Karl Friedrich (Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf)

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Duke Carl Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf

Karl Friedrich , then always written Carl Friedrich (* April 19 Swe. / 29. April 1700 greg. In Stockholm ; † 18th June 1739 on the Good Rohlfshagen at Oldesloe) was 1702-1739 Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf , from 1721 only Holstein-Gottorf.


Karl Friedrich was the son of Duke Friedrich IV of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf and Princess Hedwig Sophia of Sweden , a daughter of Karl XI. of Sweden and his wife Ulrike Eleonore of Denmark .

Duke and Swedish heir to the throne

After the Peace of Traventhal concluded in the year Karl Friedrich was born , the duchy was at the height of its power. In the administration of Holstein and Schleswig the duke was on an equal footing with the Danish king and was obliged to be neutral towards the enemies of Denmark.

On July 20, 1702 Duke Friedrich IV fell in the battle of Klissow , where he had fought on the Swedish side. This made the two-year-old Karl Friedrich Herzog. Because he was a minor, his mother and uncle Christian August , who later became the Prince-Bishop of Lübeck , took over the reign . However, the actual power was exercised by the Privy Councilors Magnus von Wedderkop and Georg Heinrich von Görtz (actually Georg Heinrich von Schlitz called von Görtz). Karl Friedrich grew up at the royal court in Stockholm. As the son of the eldest sister of the childless King Karl XII . he was entitled to the succession to the throne.

Despite the contractually assured foreign policy neutrality vis-à-vis Denmark's opponents, Görtz granted refuge from Danish troops to a Swedish army under Magnus Stenbock in the Tönning fortress as Chief Minister for the still minor Karl Friedrich . Thereupon Danish troops occupied the Gottorf part of Schleswig-Holstein and successfully besieged Tönning.

In 1717 Karl Friedrich was declared of age and received a military command. In 1718 Charles XII died. The Reichstag appointed Ulrika Eleonore , the king's youngest sister, who had headed the government in his absence for several years, as his successor. Karl Friedrich's claims were ignored. In 1719 he left Sweden. Because his entire country was occupied, he went into exile in Hamburg .

In 1720 the Peace of Frederiksborg ended the Great Northern War between Denmark and Sweden. Denmark received the ducal territories in the Duchy of Schleswig and at the same time vacated the Gottorf offices in Holstein . After that, Karl Friedrich was only Duke of the imperial fiefdom of Holstein-Gottorf. The residence was relocated to the Kiel Castle . The country, which consisted of only a few offices, was worn out by the war and part of it was pledged to Hamburg.

Marriage to the Tsar's daughter

As early as 1714, the Gottorf government had been trying to marry the young duke to one of the tsar's daughters, so that he could win back from Denmark with the help of the tsar Schleswig and receive support for gaining the Swedish throne. Initially, Tsar Peter I refused so as not to endanger the relationship with Denmark.

In 1720 the negotiations for the peace of Nystad between Russia and Sweden made the Gottorf Duke interesting again for Peter. The then privy councilor of Holstein-Gottorf Henning Friedrich von Bassewitz accompanied the young Karl Friedrich to Russia in 1721, since his claim to the Swedish throne was to serve as a means of pressure against Sweden. A result that was favorable to Russia was actually achieved, but Karl Friedrich and his claims to the throne did not become part of the peace treaty. The wedding question was also postponed.

Karl Friedrich stayed in Russia anyway. In fact, after several years of negotiations, a marriage contract between Tsar Peter's older daughter Anna Petrovna was signed on November 22nd, 1724 . However, the couple had to forego the throne of the tsar for themselves and their descendants. The wedding took place on June 1, 1725 after the death of the bride's father in Saint Petersburg . Peter's successor, Catherine I , appointed her son-in-law to be a member of the government and furnished him with a palace and a befitting income. She also continued Russian support for him against Denmark. It was widely believed that the Tsarina would appoint her older daughter to succeed her.

After Katharina's death in 1727, however , the mighty Menshikov managed to get the twelve-year-old Peter II , the grandson of Peter I from his first marriage, to the throne. Karl Friedrich and Anna had to leave Russia, although Menshikov was overthrown a little later.

In Kiel they lived under very modest circumstances. Anna died in 1728 shortly after the birth of her son Karl Peter Ulrich . In 1735, Karl Friedrich founds the only Schleswig-Holstein order of knights, the Order of St. Anne, in her memory .

Karl Friedrich's sarcophagus in the Bordesholm monastery church

After he returned from Russia, he was traded in Sweden as the successor to his childless aunt. However, he died in 1739, two years before Ulrika and twelve before her husband Friedrich , for whom she had abdicated. His grave is in the Russian chapel in the Bordesholm monastery church .


Karl Peter Ulrich came from the marriage with the Tsar's daughter Anna Petrovna . He founded as Peter III. Tsar of Russia established the Romanow-Holstein-Gottorf line , from which the Tsars emerged up to the October Revolution of 1917. The claim to the Swedish throne passed on to his son. But when he was appointed heir to the Russian throne, he had to renounce his Swedish claims.

Karl Friedrich also had two illegitimate daughters from an morganatic marriage, recognized by himself and later by his legitimate son . One of these daughters, Friederike Karoline (1731–1804), was raised to the nobility and was given the surname "von Carols". In 1757 she married the German-Baltic officer David Reinhold von Sievers .


In 2005 the Herzog-Karl-Friedrich-Platz in Hamburg-Lohbrügge was named after him.


Web links

Commons : Karl Friedrich (Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Eckhard Huebner: State policy and family interests. The Gottorfish Question in Russian Foreign Policy 1741-1773. Sources and research on the history of Schleswig-Holstein vol. 83. Karl Wachholtz Verlag Neumünster 1984, p. 17
  2. ^ Eckhard Huebner: State policy and family interests. The Gottorfish Question in Russian Foreign Policy 1741-1773. Sources and research on the history of Schleswig-Holstein vol. 83. Karl Wachholtz Verlag Neumünster 1984, p. 16
  3. ^ Eckhard Huebner: State policy and family interests. The Gottorfish Question in Russian Foreign Policy 1741-1773. Sources and research on the history of Schleswig-Holstein vol. 83. Karl Wachholtz Verlag Neumünster 1984, p. 18
  4. Henning Friedrich v. Bassewitz . Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. Besøkt 12 jan. 2014 (Danish)
  5. ^ Robert Pries: The Secret Government Council in Holstein-Gottorf 1716-1773. Neumünster: Wacholz, 1955, p. 52.
  6. Rita Bake : A Memory of the City. Streets, squares, bridges named after women and men , Volume 3, as of December 2017, p. 689 ( PDF file )
predecessor Office successor
Friedrich IV. Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp
Karl Peter Ulrich