Wolfgang, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen

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Wolfgang von Anhalt-Kothen (1492 - 1566) WolfgangvonAnhalt.JPG
Wolfgang von Anhalt-Köthen (1492 - 1566)

Wolfgang, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen (1 August 1492 in Köthen 23 March 1566 in Zerbst), was a German prince of the House of Ascania and ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Köthen. He was one of the earliest Protestant rulers in the Holy Roman Empire.

Zerbst Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Zerbst is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until an administrative reform in 2007, Zerbst was the capital of the former Anhalt-Zerbst district.

The House of Ascania is a dynasty of German rulers. It is also known as the House of Anhalt, which refers to its longest-held possession, Anhalt.

Anhalt-Köthen

Anhalt-Köthen was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the House of Ascania. It was created in 1396 when the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst was partitioned between Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Köthen. The first creation lasted until 1562, when it fell to Prince Joachim Ernest of Anhalt-Zerbst, who merged it into the reunited Principality of Anhalt.

He was the second (but eldest surviving) son of Waldemar VI, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, by his wife Margarete, daughter of Günther XX, Count of Schwarzburg and Lord of Arnstedt.

Waldemar VI, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, was a German prince of the House of Ascania and ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Köthen.

Life

In 1500, at just eight years of age, Wolfgang was admitted to the University of Leipzig, and in 1508, at sixteen, his father died. Wolfgang then took over the government of the principality with residence in Köthen. Wolfgang had the opportunity to meet Martin Luther at the Diet of Augsburg in 1521. He later said that "He gained my heart" after hearing him speak. With Luther's help, Wolfgang introduced the Reformation in Anhalt-Köthen (1525) and Anhalt-Bernburg (1526), which made them the second and third countries in the world (after the Electorate of Saxony) to adopt Protestantism officially. In 1526 Wolfgang joined in a defensive alliance with other Evangelical states against the Emperor Charles V; this was a direct prelude to the later formation of the Schmalkaldic League. Wolfgang was also one of the six princes who, on 19 April 1529, as representatives of the Protestant minority in the Imperial Diet, drew up the Protestation at Speyer and petitioned the Diet to remove the Imperial Ban (German: Reichsacht) against Luther, as well as the proscription of his works and teachings, and called for the unhindered spread of Evangelical belief. In 1530 he signed the Augsburg Confession at the Diet of Augsburg. In 1534 Wolfgang ordered the first church inspections (German: Kirchenvisitationen) in Anhalt-Köthen, expropriated Catholic church possessions, and handed them over to the municipalities.

Martin Luther Saxon priest, monk and theologian, seminal figure in Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther, was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.

Diet of Augsburg diet

The Diet of Augsburg were the meetings of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire held in the German city of Augsburg. Both an Imperial City and the residence of the Augsburg prince-bishops, the town had hosted the Estates in many such sessions since the 10th century. In the 16th century, twelve of thirty-five imperial diets were held in Augsburg, a result of the close financial relationship between the Augsburg-based banking families such as the Fugger and the reigning Habsburg emperors, particularly Maximilian I and his grandson Charles V. Nevertheless, the meetings of 1530, 1547/48 and 1555, during the Reformation and the ensuing religious war between the Catholic emperor and the Protestant Schmalkaldic League, are especially noteworthy.

Anhalt-Bernburg former country

Anhalt-Bernburg was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire and a duchy of the German Confederation ruled by the House of Ascania with its residence at Bernburg in present-day Saxony-Anhalt. It emerged as a subdivision from the Principality of Anhalt from 1252 until 1468, when it fell to the Ascanian principality of Anhalt-Dessau. Recreated in 1603, Anhalt-Bernburg finally merged into the re-unified Duchy of Anhalt upon the extinction of the line in 1863.

In 1544 he resigned his rights over Anhalt-Dessau in favor of his cousins, but retained his rights over Anhalt-Bernburg, where he had enlarged the existing castle in 1538 by the Wolfgang wing which made it the largest Renaissance castle in North Germany. When the old "Burg" of Köthen was destroyed by a fire in 1547, he made his permanent residence in Bernburg. That year, he participated in the Battle of Mühlberg and was outlawed for it by the Emperor. Wolfgang took refuge in Saxony and was appointed Governor of Magdeburg in 1551 by the Elector Maurice. In 1552 he was released from outlawry under the terms of the Peace of Passau and was restored to his territories.

Anhalt-Dessau

Anhalt-Dessau was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire and later a duchy of the German Confederation. Ruled by the House of Ascania, it was created in 1396 following the partition of the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, and finally merged into the re-united Duchy of Anhalt in 1863. The capital of the state was Dessau in present-day Saxony-Anhalt.

Battle of Mühlberg battle of the Schmalkaldic War

The Battle of Mühlberg took place near Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony in 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War. The Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V decisively defeated the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League of Protestant princes under the command of Elector John Frederick I of Saxony and Landgrave Philip I of Hesse.

Magdeburg Large city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Elbe River.

In 1562, however, he signed all of his territories over to his cousins, keeping only Coswig. By 1564 he moved to Zerbst, where he died two years later, unmarried and childless.

Coswig, Anhalt Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Coswig is a town in the district of Wittenberg of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, approx. 12 km west of Wittenberg, and 15 km east of Dessau.

Preceded by
Waldemar VI
Prince of Anhalt-Köthen
15081562
Succeeded by
Joachim Ernest
and Bernhard VII

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