J. G. Sommer (1847), "Kingdom of Bohemia", vol. 15, pp. 106-120
Translation Copyright 2001 by Urs Geiser - All rights reserved


Royal Mining City Joachimsthal With Estate Ober-Brand

The royal Bergstadt [mining city] Joachimsthal (actually, St. Joachimsthal, in dialect Jochensthal, in old documents and even now still Thal) is located in the northeastern portion of the district, 5 1/4 hours NNW of Elbogen and 3 1/2 hours north of Karlsbad. Its area borders in the north on the area of the mining city Gottesgab and the royal Saxonian mining city Wiesenthal, in the northeast on the area of the mining city Böhmisch-Wiesenthal, in the east on the Hauenstein dominion, in the south and southwest on the Schlackenwerth dominion, and in the northwest on the k.k. Joachimsthal Montangut [mining estate/dominion].

The agriculturally usable areas are according to the Katastral-Zergliederungs-Summarium [official land use summary]:

1. City of Joachimsthal

 

Dominical

Farmers

Combined

 

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Arable fields

39

786

345

1145

385

331

Meadows

225

314

1548

627

1773

941

Gardens

--

--

--

1247

--

1247

Pasture etc.

546

1520

534

1023

1081

943

Forests

3884

949

322

978

4207

327

Total

4696

369

2752

220

7448

589

 
2. Estate Ober-Brand

 

Dominical

Farmers

Combined

 

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Joch

Sq.Kl.

Arable fields

--

--

305

1430

305

1430

Meadows

--

--

84

996

84

996

Gardens

--

--

4

758

4

758

Ponds assoc. w. meadows

--

--

--

1269

--

1269

Pasture etc.

--

--

16

1159

16

1159

Forests

--

--

202

1313

202

1313

Total

--

--

616

525

616

525

 

Add Joachimsthal city

4696

369

2752

220

7448

589

Grand Total

4696

369

3368

745

8064

1114

The surface of the dominion belongs to the southeastern slope of the Erzgebirge [mountain range] and reaches its crest in the north. The city itself is situated in a deeply cut valley that is open to the southeast and south, at 380 W.Kl. over the level of the North Sea, between high mountains, in particular the Galgenberg in the east, the Pfaffenberg in the south, the Schloßberg in the west, and the Upper and Lower Türkner Mountains in the north. In addition, to be noted farther to the northeast of the city are the Sonnenwirbel (elevation according to Hallaschka 643.5, according to the Saxonian geognostic map 651.25 W.Kl.; at latitude 50°23'48" and longitude 30°37'48" according to David), the Wörlsberg north of the village of the same name, the Plößberg (541 W.Kl.) southeast of Abertham, and the Spitzberg (590 W.Kl.) west of Gottesgab.

The rock types of the area are predominantly mica schist; on the valley slope west of Oberbrand it turns into gneiss. South of Abertham, Wörlsgrün, and Mariasorg, the schist is replaced by granite. In a narrow band of northwesterly direction that may be traced from Oberbrand to Wörlsberg, porphyry intrudes into the schist. Another porphyry intrusion extends from the mountain slope west of the city into a northerly direction, and a third on runs in the same direction through Dürnberg. On the east side of the city there is a limestone deposit. The Plößberg consists of basalt rising above the granite. -- Smaller basalt buttes are found west of Oberbrand over gneiss and porphyry.

The creek Weseritz or Westeritz, originating from numerous streams running down from the mountain crest, flows through the city, then to the southeast. Near the Schmelzhütte [smelter] it takes on the small Grundbach that comes from the north and continues its course to the south through the valley all the way to Schlackenwerth, where it flows into the Wistritz. A second small creek runs from the high mountains through Wörlsgrün also in a southerly direction into the Schlackenwerth dominion, also into the Wistritz. The latter also receives, above Salmthal in the Schlackenwerth dominion, a small creek coming from Abertham, which is named as the actual Wistritz by Schaller. All of these creeks contain trout.

North of the city, below the Peterwald [forest], is the Stadtteich [city pond], above the same forest toward the Spitzberg, the Seidelteich [pond], and in the Stübersgrund, above the Elijah mine and along the side of the Wörlsberg, the Heinzenteich [pond]. These ponds were created as water reservoirs for the operation of the various mining installations, as well as for fire fighting, at the expense of the Aerar [public coffers]. Apart from these, there are only two entirely insignificant ponds, stocked with trout, on the grounds of Johann von Zeileisen. The above mentioned ponds are not suitable for fish because of the in-flowing mountain waters.

The total number of inhabitants is 9055, whereof 4740 live in the city, and 4315 in Abertham and in the villages. The language everywhere is German.

