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House of Wettin
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{{Multiple issues|{{one source|date=July 2012}}{{original research|date=July 2012}}{{more footnotes|date=July 2012}}}}



















! colspan=5 | Electors of Saxony! Image! Name! Began! Ended! Notes! colspan=5 | Ernestine line
factoids
surname House of Wettin|coat of arms = Coat of arms of Saxony.svg|image_size = 110px|country = Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom|titles = Ernestine branch: (see more)
    see more]])


    "frontcopyul">
    King of Poland]]|founded 10th century









    Germans>German






    current head Michael, Prince of Saxe-Weimar-EisenachGermans>German|cadet branches =
      "frontcopyul">
      The House of Wettin () is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.The family divided into two ruling branches in 1485 by the Treaty of Leipzig: the Ernestine and Albertine branches. The older Ernestine branch played a key role during the Protestant Reformation. Many ruling monarchs outside Germany were later tied to its cadet branch, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Albertine branch, while less prominent, ruled most of Saxony and played a part in Polish history.Agnates of the House of Wettin have, at various times, ascended the thrones of Great Britain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Saxony, and Belgium. Only the British and Belgian lines retain their thrones today.

      Origins: Wettin of Saxony

      File:WettinCastleSaale-cropped880w600h.jpg|thumb|200px|Wettin CastleWettin CastleThe oldest member of the House of Wettin who is known for certain is Theodoric I of Wettin, also known as Dietrich, Thiedericus, and Thierry I of Liesgau (died c. 982). He was most probably based in the Liesgau (located at the western edge of the Harz). Around 1000, the family acquired Wettin Castle, which was originally built by the local Slavic tribes (see Sorbs), after which they named themselves. Wettin Castle is located in Wettin in the Hassegau (or Hosgau) on the Saale River. Around 1030, the Wettin family received the Eastern March as a fief.Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. IX, col. 50, Munich 1969–1999The prominence of the Wettins in the Slavic Saxon Eastern March (or Ostmark) caused Emperor Henry IV to invest them with the March of Meissen as a fief in 1089. The family advanced over the course of the Middle Ages: in 1263, they inherited the landgraviate of Thuringia (although without Hesse) and in 1423, they were invested with the Duchy of Saxony, centred at Wittenberg, thus becoming one of the prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

      Ernestine and Albertine Wettins

      The family split into two ruling branches in 1485 when the sons of Frederick II, Elector of Saxony divided the territories hitherto ruled jointly. The elder son Ernest, who had succeeded his father as Prince-elector, received the territories assigned to the Elector (Electorate of Saxony) and Thuringia, while his younger brother Albert obtained the March of Meissen, which he ruled from Dresden. As Albert ruled under the title of "Duke of Saxony", his possessions were also known as Ducal Saxony.File:1441 Ernst.jpg|Ernest, Elector of Saxony (1441–1486)File:Herzog-Albrecht-der-Beherzt.jpg|Albert, Duke of Saxony (1443–1500)

