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The House of Wettin () is a
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the larges ...
of
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...

count
s,
duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a , or of a member of , or . As rulers, dukes are ranked below s, s, s, s, and sovereign s. As royalty or nobility, they are ranked below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...

duke
s,
prince-electors Choosing the king. Above: the three ecclesiastical princes choosing the king, pointing at him. Middle: the Count Palatine of the Rhine hands over a golden bowl, acting as a servant. Behind him, the Duke of Saxony with his marshal's staff and th ...
and
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
s that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
. The dynasty is one of the oldest in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

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 The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. Members of the family became the rulers of several
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
states, starting with the
Saxon Eastern March{{Infobox former subdivision , _noautocat = , native_name = Sächsische Ostmark , conventional_long_name = Saxon Eastern March , common_name = , subdivision = March , nation = the Holy Ro ...
in 1030. Other states they gained were
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
in 1089,
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
in 1263, and
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

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 Treaty of Leipzig or Partition of Leipzig (German ''Leipziger Teilung'') was signed on 11 November 1485 between Elector Ernest of Saxony and his younger brother Albert III, the sons of Elector Frederick II of Saxony from the House of Wettin ...
: the Ernestine and Albertine branches. The older Ernestine branch played a key role during the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg, 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the larges ...
. Many ruling monarchs outside Germany were later tied to its
cadet branch #REDIRECT Cadet branch In history and heraldry Heraldry () is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, ...
, the
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; german: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press ...

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
. The Albertine branch, while less prominent, ruled most of
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
and played a part in
Polish history The history of Poland ( pl, Historia Polski) spans over a thousand years, from medieval tribes, Christianization and monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's ...
. Agnates of the House of Wettin have, at various times, ascended the thrones of
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
, and
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
. Only the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
and
Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a contine ...
lines retain their thrones today.


Origins: Wettin of Saxony

The oldest member of the House of Wettin who is known for certain is
Theodoric I of Wettin Theodoric I (10th century; German: Dietrich, also known as Thierry) was a nobleman in the Duchy of Saxony The Duchy of Saxony ( nds, Hartogdom Sassen, german: Herzogtum Sachsen) was originally the area settled by the Saxons in the late Early Mi ...
, also known as ''Dietrich'', ''Thiedericus'', and ''Thierry I of Liesgau'' (died c. 982). He was most probably based in the
LiesgauThe Liesgau was a shire (''Gau (country subdivision), Gau'') of the Duchy of Saxony in the early medieval period, roughly corresponding to the former Osterode (district), Osterode district of Lower Saxony. It was situated on the south-west side of t ...
(located at the western edge of the
Harz The Harz () is a highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is ...

Harz
). Around 1000, the family acquired
Wettin Castle
Wettin Castle
, which was originally built by the local Slavic tribes (see
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
), after which they named themselves. Wettin Castle is located in Wettin in the
Hassegau The Hassegau was a medieval shire (''Gau (territory), Gau'') i ...
(or Hosgau) on the
Saale River The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Fränkische Saale, F ...
. Around 1030, the Wettin family received the Eastern March as a
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the hist ...
. The prominence of the Wettins in the Slavic Saxon Eastern March (or ''Ostmark'') caused
Emperor Henry IV Henry IV (german: Heinrich IV; 11 November 1050 – 7 August 1106) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the ...

Emperor Henry IV
to invest them with the
March of Meissen March is the third month of the year and named after Mars in both the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a minor mod ...
as a fief in 1089. The family advanced over the course of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
: in 1263, they inherited the
landgraviate Landgrave (german: Landgraf, nl, landgraaf, sv, lantgreve, french: landgrave; la, comes magnus, ', ', ', ', ') was a noble title used in the Holy Roman Empire, and later on in its former territories. The German titles of ', ' ("margrave"), an ...
of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
(although without
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
) and in 1423, they were invested with the
Duchy of Saxony The Duchy of Saxony ( nds, Hartogdom Sassen, german: Herzogtum Sachsen) was originally the area settled A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize Colonization, or colo ...
, centred at
Wittenberg Wittenberg ( , ; Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern ...
, thus becoming one of the
prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the that elected the of the . From the 13th century onwards, the prince-electors had the privilege of who would ...
s of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
.


