Meiningen is a town in the southern part of the state of Thuringia, Germany. It has a population of around 21,000 and is the capital of the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district, from 1680 to 1920, Meiningen was the capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. Meiningen is considered the cultural and financial centre of southern Thuringia and is reliant on mechanical engineering, high-tech industry. The city lies in the linguistic and cultural area of Franconia, Meiningen originated during the formation of the Frankish Empire in the 6th or 7th century, which established trade routes, river crossings and boundary markers. An intersection of two routes and a ford was located at the present-day southern end of the old town near the Werra river. Meiningen was first mentioned in 982, the village was first a crown land in the Duchy of Franconia and a possession of the king. Around the year 1000, construction of the Stadtkirche began and it was several times expanded and rebuilt over the centuries. German Emperor Henry II donated Meiningen in 1008 to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Würzburg, to protect their property, the Bishops of Würzburg built a moated castle in the 11th century.
In 1153, the plague raged in Meiningen, which was granted rights that year by the rulers. In 1222, Würzburg and the House of Henneberg fought for possession of Meiningen, Meiningen was first mentioned in 1230 as a Stadt and was granted wide-ranging autonomy in 1344. During this time the citizens built a fortification with a double wall. From 1239 to 1242 the Friars Minor of the Franciscan Order built a monastery between the castle and the Lower Gate, in 1380, a fire destroyed around a quarter of the city, including the archives of the town council. The city joined together with ten other cities of the Bishopric of Würzburg, Würzburg troops besieged Meiningen, until it capitulated in 1399. In an uprising on 10 August 1432, the destroyed the castle. In the years 1443-1455, the city church was enlarged in the Gothic style, Meiningen had about 2,000 inhabitants in 1450. A t the end of the 15th century two devastating fires destroyed almost the whole city, the city church was spared from the fire.
Bishop Lorenz von Bibra built a new castle from 1509 to 1511, in the city textiles, metal working and trade became more important. In 1542, Meiningen came to the Henneberg family in exchange for the district of Mainberg from the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha
Ernest I, called Ernest The Pious, was a duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg. The duchies were merged into Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. He was the ninth but sixth surviving son of Johann II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar and his mother was a granddaughter of Christoph, Duke of Württemberg, and great-granddaughter of Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg. Left an orphan early in life, he was brought up in a strict manner and he soon showed traits of the piety of the time. As ruler, by his character and governmental ability as well as by personal attention to matters of state, he introduced a golden age for his subjects after the ravages of the Thirty Years War. By wise economy, which did not exclude fitting generosity or display on proper occasions, he freed his land from debt, left at his death a considerable sum in the treasury, and reduced taxation. Public security and an incorruptible and efficient judiciary received much of his attention and he prohibited dueling and imposed the death penalty for a mortal result.
In 1640, according to the treaty with his brothers. His laws were not conceived in the spirit of ideas about individual liberty, they forbade secret betrothals, tried to regulate dress, and extended even to the stable, kitchen. Nevertheless, his regulations promoted agriculture, commerce and his palace of Friedenstein in Gotha was rebuilt, and its collections owe their origin to Ernest, the library became one of the largest in Germany. Churches were built and by his Schulmethodus of 1642 Ernest became the father of the present grammar-school. It was a saying that his peasants were better instructed than the townsmen and nobles elsewhere. He made the gymnasium in Gotha a model school which attracted pupils not only from all German lands, but from Sweden, Russia and Hungary. In like manner he fostered the University of Jena, increasing its funds and regulating its studies, with too much emphasis on the religious side. The same fault is attached to his efforts in church affairs, which won him the nickname of Praying Ernest, the Bible was his own everyday book and he strove unceasingly to make his people religious after a strict Lutheran pattern.
Religious instruction, consisting in catechetical exercises without Bible history, was kept up even to advanced years, ernests system has maintained itself surprisingly, it still exists legally though somewhat modified or disregarded. His efforts for Protestantism were not confined to his own land and he interceded with the emperor for his Austrian co-religionists, and wanted to establish them in Gotha. He became a benefactor to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Germans in Moscow and he even sent an embassy to introduce Lutheranism into Abyssinia, but this failed to accomplish its purpose
Treaty of Leipzig
In 1423 Ernests and Alberts grandfather, Margrave Frederick IV of Meissen had received the Saxon Electorate from the hands of the Luxembourg emperor Sigismund. The Electorate — formerly the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg — together with the incorporated Margraviate of Meissen, after the death of Frederick in 1464, his lands were ruled jointly by his two sons, until 1485, when they were partitioned between them. In the 1485 partition the elder, Ernest, as hereditary Elector of Saxony, the rest were partitioned on the Ill cut, you choose basis, with Ernest partitioning the lands into two sets, and Albert choosing one set for himself. Albert chose the eastern territory of the former Margraviate of Meissen, Elector Ernest established the town of Wittenberg as the capital of the Saxon electorate and proclaimed himself Landgrave of Thuringia. Duke Albert III established Meissen as the centre of the Albertine Saxon duchy, in the course of the Protestant Reformation the Ernestine and Albertine branches of the Wettin dynasty found themselves on opposing sides of the 1546/47 Schmalkaldic War.
