Duchy of Wroclaw

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Coat of arms of the Duke of Wroclaw

The Duchy of Breslau was created in 1248/51 by dividing the Duchy of Silesia into the Duchies of Silesia . The Duchy of Breslau was a secular duchy of the Silesian Piasts . The diocese land of the Breslau bishops was the principality of Neisse . After the death of Duke Heinrich VI. The Duchy of Breslau fell as a settled fiefdom to the Crown of Bohemia in 1335 , making it a Bohemian hereditary principality, which fell to Prussia in 1742 .


After the brothers Boleslaw I and Mieszko I were allowed to return to Silesia from exile in Thuringia in 1163 after the death of their father Władysław II with the help of Emperor Frederick I , they initially ruled the Duchy of Silesia together. However, as disputes soon arose between them, the land was divided. The elder Boleslaw received Central and Lower Silesia with the areas of Breslau , Liegnitz and Opole . Mieszko received the smaller Upper Silesian area Ratibor - Teschen , which was enlarged in 1177 by the castellanias Beuthen and Auschwitz . After Boleslaw's death in 1201, Mieszko also appropriated the Opole region. The Upper Silesian princes, also the owners of sub-areas, called themselves from then on "Dukes of Opole". They did not use the name "Silesia" at all until the 14th century. In contrast, the ruling Piasts in Central and Lower Silesia called themselves "Dukes of Silesia". They also used this name after the country had split up into numerous partial duchies with their own names.

The resulting Duchy of Silesia was divided among his sons after the death of Duke Heinrich II in 1248/51:

The first Duke of Breslau was Henry III, who had his brother Wladislaw, who was destined for a spiritual career, as co-regent. In 1261 both gave their capital, Wroclaw, Magdeburg law . After Henry III. Death in 1266 his son Heinrich IV was only eight or nine years old. Therefore, Heinrich's co-regent Wladislaw took over the government of the Duchy of Breslau. Since Henry IV was brought up at the Prague ducal court anyway, after Vladislav's death in 1270, the Bohemian King Ottokar II Přemysl took over the guardianship . In 1272 Henry IV designated Wroclaw as the capital of Silesia and granted it great privileges. Since 1274 he had the title addition "Lord of Breslau". Since Heinrich had no biological descendants, he determined his nephew Heinrich III in his will. von Glogau to the heir of Silesia-Breslau. As a result of resistance from the citizens of Breslau, with the support of the Bohemian King Wenceslaus II , it fell to Heinrich's nephew of the same name, Heinrich V von Liegnitz , in 1290 .

He gave the southern part of the principality of Breslau along the mountain range, to which the areas of Münsterberg , Frankenstein , Strehlen , Reichenbach and Schweidnitz belonged, to his brother Bolko I. The areas roughly corresponded to the later principalities of Schweidnitz and Münsterberg . With the donation, Heinrich V hoped that his brother would support him in the fight with his rival Heinrich III. from Glogau. Nevertheless, in 1291 he had to go to Groß Wartenberg , Trebnitz , Militsch , Sandewalde, Auras and Steinau a. O. cede. Two years later, Heinrich was captured by Heinrich von Glogau, who held him in a dungeon in Sandewalde near Guhrau and was only released in 1294. In return for his release, Heinrich V had to forego the entire area to the right of the Oder in favor of his tormentor, to whom he also had to commit himself to monetary payments and war aid. Fearing further territorial loss, Henry V handed the Duchy of Breslau over to the protection of Pope Boniface VIII shortly before his death on February 1, 1296. Since Henry's sons were still minors, the inheritance was not divided until 1311. The second-born son Heinrich VI. inherited Breslau, which only consisted of the districts of Breslau and Neumarkt .

Henry VI. was generously supported by the city of Wroclaw during his reign, to which he granted a number of privileges . 1319–1321, however, his country was occupied with the interdict , as he, like most Silesian dukes, opposed the levying of St. Peter's penny as a per capita tax. With the participation of the city of Breslau, he transferred his duchy as a fief to the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg on April 6, 1327 . At the same time he granted him the right of inheritance in the event that he ( Heinrich ) should die without a male heir. King Johann immediately returned his duchy to Heinrich for lifelong usufruct and, out of gratitude, also granted him the lifelong usufruct of the County of Glatz . Heinrich was the last Duke of Breslau from the Silesian line of the Piasts. Even before his death, the Treaty of Trenčín was signed on August 24, 1335 , with which the Polish King Casimir the Great renounced any claim by Poland to Silesia. As a result, Heinrich's Duchy of Breslau passed into the possession of the Crown of Bohemia as an hereditary principality and neighboring country without any contradiction .

