List of counts palatine of the Rhine

(Redirected from Elector Palatine)

This article lists counts palatine of Lotharingia, counts palatine of the Rhine, and electors of the Palatinate (German: Kurfürst von der Pfalz), the titles of three counts palatine who ruled some part of the Rhine region in the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire between 915 to 1803. From 1261 (formally 1356), the title holder was a member of the small group of prince-electors who elected the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Since then, the title has also referred to as "Elector Palatinate".

Counts palatine of Lotharingia, 915–1085 edit

The Palatinate emerged from the County Palatine of Lotharingia which came into existence in the 10th century.

House of Ezzonen edit

During the 11th century, the Palatinate was dominated by the Ezzonian dynasty, which governed several counties on both banks of the Rhine. These territories were centered around Cologne-Bonn, but extended south to the rivers Moselle and Nahe. The southernmost point was near Alzey.[2]

Counts palatine of the Rhine, 1085–1214 edit

From c.1085, after the death of the last Ezzonian count palatine, Herman II of Lotharingia, the Palatinate lost its military importance in Lotharingia. The territorial authority of the count palatine was reduced to his counties along the Rhine, henceforth called the County Palatine of the Rhine.

Hohenstaufen counts palatine edit

The first hereditary count palatine of the Rhine was Conrad of Hohenstaufen, who was the younger brother of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The territories attached to this hereditary office began with those held by the Hohenstaufens in Franconia and Rhineland. (Other branches of the Hohenstaufen dynasty received territories including lands in Swabia and Franche-Comté). Part of this land derived from their imperial ancestors, the Salian Emperors, and part from Conrad's maternal ancestors, the Saarbrücken. This explains the composition of the inheritance that comprised the Upper and Rhenish Palatinate in the following centuries.

Welf counts palatine edit

In 1195, the Palatinate passed to the House of Welf through the marriage of Agnes, heir to the Staufen count.

The Palatinate under the Wittelsbach: the Electoral dignity (1214–1803) edit

On the marriage of the Welf heiress Agnes in the early 13th century, the territory passed to the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria, who were also counts palatine of Bavaria. During a later division of territory among the heirs of Duke Louis II of Upper Bavaria in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in Bavaria north of the Danube river (the Nordgau) centred around the town of Amberg. As this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz) became common from the early 16th century, to contrast with the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine.

The Golden Bull of 1356, in circumvention of inner-Wittelsbach contracts and thus bypassing Bavaria, the Palatinate was recognized as one of the secular electorates. The count was given the hereditary offices of archsteward (Erztruchseß) of the Empire and Imperial Vicar (Reichsverweser) of Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine and southern Germany. From that time forth, the Count Palatine of the Rhine was usually known as the Elector Palatine (Kurfürst von der Pfalz). The position of prince-elector had existed earlier (for example, when two rival kings of Germany were elected in 1257: Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso X of Castile), though it is difficult to determine exactly the earliest date of the office.

By the early 16th century, owing to the practice of dividing territories among different branches of the family, junior lines of the Palatine Wittelsbachs came to rule in Simmern, Kaiserslautern and Zweibrücken in the Lower Palatinate, and in Neuburg and Sulzbach in the Upper Palatinate. The Elector Palatine, now based in Heidelberg, adopted Lutheranism in the 1530s and Calvinism in the 1550s.

House of Wittelsbach edit

Partitions of Palatinate under Wittelsbach rule edit

County Palatine of the Rhine
Electoral Palatinate
(Main line)
(1st creation)
Simmern-Sponheim (1559-1598)
(Main line)
(1st creation)
Part of Zweibrücken
Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern Line, 1st creation)
(2nd creation)


(1st creation)
Part of Neuburg
Part of Neuburg
(2nd creation)
(2nd creation)

Part of the Electorate of Bavaria
Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern Line, 2nd creation)

(Landsberg Line)
Annexed to the Kingdom of France
Electoral Palatinate
(Neuburg Line)
Part of Electoral Palatinate
(Swedish Kleeburg Line, 1st creation)
(Kleeburg Line, 2nd creation)
(Birkenfeld Line)
Electoral Palatinate
(Sulzbach Line)
Electoral Palatinate
(Zweibrücken Line)

