John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau

John George II (17 November 1627 – 7 August 1693) was a German prince of the House of Ascania and ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Dessau from 1660 to 1693.

John George II
John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau.jpg
John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
PredecessorJohn Casimir
SuccessorLeopold I
Born(1627-11-17)17 November 1627
Dessau, Principality of Anhalt-Dessau
Died7 August 1693(1693-08-07) (aged 65)
SpouseHenriette Catherine of Nassau
IssueAmalie Ludovika
Henriette Amalie
Frederick Casimir, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Elisabeth Albertine, Countess of Barby
Henriette Amalie, Princess of Nassau-Dietz
Louise Sophie
Marie Eleonore, Duchess of Olyka
Henriette Agnes
Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Johanna Charlotte, Margravine of Brandenburg-Schwedt
HouseHouse of Ascania
FatherJohn Casimir, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
MotherAgnes of Hesse-Kassel

A member of the Fruitbearing Society, he also served as a field marshal of Brandenburg-Prussia.


Early lifeEdit

John George was born on 17 November 1627 at Dessau, the second (but eldest and only surviving) son of John Casimir, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, by his first wife Agnes, daughter of Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.


In Groningen on 9 September 1659 John George married Henriette Katharina (b. The Hague, 10 February 1637 – d. Schloss Oranienbaum, 3 November 1708), daughter of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. The marriage was happy and was even said by some to be a love match. They had ten children.


After the death of his father on 15 July 1660, John George took over the government of Anhalt-Dessau. He also inherited his family's claim on Aschersleben, which had been controlled by Brandenburg-Prussia since 1648.

John George made his military career in the service of the Prussian army; the Elector Frederick William named him a Generalfeldmarschall in 1670. After France invaded Frederick William's Duchy of Cleves, John George negotiated a treaty in Vienna in June 1672 between Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Frederick William, by which each pledged to provide 12,000 troops to uphold the borders of the Peace of Westphalia in the face of French aggression. John George was chosen to lead the largely unsuccessful campaign, which led Georg von Derfflinger to temporarily resign in protest.

While campaigning against the French for control of Alsace in 1674, most of Frederick William's army went into winter quarters in Franconian Schweinfurt. As viceroy (Statthalter), John George commanded the troops remaining in Brandenburg. King Louis XIV of France convinced King Charles XI of Sweden to invade Brandenburg; after dispersing John George's small force, the Swedish troops went into winter quarters as well. The Prince of Dessau took part in Frederick William's retaliatory campaign in 1675, which resulted in the Battle of Fehrbellin.

In 1683 John George travelled to Passau, ostensibly to discuss Brandenburg's involvement in the Ottoman wars with the emperor Leopold, although his main aim was to advise against another French war. The prince reaffirmed Brandenburg's alliance with Austria.

Death and successionEdit

Prince John George died in Berlin on 7 August 1693. He was succeeded as prince of Anhalt-Dessau by his eldest surviving son, Leopold.


Name Birth Death Notes
By Henriette Catherine of Nassau
Amalie Ludovika Berlin, 7 September 1660 Dessau, 12 November 1660
Henriette Amalie Cölln an der Spree, 4 January 1662 Cölln an der Spree, 28 January 1662
Frederick Casimir, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau Cölln an der Spree, 8 November 1663 Cölln an der Spree, 27 May 1665
Elisabeth Albertine Cölln an der Spree, 1 May 1665 Dessau, 5 October 1706 Abbess of Herford 1680–1686; married on 30 March 1686 to Henry of Saxe-Weissenfels, Count of Barby
Henriette Amalie Kleve, 26 August 1666 Oranienstein Castle, Diez an der Lahn, 18 April 1726 married on 26 November 1683 to Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz
Louise Sophie Dessau, 15 September 1667 Dessau, 18 April 1678
Marie Eleonore Dessau, 14 March 1671 Dessau, 18 May 1756 married on 3 September 1687 to Prince Jerzy Radziwiłł, Duke of Olyka.
Henriette Agnes Dessau, 9 September 1674 Dessau, 18 January 1729 Unmarried.
Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau Dessau, 3 July 1676 Dessau, 9 April 1747
Johanna Charlotte Dessau, 6 April 1682 Herford, 31 March 1750 Abbess of Herford 1729–1750; married on 25 January 1699 to Philip William, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt.


  • Citino, Robert M. (2005). The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich. University Press of Kansas. p. 428. ISBN 0-7006-1410-9.
  • Clark, Christopher (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600–1947. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard. pp. 776. ISBN 0-674-02385-4.
John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Born: 17 November 1627 Died: 7 August 1693
Preceded by Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Succeeded by