Rulers of Saxony: Wikis


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This article lists Dukes, Electors, and Kings ruling over territories named Saxony from the beginning of the Saxon Duchy in the 9th century to the end of the Saxon Kingdom in 1918.


Dukes of Saxony

The original Duchy of Saxony comprised lands of the Saxon people in the north-western part of present-day Germany, namely, the contemporary German state of Lower Saxony as well as Westphalia and Western Saxony-Anhalt, not corresponding to the modern German state of Saxony.

Early dukes

Hattonid dynasty

Ottonian or Liudolfing dynasty

Billung Dynasty

Supplinburg Dynasty

Welf Dynasty

Ascanian Dynasty

Welf Dynasty

With the final removal of the Welfs in 1180, the Duchy of Saxony was sharply reduced in territory. Westphalia fell to the Archbishop of Cologne, while the Duchies of Brunswick and Lüneburg remained with the Welfs. The Ascanian Dukes had their base further east, near the Elbe, resulting in the name Saxony moving towards the east. The post carve-up Saxony is therefore sometimes called the younger Duchy of Saxony. Also the counting of its dukes its discontinued. While the first post carve-up duke is competingly counted as Bernard III - because of two predecessors of the same name before 1180 - or as Bernard I with his great-great-great-great grandson Bernard II being counted second. The second post carve-up duke Albert I is already usually counted as the first, although before 1180 he had one predecessor of the same name, being even his grandfather Albert the Bear.


Ascanian or younger Duchy of Saxony

On Albert I's death, his sons John and Albert at first ruled jointly. Some time after 1272 they divided their territory between them, creating the Duchies of Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg.

Since the Duke of Saxony was considered one of the prince-electors electing a new Holy Roman Emperor, conflict arose between lines of Lauenburg and Wittenberg over the issue of who should cast Saxony's vote and in 1314 both lines found themselves on different sides in a double election. Eventually, the Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg succeeded in 1356 after the promulgation of the Golden Bull. To distinguish him from other rulers bearing the title Duke of Saxony, he was commonly called Elector of Saxony.

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg

John was succeeded by his three sons, who at first ruled jointly:

  • John II 1285–1321, joint rule until 1305
  • Albert III 1285–1308, joint rule until 1305
  • Eric I, 1285–1361, joint rule until 1305

In 1305 the brothers split their inheritance between them, creating the Bergedorf-Mölln and the Ratzeburg-Lauenburg lines.

Dukes of Saxe-Bergedorf-Mölln

In 1401, the elder branch became extinct and Lauenburg rejoined the Ratzeburg-Lauenburg line.

Dukes of Saxe-Ratzeburg-Lauenburg

In 1401, the younger branch inherited Lauenburg and other possessions of the extinct elder Bergedorf-Mölln line.

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg (1401-1876)

Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Ascanian Dynasty, Lauenburg Line
Image Name Date Notes
JuliusHendrikSaksenLauenburg.jpg Julius Henry
1656–1665. Father of the following two dukes
Francis Erdmann 1665–1666. Elder son of Julius Henry and his second wife.
JuliusFransSaksenLauenburg.jpg Julius Francis
1666–1689. Younger son of Julius Henry and his third wife.
In 1689 the Saxe-Lauenburgian Ascanians were extinct in the male line. The House of Welf usurped the duchy,
inhibiting the heiress Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg, and resucceeded with its Brunswick and Lunenburg-Celle line.
Welf Dynasty, Celle Line
Image Name Date Notes
Georg-Wilhelm.jpg George William 1689–1705. He invaded with his troops Saxe-Lauenburg, inhibiting the ascension of the legal female heir Duchess Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg. This de facto takeover was only imperially legitimised in 1728. He was a great-great grandson of Magnus I through his great grandmother Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg
Welf Dynasty, Hanover Line
GeorgeIKneller1714.jpg George I Louis 1705–1727. He was a nephew and son-in-law of George William.
George II of Great Britain-01.jpg George II Augustus 1727–1760. In 1728 Emperor Charles VI enfeoffed George II Augustus with Saxe-Lauenburg, finally legitimising the de facto takeover by his grandfather.
George III 1762.jpg George III 1760–1814. de facto deposed by various occupations in the Great French War, he was a grandson of George II Augustus
George III's son, Regent George agreed to pass Saxe-Lauenburg to his Danish cousin in a general territorial redeployment at the Congress of Vienna
Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Oldenburg Dynasty, Main Line
Image Name Date Notes
Fiedrichvidenmark.jpg Frederick I 1814–1839. Frederick was a great-grandson of Duke George II Augustus from both sides through his mother Caroline and his father. The official colours of Saxe-Lauenburg were changed to red and gold.
Christianviiidenmark.jpg Christian I 1839–1848. half nephew of the former, but not related to the Saxe-Lauenburgian Welfs, however, grandson in sixth generation of Duke Francis I
Friedrichviidenmark.jpg Frederick II 1848–1863. son of the former
Oldenburg Dynasty, Glücksburg Line
Christian IX - Konge til Danmark.png Christian II 1863–1864. Deposed in Second Schleswig War and resigned by Treaty of Vienna. His mother was a cousin of Frederick I and Christian I as well as maternally and paternally a great-granddaughter of George II Augustus.
Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg
Hohenzollern Dynasty, Berlin Line
Image Name Date Notes
Wilhelm I Friedrich Ludwig.jpg William 1865–1876. The Estates of Saxe-Lauenburg offered him the ducal throne in 1865, he accepted. He was a grandson in sixth generation of Duke George William. The coat-of-arms of Saxe-Lauenburg was changed to the colours red and silver, with a rim in the Prussian colours black and white. Duke and estates decided to merge Saxe-Lauenburg as district Duchy of Lauenburg into Prussia with effect of 1 July 1876.

The Ascanian Dynasty continued in Saxe-Lauenburg until 1689, but after the Lauenburg line had finally lost the Saxon Electorate to the Wittenberg line in 1356 and failed to obtain the succession in the Electorate after 1422, recognition of the Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg as Dukes of Saxony waned.

Dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg

Wettin Dukes of Saxony

Albertine Dukes of Saxony

The Albertines were a junior branch of the Wettin dynasty of Electors of Saxony, who ruled in Northern Thuringia and Southern Meissen until they replaced the senior "Ernestine" branch as Electors and rulers of most Saxon territory in 1547.

Dukes of Saxony
Wettin Dynasty, Albertine Line
Image Name Date Notes
Herzog-Albrecht-der-Beherzt.jpg Albert the Bold 1464-1500. Younger son of Frederick II, Elector of Saxony. Divided the Saxon lands, including Thuringia and Meissen, with his brother Ernest in 1485.
Georg der Bärtige 1.jpg George the Bearded 1500-1539 Son of Albert. Opposed Martin Luther.
Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 042.jpg Henry IV the Pious 1539-1541 Brother of George. Introduced Lutheranism to Albertine Saxony.
Moritz Sachsen.JPG Maurice 1541-1553, Son of Henry IV. Became Elector 1547.

Ernestine Dukes of Saxony

Following their displacement by the Albertines, the Ernestine branch of the Wettins continued to rule in southern Thuringia as "Dukes of Saxony", but their lands eventually split up into many different tiny "Ernestine duchies". Of these, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg lasted until 1918. This article does not list the subsequent Ernestine dukes.

Electors of Saxony

The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the right to participate in the election of a Holy Roman Emperor to the Duke of Saxony in the Saxe-Wittenberg line.

