Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg

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Ernest Augustus
Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Elector of Hanover
Reign19 December 1692 – 23 January 1698
Successor Georg Ludwig
Reign18 December 1679 – 23 January 1698
Predecessor John Frederick
Successor Georg Ludwig
Born(1629-11-20)20 November 1629
Herzberg am Harz, Göttingen, Germany.
Died23 January 1698(1698-01-23) (aged 68)
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany.
Burial18 March 1698
Hanover, Germany.
Spouse Sophia of the Palatinate
House Hanover
Father George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Mother Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt

Ernest Augustus (German : Ernst August; 20 November 1629 – 23 January 1698) was a Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and ruled over the Principality of Calenberg (with its capital Hanover), a subdivision of the duchy. He was appointed Prince-elector, but died before the appointment became effective. He was also the Prince-Bishop of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Principality of Calenberg principality

The Principality of Calenberg was a dynastic division of the Welf duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg established in 1432. Calenberg was ruled by the House of Hanover from 1635 onwards; the princes received the ninth electoral dignity of the Holy Roman Empire in 1692. Their territory became the nucleus of the Electorate of Hanover, ruled in personal union with the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1714 onwards. The principality received its name from Calenberg Castle, a residence of the Brunswick dukes.

Hanover Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.



Ernest Augustus was born at Herzberg Castle near Göttingen as the youngest son of George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Herzberg Castle château

Herzberg Castle is a German schloss in Herzberg am Harz in the district of Göttingen in the state of Lower Saxony. The present-day, quadrangular building has its origins in the 11th century as a medieval castle. After a fire in 1510 it was rebuilt as a schloss and is one of the few in Lower Saxony that was constructed as a timber-framed building. Because it belonged to the House of Welf for 700 years it is also known as the Welf Castle of Herzberg.

Göttingen is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Northeim and Goslar, and by the states of Thuringia and Hesse.

Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt was the daughter of Louis V, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Magdalena von Brandenburg. She was born in Darmstadt, Hesse.

In 1658, he married Sophia of the Palatinate in Heidelberg. She was the daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart of England, and granddaughter of King James I of England.

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg is a university town in Baden-Württemberg situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, with roughly a quarter of its population being students.

As the fourth son, Ernest Augustus had little chance of succeeding his father as ruler. Therefore, the couple had to live in the Leineschloss at the Hanover court of Ernest Augustus' eldest brother. However, in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, it had been agreed between catholic and protestant powers, that the rulership of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück should alternate between both churches, and that the respective protestant bishops should be members of the House of Brunswick-Luneburg. When the Osnabruck throne became vacant in 1662, the family appointed Ernest Augustus Prince-Bishop; Ernest Augustus and Sophia moved to Iburg Castle, together with their two eldest sons and Sophia's niece Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate. In 1667 they began to build a more up-to-date residence, Osnabruck Palace, and in 1673 they moved there. Their youngest son was born there in 1674.


The Leineschloss, situated on the Leine in Hanover, Germany, is the former residence of the Hanoverian dukes, electors and kings. Currently it is the seat of the Landtag of Lower Saxony.

Peace of Westphalia Peace treaty ending the European Thirty and Eighty Years Wars

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been seriously challenged.

Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück

The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück) was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1225 until 1803. It should not be confused with the Diocese of Osnabrück, which was larger and over which the prince-bishop exercised only the spiritual authority of an ordinary bishop. It was named after its capital, Osnabrück.

However, after two of his elder brothers had died without sons, Ernest Augustus inherited part of his father's territories in 1679, the Principality of Calenberg, with the Principality of Göttingen included. In 1680 the family moved back to Hanover.

Principality of Göttingen

The Principality of Göttingen was a subdivision of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire, with Göttingen as its capital. It was split off from the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in 1286 in the course of an estate division among members of the ruling House of Welf. In 1495 the Göttingen lands were incorporated as integral part of the newly established Brunswick Principality of Calenberg, with which they stayed united until the territory was merged into the Electorate of Hanover.

