In 1750, the time in which the opera is set, what is now Germany was a badly divided collection of autonomous states such as Brandenburg, Saxony, and Brunswick. Each of these little states was ruled over by its own prince. (A select number of these princes were titled “Electors” because of their nominal role in selecting the Holy Roman Emperor.) There were also smaller autonomous territories known as grand duchies, ruled over by grand dukes, who were next in rank to princes. One such grand duchy that is still extant is Luxembourg, a 99-square mile area between Germany, France, and Belgium, governed as a constitutional monarchy.