Frederick William, Duke of Courland

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Friedrich Wilhelm Kettler
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
FriedrichWilhelmKettler Duke of Courland 200pro-1.jpg
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Reign 22 January 1698 – 21 January 1711
Predecessor Frederick Casimir Kettler
Successor Ferdinand Kettler
Born (1692-07-19)19 July 1692
Mitau (Jelgava), Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Died 21 January 1711(1711-01-21) (aged 18)
Kippinghof, Russian empire
Burial Ducal Crypt of Jelgava Palace
Spouse Anna of Russia
Full name
Frederick William
House Kettler
Father Frederick Casimir Kettler
Mother Margravine Elisabeth Sophie of Brandenburg
Religion Lutheranism

Frederick William (German: Friedrich Wilhelm; 19 July 1692 – 21 January 1711) was Duke of Courland and Semigallia from 1698 to 1711. Frederick Wilhelm was the son of Frederick Casimir Kettler and Elisabeth Sophie of Brandenburg. During his reign the duchy was occupied by Swedish and later by Russian troops.


Friedrich Wilhelm Kettler was born in 1692 in Jelgava in the family of Friedrich Casimir and his second wife Elizabeth Sophia. At the age of seven, after his father's death, in the 22 January 1698 he was appointed as the Duke of Courland and Semigallia, however, until the age of majority state was governed by his mother and uncle Ferdinand Kettler, who resided in Danzig.

When in the 1701 Semigallia was occupied by the Swedes, Friedrich Wilhelm with her mother went to his uncle Frederick, who later was crowned the first king in Prussia. He stayed in Prussia until 1709 when after Russian victories against Sweden was decided to engage marriage between 17 years old Friedrich Wilhelm and Anna, daughter of Tsar Ivan V who himself was half brother of Peter the Great. Council of the Duchy in the 1709 recognized Friedrich Wilhelm adult and the young Duke arrived in the Liepaja in 1710.

On 11 November 1710 (31 October, after the old style) a grand wedding was held in the new Russian capital St. Petersburg, which presented the power of the emerging Russian empire and its court brilliance. However on the way back from St. Petersburg, Friedrich Wilhelm died on 21 January 1711 in the postal station, and his widow Anna, together with the Duke's corpse, arrived in Jelgava only on 4 March. After his death, the Duchy passed to Ferdinand Kettler, but was de facto controlled by Russia. It was restored to independence in 1737, when it passed to the lover of Tsarina Anna, Ernst Johann Biron.

At the same time in the duchy began the epidemic of Great plague, which killed a large part of the population.


Preceded by
Frederick Casimir Kettler
Duke of Courland
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Kettler