Anna Sophie of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Duchess Anna Sophie of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was a princess of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Duchess in Saxony by birth, by marriage a Princess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. She was the daughter of Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Magdalena Sibylle, Duchess of Saxe-Weissenfels, her father was a fourth-generation descendant of John Frederick, Elector of Saxony in direct male line. He was a fourth-generation descendant of his wife Sybille of Cleves, daughter of John III, Duke of Cleves and older sister of both Anne of Cleves and Wilhelm, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg; the Elector was father to John William, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. He married Dorothea Susanne of a daughter of Frederick III, Elector Palatine, they were parents to John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. He married Dorothea Maria of Anhalt, a granddaughter of Christoph, Duke of Württemberg and great-granddaughter of Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg. John and Dorothea Maria were parents to Ernst I, Duke of Saxe Coburg, he married his cousin Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg.
As a result, their son Frederick I inherited both Duchies as the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg in 1675. She married Louis Frederick Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, they had the following children: Frederick Anton Amalie Magdalene Sophie Louise Sophie Juliane William Louis Christiane Dorothea Albert Anton Emilie Juliane Anna Sophie Dorothea Sophie Louise Friederike Magdalene Sibylle Louis Günther IIVia her eponymous daughter, Anna Sophie was an ancestor of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their cousins Carlota of Mexico and Leopold II of Belgium A pedigree of her
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was one of the ruling Thuringian dukes of the House of Wettin. As progenitor of a line of Coburg princes who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, mounted the thrones of several European realms, he is a patrilineal ancestor of, among others, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium and King Simeon II of Bulgaria, he was the eldest son of Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. He received a private and comprehensive education and became an art connoisseur. Francis initiated a major collection of books and illustrations for the duchy in 1775, which expanded to a 300,000-picture collection of copperplate engravings housed in the Veste Coburg, he was commissioned into the allied army in 1793 when his country was invaded by the Revolutionary armies of France. The allied forces included Hanoverians and the British, he fought in several actions against the French. Francis succeeded his father as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1800.
In the discharge of his father's debts the Schloss Rosenau had passed out of the family but in 1805 he bought back the property as a summer residence for the ducal family. Emperor Francis II dissolved the Holy Roman Empire on 6 August 1806, after its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. Duke Francis died 9 December 1806. On 15 December 1806, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, along with the other Ernestine duchies, entered the Confederation of the Rhine as the Duke and his ministers planned. In Hildburghausen on 6 March 1776, Francis married Princess Sophie of Saxe-Hildburghausen, a daughter of his Ernestine kinsman, Duke Ernst Friedrich II, she died on 28 October 1776, only seven months after her wedding. There were no children born from this marriage. In Ebersdorf on 13 June 1777, Francis married Countess Augusta Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf, they had ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood: His male-line descendants established ruling houses in Belgium, United Kingdom and Bulgaria, while retaining the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1918.
His son Leopold ruled as Leopold I of the Belgians. A grandson reigned jure uxoris as King Ferdinand II of Portugal while a great-grandson named Ferdinand became the first modern king of Bulgaria. One of his granddaughters was Empress Carlota of Mexico, while another was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom; the latter's son, Edward VII, a patrilineal as well as matrilineal great-grandson of Francis, inaugurated the male line which wore the British crown until the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. August Beck: Franz Friedrich Anton, Herzog von Sachsen-Koburg-Saalfeld. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie vol. VII, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, p. 296. Carl-Christian Dressel: Die Entwicklung von Verfassung und Verwaltung in Sachsen-Coburg 1800 - 1826 im Vergleich, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-12003-1. Christian Kruse: Franz Friedrich Anton von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld: 1750 - 1806, in: Jahrbuch der Coburger Landesstiftung, Coburg 1995
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. Born in Brussels as the second but eldest surviving son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the Belgian throne in 1865 and reigned for 44 years until his death – the longest reign of any Belgian monarch, he died without surviving male heirs. The current Belgian king descends from his nephew and successor, Albert I. Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf, he used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe authorized his claim by committing the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. From the beginning, Leopold ignored these conditions, he ran the Congo using the mercenary Force Publique for his personal enrichment. He extracted a fortune from the territory by the collection of ivory, after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forced labour from the native population to harvest and process rubber.
