The Duchy of Braunschweig, 1735-1815

Note : BRAUNSCHWEIG is the German spelling. In English language sources the place is often spelled BRUNSWICK which is derived of the city/duchy's name in the regional dialect, Brunswiek.

In 1735 the last of the sons of Duke Anton Ulrich died and his line was extinct; Duke KARL I. (1735-1780) of the line Braunschweif-Bevern ascended to the throne. Family ties connected him with Prussia, with which Braunschweig was allied.
Karl I. was a reformer. He established the Collegium Carolinum in 1745 (it developed into Germany's first POLYTECHNIC), a porcellain manufactury (1747), a cadastral survey bureau, a fire insurance. GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM LESSING came to Wolfenbuettel, where he became librarian. In 1753, Karl I. moved the residence from Wolfenbüttel to Braunschweig. Another famous resident of the duchy was KARL FRIEDRICH HIERONYMUS BARON VON MÜNCHHAUSEN, who used to entertain his guests with anecdotes from his phantastic career. In 1754 the Duke established the Art and Naturalia Cabinet, which was to develop into the Natural History Museum. During the SEVEN YEARS WAR 1756-1763, Braunschweig was allied with Prussia, England, Hannover, Hessen-Kassel. Braunschweig contributed a force of 6,000-9,000 men which served in the Anglo-Prussian army. On 1772, Lessing's EMILIA GALOTTI had world premiere, thematizing the destructive effect of arbitrary decisions by an absolute, Machiavellian monarch - enlightenment in Braunschweig.
In 1765, the Leihhaus was founded, the duchy's first bank. In 1810 the HELMSTEDT UNIVERSITY (since 1576) was suppressed.
Britain used mercenaries from Braunschweig to fight in the AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. For their services, the duke had been paid; the duchy was not a belligerent.
In 1807, the Duchy of Braunschweig was annexed by the new KINGDOM OF WESTPHALIA. Friedrich Wilhelm, called THE BLACK DUKE, next claimant to the throne, continued to fight for it; in 1809 he embarked for Britain and died in 1815 while fighting the French. In 1813/1815 the Duchy was reestablished.

Dukes of Braunschweig
Karl I. (1735-1780)
Karl II. (1780-1806)
(Karl III.)

Technische Universität Braunschweig, Chronologie, from TU Braunschweig
Article Brunswick, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1908 edition
Biography : Der Schwarze Herzog (Friedrich Wilhelm, the black duke), from Homepage der Welfen, in German
Die Braunschweiger bei Quatre Bras und Waterloo, by Andreas Kopp
The Black Band in 1809 and the Brunswick Troops in the Peninsular War. by Andreas Kopp
On Braunschweig military force in Seven Years War : Siebenjähriger Krieg, in German, from Preussen Web
DOCUMENTS Coins, 1790-1815 , from Napoleonic Medals, 5 coins, click a-d, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Flags of Duchy of Braunschweig, from FOTW
List of Dukes, from World Rulers by Ben Cahoon, scroll down to Brunswick
Map : Herzogtum Braunschweig 1789, posted by Thomas Hoeckmann, click on map to enlarge, comment in German
Map : Germany in 1803, from Val Rozn
Brunswick Infantry 1815, from warflags.com
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder, Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, pp.368-369
Coins of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, 1701-1800, in : Krause, Mishler Standard Catalog of World Coins : Eighteenth Century 1701-1800, 2nd ed., 1887, pp.308-326

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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