The word Chancellor (Latin Cancellarius ) designated in the Middle Ages, first the firm head of a certificate authority and has since been used for high political officials within the state.

Holy Roman Empire and German Confederation

Since Louis the German was at the head of the royal court orchestra of Erzkaplan, which was soon called Lord Chancellor because of the office function of the court orchestra. From 870 was holding office of the Archbishop of Mainz. The office of arch-chancellor was one of the Erzämtern the Holy Roman Empire and was exercised until 1806 by the Elector of Mainz. Accordingly, the Elector of Cologne and Trier took over the chancellor's office for the connected with the kingdom kingdoms Italy ( Lombardy ) and Burgundy.

De facto head of the Reich Chancellery was the imperial vice- chancellor, who was appointed by the Lord Chancellor with the approval of the Emperor. 1620, the Austrian Department of the Reich Chancellery was removed as Austrian Chancellery, who headed the Austrian court chancellor. As a result more and more agendas were also foreign policy and diplomacy of the Reich concerning, located in the Austrian Chancellery, the influence of the Reich Chancellery was pushed back step by step and it worked just more internal affairs of the so-called narrow empire (without the Habsburg hereditary lands ). The Austrian Court Chancellery became the core of the Austrian rule and the imperial authorities being, they remained the influence of the states and the states of the Austrian lands completely withdrawn. A well-known court chancellor Wenzel Anton Kaunitz was, for example.

Even after the end of the Holy Roman Empire, the Chancellor title was in the biggest states of the German Confederation, the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Prussia led. Thus acted in Austria of Metternich in the 19th century long as " State Registrar ", the Count Beust 1868 to 1871 even as the " Chancellor ". In Prussia, officiated similar to 1820 Prince Hardenberg as " Prussian Chancellor ".


German Empire

It must have been the tradition of the State Chancellor described above, which prompted the Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, in his additional role as Prime Minister of the North German Confederation 1867-1871 to accept the title of Chancellor, which was changed after the Empire of 1871 in Chancellor. The Chancellor title referred to 1945 under different political constitutions of the head of government of the German Reich. In this role, he was the Cabinet - 1871-1918 the so-called national leadership, from 1919 to 1945 the national government - before. Until 1918, the Chancellor was appointed by the Emperor of Germany, this was directly subordinated and was dependent on his confidence. Almost always, the Chancellor was also Prime Minister of Prussia.

Chancellor Friedrich Ebert was during the November Revolution of 1918 as Chairman of the Council of People's Representatives, his successor Philipp Scheidemann served as Minister -President. The Weimar Constitution of August 1919, the name was again chancellor.

In the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), the Chancellor and the Reich Minister appointed by the President, but the Reichstag could deprive the members of the government 's trust. After Hitler came to power in 1933, the government lost as such in importance and soon met only rarely. After the death of the President 1934, the office was formally on; discourage rather than a choice, Hitler combined the functions of the President of the Reich Office with his Chancellorship, and gave himself the title of " Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor ".

Federal Republic of Germany

The head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949 has received the traditional title chancellor. He is elected as the only member of the government by the Bundestag; together with the federal ministers to form the federal government.

In the German states welcome the Government Prime Minister, Governing Mayor (Berlin), First Mayor (Hamburg ) and President of the Senate and Mayor (Bremen). However, the hot ( the Deputy Prime Minister ) supreme state authorities or the State Chancellery Senate Chancellery. The Head of State or Senate Chancellery under the name of Head of the State or Head of the Senate Chancellery (each CdS abbreviated ). In Baden-Württemberg, however, the authority of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of State.


Already 1526/27 was Ferdinand I of the Austrian Chancellery established, but in 1559 united with the Chancellery of the Holy Roman Empire. 1620 re- established as an independent authority, it developed as described above, the core of Austrian law.

From 1920 to 1938 and again from 1945, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Austria bears the title chancellor. From 1918 to 1920, and from May to December 1945, the name was chancellor.


The Chancellor dressed in Switzerland, the Office of the Head of the Federal Chancellery, but not the government. The Federal Chancellery is the Office of the Federal Council, the Swiss federal government.

Great Britain

British Finance Minister is in the German language as Chancellor of the Exchequer (English: Chancellor of the Exchequer ) refers. The British Minister for Justice submits the title of Lord Chancellor ( Lord Chancellor ), he was, until its replacement by the Lord Speaker, and President of the House of Lords.

Latin America

In some Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panamá, Perú and Venezuela, the Foreign Minister will canciller ( in Spanish) or chanceler called ( in Portuguese), so Chancellor.

Southern European countries

In the embassies or consulates of Portugal, Spain, Italy and even France is the canciller or chancelier an official who deals with certain tasks of the Foreign Service.