In 1683, against the protestations of his five younger sons, Ernest Augustus instituted primogeniture, so that his territory would not be further subdivided after his death, and also as a pre-condition for obtaining the coveted electorship. He participated in the Great Turkish War on the side of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1692, he was appointed Prince-elector by Emperor Leopold I, thus raising the House of Hanover to electoral dignity; however, the electorship did not come into effect until 1708. He was nonetheless recognized as Elector of Hanover, the very first. Ernest Augustus died in 1698 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover. He was succeeded as duke by his eldest son, George Louis, who would later succeed to the British throne as "King George I of Great Britain".

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate son to inherit his parent's entire or main estate, in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, a child other than the eldest male, a daughter, illegitimate child or a collateral relative. In some cases the estate may instead be the inheritance of the firstborn child or occasionally the firstborn daughter. The descendant of a deceased elder sibling inherits before a living younger sibling by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age. Among siblings, sons usually inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order.

Great Turkish War Series of conflicts (1683–1699) between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League

The Great Turkish War or the War of the Holy League was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League consisting of the Habsburg Empire, Poland-Lithuania, Venice and Russia. Intensive fighting began in 1683 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. The war was a defeat for the Ottoman Empire, which for the first time, lost large amounts of territory. It lost lands in Hungary and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as part of the western Balkans. The war was also significant in that it marked the first time Russia was involved in a western European alliance.

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Croatia and King of Bohemia

Leopold I was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. The second son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, by his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain, Leopold became heir apparent in 1654 by the death of his elder brother Ferdinand IV. Elected in 1658, Leopold ruled the Holy Roman Empire until his death in 1705, becoming the longest-ruling Habsburg emperor.

The main residences of the branch of the Dukes of Brunswick-Luneburg which ruled the Principality of Calenburg-Göttingen were the Leineschloss in the city of Hanover and the summer residence Herrenhausen Palace, a short distance outside the city. Ernest Augustus and Sophia had the Great Garden at Herrenhausen enlarged after Italian and Dutch models, creating one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe.

Coat of Arms of Ernest August, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg (1661-1692).svg
Arms of Ernest as Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg 1661–1692
Coat of Arms of Ernest August, Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg (1692-1698).svg
Arms of Ernest August as Elector-designate 1692–1698



By his wife, Sophia of the Palatinate:
George Louis 28 May 166011 June 1727Firstly, succeeded his mother Sophia as heir presumptive to the throne of Great Britain; secondly, succeeded Anne, Queen of Great Britain as King George I of Great Britain, the first member of the Hanoverian Dynasty to rule Britain.
Frederick Augustus3 October 166110 June 1691Died at the Battle of St. Georgen
Stillborn sonFebruary 1664February 1664
Maximilian William 13 December 166627 July 1726
Stillborn son13 December 166613 December 1666Twin of Maximilian
Sophia Charlotte 2 October 166821 January 1705Married King Frederick I of Prussia
Charles Philip13 October 16691 January 1690Died at the Battle of Pristina
Christian Henry29 September 167131 July 1703Died during the Battle of Munderkingen when drowned in the Danube
Ernest Augustus 7 September 167414 August 1728Duke of York and Albany
By his mistress, Clara Elisabeth von Platen:
Ernest August von Platen16741726had issue
Sophie Charlotte von Platen 10 April 16751 May 1725married 1701 Johann Adolf Baron von Kielmansegg, had issue

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    Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Cadet branch of the House of Welf
    Born: 20 November 1629 Died: 23 January 1698
    Religious titles
    Preceded by
    Francis William, Count of Wartenberg
    Administrator of the
    Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück

    Succeeded by
    Charles Joseph
    Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    John Frederick
    Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Prince of Calenberg

    Succeeded by
    George I Louis
    Preceded by
    New Creation
    Elector-designate of Hanover
    Succeeded by
    George I Louis