Ernestine and Albertine Wettins

The family split into two ruling branches in 1485 when the sons of
Frederick II, Elector of SaxonyFrederick may refer to: People * Frederick (given name) Frederick is a masculine given name meaning "peaceful ruler". It is the English form of the German name Friedrich. Its meaning is derived from the Germanic word elements ''frid'', or peace ...
divided the territories hitherto ruled jointly. The elder son
Ernest Ernest is a given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of prop ...
, who had succeeded his father as
Prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the that elected the of the . From the 13th century onwards, the prince-electors had the privilege of who would ...
, received the territories assigned to the Elector (''
Electorate of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony (german: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also ') was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (news ...
'') and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
, while his younger brother
Albert Albert may refer to: Companies * Albert (supermarket) Albert Česká republika, s.r.o., is a division of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize group, operating in the Czech Republic. The company (then known as Euronova a.s.) began trading in Czec ...

Albert
obtained the
March of Meissen March is the third month of the year and named after Mars in both the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a minor mod ...
, which he ruled from
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

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 Ernest (24 March 144126 August 1486) was Elector of Saxony from 1464 to 1486. Ernst was the founder and progenitor of the ''Ernestine line'' of Saxon princes, and a direct patrilineal ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizab ...
(1441–1486) File:Herzog-Albrecht-der-Beherzt.jpg, (1443–1500)


Ernestines

The older Ernestine branch remained predominant until 1547 and played an important role in the beginnings of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg, 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the larges ...
.
Frederick IIIFrederick III may refer to: * Frederick III, Duke of Upper Lorraine (died 1033) * Frederick III, Duke of Swabia (1122–1190) * Friedrich III, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1220–1297) * Frederick III, Duke of Lorraine (1240–1302) * Frederick III of Sici ...
(''Friedrich der Weise'') appointed
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
(1512) and
Philipp Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abraham ...
(1518) to the
University of Wittenberg Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (german: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg), also referred to as MLU, is a public, research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of ...
, which he had established in 1502. The Ernestine predominance ended in the
Schmalkaldic War The Schmalkaldic War (german: link=no, Schmalkaldischer Krieg) refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (simultaneously King Charles I of Spain), commanded by t ...
(1546/7), which pitted the Protestant
Schmalkaldic League The Schmalkaldic League (; ; or ) was a military alliance of Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant Reformers, reformer whos ...
against the
Emperor Charles V Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanoru ...

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 The Battle of Mühlberg took place near Mühlberg, Brandenburg, Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony in 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War. The Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Holy Roman Empero ...
, 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 Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
. On 15 August 1557,
Emperor Ferdinand I Ferdinand I ( es, Fernando I) (10 March 1503 – 25 July 1564) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the middle ages ...
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 The Ernestine duchies (), also known as the Saxon duchies (''Sächsische Herzogtümer'', although the Albertine appanage duchies of Weissenfels, Merseburg and Zeitz were also "Saxon duchies" and adjacent to several Ernestine ones), were a cha ...
. 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 Weimar Classicism (german: Weimarer Klassik) was a German literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, dra ...
at his court in Weimar, notably by bringing
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

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 The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; german: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press ...

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
, regained importance through marriages as the "stud of Europe", by ascending the thrones of
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...
(in 1831),
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
(1853–1910),
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
(1908–1946) and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
(in 1901).


Residences of Ernestine branches

File:Schloss Altenburg 02.JPG,
Altenburg Altenburg () is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located south of Leipzig, west of Dresden and east of Erfurt. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district and part of a polycentric old-industrial textile and metal production region betw ...

Altenburg
Castle File:Schloss Saalfeld.jpg,
Saalfeld Saalfeld (german: Saalfeld/Saale) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the wor ...
Castle File:Schloss Weimar - Panorama.jpg,
Schloss Weimar Schloss Weimar is a ''Schloss Schloss Ludwigslust, Germany ">Germany.html" ;"title="Schloss Ludwigslust, Germany">Schloss Ludwigslust, Germany ''Schloss'' (; pl. ''Schlösser''), formerly written ''Schloß'', is the German language, German te ...

