german Houses: The Grand Ducal House of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

The Grand Ducal House of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
House of Wettin


The House of Wettin may  in its origin traced back until the second half of the 10th Century. It is thus after the elder Guelfs, probably the only still existing Family of Germany who is detected in the time before the first Millennium properly documented. The other later great dynasties  Wittelsbach, Habsburg, Hohenzollern, among others , all appear after the year 1000 in the written tradition. About the earliest known elders of the Wettin family, Dietrich and his son Dedo, is to be read at the chroniclers Thietmar of Merseburg, that the Count Dedo I. was (in the original Daedi comes) was the son of Dietrich (original Thiedrico). Both should have belonged to the tribe of the so-called “Buzici” whose genealogical connection to noble families of the Sorbs in the area of Limes Sorabicus is unexplained and which also were not particularly noteworthy as become defeated, tributary and submissive. Dedo is at a young age a agnatic kin in the limit Sorabicus, the Gaucount Rikdag, who served as a vassal. Diverse considerations have been published in the historical literature about the origin of Dietrich and Dedo de Buzici. A view taken placed in a dissertation from 1886 by Frederick Short and Otto Posse in his genealogy of the House of Wettin   relates the tribal name Buzici to a “Buco” or “Buzo” who will be a short form of the name “Burchard” to and identifies the Buzici therefore with the Burcharden  followers of the Carolingian since Charlemagne. Two in the Battle of Cape Colonna against the Saracens (13.07.982 ) fallen nobles, Burchard IV in Hassegau and Dedi, are given as the brothers of Dietrich I. and the Hassegaucount Dedi (Teti) who died in the year 957  regarded as their common father. An extension of this interpretation of this latin language text leads Dietrich’s descent down to a 908 fallen against the Hungarians Burchard of Thuringia, Margrave in the limit Sorabicus adjacent to Nordgau (Bavaria)  back .A second view of the origin of the House of Wettin, which is represented by Reinhard Wenskus and Stefan Paetzold, the Buzici also leads back to the Leitnamen Burchard and keeps Dietrich for a son of the Swabian duke Burchard III . († 973) should come from the family of the Burchardingers, who spent some time in Saxony to 926 and from a documentary unused first marriage to a Immedingerin called Wieltrud. In support of this Theorie the de Buzici is argued that in the preface of the only in the 13th Century published  Sachsenspiegel the House of Wettin is counted among the Swabian sexes. A third origin theory, which is represented in the lexicon of the Middle Ages , Dietrich makes the son of Harzgaucount Volkmar (Folcmar to 945).. This is suggested that the agnatic relatives Rikdag is considered a member of the Harzgaucounts, a clan ,that can be traced back until the 9th Century.
The basic rule of Wettin in Gau Nudzici is mentioned for the first time in a  written certificate issued by Emperor Otto I. the Great on 29.07.961. The Emperor decided that among other things the churchfed Wettin tithe was payable to the monastery of St. Moritz in Magdeburg. The basic rule of Wettin belonged a short time later to the  mark Meissen of Count Rikdag  in whose service the agnatic to him related Dedo I, stood. Apparently Dedo  had received the basic rule of the Margrave as allods  which from then on remained hereditary in the family. The headquarters of the early Wettin  however, was initially the castle Eilenburg, which Dedo II. as oldest son of Dietrich inherited. The Eilenburger branch of the clan later acquired the Margraviate of Meissen, but became soon in 1123 extinct in the the male line. A younger son of Dietrich II was Thimo  who had also inherited the castle Wettin in addition to other property of the family of his father. From him were descended ultimately all subsequent generations of Wettin and apparently was for him the eponymous castle already as preferred headquarters . Because Thimo was the first of his family who was known as “Count of Wettin” already in contemporary chronicles.  Deriving from the name of this family castle the descendants and retroactive to the ancestors Thimo’s were now called “Wettin”, a name which in the latest 13 Century had prevailed as generally practiced in this family , as the resultant in this period genealogy of early Wettin, the Genealogica Wettinensis convinced.
Among the leading German dynasties, the Wettin established from Konrad the Great, who after a victorious power struggle against Wiprecht von Groitzsch with the support of the Saxon Duke Lothar of Süpplingenburg the Margraviate Meissen could bring to himself, with whom he in 1125 by Emperor Henry V. also officially was borrowed. From now on, the Mark Meissen did not abandon the Wettins, they became the starting point for their expansion into the Thuringian region. The castle Wettin, however, came after the extinction of the Wettiner Count line in 1217 in inheritance to the Wettin Counts of Brehna. Otto IV von Brehna sold on November 14, 1288 the county Wettin to the Archbishop of Magdeburg. She was transformed into an archiepiscopal ministry.
From the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession emerged  Margrave Heinrich III. the Illustrious in the 13th century, victorius he could win  the Landgraviate Thuringia for his dynasty. Friedrich the Freediger (the Gebißene) and his brother Dietrich (Diezmann) could successfully defend the power of the Wettin against King Albrecht I of Habsburg in the victorious battle of Lucka on 31.05.1307. Due to the transfer of the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg in the year 1423 to Friedrich the strife, the Wettiner could finally wi the with it associated Saxon electorate and became one of  the German electors.
As usual among other German houses, the Wettins regularly divided their possessions among sons and brothers, which often led to tensions. After the death of Friedrich IV.  disagreements between his nephews Frederick II and Wilhelm III. to the Altenburger division. Despite the Halle’s dictum in 1445, the conflict escalated later until the Saxon Brothers War.
The so-called “Leipzig Division” in 1485 was to prove especially momentous, in which Elector Ernst agreed with his younger brother Albrecht the Afflicted to divide the Wettin country. Ernst was to take over especially the Landgraviate of Thuringia and the Duchy of Saxony-Wittenberg, including the affiliated with him undivided electoral dignity. Albrecht took over the Mark Meissen including the title “Duke of Saxony”. In contrast to the previous divisions, this has become permanently dynastic.


