Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen

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Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen
Herzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen
State of the Holy Roman Empire,
State of the Confederation of the Rhine,
State of the German Confederation,
State of the North German Confederation,
State of the German Empire
1680–1918 Free State of Saxe-Meiningen
Flag Coat of arms
Vaterlandsgesang der Sachsen-Meininger
Saxe-Meiningen within the German Empire
Capital Meiningen
Government Principality
Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
 -  1675–1706 Bernhard I
 -  1914–18 Bernhard III
Historical era Early modern period
 -  Partitioned from
 -  Acquired
 -  Duchy abolished 1918
 -  Merged into Thuringia 1920
 -  1905 2,468 km² (953 sq mi)
 -  1905 est. 269,000 
     Density 109 /km²  (282.3 /sq mi)

The Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen (/ˈsæks ˈmnɪŋən/; German pronunciation: [ˈzaksən ˈmaɪnɪŋən]) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia.

Established in 1681,[1] by partition of the Ernestine duchy of Saxe-Gotha among the seven sons of deceased Duke Ernest the Pious, the Saxe-Meiningen line of the House of Wettin lasted, without much distinction, until the end of the German monarchies in 1918.


Elisabethenburg Palace, Residence of the Duchy since 1682
Ernestine duchies: Saxe-Meiningen territories from 1826.

In the 1680 partition, the former Franconian lands of the extinct House of Henneberg fell to Ernest's third son, Bernhard, who chose the town of Meiningen as his residence and became the first Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. From 1682 Duke Bernhard I had the Schloss Elisabethenburg built and in 1690 established a court orchestra (Hofkapelle), in which Johann Ludwig Bach later became the Kapellmeister (1711).

In the reshuffle of Ernestine territories that occurred following the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg line upon the death of Duke Frederick IV in 1825, Duke Bernhard II of Saxe-Meiningen received the lands of the former Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen as well as the Saalfeld territory of the former Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld duchy. As Bernhard II had supported Austria in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, the prime minister of victorious Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, enforced his resignation in favour of his son Georg II, after which Saxe-Meiningen was admitted to join the North German Confederation.

In the German Revolution after World War I, Duke Bernhard III, brother-in-law of Emperor Wilhelm II, was forced to abdicate on 10 November 1918. The succeeding Free State of Saxe-Meiningen was merged into the new state of Thuringia in 1920.

In 1905 the capital Meiningen had an area of 2,468 km² and a population of 269,000. The summer residence was at Altenstein Castle. Since 1868 the duchy comprised the Kreise (districts) of Hildburghausen, Sonneberg and Saalfeld as well as the northern exclaves of Camburg and Kranichfeld.

As of 2012 the head of the Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen, Prince Frederick Konrad (born 1952), has no children, so the representation of his house will pass to his half brother Friedrich Ernst's (1935-2004) son Prince Constantin (* 1980).

Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen[edit]

Dukedom abolished in 1918

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


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Saxe-Meiningen". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 

External links[edit]