He used great sums of the money from this exploitation for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. He donated the private buildings to the state before his death. Leopold's administration of the Congo was marred by murder and other atrocities, his regime was characterized by notorious systematic brutality. The hands of men and children were amputated when the quota of rubber was not met. Thousands were sold into slavery; these and other facts were established at the time by eyewitness testimony and on-site inspection by an international Commission of Inquiry. Millions of the Congolese people died: modern estimates range from one million to 15 million deaths, with a consensus growing around 10 million; some historians argue against this figure due to the absence of reliable censuses, the enormous mortality of diseases such as smallpox or sleeping sickness, the fact that there were only 175 administrative agents in charge of rubber exploitation. In 1908 reports of deaths and abuse in the Congo induced the Belgian government to take over the administration of the Congo, free from Leopold's oversight.
Leopold was born in Brussels on 9 April 1835, the second child of the reigning Belgian monarch, Leopold I, of his second wife, the daughter of King Louis Philippe of France. The French Revolution of 1848 forced Louis Philippe to flee to the United Kingdom; the British monarch, Queen Victoria, was Leopold II's first cousin, as Leopold's father and Victoria's mother were siblings. Louis Philippe died two years in 1850. Leopold's fragile mother was affected by the death of her father, her health deteriorated, she died of tuberculosis that same year. Three years in 1853, at the age of 18, he married Marie Henriette of Austria in Brussels on 22 August. Marie Henriette was a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor through her father, Austrian archduke Joseph. Marie Henriette was lively and energetic, endeared herself to the people by her character and benevolence, her beauty gained for her the sobriquet of "The Rose of Brabant", she was an accomplished artist and musician.
She was passionate about horseback riding to the point that she would care for her horses personally. Some joked about this "marriage of a stableman and a nun", the shy and withdrawn Leopold referred to as the nun. Four children were born of this marriage, three daughters and one son named Leopold; the younger Leopold died in 1869 at the age of nine from pneumonia after falling into a pond. His death was a source of great sorrow for King Leopold; the marriage became unhappy, the couple separated after a last attempt to have another son, a union that resulted in the birth of their last daughter Clementine. Marie Henriette retreated to Spa in 1895, died there in 1902. Leopold had many mistresses. In 1899, in his sixty-fifth year, Leopold took as a mistress Caroline Lacroix, a sixteen-year-old French prostitute, they remained together for the next decade until his death. Leopold lavished upon her large sums of money, gifts, a noble title, Baroness Vaughan. Owing to these gifts and the unofficial nature of their relationship, Caroline was unpopular among the Belgian people and internationally.
She and Leopold married secretly in a religious ceremony five days before his death. Their failure to perform a civil ceremony rendered the marriage invalid under Belgian law. After the king's death, it was soon discovered that he had left Caroline a large fortune, which the Belgian government and Leopold's three estranged daughters tried to seize as rightfully theirs. Caroline bore two sons who were Leopold's; as Leopold's older brother named Louis Philippe, had died the year before Leopold's birth, Leopold was heir to the throne from his birth. When he was 9 years old, Leopold received the title of Duke of Brabant, was appointed a sub-lieutenant in the army, he served in the army until his accession in 1865, by which time he had reached the rank of lieutenant-general. Leopold's public career began on his attaining the age of majority in 1855, when he became a member of the Belgian Senate, he took an active interest in the senate in matters concerning the development of Belgium and its trade, began to urge Belgium's acquisition of colonies.
