A territorial lord (German: Landesherr) was a ruler in the period beginning with the Early Middle Ages, who held sovereignty over a territory, effectively as the monarch. Such a lord had the highest authority or dominion in a state or territory. He was generally a member of the high aristocracy (Hochadel) or clergy who was the title bearer or office holder of an existing or constituent state through the custom of primogeniture or feudal law. In the Holy Roman Empire, the lords of the individual member states, the imperial states or Reichsstände (excluding the emperor), were the territorial lords of the regions ruled by them. The territorial lord usually had the rights of coinage and jurisdiction over his domain. A prerequisite for being a territorial lord was the combination of property and estate ownership, as well as sovereignty, in one person as a unified legal concept.
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