Schloss Weimar
File:City palace - Stadtschloss - Eisenach - Thuringia - Germany.jpg,
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares an origin ...
Palace File:Schloss01.jpg, Elisabethenburg Palace in Meiningen File:Schloss Hildburghausen.JPG,
Hildburghausen Hildburghausen is a town in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen Germa ...
Castle


Albertines

The junior Albertine branch maintained most of the territorial integrity of Saxony, preserving it as a significant power in the region, and used small
appanage An appanage, or apanage (; french: apanage ), is the grant of an estate, title, office or other thing of value to a younger child of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) i ...
fiefs for its 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 Albertine Wettins 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 Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area o ...
(between 1697–1763) and a third ruled the
Duchy of Warsaw The Duchy of Warsaw ( pl, Księstwo Warszawskie, french: Duché de Varsovie, german: Herzogtum Warschau), also known as Napoleonic Poland, was a Poland, Polish client state of the First French Empire, French Empire established by Napoleon Bonapar ...
(1807–1814) as a satellite of
Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led Napoleon Bonaparte's battle record, several successful campaigns during the French Rev ...

Napoleon I
. After the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, 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 Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
(see
Final Act of the Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was the most important international diplomatic conference in European history, reconstituting the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I. It was a meeting of amba ...
Act IV: Treaty between Prussia and Saxony 18 May 1815). lost his throne in the
German Revolution German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Germ ...
of 1918. The role of current 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). However, the headship of Prince Rüdiger is contested by his second cousin,
Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Etymology T ...
(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 Maria may refer to: People * Mary, mother of Jesus According to the gospels of Gospel of Matthew, Matthew and Gospel of Luke, Luke in the New Testament, Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; el, Μαρί ...
(died 2012), who had adopted his nephew and granted him the name Prince of Saxony, contrary to the rules of male descent under the
Salic Law#REDIRECT Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Franks, Salian Frankish Civil law (legal system), civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis I, Clovis. The written text is in La ...
. Both are however not recognized by the Nobility Archive in Marburg, nor by the Conference of the Formerly Ruling Houses in Germany – Prince Rüdiger because his father Timo was expelled from the House of Wettin, and Prince Alexander because he is not of
agnatic Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, althoug ...
noble descent (his father was Roberto Afif from Lebanon). Consequently, the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin is officially treated by the German nobility as extinct in its legal succession-line.


Albertine Electors and Kings of Saxony


Residences of the Albertine branch

File:DD-Schloss-gp.jpg, File:Meißen Burgberg mit Albrechtsburg und Dom.jpg,
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
(near Dresden) File:Moritzburg bei Dresden (tone-mapping).jpg,
Moritzburg Castle Moritzburg Castle (german: Schloss Moritzburg) or Moritzburg Palace is a Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, Baroque painting, painting, B ...

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 Freiberg File: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

The 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 List of Belgian monarchs, kings of Belgium (from 1831) and
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
(1908–1946), as well as furnishing husbands to Queen regnant, queens regnant of
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
(Ferdinand II of Portugal, Prince Ferdinand) and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
(Albert, Prince Consort, Prince Albert). As such, the British and Portuguese thrones became possessions of persons who belonged to the House of Wettin. From George I of Great Britain, 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 House of Welf, 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, Albert, Prince Consort, 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 (Edward VII, King Edward VII) or by her grandson (George V, 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. Wells) 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"."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 House of Windsor, "Windsor" (originally suggested by Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, Lord Stamfordham) in 1917.