The sources of income and nourishment are mining, various trades, work in the mines and smelters, lace making and trade, lumber, and forestry. Commercial field crops are grown only near the village Ober-Brand, the only place where fertile soil can be found. Near the city and the other towns, some of the weathered tailings of old mines have been made arable, and with the aid of heavy fertilization and not without much pain it is possible to grow a little bad rye, more barley, but mainly mediocre oats and potatoes. Because of the steep mountains and the small amounts involved, the fertilizer and the harvested sheaves have to be carried on the backs of people. The highest yield is 6 grains [per ear], and it feeds the people for three months [of the year]. More significant is the grass in the boggy grounds, but rarely is it possible to cut hay before the beginning of September. Only along the Wistritz, near Abertham, a second cut of hay is harvested. In newer times as a consequence of gradual clearing of the forests, the harsh climate has become even harsher; at least it is said that at one time vegetables and some fruit have grown outdoors, which is no longer the case. Even in the protected gardens around the houses, the fruits of the trees do not ripen completely.

The animal husbandry extends mainly to cattle and goats. The excellence of the "Abertham goat cheese" was once legendary.

The livestock numbers on 30 April 1837 were: 62 horses (adults), 772 head cattle (1 breeding bull, 1 young bull, 607 cows, 77 heifers, 77 working oxen, and 9 young oxen), 10 sheep (adults), and 73 goats.

The forests are divided into two tracts, the upper and the lower. The following wooded areas [mountains, hills, ridges, forests etc.] belong to the lower tract: Braunstein, Galgenberg, Hanselberg, Ochsenraum, Baderreith, Schwarzwald, Mittelberg, Grauer Stein, Hoher Berg, Sangerberg, Kalkwald, Alter Hau, and Herrenacker-Berg; to the upper tract: Peterwald, Zimmerhöhe, Quertwald (?), Stübersgrund, Reiches Gebirge, Ochsenbusch, Wolfsberg, Adelhau, Plößberg, and Mühlberg. The woods consist mainly of spruce and fir, scattered among them are a few stands of beech. The lumber is used within the dominion.

The game numbers are insignificant.

Mining for silver is carried out partially in k.k. and partly in private installations, namely in the following mines: the k.k. Elijah mine in Wörlsgrün, the k.k. Emperor Joseph mine on the Schotten- (or Schloß-) Berg near the city, the k.k. Schindler mine on the Pfaffenberg, the k.k. Edelleutstollen [noble people shaft] mine and the city owned Unity community mine. The commercial mines are: the Reichen-Geschieb [rich sediment] mine on the Widergebirge, St. Wenzeslas (or Profit) mine, St. Maria Hilf [St. Mary helping] mine at the foot of the Spitzenberg, St. Anthony mine at the parish meadow, and the Naßbruckner and Dürrnschönberger mines on the Upper Türkner mountain. Tin is mined at the commercial St. Maurice mine in Hengstererb.

Of the larger factories, a mechanized cotton spinning mill (Joseph Vogel) with 25 workers exists in Joachimsthal.

Furthermore, at the end of 1845 in the city there were 218 masters and other owner-operators, 73 fellows, 47 apprentices and aides, 338 total, in the occupations of the police, commerce, free crafts, and trade. In Abertham and in the villages there were 69 masters and owners, 16 fellows, 5 apprentices and aides, 90 total. Thus in the entire dominion there were 287 masters and other owner-operators, 89 fellows, 52 apprentices and aides, or 428 total. If one adds the above 25 workers of the cotton spinning mill and the approximately 2500 bobbin lace makers, one arrives at the sum of 3053 people who live from the trades.

Regarding the individual trades, at the end of 1845 they numbered:

(a) in Joachimsthal: 16 bakers, 1 gun smith specializing in bolt-action guns, 1 brewer, 1 wire puller, 1 dyer, 6 coopers, 14 butchers, 2 teamsters, 3 innkeepers, 2 glaziers, 1 milliner, 1 button maker, 1 furrier, 2 candy makers, 1 linen weaver, 4 tanners, 1 mason (14 fellows), 5 millers, 1 nail smith, 2 paper millers, 1 chimney sweep, 1 strap maker, 1 salt merchant, 1 saddle maker, 4 locksmiths, 6 blacksmiths, 15 tailors, 11 shoemakers, 5 soap makers, 3 ropers, 1 plumber, 31 lace merchants, 9 lace thread makers, 6 Stechvieh-Schlächter [special type of butcher], 1 stocking knitter, 9 furniture makers, 7 potters, 2 watchmakers, 7 grocers, 2 wainwrights, 1 renderer, 1 carpenter (12 fellows), and 1 match manufacturer. The merchants are 4 owners of mixed goods stores and 22 door-to-door salesmen.