Electors of Saxony
Ascanian Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Rudolf-I-von-Sachsen.jpg Rudolf I 10 January 1356 11 March 1356
Rudolf-II-von-Sachsen.jpg 'Rudolf II 11 March 1356 6 December 1370 Son of preceding.
6 December 1370 15 May 1388 Brother of preceding.
Rudolf III 15 May 1388 9 June 1419 Son of preceding.
Albert III
Albrecht II
9 June 1419 27 November 1422 Brother of preceding.
Wettin Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Friedrich4.jpg Frederick I
Friedrich I
6 January 1423 4 January 1428 Nicknamed "the Warlike." After the Wittenberg line of the Ascanians became extinct, the Electorate was given to Frederick, Margrave of Meissen and Landgrave of Thuringia, of the House of Wettin.
Frederick II, Elector of Saxony.jpg Frederick II
Friedrich II
4 January 1428 7 September 1464 Nicknamed "the Gentle."Son of Frederick I. Ruled jointly in Saxony with his brothers, but was the sole holder of the Electorate. Father of Ernest and Albert, founders of the Ernestine and Albertine Saxon lines.
Ernestine Line
Ernest, Elector of Saxony.gif Ernest
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.
ADurerFredericktheWise1524.jpg Frederick III
Friedrich III
26 August 1486 5 May 1525 Nicknamed "the Wise." Son of Ernest. Protector of Martin Luther, but a life-long Catholic.
Johann-Bestand-1526.jpg John
5 May 1525 16 August 1532 Nicknamed "the Steadfast." Brother of Frederick III. Legally established Lutheranism in his territories in 1527.
Johann-Friedrich-1578.jpg John Frederick I
Johann Friedrich I
16 August 1532 19 May 1547 Son of John the Steadfast. Called "the Magnanimous". Deprived of his Electorate by Emperor Charles V for his role in the Schmalkaldic War. Died 1554.
Albertine Line
Moritz-von-Sachsen-1578.jpg Maurice
4 June 1547 11 July 1553 Second cousin of John Frederick, grandson of Albert. Though a Lutheran, allied with 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.
Lucas Cranach d. J. 004.jpg Augustus I
August I
11 July 1553 12 February 1586 Brother of Maurice. Recognized as Elector by the ousted John Frederick in 1554.
Christian I of Saxony.jpg Christian I 12 February 1586 25 September 1591 Son of Augustus I.
Chr2.png Christian II 25 September 1591 23 June 1611 Son of Christian I.
Johann Georg I Saxony.jpg John George I
Johann Georg I
23 June 1611 8 October 1656 Brother of Christian II, ruled during the Thirty Years' War, during which he was at times allied with the Emperor and at times with the King of Sweden.
Johann Georg II.jpg John George II
Johann Georg II
8 October 1656 1 September 1680 Son of John George I.
Johann Georg III of Saxony.JPG John George III
Johann Georg III
1 September 1680 22 September 1691 Son of John George II.
JohannGeorgIV.jpg' John George IV
Johann Georg IV
22 September 1691 27 April 1694 Son of John George III.
Stolpen-August.der.Starke.JPG Frederick Augustus I
Friedrich August I
27 April 1694 1 February 1733 Brother of John George IV. Converted to Catholicism 1697 in order to compete for the crown of Poland. Took the Polish crown 1697, opposed by Stanisław Leszczyński 1704, forced to renounce the throne 1706, returned as monarch 1709 until his death. Called "the Strong".
August III.jpg Frederick Augustus II
Friedrich August II
1 February 1733 5 October 1763 Son of Frederick Augustus I. Converted to Catholicism 1721. King of Poland 1734-1763. Called ""the Fat" or (in Poland) "the Saxon".
Friedrich-Christian.jpg Frederick Christian
Friedrich Christian
5 October 1763 17 December 1763 Son of Frederick Augustus II, raised Catholic.
Fryderyk August I.jpg Frederick Augustus III
Friedrich August III
17 December 1763 20 December 1806 Son of Frederick Christian. His Electorate ceased with the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and he became King of Saxony. Called "the Just."

Kings of Saxony

The Holy Roman Empire came to an end in 1806. The Elector of Saxony, allied to Napoleon I, anticipated its dissolution by becoming the ruler of an independent Kingdom of Saxony in 1806.

