Rhenish Confederation (Ger. Rheinbund), a confederacy formed in 1806 by the kings of Bavaria and Würtemberg, the elector arch chancellor of the empire, the elector of Baden, the duke of Berg, the landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt, the princes of Nassau-TTsingen, Nassau - Weilburg, Hohenzollern - Hechingen, Hohenzollern - Sigmaringen, Salm - Salm, and Salm-Kyrburg, the duke of Arenberg, the princes of Isenburg-Birstein and of Liechtenstein, and the count von der Leyen. They communicated to the federal diet their withdrawal from the empire, Aug. 1, 1806, assigning as the reason for the separation the defects of the imperial constitution. At the same time Napoleon, the instigator of this movement, officially declared to the diet that he would no longer acknowledge a German empire. Francis II. consequently, on Aug. 6, abdicated as emperor of Germany, and took the title of emperor of Austria. Napoleon constituted himself "protector of the Rhenish confederation," the members of which bound themselves to take up arms against the enemies of France. The confederacy was subsequently joined by the elector of Wüxzburg, the king (formerly elector) of Saxony, the five Saxon dukes, the two princes of Schwarzburg, the three dukes of Anhalt, the new king of Westphalia, and many minor princes; so that by the end of 1808 the confederacy extended over 125,000 sq. m., with a population of nearly 15,000,000. The reverses of Napoleon in 1813 put an end to its existence, and its members were soon after merged in the Germanic confederation.