Table of rulers edit

Ruler Born Reign Death Ruling part Consort Notes
Louis I the Kelheimer   23 December 1173 1214–1231 15 September 1231 County Palatine of the Rhine Ludmilla of Bohemia
one child
Son of Otto I of Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria. Louis obtained the Palatinate of the Rhine in 1214. So Louis I served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. He was assassinated 1231.
Otto II the Illustrious   7 April 1206 1231–1253 29 November 1253 County Palatine of the Rhine Agnes of the Palatinate
eleven children
Otto II served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. On Otto II's death, Bavaria was divided between his sons. Louis received the Palatinate.
Louis II the Strict   13 April 1229 1253–1294 2 February 1294 County Palatine of the Rhine Maria of Brabant
2 August 1254
no children

Anna of Głogów
two children

Matilda of Austria
24 October 1273
four children
During a later division of territory among his heirs in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in Bavaria north of the Danube river (the Nordgau) centred around the town of Amberg. As this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz) became common from the early 16th century, to contrast with the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine.
Rudolph I the Stammerer   4 October 1274 1296–1317 12 August 1319 County Palatine of the Rhine Matilda of Nassau
1 September 1294
six children
Ruled jointly. In 1317 Rudolph abdicated of his rights to his son
In 1327, Louis IV, Duke of Bavaria occupied Palatinate, but wasn't recognized as Count Palatine, as he was defending the position of his younger nephews against the claimancy of his older nephew, Adolf, Count Palatine of the Rhine. Ten years later gave it to his nephews, sons of Rudolph. With the Treaty of Pavia in 1329, as Emperor, Louis made formal his donation, pushing back the claimant Count Adolf.
Rudolph II the Blind   8 August 1306 1327–1353 4 October 1353 County Palatine of the Rhine Anna of Carinthia-Tyrol
one child

Margaret of Sicily
no children
Son of Rudolph I.
The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the right to participate in the election of a Holy Roman Emperor to the Count Palatine, title that evolved to Elector Palatine. Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his cousin Robert, son of the pushed Count Adolf.
Robert I the Red
(Ruprecht I. der Rote)
  9 June 1309 1353–1356 16 February 1390 County Palatine of the Rhine Elisabeth of Namur
1350 or 1358
no children

Beatrix of Berg
no children
Son of Rudolph I and brother of Rudolph II. In January 1356 was recognized as the First Elector Palatine.
10 January 1356 – 16 February 1390 Electoral Palatinate
Robert II the Hard
(Ruprecht II. der Harte)
  12 May 1325 16 January 1390 – 6 January 1398 6 January 1398 Electoral Palatinate Beatrice of Sicily
seven children
Son of the claimant count Adolf.
Rupert III the Righteous
(Ruprecht III. der Gerechte)
  5 May 1352 6 January 1398 – 18 May 1410 18 May 1410 Electoral Palatinate Elisabeth of Nuremberg
27 June 1374
seven children
Also King of Germany (1400–1410).
Louis III the Bearded
(Ludwig III. der Bärtige)
  23 January 1378 18 May 1410 – 30 December 1436 30 December 1436 Electoral Palatinate Blanche of England
6 July 1402
no children

