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Wettin(vĕt`ĭn), 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. as leaders in the German drive to the east, which made Saxony and Lusatia German. It acquired (c.1100) the margravate of Meissen and soon expanded its domains to include most of SaxonySaxony
, Ger. Sachsen, Fr. Saxe, state (1994 pop. 4,901,000), 7,078 sq mi (18,337 sq km), E central Germany. Dresden is the capital. In its current form, Saxony is a federal state of Germany, with its pre–World War II borders reinstated as of Oct., 1990.
..... Click the link for more information. and ThuringiaThuringia
, Ger. Thüringen, state (1994 pop. 2,533,000), 6,273 sq mi (16,251 sq km), central Germany. It is bordered on the south by Bavaria, on the east by Saxony, on the north by Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, and on the west by Hesse.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1423, Frederick the Warlike of Meissen was granted Saxony and became (1425) elector of Saxony as Frederick IFrederick I
or Frederick the Warlike,
1370–1428, elector of Saxony (1423–28). As margrave of Meissen he was involved in disputes with his brothers and his uncles over the division of his father's territory.
..... Click the link for more information. . The Wettin holdings were repeatedly subdivided. The most important division (1485) established the Ernestine line and the Albertine line, named for Frederick II's sons Ernest and Albert. The electoral title and most of Saxony passed in 1547 from the Ernestine to the Albertine line. The Ernestine line retained its possessions in Thuringia but split into several collateral branches. In 1918, when the house of Wettin was deposed in Thuringia and Saxony, its Thuringian holdings consisted of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, a grand duchy (see under Saxe-WeimarSaxe-Weimar
, Ger. Sachsen-Weimar, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. The area passed in the division of 1485 to the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty and remained with that branch after the redivision of the Wettin lands in 1547, when Elector John Frederick I
..... Click the link for more information. ), and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (see under 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ), 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Saxe-AltenburgSaxe-Altenburg
, Ger. Sachsen-Altenburg, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. Altenburg was the capital. Created a separate duchy in 1603, it was ruled by an Ernestine line of the house of Wettin.
..... Click the link for more information. , which were duchies. From the branch of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha the Belgian, the English, and the Bulgarian dynasties were descended through, respectively, Leopold ILeopold I,
1790–1865, king of the Belgians (1831–65); youngest son of Francis Frederick, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After serving as a page at the court of Napoleon I and as a general of the Russian army, he married (1816) Princess Charlotte, daughter of the
..... Click the link for more information. of the Belgians, Prince AlbertAlbert,
1819–61, prince consort of Victoria of Great Britain, whom he married in 1840. He was of Wettin lineage, the son of Ernest I, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and first cousin to Victoria.
..... Click the link for more information. (consort of Queen Victoria), and Czar FerdinandFerdinand,
1861–1948, czar of Bulgaria (1908–18), after being ruling prince (1887–1908). A grandnephew of Ernest I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he was chosen prince of Bulgaria after the enforced abdication of Prince Alexander.
..... Click the link for more information. of Bulgaria. The English house changed its name to WindsorWindsor
, family name of the royal house of Great Britain. The name Wettin, family name of Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, consort of Queen Victoria, was changed to Windsor by George V in 1917. The new name was adopted by all members of the family.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the Bulgarian branch was deposed in 1946. A cousin of Prince Albert married Queen Maria II of Portugal and became king consort as Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1816–85, king consort of Portugal (1837–53). The eldest son of Ferdinand, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he married Maria II (Maria da Glória) of Portugal in 1836.
..... Click the link for more information. of Portugal. The Albertine line ruled in Saxony, obtaining hereditary royal rank in 1806; it also ruled Poland from 1697 to 1763 (see Augustus IIAugustus II,
1670–1733, king of Poland (1697–1733) and, as Frederick Augustus I, elector of Saxony (1694–1733). He commanded the imperial army against the Turks (1695–96), but had no success and was replaced by Prince Eugene of Savoy as soon as he
..... Click the link for more information. ; Augustus IIIAugustus III,
1696–1763, king of Poland (1735–63) and, as Frederick Augustus II, elector of Saxony (1733–63); son of Augustus II, whom he succeeded in Saxony.
..... Click the link for more information. ).