      Ernestines

      The older Ernestine branch remained predominant until 1547 and played an important role in the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. Frederick III (Friedrich der Weise) appointed Martin Luther (1512) and Philipp Melanchthon (1518) to the University of Wittenberg, which he had established in 1502.MAGAZINE, Kellner, Stefanie, Die freiheitliche Geisteshaltung der Ernestiner prägte Europa, Monumente, 9–16, German, February 2016,weblink 16 February 2016, The Ernestine predominance ended in the Schmalkaldic War (1546/7), which pitted the Protestant Schmalkaldic League against the Emperor Charles V. Although itself Lutheran, the Albertine branch rallied to the Emperor's cause. Charles V had promised Moritz the rights to the electorship. After the Battle of Mühlberg, Johann Friedrich der Großmütige, had to cede territory (including Wittenberg) and the electorship to his cousin Moritz. Although imprisoned, Johann Friedrich was able to plan a new university. It was established by his three sons on 19 March 1548 as the Höhere Landesschule at Jena. On 15 August 1557, Emperor Ferdinand I awarded it the status of university.The Ernestine line was thereafter restricted to Thuringia and its dynastic unity swiftly crumbled, dividing into a number of smaller states, the Ernestine duchies. Nevertheless, with Ernst der Fromme, Duke of Saxe-Gotha (1601–1675), the house gave rise to an important early-modern ruler who was ahead of his time in supporting the education of his people and in improving administration. In the 18th century, Karl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, established what was to become known as Weimar Classicism at his court in Weimar, notably by bringing Johann Wolfgang von Goethe there.It was only in the 19th century that one of the many Ernestine branches, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, regained importance through marriages as the "stud of Europe", by ascending the thrones of Belgium (in 1831), Portugal (1853–1910), Bulgaria (1908–1946) and the United Kingdom (in 1901).{| class="wikitable"
      80px)Frederick I, Elector of Saxony>Frederick IFriedrich I| 6 January 1423| 4 January 1428| Nicknamed "the Warlike." After the Wittenberg line of the House of Ascania became extinct, the Electorate was given to Frederick, Margrave of Meissen and Landgrave of Thuringia, of the House of Wettin.
      80px)Frederick II, Elector of Saxony>Frederick IIFriedrich II| 4 January 1428| 7 September 1464List of rulers of Saxony#Albertine Dukes of Saxony>Albertine Dukes of Saxony).
      80px)Ernest, Elector of Saxony>ErnestErnst| 7 September 1464| 26 August 1486| Son of Frederick II, divided Saxony with his brother Albert, taking Wittenberg, northern Meissen, and southern Thuringia. Inherited Thuringia in 1482 and ruled it jointly with Albert until 1485.
      80px)Frederick III, Elector of Saxony>Frederick IIIFriedrich III| 26 August 1486| 5 May 1525| Nicknamed der Weise (the Wise). Son of Ernest. Protector of Martin Luther, but a lifelong Catholic.
      80px)John, Elector of Saxony>JohnJohann| 5 May 1525| 16 August 1532| Nicknamed der Beständige (the Steadfast). Brother of Frederick III. Legally established Lutheranism in his territories in 1527.
      80px)John Frederick, Elector of Saxony>John Frederick IJohann Friedrich I| 16 August 1532| 19 May 1547der Großzügige (the Magnanimous). Son of John the Steadfast. Deprived of his Electorate by Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor>Charles V for his role in the Schmalkaldic War. Died 1554.

      Residences of Ernestine branches

      File:Schloss Altenburg 02.JPG|Altenburg CastleFile:Schloss Saalfeld.jpg|Saalfeld CastleFile:Schloss Weimar - Panorama.jpg|Schloss in WeimarFile:City palace - Stadtschloss - Eisenach - Thuringia - Germany.jpg|Eisenach PalaceFile:Schloss01.jpg|Elisabethenburg Palace in MeiningenFile:Schloss Hildburghausen.JPG|Hildburghausen Castle