Margraves of Meissen, since 1247 also Landgrave’s of Thuringia
1129-1157 Korand the Great
1157-1190 Otto the Riche
1190-1195 Albrecht the proud
1195-1221 Dietrich the harassed
1221-1288 Heinrich III. the illustrious
1288-1291 Albrecht II. the degenrate
1291-1323 Friedrich I. Freidige (the bit)
1323-1349 Frierich II. the serious
1349-1381 Friedrich III. the rigor
1381-1425 Friedrich IV. the disputatious

 Electorate of Saxony

After the extinction of the Wittenberg Askanier Margrave Friedrich IV was entrusted by Meissen with the Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg in recognition of the associated electoral dignity. The name of Saxony now migrated further up the Elbe to eventually cover all other Wettinese territories (including the heartland of Mark Meissen and the Landgraviate of Thuringia). However, the newly created Electorate of Saxony had nothing in common with the old duchy of the duchy (main part of present-day Lower Saxony) and with the former country complex of the Ascanians, which still included Lauenburg and Anhalt.
On 17.06.1485 the Wettin dukes of Saxony the brothers Ernst and Albrecht summarized  the decision to divide their posessions. On 11.11.1485 , the corresponding partition treaty was signed after the parliament in Leipzig.  On 24.02.1486 the Emperor Friedrich III confirmed . the division in Frankfurt.] The division should be such that the older brother, Ernst should lay laid down the parts , whereupon Albrecht should choose his territory between them. From the outset Ernst stood to the Electorate , which he had held since 1464 , and associated with it Duchy of Saxe -Wittenberg .
The two sub-regions based on the country county Thuringia and the Margraviate of Meissen, next to the Electorate the most important imperial Principality of the Wettin’s.  
  • Ernst therefore got next to the electorate  most of the Landgravviate and to one half of the Palatinate Saxony , Vogtland , the Wettin territories Franconias around  of Coburg, the southern part of the Pleißen and Easter country (around Altenburg ) , the advocacy of the bishopric of Naumburg and the suzerainty over the Thuringian Count of Reuss , peers and Kirchberg
  • Albrecht finally chose the Mark Meissen and was given to the northern part of the Pleißen and Easter country ( ear Leipzig), a strip of territory in the north of Thuringia, the advocacy of the bishopric of Merseburg and the Quedlinburg Abbey , and the suzerainty over some Thuringian counts
    Ths line later became the Electoral and from 1806 Royal House of Saxony. 
The advocacy of the bishopric of Meissen, the income from the mines of the mountain towns and the debt , the principality of Sagan , the Bieberstein ‘s dominions , and the patronage of the cities of Mühlhausen , Nordhausen and Erfurt should both brothers continue to have in common.

Electors of Saxony ernestine line

The older “Ernestine lineage”, derived from Elector Ernst, attained a special historical significance, in particular through its protection for the Reformation in the 16th century. Elector Friedrich the Wise offered the reformer Martin Luther at the Wartburg safe asylum before the persecution of Emperor Charles V. This brought the Ernestines but also in a contrast to their Albertinian cousins, who initially fidelity to the imperial Catholic side in the now erupting Confessional fights , This had the consequence that the Ernestinern 1547, the Saxon electorate was withdrawn, which was transferred to the Albertine Moritz. Nevertheless, this later went over to the Protestant side.
In 1547 the Ernestines lost due to the Wittenberg surrender the electoral dignity with the Duchy of Saxony (Wittenberg) and most of their hereditary lands to the Albertine line and could initially also claim only a portion of their possessions in Thuringia, namely the offices, cities and castles Gerstungen, Eisenach , Wartburg, cross Castle, Tenneberg, Walter Hausen, Leuchtenburg, Roda, Orlamünde, Gotha, Jena, Chapel Village, Roßla, Weimar, Wachsenburggemeinde, Thorn Castle, Camburg, Buttstädt, Arnshaugk, Weida, Mildenfurth and goats back.
Elector’s of Saxony
1425-1428 Friedrich I. the dispuitatious
married to Duchess Katharina of Brunsich-Lüneburg
1428-1486 Ernst
married to Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria
1486-1525 Friedrich III. the wise
1525-1532 Johann the stable one
married first to Princess Sophie zu Mecklenburg
married second to Princess Margarethe of Anhalt
1532-1547 Johann Friedrich the the magnanimous one

Ernestine line

To the  Ernestine total holdings came after the death of Duke Johann Ernst I. of Coburg 1553 even the offices Coburg, Sonneberg, Hildburghausen, Königsberg, Veilsdorf and Schalkau. Other territories received the Ernestine in 1554 by the Treaty of Naumburg Elector Augustus of the Albertine line; 1555 through Exchange with the Counts of Mansfeld, the rule Römhild. Finally, the Ernestine House a share of 7/12, definitely, however, acquired from the henebergian inheritance (1583) until 1660, namely the offices Meiningen, Themar, Maßfeld, Behrungen, Henneberg, spleen, Ilmenau, Kaltennordheim, Frauenbreitungen, sand and Wasunge. 
After the death of Duke and former Elector Johann Friedrich his three sons at first reigned the Duchy together. After the early death of the youngest brother, there was a temporary division of the Ernestine total possession, with the brothers agreed to a mutilation, every three years a change in government. John Frederick II ruled in Gotha, Eisenach and Coburg, but came in his effort to regain the electorate for himself and his house, in conflict with the emperor  and was eventually ostracized and imprisoned until the end of his life. His possessions initially fell to his brother Johann Wilhelm, who had participated in the imperial execution on the side of Elector August of Saxony, but was returned in the Erfurt division in 1572 to his sons.
Overview over the different ernestine lines
  • Johann Friedrich, last Elector
    • Johann Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Eisenach
      • Johann Casimir, Duke of Saxe-Coburg
      • Johann Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach and sine 1633 also of Saxe-Coburg (line became extinct 1638)
    • Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
      • Friedrich Wilhelm I.
        • Friedrich, Duke, of Saxe-Altenburg (extinct 1625)
        • Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg (extinct 1632)
      • Johann III., Duke of Saxe-Weimar
        • Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
          • Johann Ernst, Duke of Sax-Weimar, from 1741 Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
          • Adolf Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach (extinct 1668)
          • Johann Georg I., Duke of Saxe-Marksuhl since 1668 Saxe-Eisenach (extinct 1741)
          • Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Jena (extinct 1690)
        • Albrecht, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach (extinct 1644)
        • Ernst I., Duke of Saxe-Gotha
          • Friedrich I., Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, extinct 1825)
          • Albrecht, Duke of Saxe-Coburg (extinct 1699)
          • Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
          • Heinrich, Duke of Saxe-Römhild (extinct 1719)
          • Christian, Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg (extinct 1707)
          • Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, since 1826 Saxe-Altenburg
          • Johann Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Saalfed, seince 1699 Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, since 1826 Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach

The Duchy was created by the Erfurt division in 1572, with the were separated in implementing the decisions of the Diet of Speyer of 1570 Coburg and Eisenach from the Duchy of SaxeWeimar, and the two sons Johann Friedrich II., Johann Casimir and Johann Ernst as owned was passed.
However, since the two princes were minors at the time, the country was first ruled by a Regency, which was performed by Elector August of Saxony. After the death of Elector Augustus of Saxony in 1586 was Duke Johann Casimir and his brother Johann Ernst to take over the government of the Principality. In 1596, the Principality of Saxony-Eisenach was split off for Johann Ernst and Casimir ruled alone in Coburg.

Duke’s of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach
1572-1596 Johann Casimir
1572-1596 Johann Ernst

Duchy of Saxe-Coburg

After the disvison between Duke Johann Casimir and his brother Johann Ernst in 1586 the Duchy consisted of the of the offices Coburg with the courts Lauter, Rodach and Gestungshausen, Heldburg with court Hildburghausen, Römhild, Eisfeld, Schalkau, Sonneberg, Neustadt, Neuhaus, Mönchröden, Sonnefeld and Tenneberg. During the Thirty Years War Duke Johann Casimir succeeded to remain neutral. After his accession to the Swedish alliance was made in 1632 by imperial and Bavarian troops under Wallenstein the occupation of Coburg and unsuccessful siege of the fortress. Duke John Casimir fled in time to 1633 Duke Franz Casimir died witho9ut children and the Duchy was then reigned in Personal-Union by hiy brother Johann Ernst. After his death in 1638 the duchy was inherited by thr relatives from the junior line.

Duche’s of Saxe-Coburg
1596-1633 Johann Casimir
married first (divorced) to Princess Anna of Saxony
married second to Princess Margarethe of Brunsich and Lüneburg
1633-1638 Johann Ernst
married first to Countess Elisabeth of Mansfeld
married seond to Princess Christine of Hesse-Kassel


Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach

In 1596 the brothers Johann Casimir and Johann Ernt diivided their posession and posession ins West thuringia where separated as Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach for Johann Ernst. As he had no children the duchy became extinct after his death in 1638.

Duke’s of Saxe-Eisenach
1596-1638 Johann Ernst
married first to Countess Elisabeth of Mansfeld
married seond to Princess Christine of Hesse-Kassel