From that event, the Albertine line in the former Meissen Margraviate ruled the Electorate, the descendants of John Frederick I only retained the Thuringian territory which furthermore split into numerous Ernestine duchies. List of treaties Saxony Ernestine Saxony 1485-1547
Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen was a duke of Saxe-Meiningen. He was the sixth but third surviving son of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg, bernhard became the founder of the Saxe-Meiningen line. The building of a residence in Meiningen began immediately. The residence was finished in 1692 and was called Schloss Elisabethenburg, like his brother Ernst, Bernhards financial stability in his duchy was remarkable. The sales of goods and the additional charge of taxes to the population were the result. Bernhards will ordered the indivisibility of the duchy, but not Primogeniture and this allowed his sons to govern the duchy jointly after his death. He married in Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha, on 20 November 1671 Marie Hedwig of Hesse-Darmstadt and they had seven children, Ernst Ludwig I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. He married secondly in Schöningen on 25 January 1681 Elisabeth Eleonore of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel daughter of Anthony Ulrich and they had five children, Elisabeth Ernestine, Abbess of Gandersheim Abbey.
Eleonore Frederika, a nun at Gandersheim, wilhelmine Luise, married on 20 December 1703 to Charles, Duke of Württemberg-Bernstadt. Hannelore Schneider, Das Herzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen unter seinen ersten Herzögen, L. Hertel, Meiningische Geschichte von 1680 bis zur Gegenwart. In, Schriften des Vereins für Sachsen-Meiningische Geschichte und Landeskunde, vol
House of Henneberg
The House of Henneberg was a medieval German comital family which from the 11th century onwards held large territories in the Duchy of Franconia. Their county was raised to a county in 1310. The distant origins of family are speculative yet seem to originate in the Middle Rhine Valley. Charibert, a nobleman in Neustria is the earliest recorded ancestor of the family, five generations pass between Charibert and the next descendant of note, Rutpert I, Count of Rheingau and Wormsgau. Both the Capetian dynasty and the Elder House of Babenberg are direct lineal descendants of Count Robert I. The denotion Babenberger, named after the castle of Bamberg, was established in the 12th century by the chronicler Otto of Freising, the House of Babenberg, which ruled what became the Duchy of Austria, claimed to come of the Popponid dynasty. However, the descent of the first margrave Leopold I of Austria remains uncertain, in the 11th century, the dynastys estates around the ancestral seat Henneberg Castle near Meiningen belonged to the German stem duchy of Franconia.
They were located southwest of the Rennsteig ridge in the Thuringian Forest, in 1096 one Count Godebold II of Henneberg served as a burgrave of the Würzburg bishops, his father Poppo had been killed in Battle in 1078. In 1137 he established Vessra Abbey near Hildburghausen, the counts lost their position as the bishops were raised to Dukes of Franconia in the 12th century. After the extinction of the Bavarian House of Andechs upon the death of Duke Otto II of Merania in 1248, in 1274 the Henneberg estates were divided into the Schleusingen, Aschach-Römhild and Hartenberg branches. Count Berthold VII of Henneberg-Schleusingen was elevated to status in 1310, his estates comprised the towns of Schmalkalden, Suhl. In 1343 the Counts of Hennberg purchased the Thuringian town of Ilmenau, the Coburg lands passed to the Saxon House of Wettin upon the marriage of Countess Catherine of Henneberg with Margrave Frederick III of Meissen in 1347. A thorn in the side remained the enclave of Meiningen, a held by the Bishops of Würzburg.
