In 1 533 it was raised to a margraviate by the emperor Charles V., and wds held by various families until in 1799 it passed, through the Sultzbach branch of the Wittelsbachs, to the royal house of Bavaria, by whom it was renounced in favour of the Batavian republic in 1801.
True, she now agreed to recognise the independence of the Cisalpine, Ligurian, Helvetic and Batavian (Dutch) republics; but the masterful acquisitiveness of the First Consul and the weak conduct of Austrian and British affairs at that time soon made that clause of the treaty a dead letter.
His action in the matters just named, as also in the complex affair of the secularizations of clerical domains in Germany (February 1803), belongs properly to the history of those countries; but we may here note that, even before the signature of the peace of Amiens (27th of March 1802), he had effected changes in the constitution of the Batavian (Dutch) republic, which placed power in the hands of the French party and enabled him to keep French troops in the chief Dutch fortresses, despite the recently signed treaty of Luneville which guaranteed the independence of that republic. His treatment of the Italians was equally high-handed.
On the 5th of June 1806 the Batavian republic completed its chrysalis-like transformations by becoming a kingdom for Louis Bonaparte.
In 1799 Bonaparte, through whose influence his release had been obtained, sent him to the Hague to consolidate the alliance between France and the Batavian Republic. In this mission he was entirely successful, and he is credited with another diplomatic success in the inception of the Austrian marriage.