(b) in Abertham and in the villages: 7 bakers, 1 beer seller, 1 baker, 1 wire puller, 2 butchers, 2 innkeepers, 1 linen weaver, 1 tanner, 4 millers, 2 locksmiths, 2 blacksmiths, 1 tailor, 3 shoemakers, 1 plumber, and 18; along with are 4 owners of mixed goods stores, 4 grocers, and 15 door-to-door salesmen (lace, accessories, needles, Schmalte [?] etc. etc.).

The annual and weekly markets that authorized in the cities of Joachimsthal and Abertham are not [currently] taking place.

The health personnel consists of 1 k.k. mine and city physician (in Joachimsthal, at 300 fl. C.M. from the Aerar [public funds] ,100 fl. from the Knappschaft [miners' guild or union], 100 fl. travel allowance, 30 fl. W.W. plus 150 percent bonus from the city community, and 20 Kl. firewood), 1 k.k. mine surgeon (in Joachimsthal, at 50 fl. C.M. from the city community, 60 fl. W.W. from the subjects, and 6 Kl. firewood), 2 other surgeons (private practice only, 1 in Joachimsthal, 1 in Abertham), 5 midwives (4 in Joachimsthal, 1 in Abertham), and 1 pharmacist (in Joachimsthal).

For the support of those in need of aid there are poorhouses in Joachimsthal and Abertham, and a civic hospital in Joachimsthal.

The poorhouse in Joachimsthal, which also covers the villages, was instituted in 1784. The principal founders and benefactors were Johann and Barbara Püchner and Jakob Florian Hahnl. The endowment at the end of 1845 was 6756 fl. 17 kr. C.M. and 3826 fl. 40.5 kr. W.W. Its income in the same year was 393 fl. 44.5 kr. C.M. and 159 fl. 4.75 kr. W.W. From this, 55 indigents were supported with 338 fl. 48 kr. C.M.

The poorhouse in Abertham, existing since 1797, hat an endowment of 907 l. 49 kr. C.M. at the end of 1845. Through 8 June 1846 it had additional income of 8 fl. 11 kr. Because of the inadequacy of the poorhouse, the indigents are supported by the more affluent members.

It is not known when or where the civic hospital in Joachimsthal was founded. Jakob Florian Hahnl is named only as a co-founder. It was probably established by the Counts Schlick. Originally, it was designed for 12 patients who receive housing and heat in a designated building and a weekly stipend. Furthermore, other indigents are supported from the foundation outside the building. The endowment in the end of 1845 was 8528 fl. 41.5 kr. C.M. and 12,500 fl. 20.75 kr. W.W. The income in the same year was 433 fl. 12.5 kr. C.M. and 661 fl. 42 kr. W.W. From this, 25 indigents were supported with 776 fl. 32 kr. W.W.

The Schlackenwerth postal and commercial paved road leads through the valley of the Weseritz, the village Ober-Brand, and the city of Joachimsthal up into the high mountains, over the Sonnenwirbel [pass], to Weipert, and from there to Annaberg in Saxony. Also, a road leads west from Joachimsthal to Abertham. In Joachimsthal there is a k.k. mail and stagecoach post office.


The city of Joachimsthal numbers 582 houses with 4740 inhabitants, and has 1 Dechantei [dean's] church, 1 burial church (so-called Todtenkirche), 2 public chapels, 1 dean's rectory, 1 main school, 1 k.k. superior mining administration building, 1 city hall, 1 civic hospital, 1 k.k. post office, 1 pharmacy, 2 breweries, 2 mills, 3 restaurants, and 7 other taverns. Also, the following hamlets, 1/4 to 3/4 hours away, are conscribed into the city: (a) the Nadlerhäusel, a tavern; next to it the chapel of St. Procopius, the k.k. smelter, the k.k. amalgamation building, and a (no longer operating) blue pigment mill; (b) the commercial silver and cobalt mine Hohetanne, with mine building; next to it the chapel of St. Barbara; (c) 2 paper mills, the upper and the lower, along Weseritz Creek; (d) the Grundhaus, a live-in building below the Neustadt in the Pfaffenberger Grund; (e) Freudenstein, the decayed former castle of the Counts Schlick, on the Schloßberg [castle mountain]; (f) the Grundhäuser, 2 live-in houses in the Schrotersgrund; with them the chapel of St. Anna and the discontinued chapel of St. John Nepomuk; (g) the Edelleutsstollen mine with mine building; (h) the Herrenmühle [mill], with board saw; (i) the Madermühle [mill]; (k) the Petermühle [mill], and (l) the Drahtmühle [wire mill], all along the Weseritz; (m) various mine buildings some of k.k., some of commercial mines.