      Albertines

      File:Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Saxony 1806-1918.svg|thumb|Albertine Wettins' royal coat of arms with the standard arms at the center (Kings of Saxony, 1806–1918)]]The Albertine Wettins maintained most of the territorial integrity of Saxony, preserving it as a significant power in the region, and used small appanage fiefs for their cadet branches, few of which survived for significant lengths of time. The Ernestine Wettins, on the other hand, repeatedly subdivided their territory, creating an intricate patchwork of small duchies and counties in Thuringia.The junior Albertine branch ruled as Electors (1547–1806) and Kings of Saxony (1806–1918), and also played a role in Polish history: two Wettins were Kings of Poland (between 1697–1763) and a third ruled the Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1814) as a satellite of Napoleon. After the Napoleonic Wars, the Albertine branch lost about 40% of its lands (the economically less-developed northern parts of the old Electorate of Saxony) to Prussia, restricting it to a territory coextensive with the modern Saxony (see Final Act of the Congress of Vienna s:Final Act of the Congress of Vienna/Act IV|Act 18 May 1815). Frederick Augustus III lost his throne in the German Revolution of 1918.The role of present head of the Albertine "House of Saxony" is claimed by his great-grandson Prince Rüdiger of Saxony, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen (born 23 December 1953). The headship of Prince Rüdiger is however contested by his second cousin, Alexander (born 1954), son of Roberto Afif, later by change of name Mr Gessaphe, and Princess Maria Anna of Saxony, a sister of the childless former head of the Albertines, Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen (died 2012), who had adopted his nephew, granting him the name Prince of Saxony, contrary to the rules of male descent under the Salic Law. The dispute is detailed in the article Line of succession to the former Saxon thrones. Both are however not recognized by the Nobility Archive in Marburg as well as by the Conference of the Formerly Ruling Houses in Germany. Prince Rüdiger, because his father Timo was expelled from the House of Wettin, Prince Alexander because he is not of noble descent (father was Roberto Afif from Lebanon). Consequently, the House of Wettin, Albertine Branch, is officially treated by the German nobility as extinct in its legal succession-line.

      Albertine Electors and Kings of Saxony

      {| class="wikitable" style=" width:100%;" ! style="width:10%;" | Image! style="width:25%;" | Name(Life Dates)! Relation with predecessor! style="width:35%;" | Title(File:Herzog-Albrecht-der-Beherzt.jpg|80px)Albert III, Duke of Saxony(1443–1500)second son of Frederick II, Elector of Saxony|Margrave of Meissen and Duke of Saxony(File:Georg der Bärtige 2.jpg|80px)George, Duke of Saxony(1471–1539)Son of the previous|Margrave of Meissen and Duke of Saxony(File:Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 042 small.jpg|80px)Henry IV, Duke of Saxony(1473–1541)Brother of the previous|Margrave of Meissen and Duke of Saxony(File:Lucas Cranach the Younger - Prince Elector Moritz of Saxony - Google Art Project.jpg|80px)Maurice, Elector of Saxony(1521–1553)Son of the previousJohn Frederick, Elector of Saxony>John Frederick, his Ernestine predecessor as Elector; grandson of Albert, Duke of Saxony. Though a Lutheran, allied with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor>Emperor Charles V against the Schmalkaldic League. Gained the Electorate for the Albertine line in 1547 after Charles V's victory at the Battle of Mühlberg. (File:Lucas Cranach d. J. 004.jpg|80px)Augustus, Elector of Saxony(1526–1586)Brother of the previous John Frederick, Elector of Saxony>John Frederick in 1554.(File:Christian I of Saxony.jpg|80px)Christian I, Elector of Saxony(1560–1591)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:Kurfürst Christian II. von Sachsen (Porträt).jpg|80px)Christian II, Elector of Saxony(1583–1611)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:Johann Georg I Saxony.jpg|80px)John George I, Elector of Saxony(1585–1656)Brother of the previous Thirty Years' War, during which he was at times allied with the Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor>Emperor and at times with the King of Sweden.(File:Johan Georg II Johann Fink, vor 1675.jpg|80px)John George II, Elector of Saxony(1613–1680)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:1647 Johann Georg.JPG|80px)John George III, Elector of Saxony(1647–1691)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:Johann Georg IV. Kurfürst von Sachsen.jpg|80px)John George IV, Elector of Saxony(1668–1694)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:Friedrich August der Starke von Polen.jpg|80px)Augustus II the Strong(1670–1733)Brother of the previousPolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth>Poland (as Augustus II). The first Albertine ruler since Luther's time to become a Roman Catholic, in order to gain the Polish throne (with the Albertines remaining Catholics ever since). Took the Polish crown 1697, opposed by Stanisław Leszczyński 1704, forced to renounce the throne 1706, returned as monarch 1709 until his death. A patron of the arts and architecture, the most prominent of all Albertine Wettins amassed an impressive art collection and built lavish baroque palaces at and around Dresden and Warsaw.(File:August III.jpg|80px)Augustus III of Poland(1696–1763)Son of the previous |Elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus II) and King of Poland (as Augustus III); converted to Catholicism 1712. King of Poland 1734–1763. Called ""the Fat" or (in Poland) "the Saxon". A weak ruler but an important art collector.(File:Anton Raphael Mengs 006.jpg|80px)Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony(1722–1763)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony(File:Fryderyk August I.jpg|80px)Frederick Augustus I of Saxony(1750–1827)Son of the previous|Elector of Saxony, 1806 King of Saxony. His Electorate ceased with the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and he became King of Saxony. Called "the Just".(File:Anton-sachsen.jpg|80px)Anthony of Saxony(1755–1836)Brother of the previous|King of Saxony(File:Friedrich August II of Saxony.jpg|80px)Frederick Augustus II of Saxony(1797–1854)Nephew of the previous|King of Saxony(File:Louis Ferdinand von Rayski - König Johann von Sachsen, 1870.jpg|80px)John of Saxony(1801–1873)Brother of the previous|King of Saxony(File:König Albert von Sachsen (Porträt).jpg|80px)Albert of Saxony(1828–1902)Son of the previous|King of Saxony(File:Georg von Sachsen 1895.jpg|80px)George, King of Saxony(1832–1904)Brother of the previous|King of Saxony(File:Friedrich August III van Saksen.jpg|80px)Frederick Augustus III of Saxony(1865–1932)Son of the previous. |The last king of Saxony. Lost his throne in the German revolution of 1918.