Leopold traveled extensively abroad from 1854 to 1865, visiting India, China and the countries on the Mediterranean
Wolfenbüttel is a town in Lower Saxony, the administrative capital of Wolfenbüttel District. It is best known as the location of the internationally renowned Herzog August Library and for having the largest concentration of timber-framed buildings in Germany, it is an episcopal. It is home to the Jägermeister distillery and houses a campus of the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences; the town centre is located at an elevation of 77 ft on the Oker river near the confluence with its Altenau tributary, about 13 km south of Brunswick and 60 km southeast of the state capital Hanover. Wolfenbüttel is situated about half-way between the Harz mountain range in the south and the Lüneburg Heath in the north; the Elm-Lappwald Nature Park and the Asse hill range stretch southeast of the town. With a population of about 52,000 people, Wolfenbüttel is part of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region, it is the southernmost of the 172 towns in Northern Germany whose names end in büttel, meaning "residence" or "settlement."
The mayor of the town Wolfenbüttel is since 2006 Thomas Pink. He was reelected in 2014 with 67.7% of the vote. A first settlement restricted to a tiny islet in the Oker river, was founded in the tenth century, it was mentioned in 1118 as Wulferisbuttle, when the Saxon count Widekind of Wolfenbüttel had a water castle erected on the important trade route from Brunswick to Halberstadt and Leipzig. Destroyed by Henry the Lion in 1191, again by his great-grandson Duke Albert I of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1255, the fortress was acquired and rebuilt by the Welf duke Henry I of Brunswick from 1283 onwards. By 1432, the town had become a permanent residence of the Brunswick Princes of Wolfenbüttel. Devastated in the 1542 Schmalkaldic War, it was rebuilt in a Renaissance style under Duke Julius of Brunswick-Lüneburg, including several gracht waterways laid out by Hans Vredeman de Vries; the duke vested the citizens with market rights in 1570 and founded the Ducal Library two years later. During the Thirty Years' War, Danish troops under King Christian IV occupied the fortified town in 1626.
Upon the nearby Battle of Lutter, they were besieged by the Imperial forces of General Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim. Re-conquered in 1627, the Wolfenbüttel fortress remained under the command of Gottfried Huyn von Geleen. In June 1641 the Battle of Wolfenbüttel was fought here, when the Swedish forces under Wrangel and the Count of Königsmark defeated the Austrians under Archduke Leopold of Habsburg, they failed to occupy the town. Over two centuries under Duke Julius' successors Henry Julius and Augustus the Younger, Wolfenbüttel grew to be a centre of the arts and science: Already in 1604, the composer Michael Praetorius served as Kapellmeister of the Brunswick dukes. From 1682, the composer Johann Rosenmüller, who had to flee Germany due to allegations of homosexuality, spent his last years in Wolfenbüttel. Gottfried Leibniz and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing directed the Ducal Library, established one of the first lending libraries in Enlightenment Europe. However, the ducal court returned to Brunswick in 1753 and Wolfenbüttel subsequently lost in importance.
During World War II, the city prison became a major execution site of prisoners of the Gestapo. Most of those executed were members of various Resistance groups. One such victim was a Dom Lambert, a monk of Ligugé Abbey in France, beheaded there on 3 December 1943; the baroque castle Schloss Wolfenbüttel. In 1866, the castle became the Anna-Vorwerk-School for girls. Today part of the building is used as a high school. Herzog-August-Bibliothek, the ducal library, hosts one of the largest and best-known collections of ancient books in the world, it is rich in bibles and books of the Reformation period, with some 10,000 manuscripts. It was founded in 1572 and rehoused in an interpretation of the Pantheon in 1723, built facing the castle. Leibniz and Lessing worked in this library as librarians; the Codex Carolinus in the library is one of the few remaining texts in Gothic. The library houses the bible of Henry the Lion, a book preserved in near mint condition from the year 1170. Klein-Venedig. A pittoresque waterside building ensemble along the River Oker built in the eighteenth century.
