Henry IV, Duke of Saxony

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This article is about the Duke of Saxony. For other uses, see Henry IV.
Henry IV
Duke of Saxony
Margrave of Meissen
Lord of Friesland
Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 042.jpg
Portrait of Henry IV by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Duke of Saxony; Margrave of Meissen
Reign 17 April 1539 – 18 August 1541
Predecessor George
Successor Maurice
Spouse Catherine of Mecklenburg
Issue Sybille, Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg
Emilie, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Sidonie, Duchess of Brunswick-Kalenberg
Maurice, Elector of Saxony
Prince Severinus
Augustus, Elector of Saxony
Full name
Heinrich der Fromme
House House of Wettin
Albertine Line
Father Albert III, Duke of Saxony
Mother Sidonie of Poděbrady
Born (1473-03-16)16 March 1473
Dresden
Died 18 August 1541(1541-08-18) (aged 68)
Dresden
Religion Lutheranism

Henry IV the Pious, Duke of Saxony (German: Heinrich der Fromme) (Dresden, 16 March 1473 – Dresden, 18 August 1541) was a Duke of Saxony from the House of Wettin.

Biography[edit]

Heinrich was the second son of Albert, Duke of Saxony, and his wife Sidonie Podiebrad, princess of Bohemia. When Albert died in 1500, his eldest son Georg succeeded to the Duchy of Saxony, and Heinrich became Lord of Friesland.

Saxon rule of Friesland was disturbed by constant revolts. Consequently Heinrich, who was of a rather inert disposition, gave up his title there. In 1505 Heinrich ceded Friesland to Georg, in return for an annuity and the districts of Wolkenstein and Freiberg, where Heinrich made his residence.

In 1517, Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in Germany, and a few years later Heinrich converted to Lutheranism. Georg remained a devout Catholic. Both of Georg's sons predeceased him without issue.

When Georg's second son died in 1539, Heinrich (a Protestant) became heir presumptive to the Duchy under the Act of Settlement of 1499. To prevent a Protestant succession, Georg tried to override his father's will, disinherit Heinrich, and bequeath the Duchy to Ferdinand, brother of Charles V. But Georg died only two months later, and Heinrich succeeded to the Duchy.

He was then 66 years old, and reigned for only two years. Heinrich made Lutheranism the state religion of the Duchy of Saxony.

Marriage and children[edit]

In Freiberg, on 6 July 1512, Heinrich married Catherine of Mecklenburg, daughter of Duke Magnus II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. They had six children:

Ancestry[edit]

External links[edit]

Henry IV, Duke of Saxony
Born: 16 March 1473 Died: 18 August 1541
Preceded by
George
Duke of Saxony
1539–1541
Succeeded by
Maurice