The city itself contains:

(1) The Dechantei church of St. Joachim; it was built mainly from the Kurantheil [a fee or tax] that was levied from each mine for the benefit of churches and schools in the years 1530 to 1544. Most of the inhabitants of the city that was founded as late as 1516, as shown below, were Protestants until after the middle of the 17th century, and the ministry was performed by [Protestant] ministers. However, after most Protestants emigrated to Saxony as a consequence of reduced mining and of the gradual restoration of the earlier rights of the Catholic faith, by 1663 Joachimsthal obtained again Catholic clergy, namely a dean and a chaplain. A second of the latter type was added in 1769. The church, a large dignified building, is located north of the upper part of the city and is built in the same style as the city churches in Brüx (Saaz district) and Annaberg (Saxony). The interior can hold 8000 people. At the place of the high altar that was founded in 1545 by Count Stephan Schlick, in 1785 a larger marble altar was placed, which is adorned by the portrait of St. Joachim, by Cramolin. Other than that, the church has 10 side altars. The former high altar painting described by Schaller, by Lukas Kranach, representing the last supper, the resurrection, and the ascension of Christ, the deluge etc. etc., was moved to a side altar during said renovation. Three other paintings are by Albrecht Dürer, and a large painting in water color is by Skreta. In the parish are, besides Joachimsthal and the above-mentioned hamlets, the villages Neustadt, Dürnberg, Maria-Sorg, Wörlsberg, and Wörlsgrün. The patronage of the Dechantei church, as well as the other churches and chapels, is by the city community since 11 February 1785. Formerly, it was until 1545 (?) with the Counts Schlick, and after the Catholic restoration until 1785, with the Aerar.1

(2) The Spital- or Todtenkirche, named after the adjacent civic hospital and cemetery, existed already before the construction of the city. It was the parish church of the former village Konradsgrün (see historical notes below) and was administered from Falkenau. There is no documentation about its history. It was probably built by the Counts Schlick. It contains several good old paintings.

(3) Situated in the lower part of the city, the chapel of St. Barbara was built in 1777 primarily for the personnel working in the k.k. smelter.

(4) In the place of the public chapel of St. Anna, built in 1796 in the center of the city, a smaller ancient wooden chapel once existed.

(5) The chapel of St. John of Nepomuk, located on a rise east of the city, was discontinued under Emperor Joseph II, and it is utilized as a private building.

(6) Further northeast on a high mountain and surrounded by fields is the widely visible, unimproved chapel of St. Procopius, and southwest of the city one sees, along the trail to Maria-Sorg, the three smaller chapels

(7) Maria-Hilf,

(8) Altötting, and

(9) Trinity.

Other noteworthy buildings are:

(10) The k.k. superior mining administration building, formerly a mint, on church square, and next to it,

(11) City Hall, a very roomy and pleasant-looking two story building that was built in the years 1530 to 1541. Apart from the council hall, the offices and counters etc. etc. etc. it contains the remains of a library that already existed here in old times, but has been ruined in part by fire and in part by pillage during the Thirty Year War. Among its holdings are, still fairly well preserved, several Greek and Latin classics in good editions, church fathers and other theological works, etc. The archive also contains various old privileges and other important documents.

(12) The dean's rectory.

(13) The main school, not far from the Dechantei church; with 1 director and catechist, 3 teachers, 1 aide, 1 art teacher; in conjunction with it, the girls school, with 1 catechist, 1 teacher, and 1 industrial [home economics] teacher.

(14) Two brewery and malt storage buildings, one for the upper and one for the lower part of the city. Each is allowed to brew 27 barrels and 2 buckets of beer. Currently, only one is operating.

(15) The restaurants City of Dresden (formerly named Zum Wilden Mann) and Zum Blauen Stern, both on the main city square.

(16) The above-mentioned former castle (Freudenstein) of the Counts Schlick, on the Schloßberg, was located in the middle of the city before the Thirty Year War when the city numbered 1200 houses. Downward, in the valley, was the upper part of the city with church, rectory, school, mint, city hall, and several other buildings of the authorities. A larger portion was behind the castle, on the mountain where there is now the town Neustadt, such that the castle was open toward the north, east, and south. During the Thirty Year War the castle along with the upper part of the city were destroyed by the Swedes. The still existing "Schwedenschanze" [a fortification] reminds of that event. Of the castle, the walls including the tower still stand. An apartment was added later in the tower for the tower watch man, who rings after the church clock, and who has to give the usual signals at the outbreak of fire and also has to ring the Bergglocke [a bell] daily at 3 and 4 am, at 11 and 12 mid-day, and at 7 and 8 p.m. for the entrance and the exit of the miners at the three daily shift changes. The part of the city behind the castle, toward the west, is completely devastated, and only traces of walls and basements and the names of a few streets remain in its memory.