Duchy of Saxe-Weimar

When in 1565 Duke Johann Friedrich II. and his brother Johann Wilhelm divided the enestine posesions countries Johann Wilhelm got Weimar. When the Emperor put the imperial ban on Johann Friedrich II. because of his the Elector of Saxony was in charge of the imperial execution, in which Johann Wilhelm involved. After a siege of Castle in Gotha Johann Friedrich was finally defeated in 1567 and ran until the end of his life in imperial captivity. His possessions were confiscated by the emperor and handed over to Johann Wilhelm I. who thus became the sole ruler of the whole duchy of Saxony. But Johann Wilhelm I.  soon fell out of favor in imperial, when he became the General to King Charles IX. of France in the campaign went against the Huguenots. This he called not only the head shaking his Protestant subjects produced (a Wettin, whose dynasty since Friedrich was the sage as the protector of the Protestants in Germany, allied with the Catholic king of France against the Protestants denominationally affiliated Huguenots) but also earned the wrath of the Emperor, as the French kings were hereditary enemies of the Habsburgs. The emperor decided  therefore that, the two sons of the still trapped Johann Friedrich II. should get back their inheritance and put together with the Elector of Saxony in 1572, the Erfurt division by. The duchy of Saxony was divided into three parts. The elder of the two sons of Johann Friedrich II.  Johann Casimir received Saxe-Coburg, the younger Johann Ernst received Saxe-Eisenach, Johann Wilhelm I therefore remained limited to only a small part of the country Saxe-Weimar.
In 1586, Johann Wilhelm’s eldest son Friedrich Wilhelm I. bbecame Duke.  He ruled since 1591, the Electorate of Saxony as a regent, since there was also only a minor heir apparent. He therefore spent most of his time in the much more important Electorate and left behind in the Duchy of Saxe- Weimar barely notable impetus. 1601 ends his regency in the Electorate. Friedrich Wilhelm I. William I returned to Weimar, but died the following year. In the Duchy his younger brother Johann III followed him. The sons of the deceased Friedrich Wilhelm I.  I demanded their inheritance from Johann, which again in 1603 came to the country division. The duchy of Saxonia-Altenburg was separated from Weimar and handed over to the sons of Friedrich Wilhelm I Duke Johann III. died in 1605. Since all his children were still minors at this time, again a regency was established, which was again led by the Elector of Saxony. His eldest son had to fight for his inheritance before he became reigning Duke. In 1615, Johann’s eldest son Johann Ernst I, the younger, took over the reign. In 1617 Duchess Mother Dorothea Maria died. At their funeral, Johann Ernst the Younger, his brothers Wilhelm and Friedrich, and his uncle, the Fürst of Anhalt-Köthen, founded the Fruitbearing Society, which was soon to become the leading literary society of German Baroque. The duchy began to play an important role in cultural life in Germany for the first time.
The financial problems of his country intended to solve Johann Ernst the Younger by the obligation of a “gold maker” (see alchemy), whose experiments did not lead to the conversion of ordinary metal into gold, but had the consequence that in 1618 the ducal castle in Weimar burned to the ground. Although Johann Ernst began immediately with the reconstruction, his financial problems and the beginning of the Thirty Years War in the same year, however, meant that the castle should remain a ruin for a long time. After the beginning of the war, Johann Ernst eagerly supported the Protestant cause. He was one of the army commander of the “Winter King” Friedrich V. of the Palatinate and shared his defeat in the Battle of White Mountain. . Since Johann Ernst refused after the battle to submit to the Emperor, he resigned as Duke of Saxe-Weimar, so as not to direct the wrath of the Emperor against his country. Johann Ernst remained Protestant army commander, took part in various battles of the war, and finally died in 1626. In the Duchy, the younger brothers took over the regency, and their eldest finally ascended after the death of Johann Ernst in 1626 as William IV the ducal throne. This also committed itself first on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years War, 1631 Swedish governor general of Thuringia and 1632 lieutenant general of the Swedish army, the second highest post in the army after the king. However, Wilhelm’s hopes of expanding his territory through the war were not fulfilled, and he came after the death of the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf in increasing opposition to his chancellor Oxenstierna, who took over the leadership of Swedish politics after the death of the king. In 1635 he joined the Prague peace between the Emperor and Saxony; The Thirty Years’ War was thus ended for the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar.
During this time, there were significant territorial changes. 1638, the line of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach were extinct. Their territory was divided between Weimar and Saxe-Altenburg, two-thirds fell to the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar. However, the enlarged duchy was almost immediately divided again. Wilhelm had initially wanted to involve his younger brothers in the government of the Duchy, but in order to free themselves from this obligation, 1640 were divided for these the duchies of Saxr-Eisenach and Saxr-Gotha. However, his brother Albrecht of Saxe-Eisenach already died in 1644 without descendants, and the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach was then shared between Weimar and Gotha, so that half fell back to Weimar.
In 1583 the counts of Henneberg-Schleusingen became extinct. Since Ernestine’s and Albertine’s could not agree on the inheritance, the county Henneberg was initially managed jointly. This common administration was dissolved in 1660 and then united in the Kahlaer Teilungsvertrag of 1554 agreed weimar part of the former county (ie, the offices Kaltennordheim and Ilmenau) with the Duchy.
Duke Wilhelm IV died in 1662. His eldest son Johann Ernst II followed him as Duke. Johann Ernst II does not belong to more important rulers on the Weimar throne. He was actually known only for his hunting passion, he left the government to a large extent his chancellor. He also did not continue his father’s cultural activities. The castle was closed, the court chapel was dismissed, and the fruit-bearing society moved to Halle. In 1672 there were again territorial changes in the duchy. This year the older line of the Dukes of Saxe-Altenburg (which originated in 1602 from Saxony-Weimar) died out. Saxr-Altenburg was divided between Weimar and Gotha, whereby Saxe-Weimar received a quarter, Saxe-Gotha three quarters. As SaxeWeimar thus slightly enlarged, the possibility of a new division of land between Duke Johann Ernst II and his brothers, and this division was also carried out immediately. Eisenach and Jena were separated from Weimar and handed over to the two brothers, with which the duchies of Saxe-Jena (until 1690) and Saxe-Eisenach (until 1741) emerged. As also existed from the division of 1640 emerged Saxe-Gotha, thus again existed four Ernestine duchies in Thuringia. Duke Johann Ernst II died in 1683, and his two sons Johann Ernst III. and Wilhelm Ernst followed him collectively as dukes. Johann Ernst III. went down in history as a drinker and bully, who once threw his own chancellor out of the window in a tantrum. He was therefore soon disempowered by his brother. Although officially reigning duke until his death, the weimar policy was increasingly dictated by Duke Wilhelm Ernst. This was marked by a strict Lutheranism and a bigoted piety. He took up the cultural achievements of his grandfather, built the Jagdschloss Ettersburg, rebuilt the Hofkapelle and had an opera stage created. Johann Sebastian Bach was at times court organist at his court; from this, however, he separated later in the dispute.
In 1690, the line of the dukes of Saxe-Jena became extinct  and parts of the small duchy then fell back to Saxe-Weimar. As Johann Ernst III. died in 1707, Wilhelm Ernst made his son Ernst August I his co-Duke, but without actually taking part in the government. Since Wilhelm Ernst died childless, Ernst August in 1728 succeeded him. Ernst August I, the last Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and at the same time the first Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, ruined the country completely financially. He entertained an army that was completely oversized for the financial possibilities of the small country, spent enormous sums on his buildings (including Belvedere Palace and the Rococo Castle in Dornburg), succumbed to hunting and named more than 1,000 dogs and 370 horses. After his wife died early, he had several lovers at the same time. Politically, he tried to introduce absolutism in Saxe-Weimar and therefore came into conflict with the estates, which he denied their legal rights of codetermination. 1741  the line of the Dukes of Saxe-Eisenach died out  and this Duchy fell again, this time permanently, to Saxe-Weimar. Ernst August I, now Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, introduced the principle of primogeniture for his family.
Duke’s of Saxe-Weimar
1572-1573 Johann Wilhelm I,.
married to Countess Palatine Dorothea Susanne of the rhine
1573-1602 Friedrich Wilhelm I.
married first Princess Sophie of Württemberg
married second to Countess Palatine Anna Maria of Neuburg
1602-1605 Johann III.
married to Princess Dorothea Maria of Anhalt
1605-1620 Johann Ernst I. the younger
1620-1662 Wilhelm IV,
married to Princess Eleonore Dorothea of Anhalt-Dessau
1662-1683 Johann Ernst II.
married to Princess Christina Elisabeth of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
1683-1707 Johann Ernst III.
marrid first to Pricness Sophie Auguste of Anhalt-Zerbst
married second to Princess Dorothea Sophie of Hesse-Homburg
1683-1728 Wilhelm Ernst
married to Princess Charlotte Marie of Saxe-Jena
1728-1741 Ersnt August I., became in 1741 Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg

For the sons of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm I. of Saxe-Weimar for them Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg was split from Saxe-Weimar. To this area belonged i.a. the cities Altenburg, Camburg, Dornburg, Eisenberg, Roda, Ronneburg and Saalfeld.
The Duchy gained territory after the extinction of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach in 1638 and the following division between Saxony-Weimar and Saxony-Altenburg. By lot decision the Coburg Land fell in 1640 with the offices Coburg, Sonnefeld, Sonneberg, Neuhaus, Neustadt, Hildburghausen and Römhild to Duke Friedrich Wilhelm II of Saxony- Altenburg. The Principalities of Altenburg and Coburg were governed by the Duke in personal union and kept their own state authorities.
After the division of the county Henneberg in 1660 the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg were awarded in the Kahla contract 3.5 / 12 of the area with the offices Meiningen, Maßfeld and Themar, the winery Behrungen, the court to Spleen and the Kammergut Henneberg.

The line of Saxe-Altenburg became extinct with the death of Duke Freidrich Wilhelm III.
Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
1603-1639 Johann Philipp
married to Pricness Elisabeth of Brunswick-Wolffenbüttel
1603-1618 Friedrich
1603-1618 Friedrich Wilhelm, II.
1638-1669 Friedrich Wilhelm II.
married first to Princess Sophie Elisabeth of Brandenburg
married second to Princess Magdalene Sibylle of Saxony
14669-1672 Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Duchy of Saxe-Eisenach

With the death of Johann Ernst therefore the line of the Dukes of Saxe-Eisenach became extinct in the male line and the Principality fell as an inheritance to Saxe-Weimar. for the nexdt 20 years it was reigned from Weimar but after the death of Duke Wilhelm IV. of Saxe-Weimar in 1662 his sons divided their posessions. The second son Adolf Wilhelm got Eisenach and took his residence in Eisenach. He had to share his country however with his brother Johann Georg who had the riight to the income from a number of offices in Saxony- Eisenach and who took his residence in Marksuhl. In 1668 Adolf Wilhelm died in Eisenach, shortly before the birth of his fifth child, Wilhelm August. Sachsen-Eisenach was now administered by Johann Georg I, as guardian for Wilhelm August. 1671 also died Wilhelm August. Johann Georg I ruled alone in Saxony-Eisenach. when in 1672 the line of Saxe-Altenburg became extinct the Duchy got a number of offices from the Inheritance. In 1685 Duke Johann Georg introded the Primogenitur to prevent further divisions. In 1741 Duke Wilhelm Heinrich died without leaving Issue so the line of Saxe-eisenach became extinct and it was inherited by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar.
Duke’s of Saxe-Eisenach
1662-1668  Adolf Wilhelm
married to Princess Elisabeth of Brunswick
1668-1671 Wilhelm August
1671-1686 Johann Georg I.
married to Countess Johanetta of Sayn-Wittgenstein
1686-1698 Johjann Geog II.
married to Princess Sophie Charlotte of Württemberg
1698-1729 Johann Wilhelm
married first to Countess Amalie of Nassau-Dietz
maried second to Princess Christine Juliane of Baden-Durlach
married third to Princess Magdalene Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels
married fourth to Countess Marie Christine Felizitas zu Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg-Heidesheim
1729-1741 Wilhelm Heinrich
married first to Countess Albertine Juliane of Nassau-Idstein
married second to Princess Anna Sophie Charlotte of Brandenburg-Schwedt

Duchy of Saxe-Marksuhl

When after the death of Duke Wilhelm IV.- of Saxe-Weimar his sons divided their posession the thrid Johann Georg I. took his residence in Marksuhl. He had the right to the income from a number of offices in the D’uchy os Saxe-Eisenach which he shared with his older brother Johann Adolf. When Duke AJohann Adolf died in 1668 short before the birth of his son Wilhelm August Johann Georg became Regnt fior his minor nephew, but the young duke died only 3 years later in 1671. Now Johann Georg became Duke of Saxe-Eisenach

Duke’s of Saxe-Marksuhl
1662-1671 Johann Georg I., became in 1671 Duke of Saxe.Eisenach

Duchy of Saxe-Jena

When after the death of Duke Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar his sons divided their posession the youngest Bernhard got the new Duchy of Saxe-Jena. Bernhard reigned only for six years and already died in 1678. At his death, his only son and heir Johann Wilhelm was only three years old. It was therefore established a regency, the first Duke Johann Ernst II of Saxe-Weimar, after his death in 1683 by Duke Johann Georg I of Saxony-Eisenach, as this 1686 died was finally perceived by Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar.
Duke Johann Wilhelm died in 1690 before reaching the age of majority and childless. Thus, the line of the Dukes of Saxony-Jena already became extinct again. The land was divided in 1692 between Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach.

