History Files


European Kingdoms

Central Europe




AD 1613 - 1777

The early modern German county of Lippe was a parcel of territory that was located between the River Weser and the south-eastern section of the Teutobergerwald. The House of Lippe resided along the river of the same name, originating in the person of Count Jobst Hermann of Lippe. He died around 1056, but his grandson (or great-grandson, born around 1090), Bernard, succeeded him. In 1123, he was granted a parcel of territory by Holy Roman Emperor Lothar II of Supplinburg and, as the new, and first, 'Lord of Lippe', Bernhard became Bernhard I.

With the death of Count Simon VI in 1613, Lippe was divided in four: Lippe-Detmold (held by the senior line of descent under Simon VII), Lippe-Brake (passed to the next oldest son, Otto), Lippe-Schwalenberg (held by the next in line, Hermann, who is included alongside the counts of Lippe-Detmold), and Lippe-Alverdissen (held by the youngest, Philip I). Each division retained the status of a county, although the secondary divisions rarely held any territory of note other than the odd castle or town.

(Additional information from Jackie Speel, and from External Links: German Genealogy: Lippe, and European Heraldry: House of Lippe, and Lippe.)

1613 - 1681

Philip I

First lord of Lippe-Alverdissen. House of Lippe-Detmold.


The beginnings of the Thirty Years' War in Central Europe sees a series of destructive conflicts take place. Originally this is as a result of the Reformation and its Papal response, the Counter Reformation, but later it also serves as a continuation of the Bourbon-Habsburg struggle for supremacy. Count Simon VIII of Lippe-Detmold does his best to keep Lippe neutral so that it might be spared as much as possible, but it suffers nevertheless when imperial troops are billeted within its borders.

House in Lippe-Detmold
Despite Count Simon's best efforts, Lippe could not entirely be spared from the ravages of the brutal Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

1620 - 1624

Lippe-Schwalenberg is reunited with Lippe-Detmold, presumably upon the untimely death of Count Simon's younger brother, Hermann. Four years later, in 1624, Count Simon VII passes a large dairy farm onto the bailiff of Schwalenberg (one that had been created out of several failing farms by Simon VI in the early years of the century). This is later sold to Simon's widow, Maria Magdalena, and her youngest son, Jobst Hermann, builds the manor of Biesterfeld there, creating the subsidiary line of Lippe-Sternberg-Schwalenberg.


When Count Simon VII of Lippe-Detmold dies, his son, the youthful Simon Louis, succeeds him. As he is not yet of age, a regent is selected for him in the form of Count Christian of Waldeck, his step-grandfather. The most likely contender for the role is Otto of Lippe-Brake, but he cannot be selected due to the ongoing strained relationship between Detmold and Brake. Simon Louis' maternal uncle, John Louis of Nassau-Hadamar, is not asked as he is a Catholic.

1634 - 1636

Count Simon Louis of Lippe-Detmold has gradually been moving away from the neutral pose adopted by his father. After courting the powerful Swedes, Lippe suffers from the presence of their troops in the region as part of the First Polish-Swedish War and their ongoing territorial conflicts with the Holy Roman empire in Pomerania. Schwalenberg Castle is attacked and looted in 1634, and Varenholz Castle suffers the same fate in 1636.


Count Otto V of Holstein-Schaumburg dies without having produced an heir. The county of Schaumburg is now divided between Brunswick-Lüneburg, Hessen-Kassel, and Lippe, and Count Philip I of Lippe-Alverdissen is able to found the Schaumburg-Lippe line of the House of Lippe to incorporate the expanded territory that comes to him. During the remainder of his lifetime, Lippe-Alverdissen goes under the name of Schaumburg-Lippe.


The near-constant warfare and rapid change brought about by the Reformation and Counter Reformation is finally ended by the Peace of Westphalia.


When Count Philip I dies, his territory of Schaumberg-Lippe (the former, enhanced, Lippe-Alverdissen) is divided between his sons. Schaumberg-Lippe goes to Friedrich Christian, while the title of Lippe-Alverdissen is revived for the younger son, Philipp Ernst, who rebrands it Schaumburg-Lippe-Alverdissen.

1681 - 1723

Philip Ernest / Philipp Ernst I

Son. First lord of Schaumburg-Lippe-Alverdissen.


Upon the death of the childless Count Louis Ferdinand, the territory of Lippe-Brake is reunited with that of Lippe-Detmold under Count Frederick Adolphus.


Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI offers to raise Count Simon Henry of Lippe-Detmold to the rank of imperial prince for the reasonable figure of 4,400 talers. Unfortunately, not only can Simon Henry not raise the money, his finances are so fragile that he is forced to sell off two lordships in the Netherlands in 1725, those of Amiede and Vianen, and pledge Sternberg Castle to Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1733. Opinion is divided on whether this financial trouble is due to alleged profligacy by the count or hardships inflicted by the Thirty Years' War that the count copes with admirably by raising money where and when he can.

1723 - 1749

Frederick / Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst



Sternberg-Schwalenberg is divided, with probably the majority of its territory going to form Lippe-Biesterfeld (which may already exist as it is sometimes applied to Jobst Herman of Sternberg-Schwalenberg). The remainder is used in 1762 to form Lippe-Weissenfeld. The descendants of Rudolf Ferdinand are known as the lords of Lippe-Biesterfeld.

1749 - 1777

Philip Ernest / Philipp Ernst II

Son. Became the lord of Schaumburg-Lippe in 1777.


A cadet branch of the counts of Lippe-Biesterfeld becomes the first count of Lippe-Weissenfeld in the form of Ferdinand Johann Ludwig. At the same time, the lord of Lippe-Biesterfeld is raised to the rank of count.


The junior line of Schaumburg-Lippe-Alverdissen inherits Schaumburg-Lippe and the two titles are permanently merged under the latter title. All subsequent descendants of Philip Ernest are shown there.