Residences of the family

File:Coburg-Veste4.jpg, Veste Coburg, ancestral seat of the House of Saxe-Coburg File: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, Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, Rosenau Castle, Coburg Schloss Callenberg 2.jpg, Callenberg Castle


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


Early Wettins

* Counts of Wettin Castle, Wettin * Margraviate of Landsberg, Margraves of Landsberg * Margraves of March of Meissen, Meissen * Margraves of March of Lusatia, Lusatia * Dukes of Saxony, Landgraviate of Thuringia, Landgraves of Thuringia * Electors of Saxony and Prince-elector#High offices, Arch-Marshals of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
File:Wartburg von Brücke.jpg, Wartburg near Eisenach (1250–1406: residence of the Wettins)


Ernestines

* Electors of Saxony and Prince-elector#High offices, Arch-Marshals of the Holy Roman Empire (1464–1547) File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-16879-0019, Wittenberg, Schloss, Schlosskirche.jpg, All Saints' Church, Wittenberg, Wittenberg Castle, residence of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, Frederick III, "the Wise", built 1490–96 File:SchlossHartenfels.JPG, Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, main residence of the Ernestine Electors since Frederick III, "the Wise", built 1533–40


Existing Ernestine branches

* Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach * Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen * Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; german: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press ...

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
) * Kings of the Belgians (House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha#Belgian royal house, House ''van België'' or ''de Belgique'' or ''von Belgien'', "House of Belgium", previously known as House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) * Kings and Queen of the United Kingdom (House of Windsor, previously known as House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) * Tsars of Bulgaria (House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, sometimes known as "Sakskoburggotski") File:Coat of Arms of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.svg, Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach File:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen.svg, Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen File:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.svg, Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha File:Coat of Arms of the King of the Belgians.svg, Monarchy of Belgium, King of the Belgians File:Coat of Arms of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg.svg, Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg


Extinct Ernestine branches

* Dukes of Saxe-Coburg * Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld * Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg (first line of Altenburg) * Dukes of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (second line of Altenburg) * Dukes of Saxe-Hildburghausen, then Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg (third line of Altenburg) * Dukes of Saxe-Weimar * Dukes of Saxe-Eisenach * Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach * Dukes of Saxe-Jena * Dukes of Saxe-Gotha * Dukes of Saxe-Eisenberg * Dukes of Saxe-Marksuhl * Dukes of Saxe-Römhild * Kings of Portugal and the Algarves (House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)


Albertines

* Margraves of March of Meissen, Meissen * Grand Master of the Teutonic Order (1498–1510) * Electors of Saxony and Prince-elector#High offices, Arch-Marshals of the Holy Roman Empire (1547–1806) * Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania *Duke of Courland and Semigallia (1758–1763) * Kings of Saxony (1806–1918), currently ''Prince/Princess of Saxony'' and ''Duke/Duchess of Saxony'', with the head of the family also ''Margrave of Meissen'' * Duchy of Warsaw, Duke of Warsaw (1807–1815)


Extinct Albertine branches

* Dukes of Saxe-Zeitz * Dukes of Saxe-Merseburg * Dukes of Saxe-Weissenfels File:Zeitz Schloss1.jpg, Schloss Moritzburg (Zeitz), Moritzburg Palace in Zeitz File:Merseburger Schloss 2006.jpg, Merseburg Castle File:Schloss Neu-Augustusburg Ostseite.JPG, Neu-Augustusburg Castle, Weißenfels, Weissenfels


Family tree of the House of Wettin


Coats of arms

File:Wappen Mark Landsberg.svg, Counts of Wettin Castle, Wettin, Margraviate of Landsberg, Margraves of Landsberg File:Wappen Landkreis Meissen.svg, Margraves of March of Meissen, Meissen File:Blason Thuringe-Misnie.svg, Margraves of March of Meissen, Meissen and Landgraviate of Thuringia, Landgraves of Thuringia File:Blason Jean-Georges IV de Saxe.svg, Electors of Saxony, Elector of Saxony and Prince-elector#High offices, Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire File:Coat of arms of Saxony.svg, Kingdom of Saxony, King of Saxony (standard arms) For an extensive treatment of the coats of arms, see: Coat of arms of Saxony or in French: :fr:Armorial de la maison de Wettin, Armorial de la maison de Wettin


See also

* Rulers of Saxony, a list containing many Wettins * Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt, the city from which the Wettin dynasty originated


References


External links


House of Wettin – European Heraldry page



Website of Rüdiger, Margrave of Meissen

Website of Albert Prinz von Sachsen
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wettin, House of House of Wettin, Ernestine duchies, * German noble families