Duke’s of Saxe-Jena
1672-1678 Bernhard
married to Marie Charlotte de La Trémoille, duc de Thouars
1678-1690 Johann Wilhelm


Duchy of Saxe-Gotha from 1672 Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

When in 1640 the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar was  divided among the sons of Duke Johann III. of Saxe-Weimar his youngest son Ernst got Saxe-Gotha. As there was no befitting residence at his accession in Gotha he  began in 1643 with the construction of the castle Friedenstein which was completed in 1654. After in  1672 the line of Saxe-Altenburg had become extinct it was dibvided under Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Attenburg, however Saxe-Atlenburg got with three quarters the Lionshare.  After Duke Ernst I. died on 26.03.1675 his 7 sons reigned to the  Country at first together before they it divided by a contract from 24.02.1680.
  • Friedrich, he received the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
  • Albrecht,  he received the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg.
  • Bernhard, he received the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen
  • Heinrich,  he received the Duchy of Saxe-Römhild.
  • Christian,  he received the Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg.
  • Ernst,  he received the Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen
  • Johann Ernst,  he received the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld
The oldest brotherFriedrich  kept in the division of the offices Gotha, Tenneberg, Wachsenburg, Ichtershausen, Georgenthal, Black Forest, Reinhardsbrunn, Volkenroda, Oberkranichfeld, Altenburg, Leuchtenburg and Orlamünde. The formed from these offices state called itself Saxonia Gotha Altenburg. It consisted of three larger, non-contiguous areas around Gotha, Kahla and Altenburg, as well as six smaller exclaves. As a residence, Friedrich continued to serve the palace built by the father Friedenstein. With the death of the childless duke Christian of Saxe-Eisenberg in 1707, the Duchy of Saxe-Eisenberg, fell back l to Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg with its four offices Eisenberg, Camburg, Roda and Ronneburg.

The last two rulers of the Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg family died without  male Issue. Duke August had only one daughter,  Luise who was married to Duke Ernst I. of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Duke Friedrich IV., who hardly ruled because of illness anyway, died unmarried and childless. After his death, protracted inheritance disputes followed among the other Ernestine houses, which were finally resolved by an award of King Friedrich August I, of Saxony. Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg was divided in 1825/26 (partition agreement to Hildburghausen), Altenburg fell to the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, while Gotha fell to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, but had to give up Saalfeld, so that the new Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born.

Duke’s of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
1640-1675 Ernst the pious
married to Princess Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg
1675-1691 Friedrich I.
married first to Princess Magdalene Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels
married second to Princess Christine of Baden-Durlach
1691-1731 Frierich II.
married to Princess Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
1731-1772 Friedrich III.
married to Princess Luise Dorothea of Saxe-Meiningen
1772-1804 Ernst II. Ludwig
married to Princess Charlotte Amalie of Saxe-Meiningen
1804-1822 August
married first to Princess Luise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
married second to Princess Karoline Amalie of Hesse-Kassel’
1822-1825 Friedrich IV.

Duchy of Saxe-Coburg

When in 1680 the sons of Duke Ernst of Saxe-Gotha dividded their posessions the second son Albrecht got town and Office of Coburg, the court Unterrodach, office and city Neustadt, court and city Sonnenberg monastery Mönchröden, Office Sonnenfeld and office management Neuhaus. Like Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen  the Duchy  received full sovereignty in the Empire. However, it was now with the offices Coburg, Neustadt / Sonneberg, Monchröden, Sonnefeld and Neuhaus considerably smaller than before, as Römhild and Hildburghausen were separated to supply younger brothers ofAlbrecht. The expansion of Coburg into a baroque residence began under Duke Albrecht. He oriented himself to the customs of his royal and princely contemporaries and tried their imitation miniature in Coburg imitate. His court library contains 4757 volumes. His intention to raise the high school Casimirianum to university, failed because of the tight finances. The reconstruction of Ehrenburg Castle, burned down in 1690 as a baroque palace, eventually ruined the finances of the Principality, which was not able to prevent the coinage of inferior coins After Duke Albrechts death without male Issue in 1699. Between Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Meiningen and the youngest brother Duke Johann Ernst of Saxe-Saalfeld a disputet errupted which  lasted three and a half decades and only found its way through several interventions of the emperor in Vienna in 1735. Saxe-Meiningen received the office Neuhaus and the court Sonneberg, while Saxe-Saalfeld was united with the remaining part to the Duchy  of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, which was also awarded in 1753 a third of Saxony -Römhild.
Duke’s of Saxe-Coburg
16810-1699 Albrecht
married to Princess Marie Elisabeth of Brunwick-Wolffenbüttel

Duchy of Saxe-Römhild

When in 1680 the sons of Duke Ernst of Saxe-Gotha dividded their posessions the fourth son Heinricfh got the new Duchy of Saxe-Römhild which the offices Römhild, Königsberg in Franconia (this fell as early as 1683 to Sachsen-Hildburghausen) and Themar, the winery Behrungen, the farm to Spleen and the echternschen fiefs. Residence was Schloss Glücksburg in Römhild. The town became eponymous for this branch of the Ernestine dynasty. The Duke of Saxe-Römhild had no own sovereignty; this had the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. After the death of Duke Heirnich in 1710 without issue the Duchy was divided among the Duchioes of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Saxe.Meiningen and Saxe-Hildburghausen.
Duke’s of Saxe-Römhild
1680-1710 Heinrich
married to Princess Marie Elisabeth of Hesse-Darmstadt

Duchy of Saxe-Eisenberg

When in 1680 the sons of Duke Ernst of Saxe-Gotha dividded their posessions the fifth son Christian got the new Duchy Saxe-Eisenberg. The duchy did not receive sovereignty. To the duchy belonged the offices Camburg, Roda, Ronneburg and Eisenberg with the city Eisenberg as residence city. In the period from 1680 to 1692, the castle was rebuilt into the baroque castle Christiansburg and it was the castle church as the most beautiful baroque church in Thuringia. The buildings, however, led to the over-indebtedness of the small state, which the Duke tried to reduce by alchemical experiments.
With the death of the childless Duke Christian in 1707, the duchy went extinct and fell to Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg

Duke’s of Saxe-Eisenberg
1680-1707 Christian
married first to Princess Christiane of Saxe-Merseburg
married second to Princess Sophie Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt


Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

When in 1741 Duke Wilhelm of Saxe-Eisenach died without leaving male Issue Eisenach fell again this time permanent to Saxe-Weimar and Duke Ernst August I. of Saxe-Weimar became Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. One of the few positive decisions of the Duke was that he now introduced primogeniture (confirmed by Emperor Karl VI. 1724) for SaxeWeimar, so that further land divisions in future where omitted. Since 1741 the state was called  SaxeWeimarEisenach was called and had reached the country figure that should keep it up to the Napoleonic wars. The country consisted of two larger areas around the two main residences of Weimar and Eisenach, which were not related to each other, and a patchwork of smaller areas and offices in between. Political decisions were made according to the French model in the Cabinet”, ie the Duke precipitated his decision after presentation of senior officials in his private chambers. 1746 present the country stands the Duke of Eisenach, a memorandum, in which the constant breaches of the Duke against the traditional rights of the estates are denounced. The process showed that the introduction of absolutism came across resistors, the absolutist, in the case of Ernst August I even despotistische style of government could not be fully realized. The death of the Duke prevented an escalation of the dispute between sovereign and Eisenach stands. When Duke Ernst August I. died in 1748 he left   a financially ruined country and a minor heir to the throne.Therfore Duke Friedrich III. of Saxe-Meiningen took over ther egency for the young Duke until he was declared of age in 1755. On 16.03.1756, he had married the two years younger Brunswick Princess Anna Amalia, a niece of the Prussian King Friedrich II. One year later she gave birth to her son Carl August abut then Duke Ernst August died at the age of 21. He had regulated in his Testament that his wife should became Regent for their minor son. As the Duchessmother, Anna Amalia, with the consent of the Empress Maria Theresia and the support of her integrity Minister Freiherr von Fritsch, took an active role in the reign of the Land of Saxe-Weimar and Eisenach. As prince educator, she won the poet Christoph Martin Wieland, at that time professor at the University of Erfurt. At the age of 18 the young Duke Carl August married Princess Luise of Hese-Darmstadt  and called the poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe, with whom he soon had a deep friendship, to his court. Goethe provided the vocation of Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Schiller. Thus, in the background of Anna Amalia promoted, the circle of the Weimar Classic, whose heritage to beware, the following rulers made the task.  The marriage of the Hereditary Prince Carl Friedrich with Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia  in 1804 brought the country the protection of the Russian tsar Alexander I, which it needed in the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. Through the influece of Emperor Alexander I. the Duchy was raised to a Grand Duchy at the congress of Vienna in 1815.

Duke’s of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
1741-1748 Ernst August I.
married first to Princess Eleonore Wilhelmine of Anhalt-Köthen
married second to Princess Sophie Charlotte Albertine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
1748-1758 Ernst August II. Konstantin
married to Ptrincess Anaa Amlie of Brunwick-Wolffenbüttel
1758-1815 Karl August who became Grand Duke in 1815


Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (from 1903 Saxony)

During the Congress of Vienne in 1815 Saxe-Weimar.Eisenach was raised to the rank of a Grand Duchy and, with 1,700 km², a considerable expansion of the  country.and Karl August therefore became the first Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. In 1815 The new Grand Duchy received parts of the circle Neustadt a. d. Orla large parts of the Kurmainzer Exklave Erfurt and other small dominions such as Blankenhain and Kranichfeld. In the Rhön the Eisenach Oberland was created; this consisted of adjacent former territories of Hesse-Kassel and the previously secularized Hochstift Fulda. Nationally minded and cosmopolitan at the same time the Grand Duke gave his country the first in Germany on 05.05.1816 a liberal, so-called state constitution. The students of the University of Jena, organized in the Urburschenschaft, celebrated the Wartburg Festival in October 1817 at the Wartburg. His son and successor Carl Friedrich  promoted agriculture, trade and industry, joined in 1834 the German Zollverein in and joined with other Thuringian duchies and Prussia signed a contract for the construction of the Thuringian Railway of Halle (Saale) about Weimar to Eisenach. In the aftermath of the civil movement of 1848, the Constitution of 1816 was further liberalized. In the days of March 1848, there came to the castle to riots because the people demanded liberal ministers. Ernst Christian August von Gersdorff had to be dismissed, and the following Cabinet adopted numerous regulations that restricted the rights of the Grand Duke.His wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna ushered in the silver age of Weimar, which was especially true of music with names such as Franz Liszt and Peter Cornelius.
Their son and successor Grand Duke Carl Alexander with his more liberal views Carl Alexander was in aristocratic circles a nerd, good contacts with many political journalists and writers of the 48s like him mind protected from possible domestic political issues. In this revolutionary period Weimar was the safe haven of refuge for persecuted liberal artist. In 1851 he took over the protectorate of the Weimar Masonic Lodge.. He promoted Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner preserved the tradition of Weimar Classicism and gave the Weimar Oldtown their appearance with the erection of monuments Herder, Wieland and 1857 of the Goethe-Schiller monument. In 1860 he founded the Grand Ducal School of Arts Weimar Landscape painting made the Thuringian countryside aware that history painting was the realization historical events at the Wartburg and the genre painting of the representation of the people in his daily environment. It followed the 1872 establishment of the Weimar School of Music, 1886, the partial transformation of the Goethe House and Goetheopening of the archives in 1887 and finally in 1889 the creation of the CarlAlexander Library in Eisenach. In the GermanFrench War 1870-1871 Carl Alexander took only in Samaritan servicespart, His reign, which ended with the Weimar Congress of the Goethe-Covenant  in November 1900, is called the Silver Age of Weimar. When Grand Duke Carl Alexander died in 1901 at the age of 82, he had already survived two of his four children. Among them was his only son, who had already died in 1894.The new Grand Duke therefore became his grandson Wilhelm Ernst.  As Heir of the assets of his grandmother SophieWilhelm Ernst was one of the richest German Prince’s of his time. His  significant funds Wilhelm Ernst flow to a large extent in the promotion of culture. Although the Grand Duke was described as amusisch and the Prussian officer out sweeping”, he created so the new Weimar. Hans Olde, Harry Graf Kessler, Henry van de Velde and Adolf Brütt were called to Weimar. The Grand Duke renewed the University of Jena by Theodor Fischer in Munich and the Weimar theater by then known as the innovator of the theater art Max Littmann from Munich. The publisher Eugen Diederichs moved to Jena, the writer Johannes sleep after Weimar. Later Wilhelm Ernst promoted more and more the conservative Prussian forces, so that Weimar soon became a center of ethnicnationalist conceptions of art, as reflected in the fact that Gerhart Hauptmann and August Strindberg dared contained solely in the Court Theatre Jena, while the historical dramas Ernst von Wild break were celebrated in the Weimar residence. The sociologist Max Weber called Wilhelm Ernst therefore as a mockery of this place”. Wilhelm Ernst was considered a complicated personality; violent and short-tempered. One of the last acts of Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst at the time of the November Revolution of 1918 was the appointment of Walter Gropius. The Soldiers under the leadership of the Social Democrats August Baudert forced the Grand Duke on 09.11.1918 to abdicate.

