Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg (1602–1918)
Free State of Saxe-Altenburg (1918–20)
Anthem: Heil unserm Herzog, heil
(Hail to our Duke, hail!)
|Status|| State of the Holy Roman Empire,|
State of the German Confederation,
State of the North German Confederation,
State of the German Empire,
State of the Weimar Republic
|Duke of Saxe-Altenburg|
|Christian II, Elector of Saxony (regent for Johann Philipp)|
|Johann Georg II, Elector of Saxony (regent for Friedrich Wilhelm III)|
• Saxe-Weimar partitioned
|7 July 1602|
• Ernestine duchies rearranged, duchy restored
|12 November 1826|
• Merger of Thuringia‡
|1905||1,323 km2 (511 sq mi)|
* See Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
† As Free State of Saxe-Altenburg
‡ In 1920, the ex-Imperial states of Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two principalities of Reuß all merged to form the Free State of Thuringia.
Saxe-Altenburg (German: Sachsen-Altenburg) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in present-day Thuringia. It was one of the smallest of the German states with an area of 1323 square kilometers and a population of 207,000 (1905) of whom about one fifth resided in the capital, Altenburg. The territory of the duchy consisted of two non-contiguous territories separated by land belonging to the Principality of Reuss. Its economy was based on agriculture, forestry, and small industry. The state had a constitutional monarchical form of government with a parliament composed of thirty members chosen by male taxpayers over 25 years of age.
The duchy had its origins in the medieval Burgraviate of Altenburg in the Imperial Pleissnerland (Terra Plisensis), a possession of the Wettin Margraves of Meissen since 1243. Upon a partition treaty of 1485, Altenburg fell to Ernst, Elector of Saxony, the progenitor of the Ernestine Wettins.After the Division of Erfurt in 1572 among Duke Johann Wilhelm of Saxony and his nephews, Altenburg fell to his Duchy of Saxe-Weimar.
When Johann Wilhelm's son and successor Friedrich Wilhelm I died in 1602, the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar passed to his younger brother Johann II. In 1603 Frederick William's eldest son Johann Philipp received the newly created Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg as compensation. It was an Imperial State in its own right, with a vote in the Reichstag , for much of the 17th century until the extinction of its ruling line in 1672 when it was inherited by Ernest I the Pious, the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, who had married the heiress.
Saxe-Altenburg thereafter remained part of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg until the extinction of that house in 1825, when Gotha and Altenburg were divided up, with Gotha going to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Altenburg to the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, who in exchange gave up Hildburghausen to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. This family ruled the duchy until the end of the monarchies in the course of the German Revolution of 1918–19. The succeeding Free State of Saxe-Altenburg was incorporated into the new state of Thuringia in 1920.
Saxe-Altenburg had an area of 1,323 km2 (510 sq. mi.) and a population of 207,000 (1905). Its capital was Altenburg.
The Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct following the death of Prince George Moritz in 1991. The leadership of the house passed to Michael, head of the genealogically more senior house of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
Line extinct, inherited by Saxe-Gotha, thereupon Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
In 1991 the Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct in the male line. Its representation was merged with the one of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
Two branches descend from duke Ernest the Pious, the father of the progenitor of the Saxe-Altenburg branch: Saxe-Meiningen and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; according to old Wettin family law, they would have divided the actual territories between them (as happened to Gotha and Altenburg in 1826).
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was an Ernestine, Thuringian duchy ruled by a branch of the House of Wettin, consisting of territories in the present-day states of Thuringia and Bavaria in Germany. It lasted from 1826 to 1918. In November 1918, Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was forced to abdicate. In 1920, the northern part of the duchy was merged with six other Thuringian free states to form the state of Thuringia: Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Altenburg and Saxe-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, as well as the People's State of Reuss. The southern part of the duchy, as southernmost of the Thuringian states, was the only one which, after a referendum, became part of Bavaria.
The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.
Saxe-Meiningen was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia.
Saxe-Coburg was a duchy held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in today's Bavaria, Germany.
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha.
Saxe-Hildburghausen was an Ernestine duchy in the southern side of the present State of Thuringia in Germany. It existed from 1680 to 1826 but its name and borders are currently used by the District of Hildburghausen.
Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was one of the Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin Dynasty. Established in 1699, the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield line lasted until the reshuffle of the Ernestine territories that occurred following the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha line in 1825, in which the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld line received Gotha, but lost Saalfeld to Saxe-Meiningen.
Saxe-Weimar was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia. The chief town and capital was Weimar. The Weimar branch was the most genealogically senior extant branch of the House of Wettin.
Saxe-Eisenach was an Ernestine duchy ruled by the Saxon House of Wettin. The state intermittently existed at three different times in the Thuringian region of the Holy Roman Empire. The chief town and capital of all three duchies was Eisenach.
The Ernestine duchies, also known as the Saxon duchies, were a changing number of small states that were largely located in the present-day German state of Thuringia and governed by dukes of the Ernestine line of the House of Wettin.
Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen.
Joseph Georg Friedrich Ernst Karl, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, was a duke of Saxe-Altenburg.
Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was a duchy ruled by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in today's Thuringia, Germany. The extinction of the line in 1825 led to a major re-organisation of the Thuringian states, although the house was legally restored in 2017.
Johann Wilhelm was a duke of Saxe-Weimar.
Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg, was a princess of Saxe-Altenburg and, by marriage, duchess of Saxe-Gotha.
John Frederick II of Saxony, was Duke of Saxony (1554–1566).
Saxe-Römhild was an Ernestine duchy in the southern foothills of the Thuringian Forest. It existed for only 30 years, from 1680 to 1710.
Johann Adolf of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, was a German prince of the House of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and a Saxon lieutenant general.
Heldburg Fortress is a high medieval hilltop castle. In the 16th century it was rebuilt into a renaissance castle. It rises on a former volcanic region to 'Heldburger Gangschar' counted, 405-metre-high volcanic cone, 113 metres above the town of Heldburg in the Heldburger Land, the southern tip of the district Hildburghausen in Thuringia. The Veste Heldburg, once a secondary residence and hunting lodge of the Dukes of Coburg, dominates the little town of Heldburg on the Thuringian border with Bavaria. From it can be seen across the Thuringian border the sister-castle Veste Coburg,, once the residence of the Dukes of Coburg, now located in Bavaria.
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