Saxe-Weimar

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Saxe-Weimar

(săks-vī`mär), Ger. Sachsen-Weimar, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. The area passed in the division of 1485 to the Ernestine branch of the WettinWettin
, German dynasty, which ruled in Saxony, Thuringia, Poland, Great Britain, Belgium, and Bulgaria. It takes its name from a castle on the Saale near Halle. The family gained prominence in the 10th cent.
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 dynasty and remained with that branch after the redivision of the Wettin lands in 1547, when Elector John Frederick IJohn Frederick I,
1503–54, elector (1532–47) and duke (1547–54) of Saxony; last elector of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin. Like his father, John the Steadfast, whom he succeeded, John Frederick was a devout Lutheran.
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 of Saxony was captured by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the battle of Mühlberg. John Frederick's heirs divided the Ernestine lands into the duchies of Weimar, Gotha, Coburg, Eisenach, and Altenburg. Duke John of Weimar, who died in 1605, left several sons; one of them was the celebrated Protestant general, Bernhard of Saxe-WeimarBernhard of Saxe-Weimar
, 1604–39, Protestant general in the Thirty Years War, duke of Weimar. Under Ernst von Mansfeld and the margrave of Baden, Bernhard fought against the imperial forces in defense (1622) of the Palatinate.
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, who served in the Thirty Years War. The cadet lines of Coburg, Gotha, and Eisenach having failed by 1640, their lands passed to the sons of Duke John. Ernest the Pious, who had Gotha and Coburg, also inherited Altenburg in 1672; his possessions were again divided among his seven sons (see Saxe-GothaSaxe-Gotha
, Ger. Sachsen-Gotha, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. A possession of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin, it passed in the 16th cent. to the dukes of Saxe-Weimar.
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; Saxe-CoburgSaxe-Coburg
, Ger. Sachsen-Coburg, former duchy, central Germany. A possession of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin, it was given by Ernest the Pious (d. 1675) of Saxe-Gotha to his son Albert.
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; Saxe-MeiningenSaxe-Meiningen
, Ger. Sachsen-Meiningen, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. The capital was Meiningen. A possession of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin, it became a separate duchy in 1681 under Bernard, third son of Ernest the Pious of Saxe-Gotha.
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). An elder brother of Ernest the Pious, William, received Weimar and Eisenach; those duchies, however, were again separated under his heirs until the failure of the Eisenach line in 1741, when its territory (including Jena) reverted to Duke Ernest Augustus I of Saxe-Weimar. Small as it was, the duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, which resulted from the reunion in 1741, was the most important of the Thuringian principalities. It gained its greatest prosperity and cultural importance under Duke Charles AugustusCharles Augustus,
1757–1828, duke and, after 1815, grand duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach; friend and patron of Goethe, Schiller, and Herder. Though his duchy was small, he was important in German politics.
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, the patron and friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who made WeimarWeimar
, city (1994 pop. 58,807), E Thuringia, central Germany, on the Ilm River. It is an industrial, transportation, and cultural center. Manufactures include agricultural machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and furniture. Known in the 10th cent.
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, the ducal capital, an intellectual center of Europe. Charles Augustus sided against Napoleon I in the War of the Third Coalition, but was forced in 1806 to join the Confederation of the Rhine. The Congress of Vienna raised him (1815) to the rank of grand duke. Grand Duke Charles Alexander sided (1866) with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War. His grandson, William Ernest, abdicated in 1918, and in 1920 Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was incorporated into Thuringia.