Of note in the city as it exists now is the private house number C. 422 for the reasons that (1) it is built at the place of the first mine, and (2) the house has been owned by the family Funk without interruption from the construction of the city to this time.

About the way that the image of the city gradually develops in the eyes of a visitor who approaches it from Karlsbad, Dean Böhm has contributed the following description along with accurate notes on the topography:

"... From Schlackenwerth, one first reaches the village Ober-Brand that is located along the road. From here, two mountain ranges extend on both sides of the narrow valley that is traversed by Weseritz Creek. At the end of this village, the city begins with the first wire mill on the left side. In the valley, one passes during the next 1/2 hour [on foot] 2 wire mills, 2 paper mills, 5 grain mills along with 1 board saw and 1 oil press. Across the creek, one then reaches on the right side the smelter, the amalgamation building, and the blue pigment mill, while on the left side one sees the chapel of St. Barbara. Here one also sees first the lower part of the city, ascending to the northwest, and high on a mountain to the northeast the chapel of St. Procopius. After a quarter hour stretch along the houses and the creek one passes on the left side the Hospital Church, the cemetery, and the civic hospital. From there, the streets rise on both sides to the middle of the city where the chapel of St. Anna is on the left-hand side on a small square. Further to the west one sees on a mountain the remains of the castle Freudenstein, and at the foot of that mountain is the entrance to the Emperor Joseph mine, opposite from the chapel of St. John, to the right or east. Above on the church square is the city hall, next to it the mining administration building, and higher above the Dechantei church. To the left of that are the dean's rectory and the main school, and above the church is the entrance of the shaft of the community mine Unity, where one reaches the end of the city after a short while. The creek flows through the middle of the city."


Joachimsthal has a magistrate, with a mayor, 2 approved [elected?] councilmen, 1 secretary, etc. etc. The official seal contains the coat of arms of the city, a shield divided into four parts. The quadrants on the upper right and lower left contain the Bohemian lion in a diagonally divided red and yellow field, whereas the upper left and lower right quadrants show in blue color a mine building at the foot of several mountains. In the middle is a smaller red shield with a white (silver) horizontal bar on which one sees the emblems of mining, sledge hammer and poking iron. On both sides of the coat of arms are figures, on the right St. Joachim, and on the left St. Ann.

The offices and representatives of the sovereign are:

(a) the k.k. supreme mining administration with 1 supervisor (k.k wirkl. Bergrath, district mining judge and Vogtei-Commissär), 4 assessors, 1 actuary, 1 office supervisor, several mining interns under oath, etc.

The following are subordinates of this administration:

(b) the k.k. mining accounting office;

(c) the k.k mining administration, with 1 mining manager, 2 mining jurors, and 1 mining clerk;

(d) the k.k. shift administration, with 1 shift master and 1 shift clerk;

(e) the k.k. smelter administration, with 1 smelter master and 1 material caretaker;

(f) the k.k. district mining court for the Elbogen, Saaz, and Leitmeritz districts, as well as for the Eger district, with 1 mining judge, 2 associate judges, 1 actuary, etc.

(g) the k.k. mining forest administration.

In addition, Joachimsthal is the location of a k.k. treasury commissioner of section number 15 and of a k.k. road master for the Schlackenwerth road.


As late as the 15th century, the entire area where Joachimsthal exists now was a forested mountain landscape that belonged to the Schlackenwerth dominion, which (along with Lichtenstadt) was given by King Sigmund in 1437 to his Chancellor Kaspar Schlick Count of Passaun (Bassano). A few miners from Schlackenwerth and from the margrave county of Meißen were mining here for silver, but the yield appears to have been insignificant. Only at the beginning of the 16th century, actually in 1516, the yield became so large that a large number of operations were attracted to mine here, and Count Stephan Schlick, the landlord at that time, felt compelled to lay the foundation of a mining city which soon flourished. As in the adjacent Meißen area there existed already an Annaberg, a Marienberg, and a Josdorf (now Jöhstadt, Josephsstadt), the valley and the newly built city were named Joachimsthal in order to have all members of the holy family as protecting patrons within a relatively small area. -- On the Pfaffenberg was the small village Konradsgrün, which was a personal [?] property of the brothers of Haslau who now also laid claim on the neighboring area onto which the mining operations and the extent of the city started to spread. The resulting quarrel with Count Schlick was ended in a compromise, and as a consequence, the lords of Haslau were assured reimbursement.2

