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Saxe-Weissenfels / Saxe-Querfurt (Saxony)
AD 1656 - 1748

The Wettin Duke Ernest of Saxony became sole ruler of all of the remaining eastern Saxon territories in 1482. In 1485 he and his brother agreed under the terms of the Treaty of Leipzig (or 'Partition of Leipzig') to divide their territories between them. The division was generally between the Saxon and Thuringian halves, with Ernest retaining the Saxon part as the prince-elector of the duchy of Saxe-Thuringen. Albert gained the Thuringian part as the duke of Saxe-Meissen.

Duke Ernest and his Ernestine line of dukes in Saxe-Thuringen held the all-important title of prince-elector for only a few generations. The junior branch in Saxe-Meissen gained the prestigious title and position for itself by politically outmanoeuvring Saxe-Thuringen during the divisive Schmalkaldic War. Subsequently the situation regarding territorial divisions in both halves of Saxony became increasingly complicated. In 1656, what was now the electorate of Saxe-Meissen sub-divided itself to create Saxe-Merseburg, Saxe-Weissenfels, and Saxe-Zeitz. The agreement was confirmed by Elector John George II and his brothers in 1657, with the aim being to avoid fratricidal disputes over the succession.

None of the new sub-states would last for too long, with the territories being drawn back into Saxe-Meissen. Before that, though, Duke Augustus of Saxe-Weissenfels held the towns of Weißenfels on the banks of the River Saale in today's Saxony-Anhalt region of eastern-central Germany, and nearby Querfurt on the River Querne (the upper section of the Salza which itself is a tributary of the Saale).

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Albrecht der Bär, Lutz Partenheimer (Böhlau Verlag, 2003, in German), and from External Links: the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, and from Encyclopaedia.com, and Cranach Digital Archive (in German and English), and Special Collections (University of Arizona), and Triumph for the heretics: the Battle of Aussig, Alexander Querengässer (Medieval Warfare Medieval Warfare, Vol 5, No 2, Karwansaray BV, 2015, and available via JSTOR), and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 Edition.)

1656 - 1680

Augustus

Son of John George I of Saxe-Meissen.

1666

Following a legal wrangle which has lasted since 1659, Augustus gains the county of Barby (a little to the north of his own domains, on the banks of the Elbe). He had previously acted as regent for the young count there prior to the boy's untimely death. Barby is in turn willed by Augustus to his own son, Henry.

Duke Augustus of Saxe-Weissenfels
Duke Augustus gained Saxe-Weissenfels during the division of territories between himself and his two brothers, founding a line which would endure until 1746

1680

Upon the death of Augustus, Saxe-Weissenfels is either renamed Saxe-Querfurt until 1739 or the name is appended to the original in the form Saxe-Weissenfels-Querfurt.

1680 - 1697

John Adolphus I

Son. Resolved inheritance dispute with Saxon elector.

1697 - 1712

John George

Son. Died without a male heir.

1702 - 1710

Sweden moves fast to try and knock Saxony and Poland out of the Great Northern War by occupying large areas of Poland. Warsaw is captured on 14 May 1702, and a Polish-Saxon army is again defeated, this time at the Battle of Kliszów in July 1702. Following this disaster, Kraków falls to the invaders and the Swedes place a vassal ruler on the Polish throne while Elector Augustus marshals his forces in Saxony.

Duke John George of Saxe-Weissenfels plays no particular role in the war, unlike his cousin in Saxe-Zeitz who attempts to seek out Swedish support. Like Saxe-Zeitz, though, Saxe-Weissenfels is occupied by Swedish troops, between 1706-1707.

Eventual victory falls to Russia, Poland, and Denmark in 1721, when the Treaty of Nystad ends the Swedish Scandinavian empire. The personal union between Saxony and Poland is renewed on 8 August 1709 when Augustus regains the Polish throne. His victory at the Battle of Poltava has made it impossible for the vassal king to retain any pretence of ruling Poland. Instead he retreats with his Swedish masters to Swedish-controlled Pomerania.

Capture of Malmo 1709
The capture of the town of Malmo in 1709 by Count Magnus Stenbock was probably one of the last Swedish victories of the Great Northern War as Russia and her allies defeated the Swedes later the same year

1712 - 1736

Christian

Brother. Sank the duchy into debt. No male heir.

1718

Duke Maurice William of Saxe-Zeitz is the last of his particular line, barring two daughters who are ineligible to succeed him. Instead, for the first time since 1656, his title passes back into the hands of the senior branch, Saxe-Meissen and Elector Frederick Augustus I.

1733 - 1735

The Polish War of Succession erupts, with Stanislas Lesczynski being supported by his son-in-law, Louis XV of France and Philip V of Spain. France grabs Lorraine, fearing that its pro-Habsburg bias will see it used as a base from which to attack France itself. Saxon troops secure southern areas of Poland in support of the rival candidate, Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, with Duke Christian's brother, John Adolphus, future duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, leading the advance in some cases.

The fighting ceases in 1735 and is concluded by the Treaty of Vienna in 1738. It stipulates that Stanislaw Lesczinski will receive Lorraine in settlement for being deposed as Poland's king, while Duke Francis of Lorraine receives the grand duchy of Tuscany in compensation for the loss of his family's ancient lands.

The siege of Danzig in 1734
Danzig was besieged by the Russians and, despite an attempted (and not particularly forceful) French relief attempt in support of Saxon forces, it fell in 1734

1736 - 1746

John Adolphus II

Brother. Died on campaign. Lands reverted to Saxe-Meissen.

1738

Duke Henry of Saxe-Merseburg is the last of his particular line, barring two daughters who are ineligible to succeed him. Now his titles and territories pass back into the hands of the senior branch, the elector of Saxe-Meissen.

1746 - 1814

The death of John Adolphis II from a heart attack at the age of sixty-one leaves Saxe-Weissenfels without a surviving male heir. He had been withdrawing into Bohemia along with the Saxon troops who are engaged in the War of the Austrian Succession. His territories and titles revert to the senior branch of the family in the form of Saxe-Meissen and Elector Frederick Augustus II.

In 1814 Prussia gains Saxe-Weissenfels, Saxe-Merseburg, and Saxe-Zeitz from a Saxon kingdom which has been reduced due to its unavoidable role in assisting Napoleon Bonaparte and his Confederation of the Rhine during the Napoleonic Wars.