclesiastical power over the State Church. Parishes of the Reformed Church were formed only in the capital, Buckeburg, and Stadthagen. Catholic services were re-established at Buckeburg about 1720 for a Catholic countess and her servants. Originally the Catholic pastoral care was exercised from Minden by Franciscans of Bielefeld; between 1840 and 1850 the mission parish of Buckeburg was created, to which was added in 1883 the mission parish of Stadthagen. In consequence of the country's entrance into the Confederation of the Rhine the few Catholics received equal civil rights with the Protestants. By a rescript of 3 July, 1809, the Sovereign settled the relations of the principality to the Catholics, and granted Catholics permission to hold public church services. Since 1846 episcopal jurisdiction has been exercised by the Bishop of Osnabrück in his capacity as Pro-vicar of the Northern Mission.

The political status of the Catholic Church was revised by the State law of 18 March, 1911. The Catholic parishes are corporations established by law and are composed of the aggregate of all the Catholics residing in the district. Their boundaries are fixed by the bishop with the approval of the ministry after the opinions of the interested parties have been consulted. The ministry exercises the State's right of supreme supervision. The pastor is named by the bishop who must, however, before making the appointment, ascertain that the ministry has no objection to this cleric. If within thirty days no objection be raised against the candidate the acquiescence of the ministry is assumed. Every parish is bound to establish and maintain properly the buildings necessary for worship, etc. To meet these obligations every self-supporting member of the parish who has resided there at least three months is bound to pay the church tax. The State gives nothing for Catholic Church purposes. The necessary expenses are met by the bishop. Orders and congregations are not allowed in the country. The primary schools are all Lutheran. Religious instruction is not given to the Catholic minority in the public primary schools, although this is legally permissible. There are private Catholic primary schools at Buckeburg and Stadthagen; these do not, however, receive any aid from the State or commune. The Catholic school at Buckeburg, founded 1848, numbers (1911) 20 pupils; the one in Stadthagen, founded 1877, numbers (1911) 27 pupils.

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