The silver yield of the Joachimsthal mines became soon so substantial that already in 1518 Count Schlick had a mine built, where in 1519 the first coins, Guldengroschen at 24 white Groschen such as they were minted in Saxony. After the place of their origin they were named Thalergroschen (Czech Grossy Tolsky), later simply Thaler (Tolary), a name that gradually was accepted all across Germany and has found its way even in foreign countries (as Dollar in England and America, as Talar, Talari in the Levant etc.). On the front they carried the portrait of St. Joachim, and on the back side those of King Ludwig and Count Schlick, or also the Bohemian lion, and were sometimes also called Schlickenthaler or Löwenthaler. Their Latin name was, because they weighed two Loth or one ounce, unciales, also Vallenses (Joachimicos), and later, when they achieved recognition and circulation as German imperial coinage, Imperiales (Reichsthaler).3 In 1519, King Ludwig not only affirmed the liberties that had been granted to the community and the Knappschaft [miners association] of Joachimsthal by Count Schlick, but in a royal decree he also elevated the city to a Free Mining City and granted it all the rights and liberties of such, two annual markets (on St. Margaretha and on Sunday 14 days before Carnival), a weekly market (Saturday), furthermore a coat of arms etc., as well as the institution of a Schöppenstuhl for the adjudication of legal fights among the mining personnel.4 In the same year the king also affirmed the mint privilege of Count Schlick.

Almost simultaneously, the other members of the Schlick family registered claims of parts of the Joachimsthal mining area, which Count Stephan, the owner of Schlackenwerth, took for himself. A legal dispute over this issue was prevented by a mediated decision by the Dukes Georg and Heinrich of Saxony, dated on the day of St. Thomas 1520, according to which one branch was to receive seven parts, the other three, themselves subdivided into smaller parts.5 At its peak, the city along with the valley numbered over 1200 houses, almost 12,000 miners, 400 shift masters, 800 pit-foremen, and 800 operating mines.6

A few years later the first disturbances of the civic peace started in Joachimsthal, and indirectly in the mining industry. When in 1524 the so-called German Peasant War spread to the area of Anspach, which borders on Bohemia, the Counts Schlick sent 60 armed horsemen as support to the margrave of Anspach at the latter's request. As at this time the Lutheran faith had already started to spread into Bohemia and especially here in the Erzgebirge area, the miners were very unhappy with the support that Count Schlick sent to squelch the Anspach uprising. On the Saturday before Cantate [4th Sunday after Easter] 1525, they assembled on the market square in Joachimsthal, sacked the castle and city hall, and captured mayor Thiksen, whom they soon released again, though. The rebellion soon spread through the entire mountain range, such that prompt and strong efforts were soon made to suppress it, both from Annaberg and Freising in Saxony as well as by the Counts Schlick and the neighboring Lords of Weitmühl in the Saaz district. The rebels gave up, and calm was soon restored after the punishment of their leaders.7

A new disturbance of the mining occurred in 1526, when Count Stephan Schlick and his brother Lorenz with a respectable contingent of miners accompanied King Ludwig to war in Hungary. Count Stephan himself died at the side of the king in the well-known battle of Mohacs, on 29 August, and his brother Lorenz returned to Schlackenwerth sick, where he died soon thereafter. Even more significant was the problem that was brought forth by the legal dispute among the Counts Schlick regarding the succession in Schlackenwerth and Elbogen. Regardless of the effort of Wolf von Schönburg, Lord of Glaucha and Waldburg, to make peace between the quarrelling parties, the affair awakened the attention of the new King Ferdinand I and the Council of Bohemian States. Thus, at the national assembly in Budweis in 1528 the mint privilege was withdrawn from the Counts Schlick and was declared a right that was reserved for the king. Nevertheless, due to the many merits of the Counts Schlick and at the request of others, the king was moved in the same year to allow the counts to continue minting for another ten years, along with some other privilege. The condition was however, that it was done in the name of the king and entirely according to the rules of the kingdom, and that the Counts Schlick only acted as royal administrators of the mint.

The renewed disturbances due to these regulations in the relationship between the Counts Schlick, the government, and the royal administrators who were assigned to Joachimsthal, as well as between the latter, the populace, and the entire mining personnel, are partially impossible to unscramble from the sources utilized by Count Sternberg,8 and partially so complicated and of such type that we think we can skip here. In conjunction with these were religious feuds, which in 1545 called Emperor Charles V to Germany. The final result was that on 19 September 1545 all mines had to be transferred from the Counts Schlick to King Ferdinand.