Matilda of Savoy
30 November 1417
five children
Children of Robert III, divided the land. Louis kept the Electorate; Stephen received Simmern, John inherited Neumarkt and Otto received Mosbach. Stephen brought by marriage the County of Veldenz to his possessions, and, after his death, Zweibrücken split off from Simmern.
Stephen I   23 June 1385 1410–1459 14 February 1459 Palatinate-Simmern Anna of Veldenz
10 June 1410
eight children
John I   1383 1410–1443 14 March 1443 Palatinate-Neumarkt Catherine of Pomerania-Stolp
15 August 1407
seven children
Otto I   24 August 1390 1410–1461 5 July 1461 Palatinate-Mosbach Joanna of Bavaria-Landshut
January 1430
eight children
Regency of Otto I, Count Palatine of Mosbach (1436-1442)
Louis IV the Meek
(Ludwig IV. der Sanftmütige)
1 January 1424 30 December 1436 – 13 August 1449 13 August 1449 Electoral Palatinate Margaret of Savoy
18 October 1445
one child
Christopher I   26 February 1416 1443–1448 5/6 January 1448 Palatinate-Neumarkt Dorothea of Brandenburg
12 September 1445
no children
Also King of the Kalmar Union (1440–1448), in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Left no descendants. Neumarkt reverted to Palatinate-Mosbach.
Neumarkt definitely annexed to Palatinate-Mosbach
Frederick I the Victorious
(Friedrich I. der Siegreiche)
  1 August 1425 13 August 1449 – 12 December 1476 12 December 1476 Electoral Palatinate Clara Tott
two children
Brother of his predecessor. Left no legitimate heirs to the Electorate. He was succeeded by his nephew.
Frederick I the Pious 19 November 1417 1459–1480 29 November 1480 Palatinate-Simmern Margaret of Guelders
6 August 1454
ten children
Children of Stephen, divided the land.
Louis I the Black   1424 1459–1489 19 July 1489 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Johanna de Croÿ
20 March 1454
twelve children
Otto II the Mathematician   26 June 1435 1461–1490 8 April 1499 Palatinate-Mosbach Unmarried Had a strong interest in astronomy and mathematics. Abdicated in 1490 to spend the remainder of his life in scientific pursuits. Mosbach reverted to the Electorate.
Mosbach definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Philip I the Upright
(Philipp I. der Aufrichtige)
  14 July 1448 12 December 1476 – 28 February 1508 28 February 1508 Electoral Palatinate Margaret of Bavaria
fourteen children
John I   15 May 1459 1480–1509 27 January 1509 Palatinate-Simmern Joanna of Nassau-Saarbrücken
29 September 1481
three children
Alexander I the Lame 26 November 1462 1489–1514 21 October 1514 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Margaret of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
six children
Sons of Louis the Black, ruled jointly.
Kaspar 11 July 1459 1489–1490 1527 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Amalie of Brandenburg
19 April 1478
no children
Louis V the Pacific
(Ludwig V. der Friedfertige)
  2 July 1478 28 February 1508 – 16 March 1544 16 March 1544 Electoral Palatinate Sibylle of Bavaria
23 February 1511
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
John II   21 March 1492 1509–1557 18 May 1557 Palatinate-Simmern Beatrix of Baden
22 May 1508
twelve children
He introduced the Reformation into Simmern which led to increased tensions with his neighbours, the Archbishoprics of Trier and Mainz.
Louis II the Younger   14 September 1502 1514–1532 3 December 1532 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Elisabeth of Hesse
10 September 1525
two children
Robert I   1506 1532–1544 28 July 1544 Palatinate-Veldenz Ursula of Salm-Kyrburg
23 June 1537
three children
Divided the land. Robert was a younger brother of Louis II, and Wolfgang was Louis' son. Technically, Robert held both lands during Wolfgang's minority.
Regency of Robert, Count Palatine of Veldenz (1532-1543)
Wolfgang   26 September 1526 1532–1569 11 June 1569 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Anna of Hesse
24 February 1544
thirteen children
Frederick II the Wise
(Friedrich II. der Weise)
  9 December 1482 16 March 1544 – 26 December 1556 26 December 1556 Electoral Palatinate Dorothea of Denmark
18 May 1535
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by a cousin.
Regencies of Ursula of Salm-Kyrburg (1544-1546) and Wolfgang, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken (1544-1560)
George John I the Astute   11 April 1543 1560–1592 18 April 1592 Palatinate-Veldenz Anna of Sweden
20 December 1562
eleven children
Regencies of Philip, Elector Palatine (1505-1508) and Frederick II, Elector Palatine (1508-1516) Children of Robert of Palatinate, bishop of Freising (and grandsons of Philip I). Their father married the heiress of Bavaria-Landshut, Elisabeth, was adopted by his father-in-law, and eventually became heir of Bavaria-Landshut. This new declaration led to the Landshut War. In the aftermath of the conflict, a part of Landshut joined Palatinate with the name of Palatinate-Neuburg. In 1557 Otto Henry abdicated of Neuburg to become Elector. Neuburg fell to Wolfgang I. Otto Henry left no descendants: the main line became extinct with his death. Simmern line succeeded in the Electorate.
Otto Henry the Magnanimous
(Ottheinrich. der Großmütige)
  10 April 1502 1505-1557 12 February 1559 Palatinate-Neuburg Susanna of Bavaria
16 October 1529
Neuburg an der Donau
no children
26 December 1556 – 12 February 1559 Electoral Palatinate
Philip I the Warlike   12 November 1503 1505–1541 4 July 1548 Palatinate-Neuburg Unmarried
Neuburg annexed to Zweibrücken
Frederick III the Pious
(Friedrich III. der Fromme)
  14 February 1515 1557–1559 26 October 1576 Palatinate-Simmern Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
21 October 1537
eleven children

