Wilhelm V (Hessen-Kassel)

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Landgrave Wilhelm V of Hesse-Kassel
Paper-covered seal of Landgrave Wilhelm V.

Wilhelm V of Hessen-Kassel , called the permanent one , (* February 14, 1602 in Kassel ; † September 21, 1637 in Leer , East Friesland ) from the House of Hessen , son of Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel , was from 1627 to 1637 Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel . Under the company name Der Kitzlichte he was accepted as a member of the literary fruitful society .

Initial political situation

Wilhelm's father Moritz had many interests, but these were not covered by the economic strength of his country. He also fought all his life for the Marburg legacy, which Hessen-Darmstadt challenged him. The testator, Landgrave Ludwig IV of Hessen-Marburg , decided that his country should remain Lutheran. Landgrave Moritz, however, was Reformed , while Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt was Lutheran. The latter obtained a judgment from the Reichshofrat in his favor. Moritz ignored this ruling and had the benefit of his eldest son abdicate .

When Wilhelm V took over the government, his first step was to recognize the judgment. That was necessary to keep his country afloat economically. Politically, however, he did not give up his claim.

One of Wilhelm's outstanding achievements was that he succeeded in stabilizing the economy of his country and in eliminating the consequences of the “ tipper and wipper era ” with a currency reform . At the same time, he tried to reduce the debt burden assumed by his father.

Thirty Years' War

During the Thirty Years War Wilhelm V allied himself with King Gustav Adolf of Sweden - both were great-grandsons of Philip of Hesse - and subordinated his entire army to him. The allies also included the Dukes Wilhelm and Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar and August the Younger of Braunschweig.

Wilhelm himself took part in the war as a general and in June 1631 managed to drive the imperial troops under Aldringen and Fugger out of Hesse. On August 22, 1631, Tilly threatened to invade Hesse again, but this did not succeed against the coalition with the Swedish king. After Gustav Adolf won the Battle of Breitenfeld against Tilly , Wilhelm V received the Fulda , Hersfeld , Paderborn and Corvey Monastery as a documented gift from Gustav Adolf in the Treaty of Werben, which he concluded with the King of Sweden on August 22, 1631 , in which Hesse held old protectorships, as well as the still to be conquered diocese of Münster . Wilhelm could now go on the offensive and the city in August Hersfeld and in September the Electoral Mainz Fritzlar conquer. In the area of ​​the Reichsstift Fulda he ruled from 1632 to 1634 as "Prince of Buchen". The Landgrave and Gustav Adolf moved into Frankfurt am Main together in November 1631 . This threatened the position of Landgrave Georg II of Hesse-Darmstadt , who was allied with the Emperor, and he immediately entered into negotiations with the King of Sweden. For Wilhelm V it was surprisingly found that the king only took the Rüsselsheim fortress from the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt , but awarded him all of Upper Hesse . However, when Gustav Adolf fell in the Battle of Lützen in 1632 , the political coalition in which Hessen-Kassel was so strengthened collapsed and the Catholic League regained its strength.

When the Emperor united a large number of German princes in the Treaty of Prague in 1635 in order to drive the foreign powers out of Germany, Landgrave Wilhelm did not participate in what isolated him. Rather, he concluded an alliance with France in which he undertook to raise an army of 10,000 men against payment of French subsidies . The emperor then carried the war to Niederhessen. The Fulda Abbey was restituted. Wilhelm lost his possessions in Westphalia and was no longer able to settle the debt of 2.5 million guilders, which in part was still caused by his father. The imperial ban was imposed on him , and Landgrave Georg II of Hesse-Darmstadt was appointed administrator of North Hesse. In 1637 Upper Hesse was occupied by the imperial army in a punitive action approved by the emperor. For the population, terrible atrocities and devastation began with the “Croatian Year”. 18 Hessian cities went up in flames, 47 castles and 100 villages were destroyed. Only Kassel itself was spared. However, the plague broke out there, killing 1,440 people.

Wilhelm had to flee with his family. Before that he had succeeded in 1636 in liberating the Hanau fortress , ancestral seat of his wife's family , which was occupied by Swedish troops and besieged by imperial troops .


Wilhelm V died in exile in a field camp in East Frisia in 1637 . Due to the political situation, he was not buried until April 23, 1640 in the Martinskirche in Kassel. Landgravine Amalie Elisabeth took over the guardianship of the underage heir, Landgrave Wilhelm VI. , and ran it very successfully until 1650.

His motto DEO ∙ VOLENTE ∙ HUMILIS ∙ LEVABOR ∙ The translation is: God willing, I will be exalted (out of my humility) on the back of his willow tree coins, which are embossed in numerous variants . The tree that does not fall despite all adversities is the symbolism for it. His widow continued to mint the thaler two years after his death.


Wilhelm V married Amalie Elisabeth on September 21, 1619 , a daughter of the Reformed Count Philipp Ludwig II of Hanau-Münzenberg , with whom he had the following children:


  • Ruth Altmann: Landgrave Wilhelm V of Hessen-Kassel in the fight against the emperor and Catholicism 1633 - 1637 - a contribution to the history of the Thirty Years War. Marburg, 1938.
  • Kretzschmar:  Wilhelm V, Landgrave of Hesse . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 43, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1898, pp. 39-54.

Web links

Commons : Wilhelm V. von Hessen-Kassel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Heinz Fengler, ...: transpress Lexikon Numismatics ..., p. 415
predecessor Office successor
Moritz Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel
William VI.