Whereas the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct in 1246, in 1554 William IV of Henneberg-Schleusingen had signed a treaty of inheritance with Duke John Frederick II of Saxony. The Lordship of Schmalkalden fell to Landgrave William IV of Hesse-Kassel, after the Congress of Vienna, the former Albertine parts around Schleusingen and Suhl fell to the Prussian province of Saxony. King Frederick William III of Prussia assumed the title of a Princely Count of Henneberg, bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, Prince-elector and archbishop of Mainz, son of George, count of Henneberg-Römhild. Europäische Stammtafeln, Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, BAND II, Tafel 10, Die Robertiner I und die Anfänge des Hauses Capet, 922-923 König der Westfranken, Verlag von J. A
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The title was revived in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne, some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars generally concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, the office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although frequently controlled by dynasties. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806, after the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon, before 1157, the realm was merely referred to as the Roman Empire.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, by the end of the 18th century, the term Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had fallen out of official use. As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control, by the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, and the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel’s son Pepin became King of the Franks, the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768 Pepin’s son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an expansion of the realm. He eventually incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, on Christmas Day of 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor, restoring the title in the west for the first time in over three centuries. After the death of Charles the Fat in 888, the Carolingian Empire broke apart, according to Regino of Prüm, the parts of the realm spewed forth kinglets, and each part elected a kinglet from its own bowels.
After the death of Charles the Fat, those crowned emperor by the pope controlled only territories in Italy, the last such emperor was Berengar I of Italy, who died in 924. Around 900, autonomous stem duchies reemerged in East Francia, on his deathbed, Conrad yielded the crown to his main rival, Henry the Fowler of Saxony, who was elected king at the Diet of Fritzlar in 919. Henry reached a truce with the raiding Magyars, and in 933 he won a first victory against them in the Battle of Riade, Henry died in 936, but his descendants, the Liudolfing dynasty, would continue to rule the Eastern kingdom for roughly a century. Upon Henry the Fowlers death, his son and designated successor, was elected King in Aachen in 936 and he overcame a series of revolts from an elder brother and from several dukes. After that, the managed to control the appointment of dukes. In 951, Otto came to the aid of Adelaide, the queen of Italy, defeating her enemies, marrying her. In 955, Otto won a victory over the Magyars in the Battle of Lechfeld
Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
Bernhard III Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht Georg, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, was the last reigning duke of Saxe-Meiningen. Bernhard was born on 1 April 1851 at Meiningen in what was the German Confederation, as the eldest son of Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and he had one full sister, Princess Marie Elisabeth, and several half-brothers by his fathers second marriage. From 1860 Berhnard was schooled by a Prof. Rossmann before he went to study at Heidelberg University in 1869, for the war against France he interrupted his studies and served as Ordonnanz-Offizier. After the war ended he resumed his studies at Leipzig, from 1873 he again served in the military and rose into the highest echelons, By 1905 he was Generaloberst and Generalinspekteur der 2. In 1909, he became Generalfeldmarschall and in 1912 left military service with that rank and he married in Berlin on 18 February 1878 Princess Charlotte of Prussia, his second cousin, daughter of Frederick III, German Emperor and granddaughter of the Queen Victoria.
They had one daughter, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, married on 24 September 1898 to Heinrich XXX of Reuss-Köstritz, Bernhard assumed the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen after the death of his father in 1914. With the start of World War I Bernhard hoped to be assigned command over an army but was disappointed, in reaction he withdrew from his role in the Duchys government. After Germany lost the war, the German revolution forced Bernhard to abdicate as duke on 10 November 1918, like all the German princes he lost his title and state. He spent the rest of his life in his country as a private citizen. Bernhard died on 16 January 1928 in Meiningen and he is buried next to his wife in the park at Altenstein. Despite his military career he took a great interest in the arts. He was active as a composer and translator and he was known in particular as an expert on Modern Greek and was renowned for translating German literature into Greek. For his historical studies, for which he travelled to Greece and Asia Minor
Saxe-Hildburghausen was an Ernestine duchy in the southern side of the present State of Thuringia in Germany. It existed from 1680 to 1826 but its name and borders are used by the District of Hildburghausen. After the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, Ernest the Pious, died on 26 March 1675 in Gotha, the lands of Saxe-Hildburghausen went to the sixth son, who became Ernest II, the first Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen. But the new Principality did not have complete independence, Saxe-Hildburghausen did not become fully sovereign until 1702. Two more districts were added – Königsberg in 1683 and Sonnefeld in 1705, in 1684 the city of Hildburghausen became the residence of the Duke so it was developed to reflect its new status. It was placed under the direction of the Regent, Charlotte Amalie of Saxe-Meiningen, with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Saxe-Hildburghausen gained its full sovereignty as the Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen. A few months later, on 15 December 1806, it, along with the other Ernestine duchies, in 1815, it joined the German Confederation.