Amalia of Neuenahr
25 April 1569
no children
When the senior branch of the family died out in 1559, the electorate passed to Frederick III of Simmern, son of John II and a staunch Calvinist. The Palatinate became one of the major centers of Calvinism in Europe, supporting Calvinist rebellions in both the Netherlands and France.
12 February 1559 – 26 October 1576 Electoral Palatinate
George 20 February 1518 1559–1569 17 May 1569 Palatinate-Simmern Elisabeth of Hesse
9 January 1541
one child
Son of John II. Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Richard   25 July 1521 1569–1598 13 January 1598 Palatinate-Simmern Julianna of Wied
30 January 1569
four children

Emilie of Württemberg
26 March 1578
no children

Anne Margaret of Palatinate-Veldenz
14 December 1589
no children
Son of John II. Left no descendants. Simmern returned to the Electorate.
Simmern briefly annexed to the Electoral Palatinate (1598–1610)
Regency of Anna of Hesse, William IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and Louis VI, Elector Palatine (1569-1574) Children of Wolfgang, divided the land:
  • John received Zweibrücken;
  • Frederick received Vohenstrauss-Parkstein, which after his death with no descendants went to Neuburg;
  • Otto Henry received Sulzbach, which after his death with no descendants went to Neuburg;
  • Charles received Birkenfeld;
  • Philip Louis (the eldest son) received Neuburg, and absorbed his childless brothers land after their deaths.
John I the Lame   8 May 1550 1569–1604 12 August 1604 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Magdalene of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Bad Bergzabern
nine children
Philip Louis   2 October 1547 1569–1614 22 August 1614 Palatinate-Neuburg Anna of Cleves
27 September 1574
Neuburg an der Donau
eight children
Frederick I   11 April 1557 1569–1597 17 December 1597 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Vohenstrauss-Parkstein Katharina Sophie of Legnica
26 February 1587
three children
Otto Henry   22 July 1567 1569–1604 29 August 1604 Palatinate-Sulzbach Dorothea Maria of Württemberg
25 November 1582
thirteen children
Charles I   4 September 1560 1569–1600 16 December 1600 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dorothea of Brunswick-Lüneburg
23 November 1590
four children
Vohenstrauss-Parkstein annexed to Neuburg
Sulzbach annexed to Neuburg
Louis VI the Careless
(Ludwig VI. der Leichtsinnige)
  4 July 1539 26 October 1576 – 22 October 1583 22 October 1583 Electoral Palatinate Elisabeth of Hesse
8 July 1560
twelve children

