Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar


Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar

Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar (b. Altenburg, 11 April 1598 - d. Weimar, 17 May 1662), was a duke of Saxe-Weimar.

Wilhelm was the fifth and third-surviving son of Johann, Duke of Saxe-Weimar and Dorothea Maria of Anhalt.

Youth

Like his brothers Johann Ernst and Friedrich, Wilhelm studied at the University of Jena. Later, he accompanied his brothers in their study abroad. Their educational tour began at the end of August 1613, and the brothers visited France, Great Britain and the Netherlands before returning home in 1614.

Some years later, on 24 August 1617, during his mother's funeral, Wilhelm helped found the Fruitbearing Society. In 1651 he became the second head of the Society.

Reign

In 1620 Wilhelm became regent of all the estates of his older brother, after the latter was subject to the ban of the Empire for refusing to submit to the emperor. When Johann Ernst died in 1626, Wilhelm assumed the title of Duke of Saxe-Weimar.

One year later, Wilhelm was created member of the Order of the Stability. During the years 1622-1623, he created a patriotic federation, the "German Friedbund", for the promotion of the German states and religious liberties. Wilhelm's maternal uncle, Louis I of Anhalt-Köthen, provided the Friedbund with a generous endowment.

Rise to power

Wilhelm allied himself with his brothers in the Bohemian War, serving under Peter Ernst II of Mansfeld and Georg Friedrich, Margrave of Baden-Durlach. Later he was promoted under the service of Christian of Halberstadt.

During the division of the paternal states, in 1640, Wilhelm retained Weimar and Jena, and his younger brother Albrecht received Eisenach. When Albrecht died childless in 1644, Wilhelm assumed control of the entire inheritance.

King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden was responsible for Wilhelm's quick rise through the ranks of the military. After Gustav II Adolf's death however, Count Axel Oxenstierna successfully prevented Wilhelm from assuming another command as lieutenant general, and Wilhelm acceded to the Peace of Prague in 1635.

When Prince Louis I of Anhalt-Köthen died on 7 January 1650, the members of the Fruitbearing Society decided that Wilhelm should become his uncle's successor as head of the society. After the obligatory mourning year, on 8 May 1651 Wilhelm became the new head of the society-- a position that he retained to the end of his life. In contrast to his predecessor, however, he was essentially limited to representative tasks.

Marriage and children

In Weimar on 23 May 1625, Wilhelm married Eleonore Dorothea of Anhalt-Dessau. They had nine children:
# Wilhelm (b. Weimar, 26 March 1626 - d. Weimar, 1 November 1626).
# Johann Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar (b. Weimar, 11 September 1627 - d. Weimar, 15 May 1683).
# Johann Wilhelm (b. Weimar, 16 August 1630 - d. Weimar, 16 May 1639). [http://www.royaltyguide.nl/images-families/wettin/saxeweimareisenach1/1630%20Johann%20Wilhelm.jpg]
# Adolf Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach (b. Weimar, 14 May 1632 - d. Eisenach, 22 November 1668).
# Johann Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Marksuhl, later of Saxe-Eisenach (b. Weimar, 12 July 1634 - d. on hunt accident, Eckhartshausen, 19 September 1686).
# Wilhelmine Eleonore (b. Weimar, 7 June 1636 - d. Weimar, 1 April 1653).
# Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Jena (b. Weimar, 14 October 1638 - d. Jena, 3 May 1678).
# Frederick (b. Weimar, 19 March 1640 - d. Weimar, 19 August 1656).
# Dorothea Marie (b. Weimar, 14 October 1641 - d. Moritzburg, 11 June 1675), married on 3 July 1656 to Maurice, Duke of Saxe-Zeitz.

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