Duchy of Liegnitz

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Ducal coat of arms Brieg and Liegnitz
Helwig map from 1561 ( south )
Liegnitz Castle

The Duchy of Liegnitz was created in 1248 through the division of the Duchy of Silesia . In 1675 it fell to the Crown of Bohemia as a settled fiefdom . Subsequently it existed as a hereditary principality of Liegnitz, which fell to Prussia in 1742 and was dissolved in 1813. The place of residence was the city of Liegnitz .

Duchy of Liegnitz

The Duchy of Liegnitz was created after the death of the Piast Heinrich II through the division of the Duchy of Silesia. Between 1290 and 1311 it was united with the Duchy of Breslau . After that it was independent again, but in 1329 came under the suzerainty of Bohemia . With the death of Duke Wenceslaus II. In 1419, who was also Bishop of Wroclaw until 1417 , the direct line of the Liegnitz Piasts became extinct, and the Duchy of Liegnitz was connected to the Duchy of Brieg , which was now called the Duchy of Liegnitz-Brieg . After the death of Duke Ludwig II of Brieger , who also inherited the Duchy of Liegnitz from Wenzel II in 1419, the Bohemian sovereign, King Sigismund , demanded the reversion of the Duchy of Liegnitz in 1436. The reason for this was an inheritance contract concluded by Ludwig II in 1420 and contingency homage with the sons of his stepbrother Heinrich IX. for which the king's consent had not been obtained. From this the Liegnitz feudal dispute developed , which was finally settled only in 1469 with a renewed feudal award to Duke Friedrich I. Under his son of the same name, Friedrich II , Brieg fell back to Liegnitz in 1520 and the Principality of Wohlau was added by purchase in 1523 ( Duchy of Liegnitz-Brieg-Wohlau ).

When Bohemia passed to the Habsburgs in 1526 , they also became sovereigns of Silesia in their capacity as kings of Bohemia.

In the Liegnitz Hereditary Brotherhood of 1537, Frederick II of Liegnitz-Brieg-Wohlau and Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg signed a treaty of inheritance, which the Bohemian sovereign King Ferdinand I, however, declared null and void in order to hinder the growing influence of the Hohenzollerns in Silesia.

Although religious freedom was granted in the Duchy of Liegnitz-Brieg-Wohlau due to the provisions of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and re-Catholicization did not have to be carried out, religious oppression arose.

With the death of the fifteen-year-old Duke Georg Wilhelm , the Piast line of Liegnitz died out in 1675. The Duchy of Liegnitz with its partial duchies took Emperor Leopold in as a settled fief for the Crown of Bohemia. Subsequently, they were administered as hereditary principalities by a governor appointed by the emperor , who officiated as governor and resided at the castle in Liegnitz. In the principalities that had been Protestant until then, the imperial government took counter-Reformation measures.

Transfer to Prussia

From 1681, Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg raised several claims to the principalities due to the hereditary brotherhood of 1537, which the Bohemian ruler Leopold I, however, refused. However, when Friedrich Wilhelm was dependent on the Habsburg emperor as an ally as a result of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by Louis XIV, he renounced his claims in an alliance agreement with the emperor in 1686. In return for this waiver, the emperor transferred the district of Schwiebus to the elector. The emperor got himself from the successor of the elector, Margrave Friedrich III. von Brandenburg , an insurance company. The margrave promised the emperor that he would give back the Schwiebus district after taking office.

In 1740, Frederick II of Brandenburg-Prussia renewed the claims to the principalities in order to use the then controversial Austrian succession for the cession of Silesia by the Habsburgs. Therefore he started the First Silesian War . In 1742 most of Silesia was ceded to Prussia, but the Second Silesian War and the Seven Years' War followed , which ended with the Peace of Hubertusburg in 1763.

On December 29, 1757, the city of Liegnitz and the Duchy of Liegnitz were handed over to Prussia. There it existed as a titular duchy until 1813 and was then incorporated into the - larger - administrative district of Liegnitz of the new province of Silesia .


  • The duchies of Liegnitz, Brieg, Wohlau 1524–1740 . In: Historische Gesellschaft Liegnitz (ed.): Contributions to the history of Liegnitz . tape 12-15 . Weber, 1971, ISBN 978-3-87888-043-1 , pp. 12-19 .

Web links

Commons : Duchy of Liegnitz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Liegnitz [1]. In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon. Volume 12, Leipzig 1908, p. 540. (zeno.org)
  • Liegnitz [1]. In: Pierer's Universal Lexicon. Volume 10, Altenburg 1860, pp. 368-369.