History Files

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

Totals slider

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

European Kingdoms

Central Europe


Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter (Hesse)
AD 1661 - 1676

The process of dividing and sub-dividing the German territorial duchies in Europe and electorates was one which 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. Each of the rulers of these divisions usually continued to hold the title of landgraf ('landgrave' in English).

FeatureThe Hessian 'Landgraviate' had been elevated to the 'Duchy of Hesse' in 1500, after which it had been heavily involved in the Protestant Reformation and its various conflicts (see feature link). The death of the commanding figure of Philip 'the Magnanimous' in 1567 had splintered the duchy into four. Subsequent generations would only increase that splintering.

The most minor of the splinter titles really were little more than that - a title, perhaps with a bit of land which held a castle or an estate. Many lasted for a single generation or so, effectively being not much more than a life appointment before reverting to their 'parent' body.

The title of Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter (sometimes shown more simply as Hessen-Itter) was founded for a Hessian cadet line in 1661 at the death of Landgrave George II of Hessen-Darmstadt. The 'Itter' title was handed to the younger brother of George's successor, Landgrave Ludwig VI of Hessen-Darmstadt, being held by Landgrave George for the remainder of his life, another fifteen years.

The numbering continued on from that of George II. This younger George already held the title of Hessen-Braubach, having done so since 1651. However, although he was father to three daughters, none of them apparently married so the line died out. The landgraviate's territory and holdings were reintegrated back into Hessen-Darmstadt.

Burg Frankenstein

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Coercion, Capital, and European States, Charles Tilly, 1992, from Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder (Historical Dictionary of German States), Gerhard Köbler, 1995, from Medieval Lands: Thuringia, Charles Cawley, from Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vol 11 (1880, in German), and from External Links: Euratlas, and Historical Atlas of Germany, and Genealogy.eu.)

1661 - 1676

George III

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


With George's first wife, Duchess Dorothea Auguste of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Franzhagen, having died in 1662 after giving born to a stillborn, George now marries for a second time. His new bride is the sixteen year-old Juliane Alexandrine of Leinigen-Heidenheim (he is thirty-five). The couple have three daughters over the next four years.

Landgraf George III of Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter
George III held the title to Hessen-Braubach thanks to the death of an elderly relative, and in 1661 was handed Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter upon the death of his father, Landgraf George II of Hessen-Darmstadt

1671 - 1673

Landgrave George Christian of Hessen-Homburg, a confirmed adventurer if ever there is one, sells Homburg to two of his biggest creditors, Johann Christian von Boyneburg and a banker by the name of Johann Ochs from Frankfurt. Wanting to realise the value of their newfound asset they sell Homburg to Ludwig VI of Hessen-Darmstadt in 1673.


Although George has become the father of three daughters during his lifetime, none have been married (and remain so even after this year), so upon his death with no male heir or successor, the line dies out.

The Hessen-Darmstadt-Itter title and any lands - plus those of Hessen-Braubach which George also holds - are reintegrated back into Hessen-Darmstadt.

Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.