Anne of Ostfriesland
12 July 1583
no children
Children of Frederick III, divided the land: Louis received the Electorate, and John Casimir was given a portion at Lautern. The latter didn't have descendants, and his portion returned to the Electorate.
John Casimir   7 March 1543 1576-1592 16 January 1592 Palatinate-Simmern
(at Lautern)
Elisabeth of Saxony
4 June 1570
no children
Lautern reabsorbed in the Electorate
Regency of John Casimir, Count Palatine of Lautern (1583-1592) With his adviser Christian of Anhalt, he founded the Evangelical Union of Protestant states in 1608.
Frederick IV the Righteous
(Friedrich IV. der Aufrichtige)
  5 March 1574 22 October 1583 – 19 September 1610 19 September 1610 Electoral Palatinate Louise Juliana of Orange-Nassau
23 June 1593
eight children
Regency of Anna of Sweden (1592-1598) Children of George John I, ruled jointly. In 1598 divided the land: George Gustavus kept Veldenz; John Augustus received Lützelstein; and Louis Philip and George John received jointly received Gutenberg. In 1601 George John ruled alone Gutenberg. In 1611, after the death of John Augustus with no descendants, Lützelstein was annexed to Guttenberg. In 1654, after the death of George John without descendants, Guttenberg reverted to Veldens, united under Leopold Louis, George Gustavus' son.
George Gustavus   6 February 1564 1598–1634 3 June 1634 Palatinate-Veldenz Elisabeth of Württemberg
30 October 1586
no children

Maria Elizabeth of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
17 May 1601
eleven children
John Augustus   26 November 1575 1598–1611 18 September 1611 Palatinate-Veldenz
(at Lützelstein)
Anne Elizabeth of the Palatinate
no children
Louis Philip I 24 November 1577 1598–1601 24 October 1601 Palatinate-Veldenz
(at Gutenberg)
George John II 24 June 1586 1598–1654 29 September 1654 Palatinate-Veldenz
(at Gutenberg)
Susanna of Palatinate-Sulzbach
20 December 1562
eleven children
Regency of Philip Louis, Count Palatine of Neuburg (1600-1612) and John I, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken (1600-1604) Children of Charles I, divided the land.
George William   6 August 1591 1608–1669 25 December 1669 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dorothea of Solms-Sonnenwalde
30 November 1616
six children

Juliana of Salm-Grumbach
30 November 1641
no children

Anne Elizabeth of Öttingen-Öttingen
8 March 1649
no children
Christian I   3 November 1598 1615–1654 6 September 1654 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler Magdalene Catherine of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
14 November 1630
nine children

Maria Joanna of Helffenstein
28 October 1648
one child
John II the Younger   26 March 1584 1604–1635 9 August 1635 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Catherine de Rohan
26 August 1604
one child

Louise Juliana of the Palatinate
13 May 1612
seven children
Children of John I, divided the land: John Kept Zweibrücken, Frederick Casimir received Landsberg and John Casimir inherited Kleeburg.
Frederick Casimir 10 June 1585 1604–1645 30 September 1645 Palatinate-Landsberg Emilia Antwerpiana of Orange-Nassau
4 July 1616
Landsberg [de]
three children
John Casimir   20 April 1589 1604–1652 18 June 1652 Palatinate-Kleeburg Catherine of Sweden
11 June 1615
eight children
Frederick V the Winter King
(Friedrich V. der Winterkönig)
  26 August 1596 19 September 1610 – 23 February 1623 29 November 1632 Electoral Palatinate Elizabeth of Great Britain
14 February 1613
thirteen children
In 1619, he accepted the throne of Bohemia from the Bohemian estates. He was defeated by the Emperor Ferdinand II at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, and Spanish and Bavarian troops soon occupied the Palatinate itself. He was known as "the Winter King" because his reign in Bohemia only lasted one winter. In 1623, Frederick was put under the ban of the Empire.
Frederick V's territories and his position as elector were transferred to the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I, of a distantly related branch of the House of Wittelsbach. Although technically Elector Palatine, he was known as the Elector of Bavaria. From 1648 he ruled in Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate alone, but retained all his electoral dignities and the seniority of the Palatinate Electorate.