Kings of Saxony
Wettin Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Notes
Fryderyk August I.jpg Frederick Augustus I
Friedrich August I
20 December 1806 5 May 1827 Duke of Warsaw 1807-1813. Called "the Just."
Anton-sachsen.jpg Anthony
5 May 1827 6 June 1836 Brother of Frederick Augustus I.
Friedrich August II of Saxony.jpg Frederick Augustus II
Friedrich August II
6 June 1836 9 August 1854 Nephew of Anthony.
Johann (Sachsen).jpg John
9 August 1854 29 October 1873 Brother of Frederick Augustus II.
König Albert von Sachsen.jpg Albert
29 October 1873 19 June 1902 Son of John. Called "the Good"
Georg von Sachsen 1895.jpg George
19 June 1902 15 October 1904 Brother of Albert.
FA3 of Saxony.png Frederick Augustus III
Friedrich August III
15 October 1904 13 November 1918 Son of George. Last king of Saxony. Lost his throne in the German revolutions of 1918.

Heads of the Albertine Branch of the House of Wettin (since 1918)

Saxony became a republic with the demise of the German Empire in 1918. For later rulers, see List of Ministers-President of Saxony.


  1. ^ John's daughter Elisabeth of Saxe-Lauenburg was married to Valdemar IV, Duke of Schleswig.
  2. ^ His wife was Sophia of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Wolfenbüttel) and they had Catharina of Saxe-Lauenburg (mar. Henry IV, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) as daughter.
  3. ^ His wife was Adelheid of Pomerania and they had Sophie of Saxe-Lauenburg (before 1428-1473) as daughter, married to Gerhard VII, Duke of Jülich.
  4. ^ His wife was Dorothea of Brandenburg (c. 1446 - March, 1519, daughter of Frederick II, Elector of Brandenburg). Their children were Eric of Saxe-Lauenburg (1472 - 20 October 1522, as Eric I Prince-Bishop of Münster, as II Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim) and Sophia of Saxe-Lauenburg (mar. in ca. 1420, d. 1462, mother of Eric II, Duke of Pomerania).
  5. ^ He married on 8 February 1540 Sybille of Saxe-Wittenberg (Freiberg, 2 May 1515 - 18 July 1592, Buxtehude), daughter of Henry IV of Saxe-Wittenberg. Their children were Henry of Saxe-Lauenburg (as Henry II Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, as III Prince-Archbishop of Bremen and as IV Prince-Bishop of Paderborn), Sidonia Katharina of Saxe-Lauenburg (mar. with Wenceslaus III Adam, Duke of Cieszyn) and Ursula of Saxe-Lauenburg-Ratzeburg (mar. with Henry, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Dannenberg)).
  6. ^ His wife was Sophia of Sweden.
  7. ^ His wife was Mary of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Wolfenbüttel) (1566-1626, daughter of Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Wolfenbüttel)) and they had daughters Juliane of Saxe-Lauenburg (26 December 1589 - 1 December 1630, mar. 1 August 1627), married to Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Norburg, and Sophie Hedwig of Saxe-Lauenburg (24 May 1601 - 1 February 1660, mar. 23 May 1624) with Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
  8. ^ His wife was Elisabeth Sophie of Holstein-Gottorp, daughter of John Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. Their daughter was Anna-Elisabetha of Saxe-Lauenburg (23 August 1624 - 1688, mar. 2 April 1665), wife of William Christoph, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg.
  9. ^ He married three times: 1) Anne of Ostfriesland, 2) on 27 February 1628 Elisabeth Sophia of Brandenburg (13 July 1589–24 December 1629), daughter of John George, Elector of Brandenburg and mother of Duke Francis Erdmann, and 3) on 18 August 1632 Anna Magdalene, Baroness Popel von Lobkowitz (d. 7 September 1668), the only to ascend with him to the throne on 18 January 1656. She was mother of Duke Julius Francis.
  10. ^ His wife was Hedwig of Palatine Sulzbach (15 April 1660 - 23 November 1681; daughter of Christian Augustus, Count Palatine of Sulzbach) and they had Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg and Sibylle Auguste of Saxe-Lauenburg as daughters.

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