The counties of Hanau-Lichtenberg and Hanau-Münzenberg were territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Their center lay in the lower Elsass region, with Lichtenberg's capital at Buchsweiler.

After just one year's reign, Reinhard II of Hanau died in 1452. The inheritance was divided among his two sons, Reinard III and Philipp. Philipp married Anna von Lichtenberg in 1458, one of the hereditary daughters of Ludwig V of Lichtenberg. After Ludwig's death in 1473, Anna and Philipp received half of the rule Lichtenberg in the lower Elsass with the capital Buchsweiler. From this line the county of Hanau-Lichtenberg developed. Reinhard III formed the line of Hanau-Münzenberg.

In 1642 the Hanau-Münzenburg line died out and its territories came under the control of Frederic Casimir of Hanau-Lichtenberg. In 1643 Frederick married Amalie Elisabeth von Hessen-Kassel under the arrangement that should the Hanau line die out, its lands would go to Hesse-Cassel.

In 1736 Johann Reinhard III, the seventy-year old count who was the last male representative of the house Hanau died. The hereditary contract kicked in and territories passed to Hesse. The marriage of the only daughter of the last Hanauer count, Charlotte, to Prince Ludwig VIII of Hesse-Darmstadt, meant that the county of Hanau-Lichtenberg went to it. This division of Hanau between the two Hesse states remained a source of contention between the them, and it was only settled much later by other divisions. In 1803 the lands controlled by Hanau were absorbed by the Grand Duchy of Baden. The area around Pirmasens fell in 1815 at Bavaria.

Key identification notes: Prior to its absorption by Hesse, Hanau's chevron arms are distinctive and are the first clue to sure identity. The chevrons are usually in the upper left quarter or in a central escutcheon. After the union, the chevrons are less prominent and often in the lower middle of the merged Hesse-Hanau arms.

2 Kreuzer (Half Batzen)


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