Terra Infirma: Republic of Mainz

If I were pressed to come up with a guiding principle for my curiosity about the ungainly beast commonly called ‘History’, it’d be that history has margins and a good amount of the interesting stuff is scribbled there, though hastily erased.  Hence, my interest in what could be called ‘ephemeral places,’ that is, geographic entities whose existence was brief, disputed or is often overlooked. Here’s a softball: a German democratic state that existed for less than four months in the late 1700s.  The Republic of Mainz was created by a counterattack of the free French army against the Prussians and Austrians, driving out Mainz’s ruler and leading the way tothe first democratically-elected parliament in Germany. Like many other statelets allied and/or established by revolutionary France, Mainz soon got trounced by the re-invading forces of the old order, finally being completely snuffed out in July 1793. So it goes, but what […]