Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

Infobox Brunswick Royalty|royal
name = Frederick William
title = Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

imgw = 180px
caption = Painting by Johann Christian August Schwartz (1809)
reign =16 October 1806 - 16 June 1815
predecessor = Charles William Ferdinand
successor = Charles II
spouse = Princess Mary of Baden
spouse-type = Consort
issue=Charles II
full name =Frederick William
" _de. Friedrich Wilhelm"
titles = "HSH" The Duke of Brunswick
"HSH" The Hereditary Duke of Brunswick
"HSH" Duke Frederick William of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
royal house = House of Brunswick-Bevern
father = Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick
mother = Princess Augusta of Great Britain
date of birth = Birth date|1771|10|9|df=yes
place of birth = Brunswick, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
date of death = Death date and age|1815|6|16|1771|10|9|df=yes
place of death = Quatre Bras, United Kingdom of the Netherlands
place of burial = |

Frederick William ( _de. Friedrich Wilhelm; October 9 1771 – June 16, 1815) was a German Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Oels. Nicknamed "The Black Duke", he was a military officer who led the Black Brunswickers against Napoleonic domination in Germany. He briefly ruled the state of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel from 1806-1807.


Frederick William was born in Braunschweig as the fourth son of Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Princess Augusta Charlotte of Wales. He was the cousin and brother-in-law (from 8 April 1795) of his friend George IV, Prince-regent of the United Kingdom (from 1811).

He joined the Prussian army in 1789 as a captain and participated in battles against Revolutionary France. In 1805, after his uncle, Frederick Augustus, Duke of Oels, had died childless, Frederick William inherited the Duchy of Oels, a small mediatized principality subordinate to the King of Prussia.

In October 1806, Frederick William participated in the Battle of Jena-Auerstädt as a major general of the Prussian army, of which his father was the field marshal. His father died from a wound he received in this battle, and Frederick William inherited Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, since his eldest brother had died childless two months earlier, and both the second and third brother were mentally retarded. After the defeat of Prussia in the Fourth Coalition, his state remained under the control of France, however, and was formally made a part of the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807. Frederick William fled to his parents-in-law in Bruchsal in the Grand Duchy of Baden, which had remained a sovereign state with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 by Francis II, where he lived for the next few years.

When the War of the Fifth Coalition broke out in 1809, Frederick William used this opportunity to create a corps of partisans with the support of the Austrian Empire. This corps was called the Black Brunswickers because they wore black uniforms in mourning for their occupied country. He financed the corps independently by mortgaging his principality in Oels, and made his way from Austrian Bohemia through the French-allied states of Saxony and Westphalia to the North Sea coast.

Frederick William briefly managed to retake control of the city of Braunschweig in August 1809, which gained him the status of a local folk hero. He then fled to England to join forces with his brother-in-law, later to be King George IV. His corps of originally 2,300 soldiers was largely destroyed in battles in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War.

Frederick William returned to Braunschweig in December 1813, after Prussia had ended French domination in Braunschweig-Lüneburg. When Napoleon returned to the political scene in 1815 during the Hundred Days, Frederick William raised fresh troops. He was killed by a gunshot at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June.


On 1 November 1802, in Karlsruhe, Frederick William married Princess Marie Elisabeth of Baden (7 September 1782 Karlsruhe - 20 April 1808 Bruchsal), daughter of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden. The couple had three children before Mary died of childbirth fever four days after giving birth to a stillborn daughter.

* Charles (1804-1873)
* William (1806-1884)
* Stillborn daughter (b. & d. 16 April 1808 Bruchsal)

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*9 October 177120 September 1806: "His Serene Highness" Duke Frederick William of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
*20 September 1806 - 16 October 1806: "His Serene Highness" The Hereditary Duke of Brunswick
*16 October 1806 - 16 June 1815: "His Serene Highness" The Duke of Brunswick


style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
boxstyle=padding-top: 0; padding-bottom: 0;
boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1=1. Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
2=2. Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick
3=3. Princess Augusta of Great Britain
4=4. Charles I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
5=5. Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia
6=6. Frederick, Prince of Wales
7=7. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
8=8. Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
9=9. Duchess Antoinette Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
10=10. Frederick William I of Prussia
11=11. Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
12=12. George II of Great Britain
13=13. Caroline of Ansbach
14=14. Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
15=15. Princess Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
16=16. Ferdinand Albert I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
17=17. Landgravine Christina Wilhelmina of Hesse-Eschwege
18=18. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
19=19. Princess Christine Louise of Oettingen-Oettingen
20=20. Frederick I of Prussia
21=21. Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
22=22. George I of Great Britain
23=23. Sophia Dorothea of Celle
24=24. George I of Great Britain (= 22)
25=25. Sophia Dorothea of Celle (= 23)
26=26. Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
27=27. Princess Eleonore of Saxe-Eisenach
28=28. Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
29=29. Princess Magdalena Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels
30=30. Karl, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
31=31. Princess Sophie of Saxe-Weissenfels


* [ At the House of Welf site]
* [,adb0070510) Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. 7, p. 508-514]

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