- A Bishopric;
- An Imperial Free City.
The city of Augsburg is situated in the east of the Duchy of Swabia and in the Province of Mainz; it stands on the River Lech, tributary of the Danube, and is now in Bavaria. The Landkreis of Augsburg forms a crescent to the west of the city.
1. Bishopric The princely territory of the Bishop included much of the land between the River Lech and its tributary, the Wertach (the confluence is just north of Augsburg), northwards from what is now the Austrian border, just above Füssen, which stands on the River Lech. It also included Alpine land between the upper Wertach and the Iller. There was a detached district around Zusmarshausen west of Augsburg, and another to the north around the town of Dillingen on the Danube. The last Count of Dillingen, who had died in 1286, had been Bishop of Augsburg and the town became the residence of the Bishop.
In 1802-3 the Prince-Bishopric became Bavarian territory, and in 1817 the diocese became part of the new ecclesiastical province of München-Freising.
2. Imperial Free City. Augsburg was founded by the Romans as Augusta Vindelicorum. It belonged to Bavaria in the Carolingian period, but later to Swabia. The city was the seat of a Bishop, but was given much freedom in the reign of Frederick I Barbarossa (1152-90), and was made free of all obligations, except to the Emperor, in 1316. It was one of the most prosperous of medieval cities, being on the trade routes coming north from Italy to central Germany, and was the home of two of great merchant families, the Fugger – who acquired small princely teritories in the region – and the Welser.
The modern period, with changed patterns of trade, brought decline to Augsburg, though it was still sufficiently powerful to escape the mediatisation that befell practically all the Imperial Cities in 1803. Not for long however – in 1806 it was incorporated in Bavaria.
The city is now the administrative headquarters of the Regierungsbezirk (administrative region) of Schwaben.