Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

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Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
coat of arms flag
Coat of arms of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Flag of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha 1911–1920
Situation in the German Reich
Location of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in the German Empire
State capital Coburg and Gotha
Form of government monarchy
Head of state duke
dynasty Wettiner / Ernestiner
Consist 1826-1918
surface 1977 km² of
which Hzgt. Gotha 1415 km² and Hzgt. Coburg 562 km²
Residents 257,177 of
which Hzgt. Gotha 182.359 and Hzgt. Coburg 74,818
Population density 130 inhabitants / km²
Incorporated into Free State of Coburg
Free State of Saxony-Gotha
Votes in the Federal Council 1 vote
License Plate CG
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Green = Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,
gray = other Thuringian states

The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha emerged in 1826 from the Ernestine duchies of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha . It was first ruled by Duke Ernst I in personal union, which was expanded to a real union in 1852 under Duke Ernst II . The double duchy thus became a quasi-federal unitary state.


The duchy was created according to an arbitration ruling by King Friedrich August I of Saxony with the partition treaty to Hildburghausen of November 12, 1826 for the comprehensive reorganization of the Ernestine duchies . After the Saxon-Gotha-Altenburg line became extinct , the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen exchanged his duchy for Saxe-Altenburg . The Sachsen-Meiningen line got Sachsen-Hildburghausen and from Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld the Saalfeld region as well as the Themar office and the places Mupperg , Mogger , Liebau and Oerlsdorf . The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld received the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha , of Saxe-Hildburghausen the offices of Königsberg and Sonnefeld and of Saxe-Meiningen the goods of Callenberg and Gauerstadt .

In addition, after the Congress of Vienna, sovereign Duke Ernst von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld was awarded the Principality of Lichtenberg an der Nahe in 1816 as compensation for the help given to the allies in the fight against France . Due to the great distance to Coburg and the unrest as a result of the Hambach Festival , the duke sold the principality to Prussia in 1834 .

The newly created duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was initially a double duchy. It was ruled by the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in personal union, but there was only one vote in the Bundestag . The establishment of a unitary state had been neglected in 1826. According to the constitution of 1852, the duchies were linked in Realunion. The double duchy was then a quasi-federal unitary state. Subsequent attempts to merge the duchies failed in 1867 because the Gotha state parliament did not want to take on the high Coburg state debts, and in 1872, when the unification question was to be linked to the domain question.

Despite the low importance of the duchy in terms of German politics, Ernst II presented a plan to reform the German Confederation . According to the ideas of 1855/1856 there should be a German parliament next to the Bundestag.

There were two residential cities with Gotha and Coburg . Therefore, the entire ducal court and the court theater moved twice a year: from Coburg to Gotha and back. There were therefore two almost identical venues for the court theater, which were built at the same time in 1840 in Gotha (destroyed in World War II) and Coburg (today the Coburg State Theater ). In addition to the residential castles of Friedenstein in Gotha and Ehrenburg in Coburg, the ducal family also used Reinhardsbrunn Castle near Gotha and the Callenberg and Rosenau castles near Coburg.

Only the Duchy of Gotha, along with the Duchies of Saxe-Meiningen , Saxe-Altenburg and above all the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, belonged to the states that maintained the University of Jena . It also had its own regional court , while the one responsible for the Duchy of Coburg was in Meiningen .

The Duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha received a constitutional constitution on May 3, 1852, which had taken over essential parts of the fundamental rights from the constitution of the Frankfurt National Assembly . It joined the German Customs Union in 1834 . In 1867 it became a federal state of the North German Confederation and in 1871 the German Empire . In the Federal Council in Berlin, where it had one vote, it had its own authorized representative and, like most other Thuringian states , was not represented by the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach until 1913 .

