Wilhelm Malte I

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Portrait of Wilhelm Malte as a young man as a Swedish Life Dragoon (Leibdragoner), Oil painting in Granitz Hunting Lodge on Rügen
Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus, oil painting in the Granitz Hunting Lodge
Monument to Prince Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus, erected in 1859 by Friedrich Drake.
Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus, bust in the Granitz Hunting Lodge

Wilhelm Malte I, Prince of Putbus (1783 – 1854) was a German prince (Fürst) from the old Slavic-Rügen noble family of the lords of Putbus. He acted as a Swedish governor in Swedish Pomerania and later, under Prussian rule, as the chairman of the regional council (Kommunallandtag) of Pomerania and Rügen.

As a result of his extensive building activity, Wilhelm Malte I has left many traces of the first half of the 19th century on the island of Rügen. Under his rule, his home town of Putbus was greatly expanded in the classical style and is still known today as "The White Town".


Wilhelm Malte was born on 1 August 1783 in Putbus as the son of the Swedish Marshal of the Court, Malte Friedrich of Putbus and his wife, Sophie Wilhelmine, née Countess von der Schulenburg, when Rügen still belonged to Sweden as a result of the Thirty Years' War. After studying at the University of Greifswald and Göttingen he entered military service in Sweden on 21 July 1800 with the Stockholm Life Hussars. After becoming a Swedish chamberlain on 14 September 1802, Wilhelm Malte was elevated on 25 May 1807 by King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden to the Swedish estate of imperial princes (Reichsfürstenstand). After the end of French occupation he was nominated in 1813 by the Swedish king, Charles XIV John Bernadotte as governor-general of Swedish Pomerania. This office was traditionally linked to the office of Chancellor of the University of Greifswald.

As a result of the Treaty of Kiel, Rügen became Danish for a short time in 1814 and then went to Prussia in 1815, not least because of the involvement of the prince. In 1817, Putbus was elevated to the Prussian court (Fürstenstand). The office of university chancellor was approved and the honour of a hereditary Lord Marshal (Erblandmarschall) of the House of Putbus was bestowed on the prince. This also gave him the right to preside over the regional council (Kommunallandtag) for Neuvorpommern and Rügen.[1] and an individual vote (Virilstimme) in the Pomeranian provincial parliament.[2] In the same year he acquired the lordship of Spyker from Count Magnus Fredrik Brahe. He held the title of a governor-general as well as the corresponding salary, because an appointment as the President (Regierungspräsident) of the government district of Stralsund would have been tantamount to a curb of his powers.[2]

King Frederick William III entrusted him with diplomatic missions such as the coronation of the British Queen Victoria.[3]

Under his rule there was a building boom that has left an indelible mark on the island of Rügen, and he also presided over economic and cultural development. Prince Putbus was involved in sugar mills and chalk factories, had shipbuilding established in Seedorf and founded the first seaside resort on Rügen at Lauterbach. He had 655 acres of land settled with indivisible peasant holdings, held under hereditary leases. In addition, in 1836 he founded the Pedagogium Putbus, a school for boys from the middle classes and aristocracy. This laid the foundation of a tradition of education in Putbus that continues to the present day.

The prince died on 26 September 1854 at Putbus of a bladder disease after a long illness. He was laid to rest in the family vault of Putbus in the church at Vilmnitz.


With Wilhelm Malte I the House of Putbus died out because of the untimely death of his only son, Malte (born 16 September 1807; died 28 April 1837). The title of prince and primogenitur went to his grandson, Wilhelm Carl Gustav Malte, Count of Wylich and Lottum (born 16 April 1833, died 18 April 1907), son of his eldest daughter, Clotilde (born 23 April 1809, died 19 October 1894), who took the title Wilhelm Malte II, Prince of Putbus.[3]


  • Kurt von Priesdorff: Soldatisches Führertum, Vol. 4, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt Hamburg 1936-1945, pp. 141–142
  • Andre Farin: Wilhelm Malte zu Putbus und seine Fürstenresidenz auf der Insel Rügen. Eine Biographie über eine norddeutsche Gründerpersönlichkeit des 19. Jahrhunderts. 4th edition, Farin, Putbus 2007, ISBN 3-00-008844-X.
  • Johannes Friedrich Weise: Zwischen Strandleben und Ackerbau. Die Herrschaft Putbus im 19. Jahrhundert. Ingo Koch Verlag, Rostock 2003, ISBN 3-935319-93-2.
  • Theodor Pyl (1888), "Putbus, von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 26, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 738–742  - mentioned in family article
  • Martin Schoebel (2003), "Putbus, Wilhelm Malte Fürst", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 21, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 17–18 


  1. ^ Norbert Buske:Pommern - Territorialstaat und Landesteil von Preußen : ein Überblick über die politische Entwicklung. Thomas Helms, Schwerin 1997, ISBN 3-931185-07-9, p. 65.
  2. ^ a b Johannes Weise: Die Integration Schwedisch-Pommerns in den preußischen Staatsverband: Tranformationsprozesse innerhalb von Staat und Gesellschaft. GRIN Verlag, 2008, ISBN 3638915212, p. 205.
  3. ^ a b Martin Schoebel (2003), "Putbus, Wilhelm Malte Fürst", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 21, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 17–18 

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