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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> States >> Hessen-Darmstadt

Capital Darmstadt
Language(s) German
Religion Protestant (Lutheran)
Population not yet available
Government Landgraviate (Landgrafschaft)
Dependencies In 1622 Hessen-Homburg (part of Hessen-Darmstadt) was made an appanage, or endowment, for Georg I`s youngest son, Friedrich (+ 1638).
Rulers The rulers of Hessen-Darmstadt were as follows:
  • 1567 – Georg I (1547-1596), son of Landgraf Philip
  • Ludwig V (1577-1626), son of Georg I
  • Georg II (1626-1661)
  • Ludwig VI (1661-1678)
  • Ernst Ludwig (1678-1739) son of Ludwig VI.
  • Ludwig VIII (1739-1768)
Army see the article Hessen-Darmstadt Army
Navy none
History In 1148 Hedwig von Gudensberg, heiress to many of the Hessian lands, married Ludwig I, landgrave of Thuringia. Ober-Hessen remained in Thuringian ownership until the death of landgrave Ludwig IV (The Holy) in 1227. His daughter, Sophie (heiress of Hessen) became the second wife of duke Heinrich II von Brabant. In 1264, their son, Heinrich, was recognized as claimant to the throne of Ober-Hessen; in 1292 he became landgrave Heinrich I (Das Kind - The Child) of Ober-Hessen. In 1458 Heinrich III succeeded to the throne; in 1479, he acquired the counties of Katzenellenbogen, Ziegenhain and Nidda.

In 1489 Wilhelm III succeeded Heinrich as landgrave von Ober-Hessen; he died in 1500 and Ober-Hessen fell to Wilhelm II von Nieder-Hessen. Wilhelm II died in 1509 and was succeeded by his wife, Anna von Mecklenburg, as regent for their son, Philipp.

In 1518 Philipp I der Grossmuetigen (the Magnanimous) assumed the throne; he died in 1567 and the Hessian lands were divided as follows among the four brothers:

  • Hessen-Kassel (Nieder-Hessen with Schmalkalden and Ziegenhain) reigned by landgrave Wilhelm IV.
  • Hessen-Marburg (Oberhessen with Marburg, Giessen, Epstein and Nidda) ruled by landgrave Ludwig IV.
  • Hessen-Rheinfels, ruled by landgrave Philipp I.
  • Hessen-Darmstadt, ruled by landgrave Georg I. In 1577, Georg I received part of the county of Diez. He died in 1596 and was succeeded by Philipp II von Hessen-Rheinfels (son of Philipp I der Grossmuetigen), who died in 1583; his lands fell to Hessen-Kassel.

Ludwig IV von Hessen-Marburg died in 1604; his lands fell to Hessen-Darmstadt, but Georg I exchanged then with his brother Wilhelm IV for the remainder of the county of Diez.

During the Thirty Years' War, landgrave George II of Hesse-Darmstadt remained a strict Lutheran and maintained a close alliance with Saxony, which resulted in a pro-Habsburg policy after 1635.

At the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Hessen-Darmstadt won back most of Ober-Hessen from Hessen-Kassel. In 1730, Hessen-Darmstadt took over the county of Hessen-Hanau-Lichtenberg.

Ludwig V reigned Hessen-Darmstadt from 1597 until 1626. He was succeeded by Georg II, who ruled until 1661.

Ludwig VI (son of Georg II) ruled Hessen-Darmstadt from 1661 until his death in 1678; he was succeeded by his son Ludwig VII for 18 1/2 weeks, when he also died.

Ludwig VII was succeeded by his half brother, Ernst Ludwig, under the regency of his mother, Elisabeth Dorothea von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg. Ernst Ludwig (born in 1667) ruled Hessen-Darmstadt until 1739. He was succeeded by his son, landgrave Ludwig VIII, who reigned until 1768.

Landgrave Ludwig IX, son of Ludwig VIII, ruled from 1768 to 1790. He was the Hessian equivalent of Friedrich the Soldier King of Prussia. He had served in the French, then in the Prussian armies. In 1741 he raised a company of soldiers in Pirmasens, which he turned into a major garrison town. In the War of the Austrian Succession, he had to serve in the French army and was defeated, in 1743, at Prague. He then transferred to the Prussian army and was Chef of IR Nr 12 from 1743 to 1757, when he resigned for diplomatic reasons, at the insistence of his father, an ally of the French. In 1764 he entered Austrian service as GFML and was made Chef of IR Nr 35 until 1774, when he entered Russian service as a GFM.

On 6 April 1790, Landgraf Ludwig X assumed the throne. He was a great admirer of Prussia and introduced many of their trends into the uniforms, equipment, tactics and drill into his small army. In 1790, Hessen-Darmstadt lost those lands in Alsace, which it had held until then, and four years later, it lost all its territories on the left bank of the River Rhine.

In the Peace of Luneville on 1801, Hessen-Darmstadt received the duchy of Westphalen and part of the electorate of Mainz. At the same time, it exchanged some parcels of land with Baden, for which it received - among others - the imperial town of Wimpfen. In 1806 landgrave Ludwig X of Hessen-Darmstadt became archduke Ludwig I von Hessen-Darmstadt and the state entered Napoleon`s Rheinbund. It now included Hessen-Homburg.


not yet available


Wikipedia Hesse-Darmstadt


Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.