First recorded in 1081, Wurttemberg emerged as a political power out of the holdings of the Herren (Lords) von Wirdeberch in the area of the middle Neckar and the Remstal Rivers. After 1198 the Herren profited from a dispute between the Staufers and the Guelphs and the collapse of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the mid-13th century. They acquired a considerable amount of the Staufer territories. This brought them into conflict with the Habsburgs.
In the late Middle Ages they strengthened their position and became the most important territorial power in Southwest Germany. Among other acquisitions was the Grafschaft Moempelgard (Montbeliard) which remained a fief until 1801.
The family divided with one branch residing in Stuttgart and the other in Urach. This weakened them and the dynasty lost its political influence. This period ended in 1482 when Graf Eberhard the Bearded (im Barte), who reigned 1459 to 1496, reunited the two factions. In 1496 WÂrttemberg was elevated to an imperial fief, the Herzogtum WÂrttemberg and Teck (Duchy of WÂrttemberg).
From 1520 to 1534 the Habsburgs occupied Wurttemberg. This ended with the return of the outlawed Herzog Ulrich who had reigned from 1498 to 1503 and in 1519. Upon his return he reigned from 1534 to 1550, though WÂrttemberg remained a fief of the Habsburgs until 1599.
The period following John Egeler's birth in 1799, after the French revolution, was a time of radical changes in both the territorial and political situation in Europe. Wurttemberg, which had been ruled by Herzog Friedrich II since 1797 in an absolutist manner, gave its support to Napoleon. It was one of the states which formed the Confederation of the Rhine under the protection of Napoleon (Rheinbund 1806 to 1813). Wurttemberg was rewarded by elevation to the position of a sovereign kingdom as well as with a sizable increase in its territory. Among the additions were Heilbronn, Hohenloher Ebene, Ellwangen, Ulm, Rottweil, parts of Oberschwaben, the Allgaeu and the "vorderoesterreichischen Lande" (parts of Austria). This increased the number of inhabitants from 650,000 to 1,340,000.
In 1816 Wurttemberg became a member of the Deutschen Bund and a member of the Deutschen Zollverein in 1834. The attempt of King Wilhelm I, who reigned from 1816 to 1864, to give Wurttemberg a modern constitution failed initially, due to the resistance of the aristocracy, but succeeded in 1819.
In 1848, revolutionary forces formulated a list of fundamental demands against the semi-feudal princely powers: creation of a parliament, freedom of the press, trial by jury, and arming of the people. After the suppression of the "March Revolution of 1848" by the Prussians, Wurttemberg formed a loose coalition with the Habsburgs against Prussia but in 1871 became a member of the Deutschen Reich, the new German Empire.
After WWI, in 1918 the Republic of WÂrttemberg was proclaimed and in 1919 a new democratic constitution came into force. The government was formed by a coalition of moderate parties. In 1933 Wurttemberg was "gleichgeschaltet", i.e., unified, as were all the German states. 1939 brought World War II.