List of dukes in Europe

List of dukes in Europe

The following is a list of historic duchies in Europe:



Although the titled aristocracy of Germany no longer holds a legal rank, nearly all ducal families in Germany continued to be treated as dynastic (i.e., "royalty") for marital and genealogical purposes after 1918. Some maintain dynastic traditions that are reflected in roles they still play in high society, philanthropy and Germany's version of local "squirearchy".

At first, the highest nobles – de facto equal to kings and emperors – were the Dukes of the stem duchies:

Later, the precedence shifted to the prince-electors, the first order amongst the princes of the empire, regardless of the actual title attached to the fief. This college originally included only one Duke, the Duke of Saxony. The ducal title, however, was not limited by primogeniture in the post-medieval era. All descendants in the male line, including females, shared the original title, but each male added as a suffix the name of his inherited domain to distinguish his line from that of other branches. From the 19th century, some cadets of the kingly houses of Bavaria and Württemberg, and all those of the grand-ducal houses of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Oldenburg, took the ducal prefix as their primary style instead of that of Prince (Prinz).

There were many other duchies, some of them insignificant petty states (Kleinstaaterei):

On the Baltic south coast

  • The duchy of Pomerellen (Pomerelia; capital Danzig (Gdańsk), now in Poland) was part of the State of the Teutonic Order until its takeover by the Polish Crown in 1466.
  • The duchy of Courland (now in Latvia) was a Polish vassal state and once a colonial power from its foundation in 1562 for the last Master of Livonian Order, Gotthard Kettler, until 1795.
  • The Ordensstaat became the Duchy of Prussia in 1525, part of the dynastic home country of the later German (Hohenzollern) Emperor.

The Low countries (Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg)

  • Duchy of Brabant
  • Duchy of Guelders
  • Duchy of Bouillon in the Ardenne
  • Duchy of Luxembourg


The Austrian lands:

The Habsburg dukes came to style themselves Archdukes.


The earliest territorial titles in Italy rendered as Duke were officially styled Dux in Latin, as they were appointed under Byzantine suzerainty (in the Exarchate of Ravenna), notably in chief of the essentially republican virtual Tyrhenean port cities of Amalfi, Gaeta, Naples until the Germanic takeover by the Italian kingdom of the Longobards.

More conventional feudal dukedoms include:

  • Duchy of Acerenza, created by the Kings of Spain and Naples for the ancestors of the Prince Belmonte
  • Duchy of Spoleto, in the Longobard kingdom
  • Duchy of Savoy, originally a countship; also partly in present France and Switzerland
  • Dukes of Modena and Reggio
  • Duchy of San Donato, created by the Kings of Spain and Naples for the ancestors of the Prince Sanseverino
  • Duchies of Benevento (787-873 under Frankish suzerainty, then again Byzantine; later a principality, since 1051 held from the Pope) and Pontecorvo, both of which became part of the Papal states
  • the Doges (a variant in Italian) of Genua and of Venice were elective crowned heads of commercial maritime 'most serene republics', in style echoed by the minute Adriatic republic of Senarica
See also Historical states of Italy
  • Duke of Calabria was the primogeniture for the crown prince of the Neapolitan kingdom.

A unique Napoleonic particularity was the creation by decree of 30 March 1806 of a number of duchés grand-fiefs. As the name suggests, these were duchies, but forming an exclusive order of 'great fiefs' (twenty among some 2200 noble title creations), a college nearly comparable in status to the original anciennes pairies in the French kingdom. Since Napoleon I wouldn't go back on the Revolution's policy of abolishing feudalism in France, but didn't want these grandees to fall under the 'majorat' system in France either, he chose to create them outside the French "metropolitan" empire, notably in the following Italian satellite states, and yet all awarded to loyal Frenchmen, mainly high military officers:

In the Kingdom of Italy, in personal union with France, personally held by Napoleon I:

  • Dalmatia (now in Croatia): for maréchal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult (1808, extinguished 1857)
  • Istria (now in Croatia): for maréchal Jean-Baptiste Bessières (1809, ext. 1856)
  • Frioul, i.e Friuli: for the widow of general Geraud Christophe Michel Duroc (1813, ext. 1829)
  • Cadore: for Admiral Jean-Baptiste Nompère de Champagny (ext. 1893)
  • Bellune, i.e. Belluno: for maréchal Victor (1808, ext. 1853)
  • Conegliano: for maréchal Bon Adrien Jeannot de Moncey (1808, ext. 1842)
  • Trévise, i.e. Treviso: for maréchal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier (1808, ext. 1912)
  • Feltre: for general Clarke (ext. 1852, extended 1864)
  • Bassano: for Hugues-Bernard Maret, minister (ext. 1906)
  • Vicence, i.e. Vicenza: for general Armand Augustin Louis de Caulaincourt, also imperial Grand-Écuyer (ext. 1896)
  • Padoue, i.e. Padua (Padova in Italian): for general Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova (24 April 1808, ext. 1888)
  • Rovigo: for general Anne Jean Marie René Savary (extinguished in 1872)

In the Principality of Lucca-Piombino, only Massa et Carrara: for Régnier, judge (extinguished 1962); Massa and Carrara were separated from the kingdom of Italy by article 8 of the decree of March 30, 1806 and united to the principality of Lucca-Piombino by another decree of March 30, 1806.

In the Kingdom of Naples :

  • Gaete, i.e. Gaeta: for Martin-Michel-Charles Gaudin, finance minister (1809, extinguished 1841)
  • Otrante, i.e. Otranto: for Joseph Fouché, minister of Police (1809)
  • Reggio: for maréchal Charles Nicolas Oudinot (1810, main line extinguished 1956, but special clause of the letters patent authorizing a substitution were applied)
  • Tarente, i.e. Tarento: for maréchal Étienne-Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre MacDonald (1809, extinguished 1912)

In the states of Parma and Piacenza, ceded to France by the treaty of Aranjuez of 21 March 1801, shortly before both territories were united to the French Empire on 24 May 1808:

  • Parme, i.e. Parma: for lawyer Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, author of the Code (the main European revision since Roman law, still influential in most democratic societies), Arch-Chancellor (24 April 1808, extinguished 1824)
  • Plaisance, i.e. Piacenza: for Charles-François Lebrun, also imperial Arch-Treasurer (24 April 1808, ext. 1926)
  • Guastalla (extinguished in 1842)


In Portugal, Duke was the title given to the higher nobles. The first duchies created in Portugal were the Duchy of Coimbra and the Duchy of Viseu, in 1415, both created at the same time. These were the duchies in Portugal.

All nobility was dismissed after the Implatation of the Portuguese Republic, in 1910. The pretendents of these titles aren't able to use them officially. The pretendents of the titles of Duke of Barcelos, Duke of Braganza, Duke of Coimbra, Duke of Guimarães, Duke of Porto and Duke of Viseu are members of the extincted House of Braganza: D. Duarte Pio of Braganza, heir to the Portuguese Throne, and his sons and brothers (Dukes of Coimbra and Viseu).

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