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Thuringian States

This was not a state but rather an area consisting of many states.  It is common to hear them refer to as the Thüringian states or the Thüringian duchies .  You sometimes hear this even though they were not all duchies.  This area was once part of the Kingdom of Saxony, but the senior line of the house of Wettin took Thüringia and the junior line took what became known as the Kingdom of Saxony.  Many generations of splitting the inherited properties led to the small enclaves.  These were not continuous landmasses.  Rather each state consisted of a series of little enclaves scattered throughout the area.


Although they are located in Thuringia they were usually referred to as the “Saxonian duchies”. Particularly XI Army Corps consisted of regiments and battalions coming from these principalities.

 

 

 

 

WILHELM ERNST Carl Alexander Friedrich Heinrich Bernhard Albert Georg Hermann, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, lost his throne 9 Nov 1918 (Weimar 10 Jun 1876- Heinrichau 24 Apr 1923); m.1st Bückeburg 30 Apr 1903 Karoline Pss Reuss (Greiz 13 Jul 1884-Weimar 17 Jan 1905); m.2d Meiningen 21 Jan 1910 Feodore Pss of Saxe-Meiningen (Hannover 29 May 1890-Freiburg 12 Mar 1972)

 

The Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, a German state in Thüringia since 1566 and was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866. The Saxe-Weimar family is the oldest branch of the Ernestine line, and therefore the whole Saxon house. After the Prussian-Austrian War where it allied with Prussia, it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867.  The Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867. It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871. In 1877, it officially changed its name to the Grand Duchy of Saxony (Großherzogtum Sachsen), but this name was rarely used. In 1896 the order of the colors for the flag and the cockades was changed to black-yellow-green. Prior to that time the color order was black-green-yellow.

It was the largest of the Thüringian states, and consisted of three detached districts of Weimar, Eisenach and Neustadt along with twenty-four scattered exclaves. The total area of the grand-duchy is 1397 sq. m., of which 678 are in Weimar, 465 in Eisenach and 254 in Neustadt. The population in 1914 was 442,000 who almost entirely were Lutherans.

Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The parliament consisted of one chamber known as the Landtag with thirty-eight members.  There was a four tier voting system with five members chosen by the largest landholders, five by high-paying taxpayers, five by the University of Jena, and twenty-three by the rest of the inhabitants. The franchise was a bit more liberal than some and included all male citizens over twenty-one-years of age. The Grand Duchy was represented by one vote in the Bundesrat and by two members in the Reichstag .


Wilhelm Ernst was an interesting ruler, rumored to be a sadist he was told on abdication that he was the most unpopular prince in Germany and had better run for it.  His wife died mysteriously in 1905. Natural causes or suicide were both rumored. He remarried and lived till 1923.

 

 

 

   
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Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Saxe-Gotha become a combined double state 1826 named Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The small Thüringian state was a member state of the German Confederation until 1866. The Saxe Coburg Gotha military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867.  After the Prussian-Austrian War during which it allied with Prussia, it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867.  In addition to the two almost equal sized parts there were a number of small enclaves.  It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871. Almost the entire population of 266,000 in 1914 was Lutheran.

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.  There were two separate parliaments, one for the Duchy of Coburg and another for the Duchy of Gotha, The Coburg diet consisted of eleven members and the Gotha diet of nineteen.  Common issues were decided by a joint session. The franchise was given to all male taxpayers who were at least twenty-five years of age. The united duchy was represented in the Bundesrat by one member and in the Reichstag by two members, one for each duchy. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was quite rich as Ernest I sold the principality of Lichtenberg to Prussia for a large sum of money.

Ernst II had no children, and the succession passed to the children of his brother Albert, the English prince consort of Queen Victoria. In 1855 his second son, Prince Alfred was declared heir to the duchy. When he died without sons in July 1900 the succession was renounced by the Duke of Connaught.  Therefore, Saxe-Coburg passed to a nephew Charles Edward, Duke of Albany. This guy had a bad spell of luck and made some bad choices.  He chose to come from England where he was the Duke of Albany at the age of 15 to become William's vassal. He didn't speak German.  Was loyal to the Kaiser and was stripped of his British titles post WW1.  After the war he became a staunch Nazi. 

