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Hessen Minor States

The process of dividing and sub-dividing the German territorial duchies and electorates was one that eventually served to weaken all of the Holy Roman empire's states, save Austria. Some of these divisions were never undone by succeeding generations. In fact, there could sometimes be as many landgraves or dukes as there were heirs. The complicated divisions and swapping of territory and names are sometimes tricky to cover in detail, with much of the more intricate details rarely being covered by English language publications.

Landgrave Ludwig III of early Hesse set a local precedence in this particular territory by dividing part of his lands so that his younger brother, Henry, would have something to govern. In this case, Henry's domain of Hessen-Marburg would be a short-lived splinter state that was returned to central control in 1500, but this splintering would be repeated time and time again, successively weakening Hesse (and many other German states who followed the same practice).

The most minor of the splinter titles are grouped here. Some of them really were only titles rather than states, with no accompanying land other than perhaps a castle or estate. Many lasted for a single generation, effectively being little more than a life appointment, before reverting to their 'parent' body. They are shown below in alphabetical order and are interlinked with and from their 'parent' pages.

Landgraves of Hessen-Braubach
AD 1626 - 1651

The title of Hessen-Braubach was founded for a Hessian cadet line that was embodied in the form of the younger brother of Landgrave George II of Hessen-Darmstadt in 1626. Landgrave Johann held the title for the remainder of his life, another twenty-five years, but he failed to produce an heir.

1626 - 1651

Johann

Younger son of Ludwig V. Junior to Hessen-Darmstadt.

1651

Johann has no offspring, so the Hessen-Braubach line dies out and presumably is reintegrated back within Hessen-Darmstadt.

Landgraves of Hessen-Butzbach
AD 1596 - 1643

A cadet line formed by the younger brother of Landgrave Ludwig V of Hessen-Darmstadt.

1596 - 1643

Philipp

Brother of Ludwig V.

1643

Philipp has no offspring, so the line dies out.

Landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter
AD 1661 - 1676

The title of Hessen-Braubach was founded for a Hessian cadet line that was embodied in the form of the younger brother of Landgrave Ludwig VI of Hessen-Darmstadt in 1661. Landgrave George held the title for the remainder of his life, another fifteen years, but he failed to produce a male heir.

1661 - 1676

George

Younger son of George II. Junior to Hessen-Darmstadt.

1676

Although George has become the father of two daughters during his lifetime, neither apparently marries so the line dies out. The title and any lands are reintegrated back into Hessen-Darmstadt.

Landgraves of Hessen-Eschwege
AD 1627 - 1655

A cadet line apparently created for a younger son of Landgrave Maurice of Hessen-Kassel.

(Additional information from External Links: Euratlas, and Historical Atlas of Germany.)

1627 - 1655

Frederick

Younger son of Maurice of Hessen-Kassel. Killed in battle.

1627

Landgrave Maurice has lost much of Hessen-Kassel's territory to the Imperial army and Hessen-Darmstadt during the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War and the family are in financial straits. He steps down in favour of his son, William V, and Hessen-Eschwege is created for one of Maurice's younger sons (out of a total of at least six sons). Hessen-Rheinfels is recreated along with Hessen-Rotenburg as cadet branches for two further sons, while William succeeds to the landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel and retains overlordship rights over his younger brothers. Maurice dies in Eschwege in 1632.

1655

Frederick is killed in battle at Kosten on 24 September without having producing a surviving male heir.