The churches Marienkirche, built during the seventeenth century, St.-Trinitatiskirche, built during the early eighteenth century. The town is the location of the former Northampton Barracks, which housed units of the British Army of the Rhine until 1993. Today, Wolfenbüttel is smaller than the neighbouring cities of Braunschweig and Wolfsburg, because it was undamaged by the war, its downtown is rich in half-timber buildings, many dating several centuries back, it still retains its historical character. Wolfenbüttel is located on the German Timber-Frame Road. Wolfenbüttel is home of several departments of the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the Lessing-Akademie, an organisation for the study of Lessing's works, it is home to the Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv, the state archives of Lower Saxony, as well as the renowned Biblioteca Augusta. The herb liqueur Jägermeister's headquarters of Mast-Jägermeister are still located in Wolfenbüttel, some of its distillation sites. Wolfenbüttel hosted
Princess Sophie Antoinette of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Sophie Antoinette of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was the tenth of 17 children of Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. She married Ernest Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld on 23 April 1749 at Wolfenbüttel. Among her notable great-grandchildren were Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, Ferdinand II of Portugal, Empress Carlota of Mexico and Leopold II of Belgium. Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, father of Leopold I of Belgium and grandfather of Leopold II, Empress Carlota of Mexico, Queen Victoria of Great Britain, her husband Prince Albert. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand. Fredericka Juliane. Caroline Ulrike Amalie, a nun at Gandersheim. Ludwig Karl Frederick. In turn, the five children of Ludwig Frederick were created Freiherren von Coburg, his descendants still alive. Ferdinand August Heinrich. Frederick
Princess Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg
Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg, was a princess of Saxe-Altenburg and, by marriage, duchess of Saxe-Gotha. She was the only daughter of Johann Philipp, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and Elisabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. In Altenburg on 24 October 1636, Elizabeth Sophie married Duke of Saxe-Gotha; as a dowry, she received 20,000 guilders. As Widow's seat, the bride obtained the towns of Kapellendorf and Berka, with the called Gartenhaus in Weimar; because according to the succession laws of the House of Saxe-Altenburg, after her father died two years he was succeeded by his brother, Frederick Wilhelm II. When her cousin, the duke Frederick Wilhelm III died childless in 1672, Elisabeth Sophie became in the general heiress of all the branch of Saxe-Altenburg on the basis of her father's testament. Ernest I of Saxe-Gotha claimed the whole succession of Saxe-Altenburg, claimed both being the closest male relative and his wife's rights. However, the other branch of the family, the Dukes of Saxe-Weimar didn't accept that will, opening a succession dispute.
Elisabeth Sophie and Ernst's sons received the lion's share of Saxe-Altenburg inheritance, but a portion passed to the Saxe-Weimar branch. Hence, the Ernestine line of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was founded, which would exist until 1825; when Duke Ernst I died in 1675, his numerous sons divided the inheritance into seven parts: Gotha-Altenburg, Meiningen, Römhild, Eisenberg and Saalfeld. Of them, Coburg, Römhild and Eisenberg did not survive over that one generation and were divided between the four remaining lines. Of the four remaining duchies, only two branches survive until today: Saalfeld. Through the Saalfeld branch, Elisabeth Sophie is a direct ancestress of the British Royal Family. After her husband's death, Elisabeth Sophie changed the towns given to her as Widow's seat in her marriage for the towns of Reinhardsbrunn and Tenneberg. Under the name "the Chaste", she was a member of the Virtuous Society. Ernst and Elisabeth Sophie had eighteen children: Johann Ernest. Elisabeth Dorothea, married on 5 December 1666 to Louis VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Johann Ernest. Christian. Sophie. Johanna. Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Albert, Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. Henry, Duke of Saxe-Römhild. Christian, Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg. Dorothea Maria. Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Johann Philip. Johann Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Johanna Elisabeth. Johann Philip. Sophie Elisabeth, their eldest son Frederick was the first to inherit this title. His granddaughter from this son, Anna Sophie of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, was a direct matrilineal ancestor of George V of the United Kingdom and Nicholas II of Russia, his younger son John was father to Franz Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. August Beck: Ernst der Fromme, Herzog zu Sachsen-Gotha und Altenburg, H. Böhlau, 1865, p. 754. Ludwig Storch: Das Fürstenhaus von Gotha, Erfurt 1826, p. 155. Women in Power: 1670