Christian zu Rantzau (governor)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christian Count of Rantzau (1614–1663)

Christian Rantzau , first imperial count of Rantzau, lord of Breitenburg and many other goods, (* May 2, 1614 at Hadersleben Castle ; † November 8, 1663 in Copenhagen ) was governor from 1648 to 1661 , then governor until death in the royal Danish Share of Schleswig-Holstein . With the Vienna Count's double diploma (comitiv and palatinate) of 1650, the emperor elevated the office of Barmstedt acquired by Christian in 1649 to the imperial county of Rantzau and paved the way for Christian to become an imperial estate . He thus became the progenitor of the only imperial counts branch of the Rantzau family, which existed from 1653 to 1726.


Christian came from the noble family Rantzau . He was the eldest son of the royal governor Gerhard zu Rantzau and his second wife Dorothea von Brockdorff . His grandfather was Heinrich Rantzau .

On July 31, 1636 he married Dorothea von Rantzau (1619–1662), a daughter of Detlev von Rantzau (1577–1639) and Dorothea von Ahlefeldt . The couple only had two children:

  • Margarethe Dorothea (1642–1665) ⚭ December 28, 1656 Count Frederik von Ahlefeldt (1623–1686), governor of Schleswig and Holstein and Danish chancellor
  • Detlev (1644–1697), second Imperial Count of Rantzau ⚭ (1) 1664 Baroness Catharina Hedwig von Brockdorff (1645–1689)
    • Christian Detlev zu Rantzau (1670–1721, shot), 3rd Imperial Count,
    • Catharina zu Rantzau (1683–1743), ⚭ 1699 Count Johann Friedrich zu Castell-Rüdenhausen
    • Wilhelm Adolf zu Rantzau (1688–1734), 4th and last Reich Count, convicted and arrested by the Danish court in 1726 for alleged involvement in the murder of his older brother. He died in prison in Akershus / Norway with no descendants.


After the death of his father on January 28, 1627, Christian Rantzau attended the Sorø Knight Academy together with Heinrich Müller , who was raised with him since 1624, and studied a. a. with Johann Lauremberg . During this time the family estate in Holstein was occupied by Wallenstein's troops. Breitenburg Castle near Itzehoe was stormed on September 29, 1627. The library, which is known far beyond the borders, was also destroyed. In the Peace of Lübeck in May 1629, however, all the confiscation processes initiated by the imperial side were put down.

In 1630 Christian Rantzau fell ill with the leaves , of which his mother died a few weeks later. Under these circumstances, the obligatory cavalier tour was out of the question, but a Danish delegation invited him to accompany them to the Regensburg Electoral Congress. From Regensburg, the delegation traveled to the Netherlands and France. There he entered the Académie d'Orléans and was elected Consiliarius Nationis Teutonicae in 1632 . After his return in 1633 he was Danish court squire until June 21, 1634 and Danish chamberlain until May 22, 1636. In this role he accompanied King Christian IV to Norway. He was friends with his son-in-law Corfitz Ulfeldt .

After his wedding, he retired to his palace in Breitenburg. At the end of 1636, Prince Ludwig I of Anhalt-Köthen undertook his north German trip to arrange the transfer of the counties Holstein-Pinneberg and Schaumburg to his ward Otto V. von Schaumburg. On this occasion, the Prince accepted Christian Rantzau into the Fruitful Society . He gave him the company name of the adorned and the motto in exquisite colors . The Indian jasmine ( Mirabilis jalupa L. ) was given to him as an emblem . Rantzau's entry can be found in the Koethen Society Register under no. 278. The rhyme law that he wrote on the occasion of his admission is also noted there:

That Indian Jasimin is adorned in
other colors, so that the other flowers starve,
yellow, brown also red and white, it is very beautiful,
Drumb the adorned one has probably called me.
The right ornament is the inferior virtue, in
this the high tender youth should increase,
That they are godly, look at the
Lord's law and word day and night , and be careful with eating.

Christian Rantzau was appointed bailiff in Rendsburg in 1639 and also district administrator there in 1640 in royal Danish service . In 1643 and 1645 he was Danish General War Commissioner during the Torstensson War . At home, when the Swedes invaded Torstensson, Breitenburg Castle was again taken and looted on December 17, 1643.

After the death of Christian IV in February 1648, Christian Rantzau rose under Friedrich III. quickly up. On November 26, 1648 he was accepted as a knight in the Elephant Order . In the same year he became governor of the royal Danish portions of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein , an office that his father and grandfather had held before him. It is believed that he was involved in the fall of his former friend Corfitz Ulfeldt in 1649/50, because he was well known to the officer Jørgen Walter, whose lover Dina Vinhofvers spread several rumors about Ulfeldt.

In 1651 he was appointed to the Danish court (it is questionable whether he complied, as he stayed in Vienna for a long time ). The high point of his career was his appointment as President of the State College on August 23, 1661. With this appointment, he was given the powers of Prime Minister. In 1661 he also received the title of governor of the duchies.

Since November 13, 1651 he was also canon in the Lübeck cathedral chapter as the owner of what Duke Friedrich III had given him. of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf conferred Holstein distinct stipend . Christian von Pentz previously held this position. The latter, like Corfitz Ulfeldt, was one of Christian IV's sons-in-law.

Christian zu Rantzau died in Copenhagen on November 8, 1663. He found his final resting place next to his wife, who died in 1662, and their mother in a vault in the town church of St. Laurentii (Itzehoe) .

The unusual way to the imperial county

Through the purchase and permutation tract of December 28, 1649 Christian Rantzau acquired from Duke Friedrich III. of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf (1616–1659) for the price of 101,000 Speciesthalers and in exchange for the Rantzau family estate and other property (valued at 100,000 Thalers) the Danish office of Barmstedt and had Rantzau Castle built there. Emperor Ferdinand III. confirmed this transfer on November 16 and 20, 1650, but not only elevated Christian to the rank of count , but also awarded him the dignity of the count palatine (the so-called double diploma in one volume). His new possession Barmstedt he raised to the "immediately free county of Rantzau" as a new imperial territory. At the same time Rantzau received in Vienna for Friedrich III. of Denmark whose imperial enfeoffment with Holstein .

The imperial protection and the consent of the imperial estates in the Reichstag made it possible for Count Christian zu Rantzau to go to the Reichstag in 1653 and 1654, reversing the usual procedure (first membership in one of the ten imperial circles , then seeking membership in one of the four imperial counts colleges) To send Regensburg, where he was granted a seat and vote in the Wetterau Reichsgrafenkollegium, so that in 1653 he became an "Reichsgraf" with a seat and vote in the Reichstag. It was not accepted into the Lower Saxony Imperial Circle until almost ten years later in 1662.


Web links

  • Christian and the whole family, unfortunately Danish, with a lot of data on the “Danish” activity and Danish property of the family.

Individual evidence

  1. to
  2. Dina Vinhofvers (approx. 1620–1651). In: Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon
  3. ^ Wolfgang Prange : Directory of the Canon. In: Ders .: Bishop and cathedral chapter of Lübeck: Hochstift, principality and part of the country 1160-1937. Lübeck: Schmidt-Römhild 2014 ISBN 978-3-7950-5215-7 , p. 396 No. 271