Electoral Palatinate briefly annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria (1623–1648)
Louis Philip   23 November 1602 1610–1655 6 January 1655 Palatinate-Simmern Marie Eleonore von Brandenburg
4 December 1631
seven children
Son of Elector Frederick, restored Simmern.
Wolfgang William   4 November 1578 1614–1653 14 September 1653 Palatinate-Neuburg Magdalene of Bavaria
11 November 1613
one child

Catharina Charlotte of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
11 November 1631
two children

Maria Franziska of Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg
3 June 1651
no children
Son of Philip Louis, inherited Neuburg.
Augustus   2 October 1582 1614–1632 14 August 1632 Palatinate-Sulzbach Hedwig of Holstein-Gottorp
17 July 1620
seven children
Sons of Philip Louis, inherited Sulzbach. John Frederick created Palatinate-Sulzbach-Hilpoltstein, but at his death with no surviving children, Sulzbach became reunited under Augustus' son, Christian August.
John Frederick 23 August 1587 1614–1644 19 October 1644 Palatinate-Sulzbach
(at Hilpoltstein)
Sophie Agnes of Hesse-Darmstadt
7/17 November 1624
eight children
Regency of John Frederick, Count Palatine of Sulzbach-Hilpoltstein (1632-1636) Reunited Sulzbach after John Frederick's death in 1644.
Christian Augustus   26 July 1622 1632–1708 23 July 1708 Palatinate-Sulzbach Amalie of Nassau-Siegen
27 March 1649
five children
Regency of George John II, Count Palatine of Lützelstein-Guttenberg (1634-1639) Reunited Palatinate-Veldenz in 1654. However, left no surviving male descendants. Veldenz went to the Electorate.
Leopold Louis   1 February 1625 1634–1694 29 September 1694 Palatinate-Veldenz Agatha Christine of Hanau-Lichtenberg
4 July 1648
twelve children
Veldenz definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Frederick I 5 April 1619 1635–1661 9 July 1661 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Anna Juliane of Nassau-Saarbrücken
6 April 1640
ten children
Left no male surviving descendants. Zweibrucken was inherited by Landsberg line.
Frederick Louis   27 October 1619 1645–1661 11 April 1681 Palatinate-Landsberg Juliana Magdalena of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
14 November 1645
thirteen children

Anna Marie Elisabeth Hepp
21 August 1672
five children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Frederick in 1661, and annexed Landsberg to it. In 1677 the Kingdom of France occupied his duchies. He left no surviving descendants.
1661–1677 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Landsberg was definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Zweibrücken (with Landsberg) was briefly annexed to the Kingdom of France (1677–1693)
Charles Louis
(Karl I. Ludwig)
  22 December 1617 24 October 1648- 28 August 1680 28 August 1680 Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern line restored)
Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
22 February 1650
(unilateral divorce in 1658)
three children

Marie Luise von Degenfeld
6 January 1658
(morganatic and bigamous)
thirteen children

Elisabeth Hollander von Bernau
11 December 1679
one child
Son of Frederick V. By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Charles Louis was restored to the Lower Palatinate and was given a new electoral title, also that of "Elector Palatine" but lower in precedence than the other electorates.
Charles Gustavus   8 November 1622 1652–1654 13 February 1660 Palatinate-Kleeburg Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
24 October 1654
one child
Abdicated from Kleeburg in 1654, to become King of Sweden (as Charles X), right hat he inherited from his mother.
John Charles   17 October 1638 1654–1704 21 February 1704 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen Sophie Amalie of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
one child

Esther Maria von Witzleben
28 July 1696
five children
Son of Christian I, received Gelnhausen.
Adolph John I   21 October 1629 1654–1689 24 October 1689 Palatinate-Kleeburg Elsa Beata Brahe
19 June 1649
one child