At the outbreak of the Schmalkalden War, Joachimsthal and the entire border region were on the side of the Elector of Saxony, and some suffered more, others less by the war events. After the battle of Mühlberg (24 April 1547), where Emperor Charles and his ally, King Ferdinand, were victorious, the city lost all its privileges, but it obtained them back soon, since the king, who could not be interested in the complete decay of the already badly afflicted city, was quickly appeased.9 Nevertheless, the mining industry and with it the affluence of the population gradually decayed throughout the remainder of the 16th century. Not even the attempts by King Rudolph II, who in 1579 incorporated Joachimsthal as a crown dominion into the Kingdom of Bohemia, at restoring the welfare of the city had any success.

Even during its greatest boom, only fragmentary information is known about the total yield of the Joachimsthal mining effort. Count Sternberg communicates a probability computation, amounting to 1,669,754 mark 9 loth of silver for the years 1516 to 1577. For the subsequent period of 1578 to 1594, it is 61,068 mark, thus a total of 1,730,822 mark 9 loth. Losses due to theft, smuggle etc. are not included. By the way, one should not ignore the fact that also the discovery of America, the diminished value of noble metal, and the inflation of cost-of-living had great influence on the decay of the Bohemian mining industry.10 Soon after the outbreak of the Thirty Year War, Joachimsthal was occupied by Count Mannsfeld. The later devastations by the Swedes have already been mentioned above with the description of the castle ruin Freudenstein. The last Protestants emigrated in 1663 to Saxony.11 -- Among the disasters other than war, pillage, and fire, that have been endured by the city, Schaller mentions several pestilence-like epidemics, in the years 1521, 1598, 1607, and 1608. Also, the city was afflicted by an earthquake in 1521, and in 1634 most of it burned down.


Among the distinguished men who were born in Joachimsthal, the replies by the magistrate to our inquiries name (a) the late dean of the cathedral of St. Veit in Prague, Mr. Franz Pallas de Lauro and (b) the living subordinate bishop of Prague, chapter dean of Altbunzlau, etc. etc. etc., Mr. Franz Wilhelm Tippmann in Prague. -- From the 16th century, the Protestant pastor M. Johann Mathesius, whose work Sarepta (published in 1578; a collection of sermons along with notes about the mining in Joachimsthal) is a principal source on the older history of the city, is remembered both by Schaller and by Count Sternberg.12


The following are towns that belong to the city. Their inhabitants are considered citizens of Joachimsthal, with the exception of those of the village Ober-Brand who are subjects of the city.

(1) Abertham, Abertam (in Schaller: Abertann and Oberdannern), 1 1/2 hours W of the city, on a small creek, NW of the foot of the Plößberg [mountain], 468 W.Kl. above the North Sea, mining and market town of 233 houses with 1842 inhabitants, has 1 parish church of the Fourteen Holy Helpers [13], 1 rectory, and 1 school, all under the patronage of the Joachimsthal city community (? according to the pastor under the patronage of the community of Abertham), 1 city hall, 1 market court with 1 market judge and 1 registrar of deeds, 1 tavern, and 1 mill. -- The church was built in 1534 from an especially designated fraction of the mining yield and other contributions in cash and building materials by the city of Joachimsthal etc. Originally and until 1635, it was under the administration of Lutheran ministers, in 1651 it became a branch of the Catholic parish of Joachimsthal, in 1688 of the parish of Platten, and later that in Gottesgab. After it was remodeled in 1736, it obtained again its own pastor in 1754. In 1825 a chaplain was added. The oldest bell dates from the year 1560. There is no separate rectory building; instead, a private home was purchased as a living quarter for the pastor. Apart from Abertham itself, the village Hengstererben of the present dominion along with the hamlets conscribed with it, and the Lessighäuser [hamlet?] and one house in Fischbach, Schlackenwerth dominion. -- Abertham formed in 1529 by the settlement of miners, and until the 17th century it shared good and ill fate with the city of Joachimsthal. The St. Lorenz mine alone is said to have yielded 209,992 Goldgulden in silver until 1562. The following were born in Abertham: (a) the k.k. Landrath in Prague, Wenzel von Schönherr; (b) the k.k. Bergrath in Joachimsthal, Augustin Wüst; and (c) the k.k. Bergrath in Klagenfurth, Franz Wöllner.