After the end of the monarchy in 1918, the two parts of the state became the Free States of Coburg and Saxony-Gotha (initially also called the Republic of Gotha). After a referendum on November 30, 1919, the Free State of Coburg merged with the Free State of Bavaria on July 1, 1920 and on May 1 of the same year the Free State of Gotha became part of the new state of Thuringia .

coat of arms

Blazon : The coat of arms is divided five times and split three times with a central shield on the intersection of the sixth, seventh, tenth and eleventh fields. In the fields:

  • Heart shield : Divided nine times by black and gold. (Main coat of arms of the Wettin , Ernestine line and small state coat of arms of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)
  • Field 1: In gold, a black lion. ( Duchy of Jülich , inheritance claim)
  • Field 2: In red a golden lily reel with eight lilies, covered with a white heart sign. ( Duchy of Kleve , inheritance claim)
  • Field 3: In silver a gold-crowned red lion with a double tail. ( Duchy of Berg , inheritance claim)
  • Field 4: In red three golden sea leaves (2: 1). ( Duchy of Engern , alienated, inheritance claim)
  • Field 5: In red a soaring silver horse. ( Duchy of Westphalia , inheritance claim)
  • Field 6: A golden lion in black. (Duchy of Coburg)
  • Field 7: In blue, a lion with a golden crown, divided seven times by silver and red. ( Landgraviate of Thuringia )
  • Field 8: A black lion in gold ( Margraviate Meißen ).
  • Field 9: In the divided field on the right in gold on a green three-hill a black rooster with a red comb, on the left in red a silver column with a gold crown on top. (Right: Fürstete Grafschaft Henneberg - Left: Römhild in the Hildburghausen district )
  • Field 10: Split of silver and blue, covered by a gold crowned lion in mistaken tincture. ( Principality of Lichtenberg in the Palatinate)
  • Field 11: In blue a gold crowned golden eagle. ( Pfalzgrafschaft Saxony )
  • Field 12: In black a golden eagle (Pfalzgrafschaft Thuringia)
  • Field 13: Two blue posts in gold. ( Margraviate Landsberg )
  • Field 14: In silver three red sea leaves (2: 1). (County of Brehna in the Bitterfeld district )
  • Field 15: In the field sprinkled with ten red hearts, a black lion with a red crown. ( County of Orlamünde )
  • Field 16: In blue, a lion divided by gold and silver. ( Reign of Pleißen )
  • Field 17: In silver, a red rose with a golden clasp and green sepals. ( Burggrafschaft Altenburg in Thuringia)
  • Field 18: Three blue bars in silver. (Lordship of Eisenberg in the Stadtroda district ).
  • Field 19: In gold, a bar cut 21 times in three rows of silver and red. ( County of Mark in Westphalia , inheritance claim)
  • Field 20: Three red rafters in silver. ( County of Ravensberg in Westphalia, inheritance claim)
  • Field 21: In gold, a silver oblique left-hand bar, with a black raven turned left at the top right. ( Lordship of Ravenstein in Noord-Brabant , inheritance claim)
  • Field 22: In blue a silver lion turned to the left. ( Lordship of Tonna in the Gotha district)
  • Field 23: Red. ( Regalienfeld )

The national colors have been green and white since around 1830. The national flag was horizontally striped green and white. Only the authorities sometimes used a green-white-green-white striped flag on festive occasions.


There was a separate Landtag for each duchy (11 members in the Coburg Landtag and 17 members in Gotha), which by meeting could form a joint Landtag. There was a State Ministry in Gotha for the two duchies, but this had two almost independent ministerial departments in Coburg and Gotha. The Minister of State headed the Gotha ministerial department and was responsible for joint state affairs as well as economic and commercial policy, the judiciary and the implementation of Reich laws. He was unable to intervene in state affairs in Coburg, such as local government, police duties, church and school as well as asset management and finances, but also in court matters until 1891. The finances of the two duchies remained fundamentally separate. Above all, the financial relations with the Reich and the joint tasks were handled through a joint budget. Subsidies from both state budgets were given in a ratio of 7: 3 between Gotha and Coburg.

