- Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt
Infobox Military Person
name=Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt
caption=Source: Stadtarchiv Darmstadt)
died=death date and age|1705|09|13|1669|01|01
Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Austria, Great Britain
Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt (
Darmstadt1669 - Barcelona September 13 1705) was a Fieldmarshal in the Austrian army and conqueror of Gibraltarfor the British in 1704.
George of Hesse-Darmstadt was the third son of
Louis VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. After the early death of his father, he was raised by his mother Elisabeth Dorothea of Sachsen-Gotha. In 1686 he undertook a " Grand Tour" through France and Switzerland.
As youngest son, he had little chance of becoming Landgrave, and therefore he was destined for a military career.
First he fought against the Turks under
Prince Eugene of Savoy. He was present at the Battle of Mohacs. Then he joined William III of Orangein the Irish campaign. After his return he converted to Catholicism and became "Generalfeldwachtmeister" in the Austrian Army in 1694, at the age of 24. Then he fought against the French in the Nine Years' War. In 1695 he was sent by the Emperor to Spain at the head of an army-unit of 2000 German soldiers to help defend Cataloniaagainst superior French army and navy forces.In 1697 he defended Barcelonawhich was under siege by Vendome by land and admiral D’Estrées by sea. Finally the city surrendered after a siege of 52 days. This was ordered from Madrid and against the will of prince George. This siege made him famous in Europe and very popular in Catalonia.
After the war he was honoured in Spain and made a knight in the
Order of the Golden Fleece. After the withdrawal of the French, he even became Viceroy of Catalonia. He learned Catalan and initiated some reforms, making him enormously popular in the region.
But in 1700 King
Carlos IIdied and was succeeded as King by the French Philip V.Prince George was replaced in 1701 by a pro-Bourbon Viceroy and he returned to Austria. There he was ordered by the Emperor Leopold to negotiate an alliance with Great Britain and Portugal.
After the start of the
War of Spanish Successionhe was appointed , Fieldmarshal since 1699, at the head of the Austrian troops in Spain.
In 1704, under his command 1800 Dutch and British Marines were landed near Gibraltar, took the fortress and defended it successfully against a Spanish-French siege, holding of repeated attacks.
When the siege was abandoned in 1705, he took command of the conquest on Barcelona where he was killed on September 13, storming the citadel of
By now, Prince George had become a myth in Catalonia. His body was embalmed and buried in the Església dels Josepets de
Gràcia. His heart was sent in 1711 to Darmstadt, where it remains in the Stadtkirche until today.
George of Hesse-Darmstadt is not very well remembered outside Catalonia. His role in the conquest of Gibraltar has been diminished in the British
He is known by the Catalans as "Príncep Jordi" (Prince George).A street In Barcelona was named after him : Carrer del Príncep Jordi.
* [http://www.ictisp.com/~on406258/memoria/05/princepjordi.htm Commemoration of the tercentenary of the death of Georg von Hessen-Darmstadt ~ Princep Jordi (Catalan)]
* [http://www.11setembre1714.org/Biografies/Hessen-Darmstadt-Georg.html Biography: Georg von Hessen-Darmstadt ~ Princep Jordi (Catalan)]
* [http://www.11setembre1714.org/multimedia/video-bio-princep-jordi.htm#princep Video about the life of Georg von Hessen-Darmstadt ~ Princep Jordi (Catalan)]
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