(2) Hengstererben, 1 1/4 hours WNW of the city, 163 houses with 1259 inhabitants, in the parish of Abertham, has 1 community school and 1 mill. Separate are the hamlets Neugeschrei, Neujahr, Erben, Grund (or Grundhäuser, 38 numbers), Vorderhengst (35 numbers), Hengsterseifen, and the mines of St. Lorenz (silver) and St. Mauriz (silver and cobalt).

(3) Wörlsberg, Werlsberg, 3/4 hours WNW of the city, south of the foot of the Wörlsberg [mountain], 20 houses with 139 inhabitants, in the parish of the Dechantei church; separate is the Elijah mine.

(4) Wörlsgrün, Werlsgrün, 1/2 hour WNW of the city, along a small creek, 13 houses with 98 inhabitants, in the parish of the Dechantei church; separate is the Eva Apfelbaum mine.

(5) Maria-Sorg, 1/2 hour WSW of the city, NW of the Wolfsberg [mountain], 16 houses with 119 inhabitants, in the parish of the Dechantei church, has 1 community school, 1 Capuchin monastery (hospice) with 1 church of the Virgin Mary, and 1 chapel of St. Franz Seraphicus; a tavern is also here. -- The church, which contains a merciful painting of the Mother of God and is a frequently visited pilgrimage place, is a branch of the Dechantei church of Joachimsthal. It was built and sponsored along with the monastery in 1754 by the city of Joachimsthal. The chapel already existed in the 17th century and was renovated in 1699. -- Separate are the farm Knieriemen and a former hermitage.

(6) Neustadt, 1/4 hour SW of the city, 27 houses with 181 inhabitants, in the parish of the Dechantei church, was formerly part of the city (see above.

(7) Dürnberg (formerly Dornberg and Dörnberg), 1 hour E of the city, 58 houses with 460 inhabitants, in the parish of the Dechantei church; separate is the Saxonian Nobles' mine.

(8) Elbecken, Elbeken (also Oelbecken), 1 1/2 hours NE of the city, 7 houses with 59 inhabitants, in the parish of Gottesgab; among them are (a) the Gifthütte [poison factory]; (b) the silver mine Schönenz, both no longer operation; and (c) the hamlet Sonnenwirbel, 2 live-in houses. A few years ago, some citizens of Joachimsthal built a tower-like building on the highest point of the Sonnenwirbel [mountain], from where (as it is the highest point in the Erzgebirge range) one enjoys a complete view in the more distant reaches of Saxony and Bohemia.

(9) Ober-Brand, 1 hour SSE of the city, along the Schlackenwerth road and Weseritz Creek, subject village of 30 houses with 158 inhabitants, in the parish of Schlackenwerth, has 1 school, 1 tavern, 2 mills, and somewhat separately 1 wire mill. -- The estate Ober-Brand was purchased in 1531 by the city community. Its previous owner is unknown.


Footnotes

  1. Reply by Dean Böhm. [back]
  2. Count Sternberg: "Outline of a History of the Bohemian Mines." Vol. 1, part 1, pp. 316-320. [back]
  3. The fact that in 1437 Count Schlick obtained from Emperor Sigmund the right of coinage not only for Bohemia but also for the entire Holy Roman Empire, and that a mine "St. Joachimsthal" already existed at that time, is, regardless of the reprinting of the document in Spicilegium saeculare of the German Imperial Archive by König, debunked by Count Sternberg, loc. cit. pp. 313 and following, with very convincing arguments, and he declares this document, whose original has not been found anyway, to be a fraud. [back]
  4. Reply by the magistrate. According to Schaller, the original document is in the archive of the k.k. supreme mint master office in Prague. [back]
  5. Count Sternberg, loc. cit., p. 321. [back]
  6. Reply by the magistrate. [back]
  7. Count Sternberg, pp. 325 and following, based on a contemporary manuscript and Johann Miesel's "Historical Description of the Free Mining City Joachimsthal" (manuscript in the Bohemian Museum). [back]
  8. Loc. cit., pp. 330 and following. [back]
  9. See vol. 4 of this work (Königgrätz district), p. 24. [back]
  10. Monthly Journal of the Patriotic Museum, May 1827, p. 21 ("The Productivity etc. etc. of Bohemia During the First Quarter of the 19th Century" by k.k. Gub. R. Neumann).
  11. [back]
  12. Compare [section on] Mining City Platten, p. 84. [back]
  13. See also [section on the] City of Platten, p. 86. [back]
  14. [A group of saints that were popularly revered in Germany, France and elsewhere starting in the 14th century. See O. Englebert, Lives of the Saints (1951), entry for August 8.] [back]

Acknowledgment

The translator is indebted to Dorothea Selig for a critical reading of this section and for a number of corrections.


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Urs Geiser - last updated February 28, 2002