Grand Duke’s of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
1815-1828 Karl August
married to Princess Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt
1828-1853 Carl Friedrich
married to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia
1853-1901 Carl Alexander
married to Princess Sophie of the Netherlands
1901-1918 Wilhelm Ernst
married first to Prinvess Caroline Reuß older line
married second to Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen


The Grand Ducal House since the Ende of the Monarchy

After his abdication Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst retired to his private property to Schloss Heinrichau in Silesia, where he lived until his death; His tomb is located in the park there. After the princely settlement the entire inventory of the castle Allstedt had been brought to Heinrichau. In the settlement agreement between Wilhelm Ernst and the “Weimar Region” in November 1921, it was regulated, among other things, to donate the Dornburg Castle to the Goethe Society as a gift. Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst died in 1923 at Heinriuchau. Now his older son the Hereditary Grand Duke Karl August became Head of the Grand Ducal Family. On 04.10.1944 he married Baroness Elisabeth Freiin von Wangenheim-Winterstein. The couple lived on the Wartburg, later Castle and Gut Behringen. Karl August was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served in a tank regiment. In June 1945, he fled with his family to West Germany, shortly before the Red Army replaced the US occupation in Thuringia. The Thuringian State Government had the members of the House of SaxeWeimarEisenach in 1948, during the Soviet occupation, deprived of civil rights, to the against the recourse to ordinary courts against the breach of the treaty with the House of SaxeWeimarEisenach in 1921 and Thuringian State Constitution to protect.Hereditary Grand Duke Karl August died on 14.10.1988 in rails on Lake Constance, without ever having returned to his homecountry.
His son and successor as head of the Grand Ducal House Prince
Michael soughtz in the late 1990’s the part of the legacy of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, who was privately owned until 1918 his father back. He based his claims with the prevailing legal situation (the Property Act / EALG). Likewise in conversation were real estate and movable art goods that belonged objects according to the Unification Treaty of 1921 as private property his father Carl-August. With amicable settlement of SaxeWeimarEisenach. In 2004 he transferred all claims for return of estate values after EALG to the state of Thuringia. The waiver immensely valuable cultural assets was (AsKI) were honored on 20.09.2005 by the award ceremony of the Maecenas of the Working Group of Independent Cultural Institute e. V. in the Bundesrat. Prince Michael is politically very interested, especially in the cultural development in Thuringia and especially in Weimar and at the Wartburg. He has a home and a business in Thuringia and has here over larger forest holdings. He feels  particularly obligated according to the tradition of his house, the care of the home and landscape. He stands the landscape changes caused by wind turbines and overhead power lines very skeptical, as he sees a threat to the industrial location Germany by the energy revolution”. Prince Michael is  an active Board of Trustees closely with the development of classical Foundation Weimar and connected with the WartburgStiftung, Eisenach, which was founded in 1921 by his grandfather and for which he himself, hired as Trustees and Advisory Board Chairman of the Wartburgfarms whose construction he closely monitored since 1990.

Head of the Grand Ducal House since the End of the Monarchy
1918-1923 Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst
married first to Princess Caroline Reuß older line
married second Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen
1923-1988 Hereditary Grand Duke Karl August
married to Baroness Elisabeth of Wangenheim-Winmterstein
since 1988 Prince Michael
married first (divorced) to Renate Henkeil
marrid second to Dagmar Hennings



The present members of the Grand Ducal Family

The members of the Grand Ducal Fanmily bear the Titles Prince/Princess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Duke/Duchess zu Saxony with the style of Highness (HH). The Head of the House has the style of Royal Highness (HRH).

  • Wilhelm, Ernst, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
    marreid first to Pricness Caroline Reuß older line
    married second to Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen’
    from the second marriage:

    • Sophie
      married (divorced) to Fürst Friedrich Günther of Schwarzburg
    • Carl August, Hereditary Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
      married to Baroness Elisabeth of Winterstein-Wangenheim

      • Elisabeth
        married (divorced) Mindert Diderik de Kant
      • Michael
        married first (divorced) to Renate Henkel
        married second to Dagmar Hennings
        from the second marriage

        • Leonie
      • Beatrice
        married to Martin Charles Davidson
    • Bernhard
      (married (divorced) to Princess Feliztas zu Salm-Horstmar

      • Katharina
        married (divorced) to Prince Emanuel Joseph of Hohenzollern
      • Alexander
      • Wilhelm Ernst
        marired (divorced) to Eva Katharina Kovarcz de Kovarczfalva

        • Désirée
          married to Count Florian of Hoensbroech
        • Georg-Constantin
          married to Olivia Page
    • Georg Wilhelm, he renounced his rights and took the name “Jörg Brena” in 1953
      • Descendants

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