Elsa Elisabeth Brahe
nine children
Brother of Charles Gustavus, received Kleeburg after the abdication of his brother.
Louis Henry 11 October 1640 1655–1674 3 January 1674 Palatinate-Simmern Maria of Orange-Nassau
23 September 1666
no children
Left no descendants. Simmern returned to the Electorate.
Simmern definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Charles Otto 5 September 1625 1669–1671 30 March 1671 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Margaret Hedwig of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
26 September 1658
three children
Left no surviving descendants. Birkenfeld passed to Bischweiler line.
Christian II   22 June 1637 1654–1671 26 April 1717 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler Catherine Agatha of Rappoltstein
5 September 1667
seven children
Son of Christian I, kept Bischweiler, while his brother John Charles gained Gelnhausen.Inherited Birkenfeld from his cousin Charles Otto, and annexed Bischweiler to it.
1671–1717 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Charles II
(Karl II)
  10 April 1651 28 August 1680 – 26 May 1685 26 May 1685 Electoral Palatinate Wilhelmine Ernestine of Denmark
20 September 1671
no children
Last of Simmern line.
Philip William
(Philipp Wilhelm)
  24 November 1615 1653–1685 2 September 1690 Palatinate-Neuburg Anna Catherine of Poland
8 June 1642
no children

Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
3 September 1653
Bad Schwalbach
seventeen children
When the Simmern branch of the family died out in 1685, the electorate passed to Philip William of Neuburg (also Duke of Jülich and Berg), son of Wolfgang William. He was a Catholic and a maternal nephew of Maximilian I of Bavaria.
26 May 1685 – 2 September 1690 Electoral Palatinate
Adolph John II 21 August 1666 1689–1701 27 April 1701 Palatinate-Kleeburg Unmarried Left no descendants. His lands went to his brother, Gustavus.
John William
(Johann Wilhelm)
  19 April 1658 2 September 1690 – 8 June 1716 8 June 1716 Electoral Palatinate Maria Anna Josepha of Austria
25 October 1678
Wiener Neustadt
two children

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici
6 May 1691
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Charles III   24 November 1655 1693–1697 5 April 1697 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark
6 May 1680
seven children
Son of Charles Gustavus (Charles X of Sweden), assumed the restored Palatinate-Zweibrücken. Also King of Sweden, as Charles XI.
Charles IV   17 June 1682 1697–1718 30 November 1718 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Unmarried Son of Charles II. Also King of Sweden, as Charles XII. After his death with no descendants, Zweibrücken was inherited by Kleeburg line.
Gustavus   12 April 1670 1701–1718 17 September 1731 Palatinate-Kleeburg Dorothea of Palatinate-Veldenz
10 July 1707
no children

Louise Dorothea von Hoffmann
13 May 1723
no children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Charles III, and annexed Kleeburg to it. Left no descendants. His lands went to Birkenfeld line.
1718–1731 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Kleeburg was definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Regency (1704-1711) Left no male descendants. He was succeeded by his brother John.
Frederick Bernard 28 May 1697 1704–1739 5 August 1739 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen Ernestine Louise of Waldeck-Pyrmont
30 May 1737
two children
Theodore Eustace   14 February 1659 1708–1732 11 July 1732 Palatinate-Sulzbach Maria Eleonore of Hesse-Rotenburg
6 June 1692
nine children
Charles Philip
(Karl III. Philipp)
  4 November 1661 8 June 1716 - 31 December 1742 31 December 1742 Electoral Palatinate Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł
10 August 1688
four children

Teresa Lubomirska
15 December 1701
two children

Violante Theresia of Thurn and Taxis
no children
Left no descendants. The Electorate went to Sulzbach line.
Christian III   7 November 1674 1717–1731 3 February 1735 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Caroline of Nassau-Saarbrücken
21 September 1719
four children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Gustavus, and annexed Birkenfeld to it.
1731–1735 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld definitely reannexed to Palatinate-Zweibrücken
John Christian   23 January 1700 1732–1733 20 July 1733 Palatinate-Sulzbach Maria Henriette de La Tour d'Auvergne
15 February 1722
two children