Currency and mail shelf

The duchy joined the Dresden Mint Treaty in 1838 . Two dollars in the Prussian 14-taler monetary standard now corresponded to 3 1 / 2  South German Gulden in 24 1 / 2 -Gulden-feet, which should be considered as common club coin of the "contra end here states". This club coin of "2 Taler = 3 12  Gulden" was legally valid in every Zollverein country - regardless of who the respective issuer of the club coin was. Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha minted their own coins:

  • Sachsen-Coburg in the Bavarian Münzfuß (1 guilder at 60 Kreuzer at 240 pfennigs), mints existed in Dresden 1841–1872, in Berlin 1886–1911
  • Saxe-Gotha in the royal Saxon mint (1 thaler at 30 groschen at 300 pfennigs), Gotha mint.

It was only with the introduction of the mark as imperial currency on January 1, 1876 under the law of December 4, 1871, that the fragmentation of the monetary system was lifted.

The Thurn-und-Taxis-Post secured the post office shelf through contracts with the Ernestine duchies:

After Duke Friedrich IV of Gotha and Altenburg died on February 11, 1825, without leaving heirs, the Duchy of Gotha fell to Duke Ernst I of Coburg-Saalfeld in the inheritance distribution plan of November 12, 1826, who transferred Saalfeld to Saxony- Meiningen had to resign.

The common administration could already be recognized from the outside by the name, the postal coat of arms and the uniforms, which differed by different collar colors. The name of the post office was: "Herzoglich Coburgische, Fürstlich Thurn und Taxissche Lehenspostexpedition" or "Herzoglich Gothaische, Fürstlich Thurn und Taxissche Lehenspostexpedition". The postal coat of arms therefore combined both coats of arms, the ducal below and the princely Thurn and Taxissche above. From 1852 to 1866, the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post issued its own postage stamps in two different currencies. Saxony-Coburg belonged to the southern district with Kreuzer currency, Saxony-Gotha to the northern district with Groschen currency. From 1867 the post office shelf passed to Prussia, which - like the North German Confederation - issued stamps in Groschen and Kreuzer currency until the introduction of the Reich currency in 1876.


The jurisdiction was incumbent on the higher regional court in Jena . It was responsible for the four Saxon-Ernestine states, the Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two Russian principalities as well as the Prussian districts of Schmalkalden, Schleusingen and Ziegenrück. The duchy had two regional courts (one for the city of Gotha and one jointly with Sachsen-Meiningen for the duchy of Coburg) and 13 local courts (eight for the duchy of Gotha, five for the duchy of Coburg). The district court of Meiningen was responsible for the Meiningen districts of Meiningen, Hildburghausen and Sonneberg, but also for the Duchy of Coburg and the Prussian districts of Schleusingen and Schmalkalden.

For details of the judicial system, see Courts in the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha


As a member of the German Confederation , the duchy provided a contingent of 1,366 infantry and formed the 2nd battalion of the reserve division of the federal army . When the duchy of Saxony-Gotha fell to the Coburg line after the extinction of the House of Saxony-Gotha in 1825, Gotha was united with the Coburg contingent. Thus there was a battalion of infantry in Gotha and a hunter division in Coburg. In 1855 the contingent was brought to two battalions of four companies.

After the military convention concluded with Prussia in 1867 and renewed in 1873 , the troops of the two duchies in the German Empire and those of Sachsen-Meiningen formed the 6th Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 95 , which belonged to the 11th Prussian Army Corps in Kassel. Its 1st battalion was garrisoned in Gotha , the 2nd battalion in Hildburghausen and the III. Battalion in Coburg .

Administrative division

Duchy of Saxe-Gotha
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, exclave Koenigsberg in Franconia
Principality of Lichtenberg

Duchy of Saxe-Gotha

The duchy was divided into the unofficial cities of Gotha , Ohrdruf and Waltershausen as well as the three district offices Gotha , Ohrdruf and Waltershausen . Outside the core area of ​​the duchy were five exclaves:

Duchy of Saxe-Coburg

The duchy was divided into the cities of Coburg , Königsberg , Neustadt bei Coburg , Rodach and the district office of Coburg . Outside the core area of ​​the duchy were three exclaves:

The Principality of Lichtenberg , which until 1834 belonged to the Duchy of Coburg, had around 25,000 inhabitants in 1816 on an area of ​​537 km². The two cities of the principality were St. Wendel and Baumholder .

