Henry XI. (Liegnitz)

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Henry XI.

Henry XI. (* February 23, 1539 in Liegnitz , Duchy of Liegnitz ; † March 3, 1588 in Krakow ) was the sole ruling Duke of Liegnitz from 1559 to 1570 and co-regent of his brother Friedrich IV from 1571 to 1576 and from 1580 to 1581 .

Origin and family

Heinrich came from the Liegnitz branch of the Silesian Piasts . His parents were the Duke Friedrich III. von Liegnitz and Katharina von Mecklenburg , daughter of Duke Heinrich V von Mecklenburg .

On November 11, 1560, Heinrich married Sophie (1535–1587), the daughter of Ansbach Margrave Georg the Pious and his third wife, Aemilia of Saxony, in Liegnitz . The children came from marriage:

  • Katharina Sophie (August 7, 1561, † May 10, 1608), married to Friedrich von Zweibrücken, Count Palatine von Veldenz (1557–1597)
  • Anna Maria (born January 1, 1563, † February 28, 1620)
  • Emilia (born December 26, 1563, † November 9, 1618)
  • Georg-Friedrich (born September 11, 1565, † December 14, 1565)
  • Sabina Barbara (born January 19, 1571, † February 14, 1572)


Heinrich first entered the service of Emperor Ferdinand I. After his father was deposed and captured by the Emperor in 1559, Heinrich took over the reign of the Duchy of Liegnitz. At the same time he had to undertake to the emperor that he would seek advice from his uncle George II on important matters and not change his religion to Protestantism.

In 1566 Heinrich took part in the Reichstag in Augsburg . After the death of the father in 1570 it came between Heinrich XI. and his younger brother Friedrich IV. to a protracted dispute over the inherited possessions. In 1571 they reached a settlement according to which their countries should remain undivided and be governed jointly by the brothers.

After the death of the Polish King Sigismund II. August 1573, Heinrich applied, as did the Teschen Duke Wenzel III. to the Polish crown. Since they were both Protestant and also did not speak the Polish language, they had little chance of voting. While Wenceslaus III. after the first election withdrew his candidacy, Heinrich ran also in the next election, which in 1574 after the flight or deposition of King Heinrich III. had to be repeated. Only three votes were cast for Heinrich in the election. In 1576 Heinrich took part in military service under Prince Condé for the French Huguenots . Since his brother and the estates complained about him, he was deposed by his Bohemian sovereign in 1576, so that his brother Friedrich IV, who had been co-ruling until then, exercised the reign alone, while Henry XI. took up residence in Haynau . From 1580 Heinrich XI. to govern again in Liegnitz.

As time went on, Heinrich became increasingly wasteful and increased the debts left by his father. He made numerous expensive trips, including to Worms, Regensburg, Augsburg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Speyer, Ingolstadt, Nuremberg, Strasbourg, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Leipzig and Prague. In 1581 there was a conflict with Emperor Rudolf II , because Heinrich intended to avoid paying homage to Rudolf, which was seen as distrust of the Habsburgs . In addition, the earlier candidacy for the Polish throne and his relations with the Polish nobility were held up to him. Rudolf summoned Heinrich to Prague, where he was supposed to justify his behavior. After he refused to appear in Prague, the Silesian estates and the Breslau bishop Martin von Gerstmann in his capacity as governor of Silesia were finally urged to persuade Heinrich to obey. Thereupon the bishop advanced with an expedition leader against Liegnitz. After a few days, Heinrich submitted by allowing his brother Friedrich IV to enter and finally going to the emperor in Prague. There he was imprisoned in Prague Castle by imperial order and his brother Frederick IV was appointed as regent by the emperor. In January 1582 he was taken to Breslau and continued to be held there. In 1585 he fled to Poland , where he is said to have made his guards drunk. He tried in vain to recapture his duchy with Polish help. In December 1587 he accompanied the Polish King Sigismund III. Wasa to Krakow, where he died on March 5, 1588 after a brief illness. Since he confessed to Protestantism to the last, the Krakow clergy refused to give him a funeral. Eventually his body was buried in the Kraków Visitation Basilica of the mendicant monks .

Hans von Schweinichen , who accompanied him on his travels, wrote a biography of the duke.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Joachim Bahlcke : Regionalism and State Integration in Controversy. The lands of the Bohemian crown in the first century of the Habsburg rule (1526–1619) (= writings of the Federal Institute for East German Culture and History. Vol. 3). Oldenbourg, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-486-56046-8 , p. 174 f., (Also: Freiburg (Breisgau), University, dissertation, 1993).
predecessor Office successor
Friedrich III. Duke of Liegnitz
Friedrich IV.