Eleonore of Hesse-Rotenburg
21 January 1731
no children
Regency of Caroline of Nassau-Saarbrücken (1735-1740) His children from his morganatic marriage were barred from succession. He was succeeded by his nephew.
Christian IV   6 September 1722 1735–1775 5 November 1775 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Maria Johanna Camasse
six children
John   24 May 1698 1739–1780 10 February 1780 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen Sophie Charlotte of Salm-Dhaun
eight children
Regency of Charles Philip, Elector Palatine (1733-1738) The title and authority of Elector Palatine were subsumed into the Electorate of Bavaria in 1777. Charles Theodore and his heirs retaining only the single vote and precedence of the Bavarian elector, though they continued to use the title "Count Palatine of the Rhine" (German: Pfalzgraf bei Rhein, Latin: Comes Palatinus Rheni). Left no descendants, and the Electorates passed to Zweibrücken line.
Charles Theodore
(Karl IV Theodor)
  11 December 1724 1733-1742 16 February 1799 Palatinate-Sulzbach Elisabeth Auguste of Palatinate-Sulzbach
17 January 1742
one child

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
15 February 1795
no children
31 December 1742 - 30 December 1777 Electoral Palatinate
30 December 1777 - 16 February 1799 Electoral Palatinate and Electorate of Bavaria
Charles August   29 October 1746 1775–1795 1 April 1795 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Maria Amalia of Saxony
12 February 1774
no children
Son of Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, brother of Christian IV. Succeeded his uncle, but left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Charles John 13/18 September 1745 1780–1789 31 March 1789 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen Unmarried Left no male descendants. He was succeeded by his brother William.
William   10 November 1752 1789–1799 8 January 1837 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen Maria Anna of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
30 January 1780
three children
In 1799 his lands were annexed to Bavaria.
Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria
Maximilian Joseph
(Maximilian I. Joseph)
  27 May 1756 1795-1799 13 October 1825 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
30 September 1785
five children

Caroline of Baden
9 March 1797
eight children
Charles Theodore's heir, Maximilian Joseph, Duke of Zweibrücken (on the French border), brought all the Wittelsbach territories under a single rule in 1799. The Palatinate was dissolved in the Wars of the French Revolution. First, its left bank territories were occupied (and then annexed) by France starting in 1795; then, in 1803, its right bank territories were taken by the Margrave of Baden. The Rhenish Palatinate, as a distinct territory, disappeared. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and all the rights and responsibilities of the electors with it.
16 February 1799 - 27 April 1803 Electoral Palatinate and Electorate of Bavaria
27 April 1803 - 1 January 1806 Electorate of Bavaria
Palatinate-Zweibrücken was definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria
Electoral Palatinate was definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria

Electors of Bavaria and counts palatine of the Rhine, 1777–1803 edit

Zweibrücken Line
Image Name Began Ended Notes
  Maximilian I Joseph 16 February 1799 27 April 1803 Charles Theodore's heir, Maximilian Joseph, Duke of Zweibrücken (on the French border), brought all the Wittelsbach territories under a single rule in 1799. The Palatinate was dissolved in the Wars of the French Revolution. First, its left bank territories were occupied (and then annexed) by France starting in 1795; then, in 1803, its right bank territories were taken by the Margrave of Baden. The Rhenish Palatinate, as a distinct territory, disappeared. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and all the rights and responsibilities of the electors with it.

Later history edit

Following the great restorations of 1815, the Lower Palatinate (albeit without any prince-elector role) was restored as one of eight Bavarian Districts. After World War II the American Military Government of Germany took the Lower Palatinate from Bavaria and merged it with neighbouring territories to form a new state called Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz) with Mainz as the state capital. The people had felt neglected by the governments in Munich for generations and later approved the merger in a plebiscite.

The present head of the House of Wittelsbach, Franz, Duke of Bavaria (born 1933), is still traditionally styled as His Royal Highness the Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Kreins, Jean-Marie. Histoire du Luxembourg. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2010. 5th edition, p. 16
  2. ^ Kohnle, Armin (2005). "Mittelalterliche Grundlagen; Pfalzgraftenamt, Territorialentwicklung und Kurwürde". Kleine Geschichte der Kurpfalz. Regionalgeschichte-fundiert und kompakt (in German) (First ed.). Karlsruhe: G. Braun Buchverlag. p. 17. ISBN 3-7650-8329-1.