Duchy of Wohlau

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Wohlau coat of arms

The Duchy of Wohlau (Czech Volovské knížectví ; Polish Księstwo wołowskie ) was established in 1413 as a part of the Duchy of Oels . It was ruled by the Silesian Piasts until 1498 and 1523–1675, and from 1498–1517 by the dukes of Münsterberg - Oels , who came from the Bohemian noble family Podiebrad . They sold it in 1517 to the mining entrepreneur Johann Thurzo , from whom the Liegnitz Duke Friedrich II acquired it in 1523 . At times it served as a widow's residence . The last Duke of Wohlau was Georg Wilhelm , with whom the branch of the Silesian Piasts went extinct in 1675. Then it fell as a settled fiefdom to the Crown of Bohemia and in 1742 to Prussia . The place of residence of the respective dukes or the governors who represented them was the city of the same name, Wohlau (today Wołów in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in Poland).


After the division of the Duchy of Breslau, the area of ​​Wohlau belonged to the Duchy of Glogau until 1312 and then to the Duchy of Oels . Together with this it was placed under the Bohemian Crown as a fiefdom in 1329 . 1412/13 Wohlau was for the widow Jutta / Gutha († 1416/19) of Duke Konrad III. hived off from the Duchy of Oels as their personal belongings. After the extinction of the Oels line of the Glogau branch of the Silesian Piasts with Konrad X. “the young white” in 1492, Wohlau and Oels initially fell to the Crown of Bohemia as a settled fiefdom. In 1495 the Duchy of Oels mit Wohlau was given by the Bohemian King Vladislav II as a hereditary fief to Heinrich the Elder. Ä. von Münsterberg , a son of the Bohemian King Georg von Podiebrad , transferred.

After Heinrich's death in 1498, his sons Albrecht I († 1511), Georg I († 1501) and Karl I († 1536) Wohlau granted their father-in-law Johann II von Sagan a lifelong usufruct. After his death in 1517, Karl I von Münsterberg sold Wohlau to the mining entrepreneur Johann Thurzo . It was bought by Duke Friedrich II of Liegnitz in 1523 , to whom Brieg also belonged. Subsequently, Wohlau was connected to Liegnitz-Brieg and at times served again as the widow of the ducal widows.

Wohlau Castle

From 1653 to 1664 Wohlau was again an independent part of the principality. The last Duke of Liegnitz, Brieg and Wohlau was Georg Wilhelm , with whom the branch of the Silesian Piasts became extinct in 1675. His duchies and Ohlau , which his mother was entitled to as Wittum until 1675 , again fell as settled fiefs to the Crown of Bohemia, which had been ruled by the Habsburgs since 1526 . Subsequently, they were administered as hereditary principalities by a governor appointed by the emperor in his capacity as king of Bohemia . He 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.

On the basis of a contract from 1537, Prussia raised hereditary claims to the principalities of Liegnitz, Brieg and Wohlau from 1681. This demand was ultimately one of the reasons for the outbreak of the First Silesian War , after which almost all of Silesia fell to Prussia in 1742. In 1807 the remaining Silesian hereditary principalities were dissolved as part of the Prussian administrative reforms.

Dukes of Wohlau


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