 

Leopold Charles Edward George Albert Pr of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Albany, etc, succeeded as CARL EDUARD, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 30 Jul 1900; he and his family were stripped of their British titles 1919 (Claremont House 19 Jul 1884-Coburg 6 Mar 1954); m.Coburg 11 Oct 1905 Viktoria Adelheid Pss of Schleswig-Holstein (Grünholz 31 Dec 1885- Coburg 5 Oct 1970)

   
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The Principality of Saxe-Meiningen, or more correctly Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen, a German state in Thüringia since 1680, was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866. It absorbed in 1826 Saxe-Hildburghausen in exchange for Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.  During the Prussian-Austrian war of 1866 Saxe Meiningen allied with Austria.  In 1866 after Saxe-Meiningen declared for Austria almost at once the land was occupied by Prussian troops, and in September 1866 Duke Bernard abdicated and was succeeded by his son George who immediately made peace with Prussia and joined the North German Confederation. The Saxe Meiningen military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867.It became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867. While it consisted chiefly of an irregular crescent-shaped territory, there were numerous enclaves. The capital of the duchy was Meiningen.  In 1914 the population was 287,000.  The population was almost exclusively Protestant.

Saxe-Meiningen was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.  There was one chamber in the parliament known as the Landtag.  The parliament consisted of 24 members that were elected by three different groups. Four members were elected by the largest landowners, 4 members by those who paid taxes up to a certain level and 16 by all of the citizens in a direct secret election. The franchise was given to all males over twenty-five years of age who paid taxes. Saxe-Meiningen had one vote in the Bundesrat and two deputies in the Reichstag.

 

   
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The Principality of Reuß Junior Line, (sometimes called Reuß Gera) a small German state in Thüringia since 1673 was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866.  The principality remained neutral during the Austrian Prussian war. After the Prussian-Austrian War it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867. The Reuß military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867.  It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871.  The form of government was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.  There was one chamber in parliament known as the Landtag.  The 16 members of the Landtag had 12 that were elected by all taxpayers, three by the highest taxpayers, and one appointed by the Prince. The population was 157,000 in 1914.

The Principality of Reuß Senior Line, (sometimes called Reuß Greiz) a small German state in Thüringia since 1673, was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866.  The principality allied Austria in 1866, and barely escaped annexation with an indemnity of 100,000 Thalers. After the Prussian-Austrian War it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867. The Reuß military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867. It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871.  The form of government was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.  There was one chamber of parliament known as the Landtag.  The 12 members of this chamber contained three that were appointed by the monarch, seven that were universally elected and two were elected by the landowners.  The principality was known as a difficult group in the Bundesrat.  The conservative principality frequently went against the Prussian party line. The population was 74,000 in 1914 and was almost entirely evangelical.  Prince Heinrich XXII died in 1902, and his son Heinrich XXIV was judged incapable of ruling the principality mentally.  A regent was appointed from the Junior Line and Heinrich XXVII from the Junior Line ruled all of Reuss until the end of the war.

 

The Princely family of Reuss had the unique custom of naming all its male members Heinrich, in honor of the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VI, from whom they received their lands in the 13th century. A complicated system of numbering was developed into two different forms: the Elder line followed a sequence from 1 to 100 and then returned to 1; the Younger line numbered as number 1 the first Heinrich to be born in the century and followed the sequence till the end of the century, then began again with the new century.

Prince Heinrich XXXlll Reuss. He was seen as the most probable heir to the Dutch throne in case queen Wilhelmina would remain childless. His chances ended in 1909.

 

   
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The Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, a German state in Thüringia since 1711, was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866. After the Prussian-Austrian War, where they allied with Prussia, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867.  The Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867. It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871. Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.   The parliament consisted of one chamber called the Landtag and was only summoned every three years. The parliament consisted of sixteen members, four chosen by the highest assessed taxpayers, the others by universal secret and direct elections. The principality has one vote in the Reichstag and one in the Bundesrat. The population was 103,000 in 1914, and almost all of them were Lutheran.

The Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, a German state in Thüringia since 1697, was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866. After the Prussian-Austrian War where they allied with Prussia, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867. It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871. Schwarzburg-Sondershausen was a hereditary constitutional monarchy.  The parliament has one chamber known as the Landtag.  There was a three-tier appointment system where of the 18 members of parliament six representatives were appointed by the highest taxpayers, six by universal secret and direct election, and six were appointed for life by the prince.  The principality had one vote in the Reichstag and one in the Bundesrat. The population was 93,000 in 1914 they were almost all Lutheran.  Prince Charles Gunther succeeded on the 17th of July 1880, his father having renounced the throne in favor of his son due to eye disease. With the death of Prince Charles Günther in 1909 the Sondershausen line became extinct and the prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt ruled both states.

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen were joined by family lines originally.  Similar to the Reuß family all of the male descendents had a common name, in this instance Günther, such as Günther XL, who died in 1552.  Over time, this tradition changed.  Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was the junior line.  On the death of Charles Günther of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1909 the two Schwartzberg principalities were united in a personal union under Günther Viktor of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.  This was a personal union, and he still ruled two separate states with inside the German Empire.  Günther Viktor was fond of calling a joint principality Schwarzburg.  They were however not united in a constitutional sense, and were always two separate states having two distinct votes in the Bundesrat.

 

GÜNTHER Victor Fst von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, succeeded his cousin Georg as Fürst von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in 1890, succeeded his cousin Karl as Fürst von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1909, and assumed the title Fürst von Schwarzburg; abdicated 22 Nov 1918 (Rudolstadt 21 Aug 1852-Sondershausen 16 Apr 1925); m.Rudolstadt 9 Dec 1891 Anna Pss von Schönburg-Waldenburg (Hermsdorf 19 Feb 1871-Sondershausen 7 Nov 1951)

Günther SIZZO, cr 1860 Pr von Leutenberg, recognized as heir presumptive 1896, succeeded his cousin as Fst von Schwarzburg 1925 (Rudolstadt 3 Jun 1860- Großharthau 24 Mar 1926); m.Dessau 25 Jan 1897 Alexandra Pss of Anhalt (Dessau 4 Apr 1868-Schwetzingen 26 Aug 1958)

   
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The Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg, a German state in Thüringia since 1602, was a member state of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866.  After the Prussian-Austrian War, where it allied with Prussia, it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867.  The Saxe Altenburg military became a contingent of the Prussian Army on 26 June 1867.  There had been an earlier convention in 1862.

It became a member state of the German Empire in 1871. The principality consisted of two detached and almost equal sections, as well as twelve small exclaves. The total area was 511 sq. m. The population in 1914 was 222,000 that were almost entirely Protestant.

Saxe-Altenburg was a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The parliament had one chamber called the Landtag consisting of 32 members. The franchise was even more restrictive than Prussia with nine Landtag members elected only by the highest taxpaying section and the other 23 by all males over 25 years of age who paid taxes according to the Prussian three tier system. Saxe-Altenburg had one vote in the Reichstag and one in the Bundesrat.

Ernst Bernhard Georg Johann Karl Friedrich Peter Albert
1871-1955 married 1898 (div 1920) Adelheid Pss zu Schaumburg-Lippe 1875-1971 married second time 1934 Maria Triebel 1893-1955

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Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW Flags Of The World

Copyright: FOTW Saxon Duchies' map by António Martins based on material by Ziko M. Sikosek and Joaquín de Salas, and boundaries' data by Jarig Bakker.

Crests and coats of arms courtesy of http://www.heraldique-europeenne.org

Flags courtesy of FOTW Flags Of The World website at http://flagspot.net/flags/

Postcards and postcard art from author's archive except Bernhard from the collection of Mike Dwyer.