George I (Saxony-Meiningen)

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Georg I Friedrich Karl Duke of Saxony-Meiningen (born February 4, 1761 in Frankfurt am Main , † December 24, 1803 in Meiningen ) ruled the Duchy of Saxony-Meiningen from 1782 to 1803 . He is considered one of the most important representatives of the Meiningen ducal house and ruled the country following the example of his mother in the spirit of enlightened absolutism . Georg made an outstanding contribution to the education system, agriculture and forestry. He described himself as "the first servant of the state".

Duke George I of Saxe-Meiningen


His parents were Duke Anton Ulrich von Sachsen-Meiningen (1687–1763) and Princess Charlotte Amalie von Hessen-Philippsthal (1730–1801). His prince tutor was the Meiningen theologian and geologist Johann Ludwig Heim , as well as the co-instructor Johann Georg Otto , who also accompanied him and his brother to study at the University of Strasbourg in 1775 . He was under the reign of his mother until 1779, and until the early death of his older brother Karl Wilhelm in 1782, he ruled together with him, as there was no primary education system in Saxony-Meiningen. In 1789 he appointed the composer JFA Fleischmann as "Cabinets-Secretaire" in his service.

On November 27, 1782, he married Princess Louise Eleonore zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg in Langenburg and in the same year had the English Garden, which he was instrumental in design, laid out in Meiningen . Together with his brother, he began the conversion of Meiningen into a prestigious residential town and significantly redesigned the town of Bad Liebenstein and Altenstein Castle with its park.

The foundation stone for the significant upswing in forestry in the duchy was laid with the foundation of the Drei 30acker Academy in 1800.

He renounced the great pomp on the occasion of the birth of his son Bernhard and with the savings he made for the laying of the foundation stone of a school building, which opened in 1821 under the government of his wife as the Bernhardinum high school. He also founded a school for the poor with an attached work facility and free medical care. When he took office, he opened the ducal library and art collections to the public. Georg also took care of a reform of the church system, among other things he abolished the penance of illegitimate motherhood.

Like his brother, he was in poor health all his life and died at the age of 42 of a "chest fever". His widow Louise Eleonore acted as regent for his underage son.

Georg was a member of the Freemason Lodge Charlotte to the three carnations


Georg had the following children from his marriage:


  • Johann Matthäus Bechstein , Joh. Von Vierling: Life story of Duke George the Unforgettable. In: Herzoglich S. Coburg-Meiningisches annual non-profit paperback,… Meiningen 1803.
  • Ludwig Hertel: Meiningische history from 1680 to the present. In: Writings of the Association for Saxony-Meiningen History and Regional Studies. 47th issue, Hildburghausen 1904.
  • Herta Müller: George I, Duke of Saxony Meiningen. In: Detlef Ignasiak (Ed.): Rulers and Patrons. Thuringian princes and Hermenefred to Georg II. Rudolstadt in 1994.
  • Andrea Jakob: Duke Georg I of Saxony-Meiningen: A precedent for enlightened absolutism. Meininger Museums, ISBN 3-910114-06-7 .

Web links

Commons : Georg I. (Sachsen-Meiningen)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Karl Wilhelm August Duke of Saxony-Meiningen
Bernhard II.