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Sigismund I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (d. Coswig, 19 January 1405), was a German prince of the House of Ascania and ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Zerbst until 1396, when he became the first ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Dessau.

He was the eldest son of John II, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, by his wife Elisabeth, daughter of John I, Count of Henneberg-Schleusingen.


In 1382, after the death of his father, Sigismund inherited the principality of Anhalt-Zerbst jointly with his brothers Albert IV and Waldemar III. After the death of Waldemar in 1391, Sigismund and Albert became the sole co-rulers.

Five years later, in 1396, both brothers decided to settle upon a formal division of the principality of Anhalt-Zerbst. Sigismund assumed the title "Lord of Zerbst," but established the town of Dessau as his main residence and capital of his newly-created principality of Anhalt-Dessau.

Marriage and issue

In 1386, Sigismund married Judith (d. aft. 1411), daughter of Gebhard XI, Count of Querfurt. They had eleven children:

  1. Sophie (d. 1419), married bef. 6 June 1415 to Burkhard IV of Barby, Count of Mühlingen.
  2. Elisabeth (d. aft. 19 November 1413), married bef. 1402 to Albert II, Count of Mansfeld.
  3. Anna (d. young)
  4. Margareta (d. young)
  5. Waldemar IV, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (d. aft. 22 July 1417).
  6. George I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (b. ca. 1390 - d. Dessau, 21 September 1474).
  7. Matilda (b. 1392 - d. 1463), Abbess of Gernrode (1439).
  8. John (IV) (d. Dessau, 1455), a canon in Merseburg, Provost of Merseburg.
  9. Sigismund II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (d. 22 May 1452).
  10. Albert V, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (d. ca. 1469).
  11. Ernest (d. aft. 22 October 1405).
Preceded by
John II
Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
with Waldemar III until 1391
with Albert IV until 1396

Succeeded by
Principality partitioned in Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Köthen
Preceded by
Principality created
Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Succeeded by
Waldemar IV
George I
Sigismund II
Albert V


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