John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg

John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg

John Sigismund ( _de. Johann Sigismund; 8 November, 1572 – 23 December, 1619) was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg from the House of Hohenzollern. He also served as a Duke of Prussia.

John Sigismund was born in Halle an der Saale to Joachim Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg, and his first wife Catherine, Princess of Brandenburg-Küstrin. He succeeded his father as Margrave of Brandenburg in 1608. He gave the Reichshof Castrop to his teacher and educator Carl Friedrich von Bordelius. John Sigismund received the territories of Cleves, Mark, and Ravensberg in the Treaty of Xanten in 1614. He succeeded his father-in-law Albert Frederick as Duke of Prussia in 1618, but died the following year.

Religious policy

John Sigismund's most significant action was his conversion from Lutheranism to Calvinism. He was probably won over to the faith during a visit to Heidelburg in 1606, but it was not until 1613 that he publicly took communion according to the Calvinist rite. The vast majority of his subjects in Brandenburg remained deeply Lutheran, however, and after the Elector and his Calvinist court officials drew up plans for mass conversion of the population to the new faith in February 1614 there were serious protests. Resistance was so strong that in 1615, John Sigismund backed down and relinquished any attempt at forcible conversion, allowing his subjects to be either Lutheran or Calvinist according to the dictates of their own consciences. Henceforward, Brandenburg-Prussia would be a bi-confessional state. [Christopher Clark "The Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947" (Penguin, 2007) pp.115-121]

Family and children

On 30 October, 1594, John Sigismund married Anna of Prussia, daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia (1553–1618). They were parents to eight children:

* George William (13 November, 15951 December, 1640). His successor.
* Anne Sophia of Brandenburg (15 March, 159819 December, 1659). Married Frederick Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
* Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg (11 November, 159928 March, 1655). Married Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. They were parents of Christina of Sweden.
* Catharina of Brandenburg (28 May, 160227 August, 1644). Married first Gabriel Bethlen, Prince of Transylvania and secondly Franz Karl of Saxe-Lauenburg.
* Joachim Sigismund of Brandenburg (25 July, 160322 February, 1625).
* Agnes of Brandenburg (31 August, 160612 March, 1607).
* John Frederick of Brandenburg (18 August, 16071 March, 1608).
* Albrecht Christian of Brandenburg (7 March14 March, 1609).


External links

* [ Settlement of Dortmund between Brandenburg and Palatinate-Neuburg and the conflict of succession in Jülich, in full text]


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