Hesse , (Ger. Hessen). I. Or Hessia, a territory of Germany, inhabited in the time of the Roman empire by the Catti, an old Germanic tribe. Germanicus is said to have destroyed their principal town, Mattium, which stood on the site of the present villages of Grossmaden and Kleinmaden, near Gudensberg. Under the early German emperors Hesse was governed by counts. The principal of these were the counts of Gudensberg of the name of Geiso. By the marriage of the heiress of the last count of Gudensberg, Geiso IV., with the landgrave Louis I. of Thuringia, this prince became sovereign of Hesse (about 1130). Till about the middle of the 13th century the history of Hesse was identical with that of Thuringia; but the landgrave Henry Raspe dying without issue in 1247, his niece Sophia, the daughter of the landgrave Louis the Pious and the wife of Henry, duke of Brabant, claimed Hesse as well as Thuringia; and after a war of succession with her cousin, the margrave Henry the Illustrious of Misnia, she was put in possession of Hesse by treaty in 1263. Sophia's son, Henry I. the Child, became the progenitor of the dynasty of Hesse, and took up his residence at Cassel. Philip I. the Magnanimous, who succeeded his father "William in his sovereignty of the whole country in 1509, and who was the first to introduce the reformation, divided his dominions among his four sons (1567). The eldest, William IV., obtained one half, including the capital Cassel; Louis IV. one fourth, comprising Marburg; Philip II. one eighth, with Rheinfels; and George I. also one eighth, with Darmstadt. But Philip II. dying in 1583, and Louis IV. in 1604, without children, there remained only the two main branches of Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, the former of which ceased to be a reigning family in 1866, when its territory was annexed to Prussia. It will become extinct with the death of the last elector of Hesse-Cassel. (See Hesse-Cassel.) Among the side branches of the Hessian dynasty are the landgraves of Hesse-Philippsthal and Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld. II. Formerly Hesse-Darmstadt, a German grand duchy, consisting of two large portions separated by a long strip of land extending from E. to W., which belongs to the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. The NT. portion is bounded on all sides by Prussia; the S. portion is bounded N. by Prussia, E. by Bavaria, S. by Baden, S. W. by Rhenish Bavaria, and W. by Prussia; area, 2,964 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 852,894, of whom 585,399 were Protestants, 238,080 Roman Catholics, and 25,373 were Jews. Hesse is divided into the provinces of Upper Hesse, Starkenburg, and Rhenish Hesse. The principal mountains are the Odenwald in the southern portion and the Vogelsgebirge in the northern.

The Vogelsgebirge is a volcanic mass, occupying with its branches about 400 sq. m. The country is also traversed by branches of the Taunus, Westerwald, etc. The chief rivers are the Rhine, Main, Nahe, Nidda, and Lahn. Hesse is one of the best cultivated agricultural countries in Germany. Offenbach, near Frankfort, is the chief manufacturing town. Mentz is the great emporium for the corn, wine, and transit trade. Darmstadt is the capital. The grand duchy possesses many railways and excellent public roads. It occupies the sixth rank in the German empire, has three votes in the federal council, and sends eight deputies to the German Reichstag. The troops of the grand duchy constituted in 1874 a separate division of the 11th army corps. The government is a constitutional monarchy. The grand duke, who bears the title of Gross-herzog von Hessen unci bei Rhein, is assisted by a council of state and a cabinet, which in 1874 consisted of the premier or president (who is at the same time minister of the grand ducal household and of foreign affairs), of the ministers of the interior, of justice, and of finance. The legislature is composed of two chambers.

The annual receipts, according to the budget of 1873-,5, amount to $4,500,000; the expenditures to $4,250,000. The public debt was contracted almost exclusively for the construction of railways, and amounted in 1872 to about $5,500,000. There are numerous educational institutions, the chief of which is the university of Giessen. - The line of Hesse-Darmstadt was founded in 1567 by George I., youngest son of Philip the Magnanimous. The war of succession with Hesse-Cassel which broke out under the reign of his successor, Louis V. the Faithful, continued to rage during that of his son George II. (1626-61), but was brought to a close in 1647 by the cession of Marburg and other contested localities in exchange for Giessen and other territory. During the French revolution much territory was lost, which was more than regained by the treaty of Luneville in 1801. Louis X. (born 1753, died 1830) joined the confederation of the Rhine, adopting as grand duke the name of Louis I., obtained from Napoleon still further accessions of territory, caused his troops to act against Austria in 1809 and in concert with the French in 1813, but joined the allies after the battle of Leipsic, on condition of being left in possession of his newly acquired territory.

In 1815 he joined the German confederation, and made large cessions on the right bank of the Rhine to Prussia and other states, but obtained valuable possessions on the left bank of that river, including Mentz and Bingen. In 1828 he joined the Prussian customs union, by which he gave the first impulse to the formation of a more general union, which culminated eventually in the Zollverein. Soon after the accession of Louis II., political riots followed the French revolution of 1830, which were quelled by the army. The revolution of 1848 extorted from the grand duke the concession of the trial by jury. He appointed his son as coregent, March 5, 1848. He died June 16, and his son, the present grand duke Louis III. (born June 9, 1806), succeeded him. In March, 1866, the landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg, the reigning dynasty being extinct, was united with Hesse-Darmstadt. In Juno of the same year Hesse-Darmstadt joined Austria and the majority of the federal diet in the war against Prussia. In September it concluded a separate peace with Prussia, in which it engaged to pay an indemnification of $1,200,000 to Prussia, and to cede the former landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg, and a small portion of its other territory, in exchange for which it received a few places which formerly belonged to Hesse-Cassel and Nassau. It also joined the North German confederation for that part of its territory which is situated north of the river Main. A special military convention with Prussia, by which the army of Hesse became a part of the army of the North German confederation, was concluded in April, 1867. In 1870 Hesse-Darmstadt, like the other states of South Germany, joined Prussia in the war against France, and in November it entered the German empire, then forming, for its entire territory.

In 1871 the unpopular prime minister Dalwigk was dismissed. The history of Hesse-Darmstadt has been written by Walther (1841) and Steiner (5 vols., 1833-'4).

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Hesse ,.I. Nicolas Auguste, a French painter, born in Paris in 1795, died in 1869. He studied under Baron Gros and in Koine, having gained the grand prize in 1868, acquired celebrity by his religious paintings, and succeeded Delacroix in 1863 in the academy of fine arts. His best works are in various churches. II. Alexandre Jean Baptiste, a French painter, nephew of the preceding, born in Paris in 1806. He became known in 1833 by his picture executed at Venice representing the funeral honors paid to Titian, and in 1867 he succeeded Ingres in the institute. His "Adoption of Godfrey of Bouillon by the Emperor Alexander Comne-nus" (1842) is at Versailles, and one of his best pictures, the "Triumph of Pisani" (1847), is in the Luxembourg. His mural paintings for the chapel of St. Francis of Sales in the Paris church of St. Sulpice are esteemed.