In 1818, it was one of the first German states to receive a constitution, the extinction of the oldest line, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg in 1825 again led to inheritance disputes among the other lines of the Ernestine family. On 12 November 1826 the decision, from the arbitration of the head of the family, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Saxe-Hildburghausen lost the Districts of Königsberg and Sonnefeld to the new Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but the last Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, became the new Duke of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1868, four districts were established in the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, one of them was Hildburghausen, with boundaries very similar to those of the former duchy. It remained almost unchanged until 1993, when the District of Suhl was dissolved and most of its municipalities joined the District of Hildburghausen
Albert III, Duke of Saxony
Albert III was a Duke of Saxony. He was nicknamed Albert the Bold or Albert the Courageous and founded the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. Albert was born in Grimma as the third and youngest son of Frederick II the Gentle, Elector of Saxony, later, he was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. After escaping from the hands of Kunz von Kaufungen, who had abducted him together with his brother Ernest, he spent some time at the court of the emperor Frederick III in Vienna. In Eger on 11 November 1464 Albert married Zdenka, daughter of George of Podebrady, King of Bohemia, but failed to obtain the Bohemian Crown on the death of George in 1471. He was successful in restoring the authority of Maximilian in Holland and Brabant and his services were rewarded in 1498 when Maximilian bestowed upon him the title of Hereditary Governor of Friesland, but he had to make good his claim by force of arms. He had to a great extent succeeded, and was paying a visit to Saxony, the duke recaptured Groningen, but soon afterwards he died at Emden.
Albert, who was a man of strength and considerable skill in feats of arms, delighted in tournaments. His loyalty to the emperor Frederick, and the expenses incurred in connection, aroused some irritation among his subjects. Frederick, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Most historians have judged the Confederation to have been weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to the creation of a German nation-state. It collapsed due to the rivalry between Prussia and Austria, the 1848 revolution, and the inability of the members to compromise. In 1848, revolutions by liberals and nationalists were an attempt to establish a unified German state. Talks between the German states failed in 1848, and the Confederation briefly dissolved, but was re-established shortly after and it decidedly fell apart only after the Prussian victory in the Seven Weeks War of 1866. This led to the creation of the North German Confederation under Prussian leadership in 1867, a number of South German states remained independent until they joined the North German Confederation, which was renamed the German Empire. The War of the Third Coalition lasted from about 1803 to 1806, following defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz by the French under Napoleon in December 1805, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated, and the Empire was dissolved on 6 August 1806.
The resulting Treaty of Pressburg established the Confederation of the Rhine in July 1806, after the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt of October 1806 in the War of the Fourth Coalition, various other German states, including Saxony and Westphalia, joined the Confederation. Only Austria, Danish Holstein, Swedish Pomerania and the French-occupied Principality of Erfurt stayed outside the Confederation of the Rhine and these nations would join in the War of the Sixth Coalition from 1812 to 1814. The German Confederation was created by the 9th Act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris, ending the War of the Sixth Coalition. The Confederation was formally created by a treaty, the Final Act of the Ministerial Conference to Complete and Consolidate the Organization of the German Confederation. This treaty was not concluded and signed by the parties until 15 May 1820, States joined the German Confederation by becoming parties to the second treaty.
The German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. In the Prague peace treaty, on 23 August 1866, Austria had to accept that the Confederation was considered to be dissolved, the following day, the remaining member states confirmed the dissolution. The treaty allowed Prussia to create a new Bundesverhältnis in the North of Germany, the South German states were proposed to create a South German Confederation but this did not come into existence. Prussia and its allies created the North German Confederation in 1867, because of French intervention it had to exclude, besides Austria, the South German states Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt. During November 1870 the four states joined the North German Confederation by treaty. The North German Confederation Reichstag and Bundesrat accepted to rename the North German Confederation as the German Empire, the new constitution of the state, the Constitution of the German Confederation, introduced the new name and title on 1 January 1871.
The Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia were the largest and Prussia each had one vote in the Federal Assembly
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha, the duchy was established in 1640, when Duke Wilhelm von Saxe-Weimar created a subdivision for his younger brother Ernest I the Pious. Duke Ernest took his residence at Gotha, where he had Schloss Friedenstein built between 1643 and 1654, at the same time, the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach was created for the third brother Albert IV. Ernest could incorporate several remaining estates of the extinct House of Henneberg in 1660, finally in 1672 he received the major part of Saxe-Altenburg through his wife Elisabeth Sophie, after Altenburgs last duke Frederick William III had died without heirs. Ernest would be called Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, when Ernest died in 1675, he left his seven sons a significantly enlarged territory. The eldest, Frederick I at first ruled jointly with his brothers until in 1680 the duchy was divided, the area around Gotha and Altenburg passed to Frederick I, who retained the title of a Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
For history of the duchy, see Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, saxe-Gotha passed to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld who in turn gave Saalfeld to Saxe-Meiningen. The Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen received Saxe-Altenburg, and gave the district of Hildburghausen to Saxe-Meiningen, after the abolition of German monarchies at the end of the First World War it became a part of the newly created state of Thuringia in 1920. Saxe-Gotha, Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press, accessed January 27,2007