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Saxe-Altenburg ( ) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringiamarker.


The duchy originated from the medieval Burgraviate of Altenburgmarker in the Imperial Pleissnerland (Terra Plisensis), a possession of the Wettin Margraves of Meissen since 1243. Upon a partition treaty of 1485, Altenburg fell to Elector Ernest of Saxony, the progenitor of the Ernestine Wettins. After the Division of Erfurt in 1572 among Duke John William of Saxony and his nephews, Altenburg fell to his Duchy of Saxe-Weimar.
Altenburg Palace
When in 1602 John William's son and successor Frederick William I died, the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar passed to his younger brother John II, while in 1603 Frederick William's eldest son John Philip in compensation received the newly created Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. It was an Imperial State in its own right, with a vote in the Reichstag, for much of the 17th century until the extinction of its ruling line in 1672, when it was inherited by Ernest I the Pious, the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, who had married the heiress.

Saxe-Altenburg thereafter remained part of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg until the extinction of that house in 1825, when Gotha and Altenburg were split up, with Gotha going to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Altenburg to the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, who in exchange gave up Hildburghausen to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. This family ruled in the duchy until the end of the monarchies in the course of the German Revolution of 1918-19. The succeeding Free State of Saxe-Altenburg was incorporated into the new state of Thuringiamarker in 1920.

Saxe-Altenburg had an area of 1,323 kmĀ² and a population of 207,000 (1905). Its capital was Altenburgmarker.

The Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct following the death of Prince George Moritz in 1991.

Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg

Elder line

Line extinct, inherited by Saxe-Gotha, thereupon Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

Junior line

Heads of the Ducal House of Saxe-Altenburg, post monarchy

In 1991 the Saxe-Altenburg line became extinct.

Two branches descend from duke Ernest the Pious, the father of the progenitor of this Saxe-Altenburg branch: Saxe-Meiningen and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; according to old Wettin family law, they would have divided the actual territories between them (as happened to Gotha and Altenburg in 1826).

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