John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg

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John Sigismund
Elector of Brandenburg
Johann Sigismund 02 IV 13 2 0026 01 0318 a Seite 1 Bild 0001.jpg
John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg
Spouse(s) Anna, Duchess of Prussia
Noble family House of Hohenzollern
Father Joachim Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg
Mother Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin
Born (1572-11-08)8 November 1572
Halle
Died 23 December 1619(1619-12-23) (aged 47)
Berlin
John Sigismund, Duke of Prussia

John Sigismund (German: Johann Sigismund) (8 November 1572 – 23 December 1619) was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg from the House of Hohenzollern. He also served as a Duke of Prussia.

Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia[edit]

John Sigismund was born in Halle an der Saale to Joachim Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg, and his first wife Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin. He succeeded his father as Margrave of Brandenburg in 1608. In 1611, John Sigismund traveled from Köningsberg to Warsaw, where on 16 November 1611 he gave feudal homage to Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland (the Duchy of Prussia was a Polish fief at the time). He officially became Duke of Prussia in 1618, although he had served as regent on behalf of the mentally-disturbed Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia, for several years prior. Albert Frederick died in the following year.

John Sigismund gave the Reichshof Castrop to his teacher and educator Carl Friedrich von Bordelius, whereas he received the territories of Cleves, Mark, and Ravensberg in the Treaty of Xanten in 1614.

Religious policy[edit]

John Sigismund's most significant action was his conversion from Lutheranism to Calvinism, after he had earlier equalized the rights of Catholics and Protestants in the Duchy of Prussia under pressure from the King of Poland. He was probably won over to Calvinism during a visit to Heidelberg in 1606, but it was not until 1613 that he publicly took communion according to the Calvinist rite. The vast majority of his subjects in Brandenburg, including his wife Anna of Prussia, remained deeply Lutheran, however. After the Elector and his Calvinist court officials drew up plans for mass conversion of the population to the new faith in February 1614, as provided for by the rule of Cuius regio, eius religio within the Holy Roman Empire, there were serious protests, with his wife backing the Lutherans. Resistance was so strong that in 1615, John Sigismund backed down and relinquished all attempts at forcible conversion. Instead, he allowed his subjects to be either Lutheran or Calvinist according to the dictates of their own consciences. Henceforward, Brandenburg-Prussia would be a bi-confessional state.[1]

Family and children[edit]

On 30 October 1594, John Sigismund married Anna of Prussia, daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia (1553–1618). They were parents to eight children:

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christopher Clark The Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 (Penguin, 2007) pp.115-121

External links[edit]

John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg
Born: 8 November 1572 Died: 23 December 1619
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Joachim Frederick
Elector of Brandenburg
1608–1619
Succeeded by
George William
Margrave of Brandenburg
1608–1619
Preceded by
Albert Frederick
Duke of Prussia
vassal of Poland

1618–1619
Vacant
Title last held by
John William
Duke of Cleves,
Count of Mark,
Count of Ravensburg

1614–1619
Incorporated into Brandenburg