Population development

1865 1880 1885 1910
Duchy of Saxe-Gotha 112,417 137.988 141,446 182,359
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg 47.014 56,728 57,383 74,818
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 159,431 194.716 198,829 257.177

Biggest cities

city Resident
Dec. 3, 1852
Gotha 15,066
Coburg 9,907
Ohrdruf 4,559
Waltershausen 3,292
Neustadt near Coburg 2,561
Friedrichroda 2,262
Zella St. Blasii 2,067
Ruhla , Gothic part 2,038
city Residents
Dec. 1, 1910
since 1852
Gotha 39,553 + 163%
Coburg 23,789 + 140%
Neustadt near Coburg 7,977 + 211%
Waltershausen 7,536 + 129%
Ohrdruf 6,504 + 43%
Zella St. Blasii 5,690 + 175%
Friedrichroda 4,711 + 108%
Ruhla, Gothic part 3,966 + 95%

In addition, in 1910, compared to 1852, the following places were above the 2000 population mark: Siebleben community (3336 - 908; +267%), Rodach (2812 - 1756; + 60%), Gräfenroda (2796 - 1264; +121%) ), Municipality of Herbsleben (2603 - 1937; +34 %), municipality of Ichtershausen (2517 - 824; +205%), municipality of Mehlis (6,625 - 1,917; +246%), municipality of Tambach (3,008 - 2,073; +45 %) and Community of Wölfis (2045 - 1409; + 45%).

Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Minister of State of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


  • Norman Davies : Vanished Empires: The History of Forgotten Europe. 3rd, revised and corrected edition. Theiss, Darmstadt 2017, ISBN 978-3-8062-3116-8 , pp. 597–635 (= 11. Rosenau: Beloved and unwanted heritage (1826–1918) ).
  • Carl-Christian Dressel: The development of the constitution and administration in Saxony-Coburg 1800–1826 in comparison. Duncker & Humblot Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-12003-1 .
  • Jürgen Erdmann: Coburg, Bavaria and the Reich 1918–1923. Druckhaus and Vesteverlag A. Rossteutscher, Coburg 1969.
  • Ulrich Hess, History of Thuringia 1866 to 1914. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Successor, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5 .
  • Johann B. Homann: The Duchies of Gotha, Coburg and Altenburg 1729. Historical map: Tabula Geographica Principatus Gotha, Coburg, Altenburg, Verlag Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza, Reprint 1757/1999, ISBN 3-929000-78-4 .
  • Detlef Sandern: Parliamentarism in Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha 1821 / 26-1849 / 52 (= writings on parliamentarism in Thuringia. Issue 7). Thuringian Landtag, Jenzig Verlag, 3rd edition, Jena 2003, ISBN 3-86160-507-4 . (and Werner Querfeld : First constitutional state parliament of Reuss-Greiz in 1867. )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Erdmann: Coburg, Bavaria and the Reich 1918–1923. Pp. 2-3.
  2. ^ Carl-Christian Dressel: The development of constitution and administration in Saxony-Coburg 1800-1826 in comparison. P. 532.
  3. Ulrich Hess: History of Thuringia 1866 to 1914. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Successor, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5 , p. 223.
  4. ^ Georg Jellinek: The doctrine of the relations of states. Vienna 1882, p. 208 ff.
  5. Jens Hild: Special features of flag management in the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In: The flag courier. Journal of the German Flag Society. Volume 19, No. 38, November 2013, pp. 10–11.
  6. Jump up ↑ Heinrich Ambros Eckert and Dietrich Monten, Das deutsche Bundesheer, Volume II., Dortmund 1981, p. 15.