      Residences of the Albertine branch

      File:DD-Schloss-gp.jpg|Dresden Royal PalaceFile:Meißen Burgberg mit Albrechtsburg und Dom.jpg|Meissen (near Dresden)File:Moritzburg bei Dresden (tone-mapping).jpg|Moritzburg Castle (near Dresden)File:Pillnitz-Wasseransicht.jpg|Pillnitz Palace (near Dresden)File:Schloss Weesenstein (14-2).jpg|Weesenstein Castle (near Dresden)File:Schloss Freudenstein Freiberg.jpg|Freudenstein Castle at FreibergFile:Schloss Augustusburg Südseite.jpg|Augustusburg Hunting Lodge (near Chemnitz)File:Schloss Hubertusburg, Wermsdorf, Sachsen, Deutschland.JPG|Hubertusburg Castle (near Leipzig)

      The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

      File:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.svg|thumb|House of Saxe-Coburg and GothaHouse of Saxe-Coburg and GothaThe senior (Ernestine) branch of the House of Wettin lost the electorship to the Albertine line in 1547, but retained its holdings in Thuringia, dividing the area into a number of smaller states. One of the resulting Ernestine houses, known as Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld until 1826 and as Saxe-Coburg and Gotha after that, went on to contribute kings of Belgium (from 1831) and Bulgaria (1908–1946), as well as furnishing husbands to queens regnant of Portugal (Prince Ferdinand) and the United Kingdom (Prince Albert). As such, the British and Portuguese thrones became possessions of persons who belonged to the House of Wettin.From King George I to Queen Victoria, the British Royal family was called the House of Hanover, being a junior branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg and thus part of the dynasty of the Guelphs. In the late 19th century, Queen Victoria charged the College of Heralds in England to determine the correct personal surname of her late husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and, thus, the proper surname of the royal family upon the accession of her son. After extensive research, they concluded that it was Wettin, but this name was never used, either by the Queen or by her son (King Edward VII) or by her grandson (King George V); they were simply Kings of the House of "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha".Severe anti-German sentiment during World War I (1914-1918) led some influential members of the British public (especially radical Republicans such as H. G. WellsAnne Edwards, Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor (2014), p. 300.) to question the loyalty of the royal family. Advisors to King George V searched for an acceptable surname for the British royal family, but Wettin was rejected as "unsuitably comic"."We can hazard a guess that Wettin and Wipper, if given an English pronunciation, sounded quite as unsuitably comic in the ears of this sailor King in 1917 as they do to us today." Elizabeth Longford, The Royal House of Windsor (1984), p. 21."British courtiers thought it sounded 'unsuitably comic' and the cumbersome 'Saxe-Coburg-Gotha' was invariably used." Barry Jones, Dictionary of World Biography 4th ed. (2017), p. 892."Since the Saxe-Coburg family belonged to the House of Wettin in the District of Wipper, Wettin or Wipper might be more appropriate. Either one could have passed for an English name, but both were considered 'unsuitably comic.'"Anne Edwards, Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor (2014), p. 302. An Order in Council legally changed the name of the British royal family to "Windsor" (originally suggested by Lord Stamfordham) in 1917.

