History Files


European Kingdoms

Central Europe




Landgraves of Hessen-Homburg
AD 1622 - 1866

The landgraviate of Hessen-Homburg was a cadet, or junior, branch of the duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt. It was created by Duke Ludwig V for his younger brother Frederick in 1622.

The rulers held the title of landgrave, but they were junior members of the House of Hesse with no real power outside of their own lands. Hessen-Homburg consisted of the district of Homburg on the right-hand side of the Rhine, and the district of Meisenheim, which was added in 1815, on the left-hand side of the same river - little more than the city of Homburg and its environs.

(Additional information from Das frühere Kurhessen - Ein Geschichtsbild, Otto Bähr, from Geschichte des Landes Hessen, Karl Ernst Demandt, from Kurfürstentum (Kassel Lexikon), Ewald Grothe, from Kurhessens Ministerialvorstände der Verfassungszeit 1831-1866, Harald Höffner, from Die Kurhessen im Feldzuge von 1814: Ein Beitrag zur hessischen Kriegsgeschichte, Carl Renouard, and from Die Kurhessische Verfassung von 1831 im Rahmen des deutschen Konstitutionalismus, Christian Starck.)

1622 - 1638

Frederick I

Brother of Ludwig V.


Homburg is sub-divided into Hessen-Homburg and Hessen-Homburg-Bingenheim by Frederick's first two sons.

1650 - 1681

William Christopher

Son. Landgrave of Bingenheim (1648-1681).


Homburg becomes independent of Hessen-Darmstadt.

1669 - 1677

George Christian

Brother. No heir.


Homburg and Bingenheim are reunited into one title by Frederick II.

1681 - 1708

Frederick II

Third son of Frederick I.

1708 - 1746

Frederick III

1746 - 1751

Frederick IV

Son of Kasimir Wilhem (d.1726). Nephew of Frederick III.

1751 - 1806

Frederick V


The landgrave is driven out at the formation of the French-controlled Confederation of the Rhine, when Napoleon annexes the land to Hessen-Darmstadt.


Hessen-Homburg is reinstated by the Congress of Vienna, and is then recognised as a member of the German Confederation (1817).

1815 - 1820

Frederick V

Map Restored.


Following the death of Frederick V, five of his sons fill the title in succession. All are in their forties or fifties at the time.

1820 - 1829

Frederick VI Louis


1829 - 1839



1839 - 1846



1846 - 1848



1848 - 1866


Brother. Succeeded Gustav at the age of 65. Died 24 March.


Prussia fights the Austro-Prussian War against Austria, essentially as a decider to see which of the two powers will be dominant in Central Europe. Prussia gains the newly-created kingdom of Italy as an ally in the south and several minor German states in the north. Austria and its southern German allies are crushed in just seven weeks (giving the conflict its alternative title of the Seven Weeks' War), and Prussia is now unquestionably dominant.

Bismark oversees the seizure of four of Austria's northern German allies, the kingdom of Hanover, the electorate of Hessen-Kassel, and the duchy of Nassau-Weilburg, along with the free city of Frankfurt. Prussia also subsumes Schleswig and Holstein, although the former has technically been Prussian since 1864, and forces Saxe-Lauenberg into personal union (annexation in all but name, which turns into fact in 1876). Many of these gains ensure that Prussian territories in the east and west are now connected through the Rhineland and Westphalia.

Austro-Prussian War 1866
Austria's slow-moving forces were outpaced by Prussia's fully modern army during the Austro-Prussian War, which decided the power balance in Central Europe, as shown in this oil by Georg Bleibtreu


The new, Prussian-dominated North German Confederation gains members in Anhalt-Dessau, Bremen, Brunswick, Hamburg, Lippe-Detmold, Lübeck, Mecklenburg-Schwerin Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz Neustrelitz, Oldenburg, Reuss, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxony, Schaumburg-Lippe Bückeburg, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Rudolstadt,Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Sondershausen, and Waldeck-Pyrmont Arolsen. Furthermore, Prince Karl Eitel Frederick of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is invited to rule the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia.

With Landgrave Ferdinand of Hessen-Homburg having died only a few months before the war, his territory had passed back to Hessen-Darmstadt. Despite being a supporter of the defeated of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War, the grand duchy only loses some territory, but this includes Hessen-Homburg and the northern urban district of Biedenkopf, on the River Lahn. Despite this loss, Hessen-Darmstadt survives as the sole remaining Hessian state of note whilst Hessen-Homburg becomes part of an expanded Prussia.