Louis Engelbert, 6th Duke of Arenberg
Louis Engelbert of Arenberg (August 3, 1750 in Brussels – March 7, 1820 in Brussels), nicknamed the blind duke, was between 1778 and 1801 the sixth Duke of Arenberg and 12th Duke of Aarschot. Between 1803 and 1810 he ruled a Duchy in North-western Germany also called Duchy of Arenberg.
At the age of 24, during a hunting party, he was hit in the face by a shotgun and remained blind for the rest of his life. Unable to pursue the usual military career, he turned to science, art and music.
Under his patronage, the first manned gas-filled balloon flight in history took off from the front lawn of the Arenberg Castle on November 21, 1783; the balloonist was professor Jan Pieter Minckeleers.
At the beginning of the French Revolution, he succeeded in keeping his possessions, but when Bonaparte annexed the Rhineland, he lost most of his territories. In the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 though, he was compensated with Recklinghausen and Meppen, together also named the Duchy of Arenberg. In 1810 he abdicated in favor of his son Prosper Louis.
Louis Engelbert was named senator by Napoleon and a count of the First French Empire. After 1815, he returned to Belgium, where the Duchy of Arenberg was restored to the family by the Congress of Vienna, be it without the sovereignty of before.
Marriage and children
Ludwig Engelbert married Louise Antoinette of Lauragais, daughter of Count Louis Leopold of Lauraguais. They had six children:
- Pauline (1774–1810), married Count Joseph Johann von Schwarzenberg (1769–1833)
- Louis Engelbert (1777-1777)
- Prosper Louis 7th Duke of Arenberg (1785–1861), his successor
- Philemon Paul Maria (1788–1844), Bishop of Namur
- Pierre d'Alcantara Charles, (1790–1877), since 1828 French Duke and Peer, married Alix Marie Charlotte of Talleyrand-Périgord (1808–1842) from the House of Talleyrand-Périgord
- Philipp Joseph (1794–1815)