Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg

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Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg
Herzogtum Sachsen-Altenburg
State of the Holy Roman Empire,
State of the German Confederation,
State of the North German Confederation,
State of the German Empire,
State of the Weimar Republic
Blason Duché de Saxe-Weimar.svg
1602–1672
1826–1918
1918–1920

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem
Heil unserm Herzog, heil
(Hail to our Duke, hail!)
Saxe-Altenburg within the German Empire
 
Ernestine-map.png
Ernestine duchies after 1825, showing Saxe-Altenburg in orange
Capital Altenburg
Government Principality
Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
 -  1603–13 Christian II, Elector of Saxony (regent for John Philip)
 -  1669–72 John George II, Elector of Saxony (regent for Frederick William III)
 -  1826–34 Frederick
 -  1908–18 Ernst II
History
 -  Saxe-Weimar partitioned 7 July 1602
 -  Personal union with
    Saxe-Gotha*
 
1672–1825
 -  Ernestine duchies
    rearranged, duchy
    restored
 
12 November 1826
 -  German Revolution November 1918
 -  Merger of Thuringia 1920
Area
 -  1905 1,323 km² (511 sq mi)
Population
 -  1905 est. 207,000 
     Density 156.5 /km²  (405.2 /sq mi)
* See Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
† As Free State of Saxe-Altenburg
‡ In 1920, the ex-Imperial states of Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two principalities of Reuß all merged to form the Free State of Thuringia.

The Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg (German: Sachsen-Altenburg) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia.[1] It was one of the smallest of the German states with an area of 1323 square kilometers and a population of 207,000 (1905) of whom about one fifth resided in the capital, Altenburg. The territory of the duchy consisted of two non-contiguous territories separated by land belonging to the Principality of Reuss. Its economy was based on agriculture, forestry, and small industry. The state had a constitutional monarchical form of government with a parliament composed of thirty members chosen by male taxpayers over 25 years of age.

History[edit]

The duchy had its origins in the medieval Burgraviate of Altenburg in the Imperial Pleissnerland (Terra Plisensis), a possession of the Wettin Margraves of Meissen since 1243. Upon a partition treaty of 1485, Altenburg fell to Elector Ernest of Saxony, the progenitor of the Ernestine Wettins.[2] After the Division of Erfurt in 1572 among Duke John William of Saxony and his nephews, Altenburg fell to his Duchy of Saxe-Weimar.

When John William's son and successor Frederick William I died in 1602, the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar passed to his younger brother John II. In 1603 Frederick William's eldest son John Philip received the newly created Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg as compensation. It was an Imperial State in its own right, with a vote in the Reichstag, for much of the 17th century until the extinction of its ruling line in 1672 when it was inherited by Ernest I the Pious, the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, who had married the heiress.

Saxe-Altenburg thereafter remained part of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg until the extinction of that house in 1825, when Gotha and Altenburg were divided up, with Gotha going to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Altenburg to the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, who in exchange gave up Hildburghausen to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. This family ruled the duchy until the end of the monarchies in the course of the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The succeeding Free State of Saxe-Altenburg was incorporated into the new state of Thuringia in 1920.

Saxe-Altenburg had an area of 1,323 km² and a population of 207,000 (1905). Its capital was Altenburg.

The Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct following the death of Prince George Moritz in 1991. The leadership of the house passed to Michael, head of the genealogically more senior house of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Castle of Altenburg

Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg[edit]

Saxe-Altenburg in the 19th century

Elder line[edit]

Line extinct, inherited by Saxe-Gotha, thereupon Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

Junior line[edit]

Heads of the Ducal House of Saxe-Altenburg, post monarchy[edit]

In 1991 the Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct. Its representation was merged with the one of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Two branches descend from duke Ernest the Pious, the father of the progenitor of the Saxe-Altenburg branch: Saxe-Meiningen and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; according to old Wettin family law, they would have divided the actual territories between them (as happened to Gotha and Altenburg in 1826).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Ernestine Line's Saxon Duchies" (Web). Historical Atlas. Tacitus Historical Atlas. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Saxe-Altenburg". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Saxe-Altenburg at Wikimedia Commons