History Files

European Kingdoms

Central Europe


Saxe-Gotha (Saxony)
AD 1553 - 1689



Saxe-Thuringen is divided into Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Weimar when Duke Wilhelm von Saxe-Weimar creates a subdivision for his younger brother, Ernest I the Pious.

Map of German states AD 1560
Introduced in 1560, the system of imperial states replaced the now-outdated feudal system, with an imperial circle ('reichskreis') being a regional grouping of the imperial states (click or tap on map to view full sized)

1554 - 1565

John Frederick II

Son of John Frederick I of Saxe-Thuringen. Died childless.


Saxe-Gotha is partitioned to form the junior subdivisions of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Eisenach.


After one generation Saxe-Eisenach's holdings are handed out to the newly created Saxe-Altenberg and Saxe-Weimar.


Saxe-Coburg doesn't outlive its sole duke, going Saxe-Eisenach.

1640 - 1680

Saxe-Gotha re-emerges (for two generations of dukes). Saxe-Eisenach also re-emerges for just four years before being divided up between Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Gotha.


Saxe-Merseburg, Saxe-Weissenfels, and Saxe-Zeitz are created.


Saxe-Eisenach reappears (for two generations) out of Saxe-Weimar. Both Saxe-Jena (which lasts for two generations), and Saxe-Marksuhl are also partitioned out of Saxe-Weimar.


Saxe-Eisenach goes to Saxe-Marksuhl.


Saxe-Gotha is divided for the seven sons of Duke Ernst der Fromme ('the Pious'). Saxe-Eisenberg is created for one generation. Saxe-Meiningen is also created. Saxe-Gotha re-emerges (for two generations of dukes) and is partitioned between (and into) Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1680-1825), Saxe-Coburg (which re-emerges under one duke only), Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Römhild, Saxe-Eisenberg, Saxe-Hildburghausen (1680-1826), and Saxe-Saalfeld.


Saxe-Eisenach reappears (for three generations).


Saxe-Jena is divided between Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach.


Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Saalfeld are merged, becoming Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.


Saxe-Eisenberg goes to Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.


Saxe-Römhild goes to Saxe-Meiningen.


Saxe-Zeitz goes to the electorate of Saxony.


Saxe-Merseburg goes to the electorate of Saxony.


Saxe-Eisenach goes to Saxe-Weimar, which is renamed Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. It survives until 1918. One of its most notable grand dukes is Prince Bernhard, who serves as governor-general of Luxembourg in 1831.

Princess Anna of Prussia
Princess Maria Anna Friederike (Anna), daughter of Prince Charles of Prussia and Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, married Prince Frederick William I of Hessen-Kassel in 1853 but, as his second wife following the tragic death of his first during childbirth, she found the relationship to be loveless, if productive (oil on canvas by Franz Xaver Winterhalter) (click or tap on image to view full sized)


The wife of Duke Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld is heiress to Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, so when her father dies, the latter title falls to Ernest as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Saxe-Altenburg is detached from Saxe-Gotha and passes to Saxe-Hildburghausen. The duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen takes this title in place of his previous title, and Saxe-Hildburghausen passes to Saxe-Meiningen. Saxe-Meiningen is renamed Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen. It also survives until 1918.

Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

The wife of Duke Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the heiress to Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. When her father died in 1826 the latter title fell to Ernest as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In the process, the new sovereign duchy lost Saxe-Altenburg to Saxe-Hildburghausen. However, it was the source of some importance marriages into other European monarchies, and survived until 1918.

1826 - 1844

Ernest I

First duke. Formerly Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

Prince Ferdinand

Younger brother. Ferdinand II of Portugal (1836-1853).

Prince Leopold

Youngest brother. Leopold I of the Belgians (1831-1865).

Prince Francis Albert

Second son of Ernest I. m Queen Victoria of England (1839).

1844 - 1893

Ernest II



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. 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, and forces Saxe-Lauenberg into personal union (annexation in all but name, which turns into fact in 1876). The new, Prussian-dominated North German Confederation gains members in Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, and the kingdom of Saxony, among many others.

Prince Ferdinand

Grandson of Ferdinand. Ferdinand of Bulgaria (1887-1918).

1893 - 1900


Son of Prince Francis Albert & Victoria of England.


Brother. Duke of Albany. Died before accession.

1900 - 1918

Carl Eduard



All German monarchies are abolished upon the defeat of the German empire in the First World War. Saxony is recreated as a constituent part of the new federal Germany and its future fortunes would be tied to this new political creation.

1918 - 1954

Carl Eduard

Hereditary duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

1954 - 1998

Prince Friedrich Josias

Son. Born 29 November 1918.

1998 - ?

Prince Andreas

Son. Born 21 March 1943.

Prince Hubertus Michael

Son and heir. Born 16 September 1975.


The death of Prince Johannes Heinrich of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in April 2010 means that a distant cousin becomes heir to the title. The late prince's uncle, Philipp, and his descendants from his morganatic marriage with Sarah Aurelia Halasz have already been barred from the inheritance. The new holder is Simeon II, hereditary king of Bulgaria.

2010 - 2012

Simeon II

Cousin. Hereditary king of Bulgaria. Born 16 June 1937.


Simeon nominally cedes his rights (and those of his children) to leadership of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to his sister, Marie Louise.

2012 - ?

Marie Louise

Sister of Simeon II of Bulgaria.