Jacob Kettler

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Jacob Kettler
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Jaqkob Kettler k.jpg
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Reign 17 August 1642 – 1 January 1682
Predecessor Frederick Kettler
Successor Frederick Casimir Kettler
Spouse Margravine Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg
Issue Ladislaus Frederick Kettler
Frederick Casimir Kettler
Charles Jacob Kettler
Ferdinand Kettler
Alexander Kettler
Louise Elisabeth Kettler, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg
Christina Kettler
Charlotta Maria Kettler, Abbess of Herford
Marie Amalie Kettler, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel
House House of Kettler
Father Wilhelm Kettler
Mother Duchess Sophie of Prussia
Born (1610-10-28)28 October 1610
Goldingen (Kuldīga)
Died 1 January 1682(1682-01-01) (aged 71)
Mitau (Jelgava)
Burial Ducal crypt in the Jelgava Palace
Religion Lutheranism
Jacob Kettler's thaler from 1645

Jacob Kettler (German: Jakob von Kettler) (28 October 1610 – 1 January 1682) was a Baltic German Duke of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1642–1682). Under his rule, the duchy was brought to its greatest peak in wealth and engaged in colonization.

Life[edit]

Kettler was born in Goldingen (Kuldīga). He was the son of Wilhelm Kettler and Sofie Hohenzollern, Princess of Prussia, a daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia. He was the godson of King James I of England. While his father was exiled from duchy Jacob lived in the courts of Stettin and Berlin. He had studied in the Rostock and University of Leipzig and was sympathizing to ideas of mercantilism. In 1634 Jacob traveled through the Europe. He visited Paris, London and studied shipbuilding in Amsterdam. In 1638 he became co-ruler of the duchy but in 1642 he became sole duke of Courland.

Under Kettler's rule, the duchy traded with nations like the Netherlands, Portugal, England, and France. He started large scale reforms of the duchy's economy. The Duke improved the agriculture, opened many manufactures and started active shipbuilding. During Jacobs reign the Duchy became de facto independent from the Polish crown because all contracts with foreign powers were signed as between independent countries. Since 1646 all customs administration of the Duchy also was in the Duke's power.

The Duchy was involved in the colonisation. In 1651 he sent a fleet to build Fort Jacob on the Gambia River on the island that would later be known as St. Andrews in West Africa. In 1654 he conquered Tobago with the Das Wappen der Herzogin von Kurland, a double decker ship which was armed with 45 cannons and carried 25 officials, 124 Courlander soldiers, and 80 families of mostly latvian colonists. The colony on Tobago was named Neu Kurland ("New Courland"). Duke Jacob joined the treaty of Westminster.

The Duke was taken prisoner by the Swedes from 1658 to 1660, during the Northern Wars. Together with his family, he was held captive in Riga and later in Ivangorod. During this time, his colonies were attacked and lost and his fleet destroyed. After the war ended, he rebuilt the duchy's fleet, and retook the island of Tobago from the Dutch. Some believe he also intended to colonize Australia, which had at that time been discovered and claimed by the Dutch whom he was at war with. He supposedly had the blessing of Pope Innocent X. However, the pope soon died, and the new pope was unwilling to support the plan. Rest of his reign he tried to reach pre-war level of wealth but managed to do this only partly. The Duke died in Mitau (Jelgava) on 1 January 1682. Jacob Kettler is remembered as fair ruler who was a friend of latvian peasants and even knew the latvian language.

Issue[edit]

Kettler married Margravine Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg (1617–1676), the daughter of George William, Elector of Brandenburg and had issue:

Name Birth Death Notes
Louise Elisabeth Kettler 12 August 1646 16 December 1690 married Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg; had issue; died aged 44
Christina Kettler never married; died young
Ladislas Friedrich Kettler never married; died young
Frederick II Casimir Kettler 6 July 1650 22 January 1698 married (1) Countess Sophie Amalie of Nassau-Siegen; had issue (2) Margravine Elisabeth Sophie of Brandenburg; had issue; died aged 48
Charlotta Maria Kettler 17 September 1651 1 December 1728 never married; became the Abbess in Herford; died aged 76
Marie Amalie Anna Kettler 12 June 1653 16 June 1711 married Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel; had issue; died aged 58
Charles Jacob Kettler 20 October 1654 29 December 1677 never married; died aged 23
Ferdinand Kettler 2 November 1655 4 May 1737 married Princess Johanna Magdalene of Saxe-Weissenfels; no issue; died aged 81
Alexander Kettler 16 October 1658 1686 never married; died aged 28

Ancestry[edit]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
16. Gotthard Kettler, Herr zu Neu-Assen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Gotthard Kettler, Herr zu Neu-Assen-Melrich
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Margareta van Bronckhorst-Batenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Gotthard Kettler, Duke of Courland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Sophie of Nesselrode
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Wilhelm Kettler, Duke of Courland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
20. Magnus II, Duke of Mecklenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. Albert VII, Duke of Mecklenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
21. Duchess Sophie of Pomerania-Wolgast
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Duchess Anna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22. Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Margravine Anna of Brandenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
23. Princess Elizabeth of Denmark
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
24. Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Albert, Duke of Prussia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
25. Sophia Jagiellon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
26. Eric I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. Duchess Anna Marie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
27. Margravine Elisabeth of Brandenburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Duchess Sophie of Prussia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
28. John III, Duke of Cleves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29. Duchess Maria of Jülich-Berg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Duchess Marie Eleonore of Cleves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
30. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Archduchess Maria of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31. Anne of Bohemia and Hungary
 
 
 
 
 
 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Friedrich Kettler
Duke of Courland
1642–1682
Succeeded by
Frederick Casimir Kettler