Saxe-Meiningen

Last updated
Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen (1680–1918)
Herzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen
Free State of Saxe-Meiningen (1918–20)
State of Saxe-Meiningen (1920-33)

Freistaat Sachsen-Meiningen
1680–1920
Flag of Saxe-Meiningen (1826).svg
Flag
Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen.svg
Coat of arms
German Empire - Saxe Meiningen (1871).svg
Saxe-Meiningen within the German Empire
Status State of the Holy Roman Empire,
State of the Confederation of the Rhine,
State of the German Confederation,
State of the North German Confederation,
Constituent state of the German Empire
Capital Meiningen
GovernmentPrincipality
Duke of Saxe-Meiningen 
 1675–1706
Bernhard I
 1914–1918
Bernhard III
Historical era Early modern period
 Partitioned from Saxe-Gotha
1680
 Acquired Saxe-Hildburghausen
1826
1918
 Merged into Thuringia
1920
Area
19052,468 km2 (953 sq mi)
Population
 1905
269,000
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Armoiries Saxe2.svg Saxe-Gotha
Thuringia Flag of Thuringia (state).svg

Saxe-Meiningen ( /ˈsæksˈmnɪŋən/ ; German pronunciation: [ˈzaksən ˈmaɪnɪŋən] ) 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.

Contents

Established in 1681, [1] by partition of the Ernestine duchy of Saxe-Gotha among the seven sons of deceased Duke Ernst der Fromme (Ernest the Pious), the Saxe-Meiningen line of the House of Wettin lasted until the end of the German monarchies in 1918. [2]

History

Elisabethenburg Palace, residence of the Duchy since 1682 Schloss01.jpg
Elisabethenburg Palace, residence of the Duchy since 1682
Territories of Saxe-Meiningen within the Ernestine duchies from 1826 SMEI.png
Territories of Saxe-Meiningen within the Ernestine duchies from 1826

House of Wettin

The Wettiner had been the rulers of sizeable holdings in today's states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia since the Middle Ages. In the Leipziger Teilung of 1485, the Wettiner were split into two branches named after their founding princes Albrecht and Ernst (albertinisch and ernestinisch). Thuringia was part of the Ernestine holdings of Kursachsen (the Electoral holdings of Saxony). In 1572, the branches Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach and Saxe-Weimar were established there. The senior line again split in 1641/41 into three duchies, including the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha. [2]

Duke Ernst I who founded this duchy with its seat at Gotha opposed the system of primogeniture. As a result, on his death in 1675 all of his sons inherited part of his holdings and were supposed to rule under the leadership of his oldest son. In practice, this proved very complicated and brought on three settlements in 1679, 1680 and 1681 that established the following princedoms: Saxe-Gotha (Friedrich), Saxe-Coburg (Albrecht), Saxe-Meiningen (Bernhard), Saxe-Eisenberg (Christian), Saxe-Hildburghausen (Ernst) and Saxe-Saalfeld (Johann Ernst). [2]

Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen

Bernhard, Ernst I third son, received the town of Meiningen as well as several other holdings (Wasungen und Salzungen, Maßfeld und Sand, Herrenbreitungen, Herpf, Stepfershausen, Utendorf, Mehlis and the former Franconian lands of the extinct House of Henneberg, Henneberg). [2]

Bernhard chose the town of Meiningen as his residence and became the first Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. From 1682 Duke Bernhard I had the Schloss Elisabethenburg built and in 1690 established a court orchestra (Hofkapelle), in which Johann Ludwig Bach later became the Kapellmeister (1711).

In the reshuffle of Ernestine territories that occurred following the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg line upon the death of Duke Friedrich IV in 1825, Duke Bernhard II of Saxe-Meiningen received the lands of the former Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen as well as the Saalfeld territory of the former Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld duchy.

As Bernhard II had supported Austria in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, the prime minister of victorious Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, enforced his resignation in favour of his son Georg II, after which Saxe-Meiningen was admitted to join the North German Confederation.

By 1910, the Duchy had grown to 2,468 km2 (953 sq mi) and 278,762 inhabitants. [2] The ducal summer residence was at Altenstein Castle. Since 1868, the duchy comprised the Kreise (districts) of Hildburghausen, Sonneberg and Saalfeld as well as the northern exclaves of Camburg and Kranichfeld.

End of the Duchy

In the German Revolution after World War I, Duke Bernhard III, brother-in-law of Emperor Wilhelm II, was forced to abdicate and his brother Ernst on 11/12 November 1918 refused the succession. The succeeding "Free State of Saxe-Meiningen" was merged into the new state of Thuringia on 1 May 1920. [2]

Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen

Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (1792-1849), Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and of Hanover, spouse of William IV Beechey, William - Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen - NPG 1533.jpg
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (1792–1849), Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and of Hanover, spouse of William IV
Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1866-1914) GeorgIISaxe.jpg
Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1866–1914)

Notes:

Heads of the Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen, post-monarchy

See also

Related Research Articles

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House of Wettin German noble and royal family

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Saxe-Coburg

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Ernestine duchies A set of related states in Germany

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 Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Ernst Ludwig I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Ernst Ludwig I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen was a German (Saxon) nobleman.

Ernst Ludwig II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Ernst Ludwig II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Karl Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Karl Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Anton Ulrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Anton Ulrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, was Duke of Saxe-Meiningen from 1746 to 1763.

Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg Duke of Saxe-Altenburg

Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, was duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1780–1826) and duke of Saxe-Altenburg (1826–1834).

Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was a Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

Saxe-Gotha-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.

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Saxe-Römhild

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References

  1. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Saxe-Meiningen"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Die herzogliche Familie (German)". Meininger Museen. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2019.