Principality of Bayreuth
|Principality (Margraviate) of Kulmbach / Bayreuth
Fürstentum (Markgraftum) Kulmbach / Bayreuth
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
Coat of arms
Principality of Brandenburg-Bayreuth as at 1791, when it was sold to Prussia
|Capital||Kulmbach until 1604,
Bayreuth from 1604
|-||1398–1420 (first)||John III, Burgrave of Nuremberg|
|-||1769–91 (last)||Christian Frederick,
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
Burgraviate of Nuremberg
21 January 1398 1398
|-||Reunited with Ansbach||1420–40|
|-||Joined Franconian Circle||1500|
|-||Partitioned in twain||1655–1726|
|-||Line extinct; inherited
20 January 1769
|-||Ansbach and Bayreuth
sold to Prussia
2 December 1791 1791
The Principality of Bayreuth (German: Fürstentum Bayreuth) or Brandenburg-Bayreuth was a reichsfrei principality in the Holy Roman Empire centered on the Franconian city of Bayreuth. Until 1604 its capital city was Kulmbach; then the margraves used their palaces in Bayreuth as their residence. Until the end of the empire in 1806, the margravate was called the Principality of Kulmbach (German: Fürstentum Kulmbach) or Brandenburg-Kulmbach. The incorrect 'Principality of Bayreuth' was used in unofficial writing and publications. The ruling Hohenzollern princes of the land were known as margraves, as the principality was a margravate (but not a march).
The principality was established after the death of Burgrave Frederick V of Nuremberg on 21 January 1398, when his lands were partitioned between his two sons. The elder son, John III, received Bayreuth and the younger, Frederick VI, received Ansbach.
The two principalities were reunited under the younger son, Frederick, after John's death on 11 June 1420. Frederick had become Elector of Brandenburg as Frederick I in 1415, and on his death, on 21 September 1440, his territories were divided between his sons: Kulmbach (Bayreuth) went to the eldest, John "the Alchemist", while the second, Frederick, received Brandenburg and Ansbach passed to the third son Albert Achilles.
John the Alchemist renounced his rights in 1457, whereupon Kulmbach (Bayreuth) passed to his brother, Albert Achilles, the Margrave of Brandenburg. Thereafter the Principality of Bayreuth was held by cadet branches of the house of the Margraves of Brandenburg, the rulers being commonly known as the Margraves of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (though Bayreuth is nowhere near Brandenburg). The principality became part of the Franconian Circle in 1500.
The last line of Brandenburg-Bayreuth died out on 20 January 1769 with the death of Margrave Frederick Christian, and Bayreuth passed to Christian Frederick. On 2 December 1791, Christian Frederick sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia, and from 28 January 1792 Bayreuth was ruled by Prussian-appointed governors.
Margraves of Kulmbach and Bayreuth
- 1398: John III of Nuremberg
- 1420: Frederick I of Brandenburg
- 1440: John IV the Alchemist
- 1457: Albert I Achilles (also Margrave of Brandenburg from 1470)
- 1486: Siegmund
- 1495: Frederick III (also Margrave of Ansbach as Friedrich I)
- 1515: Casimir
- 1527: Albert Alcibiades
- 1553: George Frederick (also Margrave of Ansbach)
- 1603: Christian
- 1655: Christian Ernst
- 1712: George William
- 1726: George Frederick Charles (previously Margrave of Kulmbach from 1708)
- 1735: Frederick
- 1763: Frederick Christian
- 1769: Christian Frederick (to 1791; also Margrave of Ansbach)
- German States to 1918, A–E on WorldStatesmen.org
- Marek, Miroslav. "House of Hohenzollern (1 of 2)". Genealogy.EU. on Genealogy.eu
- Marek, Miroslav. "House of Hohenzollern (2 of 2)". Genealogy.EU.
- Ansbach and Bayreuth