Wilhelm Kettler

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Wilhelm Kettler
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Vilhelms Ketlers.jpg
PredecessorGotthard Kettler
SuccessorFriedrich Kettler
Born20 June 1574
Mitau, Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Died7 April 1640(1640-04-07) (aged 65)
Kucklow, Duchy of Pomerania
Ducal crypt in the Jelgava Palace
SpouseSophia of Brandenburg-Prussia
IssueJacob Kettler
FatherGotthard Kettler
MotherAnna of Mecklenburg

Wilhelm Kettler (20 June 1574 – 7 April 1640) was the Duke of Courland, a region of Latvia. Wilhelm ruled the western Courland portion of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, while his brother Friedrich ruled the eastern Semigallia portion.

Life and family[edit]

Born in Mitau in 1574, Wilhelm Kettler was the youngest son of Gotthard Kettler and his wife, Anna of Mecklenburg. After their father's death in 1587, Wilhelm and his brother Friedrich inherited the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. The brothers divided the duchy between themselves, and Wilhelm ruled the Courland portion, with the seat in Kuldīga.

In 1609, William married Princess Sophia of Brandenburg-Prussia (1582–1610), daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia, receiving as a dowry the territory of Grobiņa.

Due to conflicts with the local nobility, he lost control of the duchy in 1617 and emigrated. Thereafter, his brother Friedrich became the sole ruler of the duchy.

He died in the Kucklow abbey in Pomerania on 7 April 1640. His son, Jacob Kettler, succeeded Friedrich as Duke of Courland and Semigallia in 1642.

Wilhelm's remains were returned to Courland in 1642, and he was interred in the ducal tomb on 23 February 1643.