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Eberhard Ludwig
A cherub paints the portrait of Duke Eberhard Ludwig in this 1711 mural by Luca Antonio Colombo in the Ludwigsburg Palace
Duke Eberhard Ludwig (18 September 167631 October 1733) was the tenth duke of Württembergmarker, from 1692 until 1733.


Eberhard Ludwig was born in Stuttgartmarker the third child of Duke Wilhelm Ludwig and his wife, Magdalena Sibylla von Hessen-Darmstadt. After the early and unexpected death of his father in 1677, the royal court decided to give guardianship to his uncle, Friedrich Karl, Duke of Württemberg-Winnental.

In 1693, Magdalena Sibylla had the 16-year-old Eberhard Ludwig prematurely proclaimed Duke of Württemberg by Emperor Leopold I. The young duke showed no excessive interest in governmental affairs. Eberhard Ludwig was described by his contemporaries as superficial and easily influenced. Most importantly, his behavior led to the political fate of the land being greatly decided by his council. The duke preferred hunting and left the administration of his county in the hands his advisors. In 1697, he married Johanna Elisabeth von Baden-Durlach.

In 1707 he became the field marshall of the Swabian troops in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Shortly before 1700, he visited Louis XIV at the Palace of Versaillesmarker and planned to make an absolutist state out of Württemberg. He raised taxes, but financing still remained an obstacle. In 1704, he laid the foundation for his Ludwigsburg Palacemarker. To save money, he allowed the workers to reside tax-free around the palace for 15 years. Later, the city of Ludwigsburgmarker developed out of these residences.

As of 1711, Eberhard Ludwig spent ever more time in Ludwigsburg, usually in the company of his mistress, Wilhelmine von Grävenitz, whom he married in 1707. Because of pressure from the emperor, the marriage had to be quickly dissolved, and Grävenitz went into exile. Eberhard Ludwig followed her to Switzerlandmarker, where they stayed until 1710. The influential mistress was only allowed to return to the royal court once she had married another man, Graf von Würben. For over two decades, Grävenitz had a strong influence on the government of the land, and it was she who, together with Eberhard Ludwig, moved the royal residence and capital of the duchy from Stuttgart to the sparsely populated city of Ludwigsburg. Duchess Johanna Elisabeth von Baden Durlach stayed in the royal palace in Stuttgart.

Because of the early death of his heir, Prince Friedrich Ludwig, in 1731, the power threatened to shift into Catholic hands, which was unthinkable for Protestant Württemberg. Thus Duke Eberhard Ludwig dissolved his relations with Wilhelmine von Grävenitz and hoped to receive an heir from his legitimate and long ignored wife, Johanna Elisabeth. However, as he died in Ludwigsburg of a stroke on October 31, 1733, he left no heir behind. The duchy then fell into the hands of his converted nephew, Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg of the bloodline Württemberg-Winnental, though only for a few years.

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