Karl Kaspar von der Leyen

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Karl von der Leyen Kaspar, engraving from a coronation leaflet from the year 1658

Karl Kaspar von der Leyen (18 December 1618 – 1 June 1676) was Archbishop-Elector of Trier and a Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 1652 to 1676.


A member of the noble Leyen family, Charles Kaspar was made a coadjutor bishop on 11 June 1650. He was elected the successor of the then 86-year-old Archbishop Philipp Christoph von Sötern, but this was rejected as Philipp Christoph was the favoured candidate.

Engraving of Karl Kaspar

After the death of the Archbishop, Karl Kaspar started his reign on 12 March 1652. The consequences of the recently ended Thirty Years' War presented the new archbishop with many hard tasks, for example, the population of the archiepiscopal state had declined to approximately 300,000 people. His policy towards the Allies had destroyed many buildings; so he had to restore the country’s infrastructure, especially the justice and agriculture systems, to promote development. He also had to repair the fortresses Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein.

He founded an orphanage for boys in Trier and endowed scholarships for the training of nobles’ sons to become priests, and in 1668, he had the Kurtrierische Landrecht ("Electoral-Trier Common Law") published.

Charles Kaspar promoted, in particular, the members of his aristocratic house, Von der Leyen (House of the Leyens).

In 1654 he made his younger brother Damian Hartard von der Leyen the Archbishop of Mainz and Provost and Archdeacon of Karden, titles under the Archbishopric of Trier.

Aware as he was of his declining health, he had already named his successor, his nephew John Hugo of Orsbeck, by 1672. He died on 1 June 1676 in Fort Ehrenbreitstein.


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Charles Caspar von der Leyen
Born: 18 December 1618 Died: 1 June 1676 on Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
Catholic Church titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Philipp Christoph von Sötern
Archbishop- Elector of Trier and
Prince-Abbot of Prüm
as Charles II

Succeeded by