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Patent from Emperor Joseph II awarding the title of Imperial Count to Anton Schenk von Stauffenberg, 1785.

Briefadel (in German) or brevadel (in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish) are persons and families who have been ennobled by letters patent. The oldest known such letters patent were issued in the middle of the 14th century, during the Late Middle Ages.

Briefadel can be contrasted with Uradel, whose nobility predates issuance of letters patent. The term dates to the early nineteenth century.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bref-adel". Svenska Akademiens Ordbok. 1922. spalt B 4195 band 5. adel som uppstått genom utfärdande af adelsbref, pappersadel; motsatt: urgammal adel, bördsadel.