Wroclaw governor of the Bohemian king, who now also bore the title “Duke of Wroclaw”, became the governor appointed by him , who was also responsible for the administration of the Duchy of Wroclaw. From 1359 to 1635 this office was mostly transferred to the council of the city of Wroclaw, whose councilor held the title of governor. Although Wroclaw was no longer a residential city, the Wroclaw provincial administration played a leading role among the Silesian dukes and princes. The Silesian Princely Days did not take place in the castle, however, but in the Wroclaw town hall. The former ducal area of ​​the city was mainly transferred to spiritual foundations. The royal castle was further expanded as part of the city fortifications.

After the First Silesian War , the Duchy of Breslau fell to Prussia in 1742. Subsequently, the Prussian kings also carried the title "Duke of Breslau". In 1807 the duchies were dissolved as a result of the Prussian administrative reforms.

Dukes of Wroclaw after the division of the Duchy of Silesia

  • 1241–1266 Heinrich III. († 1266) and his brother Wladislaw († 1270) as co-regent, sons of Heinrich II.
  • 1266–1290 Heinrich IV. († 1290), son of Heinrich III.
  • 1290–1296 Heinrich V , son of Boleslaw II of Liegnitz, who was a brother of Heinrich III. was
    • 1296–1311 Guardianship for the underage sons of Henry V.
  • 1311–1335 Heinrich VI. , Son of Henry V.
  • After the death of Henry VI. Breslau came to the Crown of Bohemia as a hereditary principality. From then on, the title of “Duke of Breslau” was carried by the Bohemian kings and from 1742–1807 by the kings of Prussia.

Royal Governors of the Hereditary Duchy of Wroclaw (not complete)


Individual evidence

  1. Radek Fukala: Slezsko. Neznámá země Koruny české. Knížecí a stavovské Slezsko do roku 1740 . České Budějovice 2007, ISBN 978-80-86829-23-4 . P. 78.
  2. a b The nobility of the Glätzer Land, 1319–1462. In: Rudolf M. von Stillfried-Alcantara (Ed.): Contributions to the history of the Silesian nobility. Publishing house of the Royal Secret Upper Hofbuchdruckerei, Berlin 1864.
  3. ^ The autobiography of Charles IV. Vita Caroli quarti . Edited by Wolfgang F. Stammler, Alcorde Verlag, Essen 2016, ISBN 978-3-939973-66-9 , pp. 225 and 267.
  4. Konrad Blažek : The Dead Prussian Adel, Province of Silesia (=  J. Siebmacher's large and general book of arms. Vol. VI, Section 8, Part III). Verlag von Bauer and Raspe, Nuremberg, 1894, plate 41 and page 70, online .
  5. z Choustníka. Entry at Heraldiká Terminologická Konvence (Czech).
  6.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. peters ergaenzungsband public.pdf p. 149] ( page no longer available , search in web archives Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.[http: //IABotdeadurl.invalid/http: //dirkpeters.net/uploads/tafel/ahnentafel @ 1@ 2Template: Dead Link / dirkpeters.net  @1@ 2Template: Dead Link / dirkpeters.net  
  7. Alexius von Bank. Entry in Jamie Allen's Family Tree, Version 96 (English).
  8. ^ Ernst Heinrich Kneschke (ed.): New general German nobility lexicon . Volume 1, Leipzig, 1859, p. 184, online .
  9. ^ Jacob Christof Iselin: Newly increased historical and geographical general lexicon. Volume 3. Johann Ludwig Brandmüller, Basel 1747.
  10. s. Karl Franz Neander von Petersheide , as well as Oberg, Balthasar Heinrich von. CERL Thesaurus, Consortium of European Research Libraries.
  11. Oskar Pusch: The Wroclaw City Council and City families in the period from 1241 to 1741 ( Memento from September 27, 2018 in the Internet Archive ). Dortmund 1986: “From 1568-1606 councilor in Breslau, last council president and royal councilor. Man. ”(P. 46).
  12. The Lords of Jankwitz. Entry in: New Prussian Nobility Lexicon. Reichenbach, Leipzig 1837.
  13. cf. Anna Judith von Boreck and Tworkau, baroness. Entry at WorldHistory.de.