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Saxony-Gotha was an Ernestine duchy in what is now the Free State of Thuringia . It was founded in 1640 and expanded into the Duchy of Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg in 1672 . In 1680 it was divided into seven duchies in an inheritance division.


Duchy of Saxony-Gotha in 1680 before being divided into 7 duchies
Friedenstein Castle in Gotha, built 1643–1654 as the ducal residence and administrative seat of Saxe-Gotha

Saxe-Gotha was created in 1640 from an inheritance from the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar and fell to Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Gotha ( the Pious ) , the second youngest son of Duke Johann III. of Saxe-Weimar . When it was founded, it included the princely offices of Gotha , Tenneberg , Reinhardsbrunn , Georgenthal , Ichtershausen , Wachsenburg , Black Forest , Tonndorf , Salzungen and Königsberg .

Ernst I chose Gotha as the residence city for his principality. In 1650 the Duke established the Gotha Mint in his new residence in the rooms of the west wing of Friedenstein Castle . In the 35 years of his reign he was able to enlarge the duchy considerably through inheritances:

Duke Ernst I died in 1675, leaving behind seven sons who initially shared the reign, as the Ernestines had previously refused primogeniture in the line of succession. The eldest son initially managed the affairs of state as Duke Friedrich I. at the request of the father . The attempt to hold court together at Friedenstein Castle in Gotha failed, however, and in 1680 the inheritance was divided among the seven brothers:

  1. Friedrich I (1646–1691) received the reduced Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg
  2. Albrecht (1648–1699) received Saxe-Coburg
  3. Bernhard I (1649–1706) received Saxony-Meiningen
  4. Heinrich (1650–1710) received Sachsen-Römhild
  5. Christian (1653–1707) received Saxony-Eisenberg
  6. Ernst (1655–1715) received Saxony-Hildburghausen
  7. Johann Ernst (1658–1729) received Saxony-Saalfeld .

Dukes of Saxe-Gotha

  1. 1640–1674 Ernst I the Pious (1601–1675), son of Johann von Sachsen-Weimar

For the following dukes, see Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg


  • Andreas Klinger: The Princely State of Gotha. Rule, denomination and dynasty under Duke Ernst the Pious , Husum 2002, ISBN 3-7868-1469-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b August Beck:  Ernst I, "the pious", Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, pp. 302-308.