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(Groß-)Herzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerin
(Grand) Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
State of the Holy Roman Empire (until 1806)

Flag Coat of arms
Mecklenburg-Schwerin within the German Empire
Capital Schwerin
Government Monarchy
 - Mecklenburg
    raised to duchy
 - Separation of
 - Joined
    Lower Saxon Circle
 - First partition of
 - Second partition of
 - Partition of
 - Disestablished 1918

Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy (1815: grand duchy) in northern Germany since 1348, when Albert II of Mecklenburg and his younger brother John were raised to Dukes of Mecklenburg by King Charles IV. Ruled by the successors of the Nikloting House of Mecklenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin remained a relatively poor state of the Holy Roman Empire along the Baltic littoral between Holstein and Pomerania.



The dynasty's progenitor, Niklot (1090-1160) was a chief of the Slavic Obotrite tribe federation, who fought against the advancing Saxons and was finally defeated in 1160 by Henry the Lion in the course of the Wendish Crusade. Niklot's son Pribislav submitted himself to Henry and in 1167 came into his paternal inheritance as the first Prince of Mecklenburg.

Mecklenburg about 1320 with Schwerin (yellow) and Werle (green)
Alternative full coat of arms

After several divisions among Pribislav's descendants, Henry II of Mecklenburg (1266-1329) until 1312 acquired the lordships of Stargard and Rostock and bequested the reunified Mecklenburg lands - except the County of Schwerin and Werle - to his sons Albert II and John. After they both had received the ducal title, the former lordship of Stargard was recreated as the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Stargard for John in 1352. Albert II retained the larger western part of Mecklenburg and after he had acquired the former County of Schwerin in 1358, he made Schwerin his residence.

In 1363, Albert's son Duke Albert III campaigned in Sweden, where he was crowned king one year later. In 1436, the last Lord of Werle, William, died without a male heir. Because William's son-in-law, Ulric II of Mecklenburg-Stargard, had no issue, his line became extinct upon Ulric's death in 1471. All possessions fell back to Duke Henry IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was then the sole ruler over all of Mecklenburg.

In 1520 Henry's grandsons Henry V and Albert VII again divided the duchy, creating the subdivision of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, which Duke Adolf Frederick I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin inherited in 1610. In a second partition of 1621 he granted Güstrow to his brother John Albert II. Both were deposed in 1628 by Albrecht von Wallenstein as they had supported Christian IV of Denmark in the Thirty Years' War, nevertheless the Swedish Empire enforced their restoration three years later. When John Albert's II son, Duke Gustav Adolph of Mecklenburg-Güstrow died without male heirs in 1695, Mecklenburg was reunited once more under Duke Frederick William of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Frederick William however was challenged by his uncle Adolf Frederick II, the youngest son of Adolf Frederick I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who also claimed Güstrow, leading to a fierce succession dispute. In 1701 the parties, pushed by the Imperial states of the Lowe Saxon Circle, settled their quarrels: The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, roughly a recreation of the medieval Stargard lordship, was split off and given to Adolf Frederick II. The continued conflicts and partitions weakened the rule of the dukes and affirmed the picture of Mecklenburg as one of the most backward territories of the Empire.

With the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Frederick Francis I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin received the title of a Grand Duke. After the fall of the monarchies in 1918 resulting from World War I, the Grand Duchy became the Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. On 1 January 1934 it was united with the neighbouring Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (both today part of the Bundesland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).

Dukes of Mecklenburg [-Schwerin], 1352-1815

  • Albert II 1352-1379 - son of Henry II of Mecklenburg
  • Henry III 1379-1383 - son of Albert II
    • Magnus I 1383-1384 - brother of Henry III
    • Albert III 1384-1412 (also King of Sweden) - brother of Henry III
  • Albert V 1412-1422 - son of Albert III
  • Henry IV 1422-1477 - grandson of Magnus I, inherited Stargard in 1471
  • Magnus II 1477-1503 - son of Henry IV
  • Henry V 1503-1552 - son of Magnus II, jointly with his brother
  • John Albert I 1552-1576 - son of Albert VII, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow since 1547
  • John VII 1576-1592 - son of John Albert I
  • Adolf Frederick I 1592-1628 - son of John VII, inherited Güstrow in 1610, jointly with his brother
    • John Albert II, received subdivision of Mecklenburg [-Güstrow]

deposed by

Mecklenburg (peach), 1701-1918

Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1815-1918

Heads of the House post monarchy

Presidents of the State Ministry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1850-1918

  • Hans Adolf Karl Graf von Bülow 1850-1858
  • Jasper Joachin Bernhard Wilhelm von Oertzen 1858-1869
  • Henning Carl Friedrich Graf von Bassewitz 1869-1885
  • Alexander Friedrich Wilhelm von Bülow 1886-1901
  • Karl Heinrich Ludwig Graf von Bassewitz-Levetzow 1901-1914
  • Adolf Ferdinand Helmut August Wilhelm Langfeld 1914-1918

See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN is bounded N. by the Baltic Sea, W. by the principality of Ratzeburg and Schleswig-Holstein, S. by Brandenburg and Hanover, and E. by Pomerania and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It embraces the duchies of Schwerin and Gtistrow, the district of Rostock, the principality of Schwerin, and the barony of Wismar, besides several small enclaves (Ahrensberg, Rosson, Tretzeband, &c.) in the adjacent territories. Its area is 5080 sq. m. Pop. (1905), 625,045.

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