      Residences of the family

      File:Coburg-Veste4.jpg|Veste Coburg, ancestral seat of the House of Saxe-CoburgFile:Coburg-Ehrenburg1.jpg|Ehrenburg Palace, Coburg (summer residence)File:Gotha Schloss 1900.jpg|Friedenstein Castle, Gotha (winter residence)File:Reinhardsbrunn Schloss Winter.JPG|Reinhardsbrunn Castle, Gotha File:CO Schloss Rosenau1.jpg|Rosenau Castle, CoburgSchloss Callenberg 2.jpg|Callenberg Castle

      Branches and titles of the House of Wettin and its agnatic descent

      Early Wettins

      File:Wartburg von Brücke.jpg|Wartburg near Eisenach (1250–1406: residence of the Wettins)

      Ernestines

      File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-16879-0019, Wittenberg, Schloss, Schlosskirche.jpg|Wittenberg Castle, residence of Frederick III, "the Wise", built 1490–96File:SchlossHartenfels.JPG|Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, main residence of the Ernestine Electors since Frederick III, "the Wise", built 1533–40

      Existing Ernestine branches

      File:Coat of Arms of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.svg|Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-EisenachFile:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen.svg|Duchy of Saxe-MeiningenFile:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.svg|Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and GothaFile:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg.svg|Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg

      Extinct Ernestine branches

      Albertines

      missing image!
      - Dresden-Hofkirche-Gruft.jpg -
      Catholic members of the Royal Albertine branch of the House of Wettin buried in the crypt chapel of the Katholische Hofkirche, Dresden

      Extinct Albertine branches

      File:Zeitz Schloss1.jpg|Moritzburg Palace in ZeitzFile:Merseburger Schloss 2006.jpg|Merseburg Castle File:Schloss Neu-Augustusburg Ostseite.JPG|Neu-Augustusburg Castle, Weissenfels

      Family tree of the House of Wettin

      (File:Saxe Wettin Dynasty Family Tree.PNG|thumb|500px|center|Family tree of the House of Wettin, the royal & ducal house of Saxony, and later Great Britain, Belgium, Portugal, and Bulgaria)

      Coats of arms

      File:Landsberg.png|Counts of Wettin, Margraves of LandsbergFile:Wappen Landkreis Meissen.svg|Margraves of MeissenFile:Blason Thuringe-Misnie.svg|Margraves of Meissen and Landgraves of ThuringiaFile:Blason Jean-Georges IV de Saxe.svg|Elector of Saxony and Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman EmpireFile:Coat of arms of Saxony.svg|King of Saxony (standard arms)For an extensive treatment of the coats of arms, see: Coat of arms of Saxonyor in French: (:fr:Armorial de la maison de Wettin|Armorial de la maison de Wettin)

      See also

      References

      {{Reflist|2}}

      External links

      {{Commons category|House of Wettin}} {{Royal houses of Europe}}{{Authority control}}

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