Anna of Prussia (1576–1625)

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Anna of Prussia (born July 3, 1576 in Königsberg , † August 30, 1625 in Berlin ) was a princess of Prussia and by marriage Electress of Brandenburg .

Anna of Prussia, Electress of Brandenburg


Anna was the eldest child of Duke Albrecht Friedrich of Prussia (1553-1618) from his marriage to Marie Eleonore (1550-1608), daughter of Duke Wilhelm the Rich of Jülich-Kleve-Berg .

She married Margrave Johann Sigismund , later Elector of Brandenburg , on October 30, 1594 in Königsberg . Johann Sigismund's mother had warned him beforehand that Anna was not a beauty. The marriage was a marriage of convenience to secure the Brandenburg claims to the Duchy of Prussia . The marriage had eight children, three of whom died early.

Allegorical representation of the acquisition of Prussia and the Rhineland by the Elector couple from Brandenburg: Prussia and the Rhineland are depicted as sea deities on the sides of the throne (lithograph from the 19th century).

Of territorial political importance the connection was so far as Anna as a niece of the last Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg , Johann Wilhelm part, the Prussian Hohenzollern as the heir of the duchies of Cleves , Jülich and Berg , the counties of Mark and Ravensberg and the rule Ravenstein was considered .

Anna was politically and intellectually superior to her husband. She also had an iron will and was extremely temperamental. When the Elector had bouts of alcoholism, she occasionally threw plates and glasses at his head. She built up her own diplomatic network and defended her claims to the inheritance in the West herself. She made plans to divide the disputed area and negotiated with her rival from the Palatinate. During the Jüterbog conference of 1611, she received an opinion from the councils. In 1612 she sent her own envoy to Emperor Matthias to protect her interests .

At the end of the Jülich-Klevian succession dispute, the Hohenzollern family only had to share the entire Jülich-Kleve-Berg heritage with Pfalz-Neuburg . The Duchy of Kleve and the Counties of Mark and Ravensberg fell to the Electorate of Brandenburg on the basis of the Treaty of Xanten in 1614. For the first time, Brandenburg-Prussia came into possession of areas in the Rhineland and Westphalia . A Prussian interest in connecting these areas through further western expansion was justified and realized in the 19th century.

After her husband converted to Calvinism , Anna became an advocate for the Lutheran people. Protests and petitions were mostly directed at them. By persisting in attending Lutheran services, she helped maintain the Lutheran denomination. She maintained close ties with Saxony , the center of Lutheran orthodoxy.

Even after the electoral dignity passed to her son Georg Wilhelm , Anna still played an influential role. She was an opponent of the Habsburgs and married her daughter Maria Eleonore to Gustav Adolf of Sweden - without informing her son beforehand. In doing so, it undermined the elector's authority and international reputation from the start. The aim was again to strengthen Brandenburg's claims on Prussia. This was a very daring step, as Sweden was at war with Poland, to which Prussia was still subject to feudal law.

Anna was buried in the Königsberg Cathedral .


Anna had the following children from their marriage:

  • Georg Wilhelm (1595–1640), Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg
⚭ 1616 Princess Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate (1597–1660)
⚭ 1614 Duke Friedrich Ulrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1591–1634)
⚭ 1620 King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden (1594–1632)
⚭ 1. 1626 Prince Gábor Bethlen of Transylvania (1580–1629)
⚭ 2. 1639 Duke Franz Karl of Saxony-Lauenburg (1594–1660)
  • Joachim Sigismund (1603-1625)
  • Agnes (1606-1607)
  • Johann Friedrich (1607-1608)
  • Albrecht Christian (* / † 1609)


  • Christopher Clark: Prussia. Rise and Fall 1600-1947 . Bonn, 2007 ISBN 978-3-89331-786-8
  • Andreas Gautschi , Helmut Suter: About hunting, drinking and governing. Reminiscences from the life of Elector Sigismund von Brandenburg, quoted from old letters (= from the German aristocratic archives, NF 9), Limburg 2005
  • Ernst Daniel Martin Kirchner: The Electresses and Queens on the Throne of the Hohenzollern , Part 2: The last eight Electresses , Berlin 1867, p. 131-180 (with portrait of Anna von Prussia).
  • Rolf-Achim Mostert: The Jülich-Klevian regimental and succession dispute a “prelude to the Thirty Years War”? , in: Stefan Ehrenpreis (ed.): The Thirty Years' War in the Duchy of Berg and its neighboring regions . Neustadt / Aisch 2002, pp. 26–64 (older literature there)
  • Toni Saring: Electress Anna of Prussia . In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian History 53 (1941) 248–295.
  • Toni Saring:  Anna, Electress of Brandenburg. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , p. 300 ( digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Anna von Preußen_ (1576–1625)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Clark, Prussia, p. 30
  2. Clark, Prussia, p. 103
  3. Clarke, Prussia, p. 149
  4. Clark, Prussia, p. 50