House of Welf

House of Welf

Royal house
surname = House of Welf
estate = Brunswick & Hanover
coat of arms =
parent house = House of Este
country = Germany
titles = Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Duke of Brunswick, Duke of Lüneburg-Celle, Elector of Hanover, King of Hanover, King of Great Britain, King of the United Kingdom
founder = Welf I, Duke of Bavaria
final ruler = Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
current head = Ernst August V, Prince of Hanover
founding year = 11th century
dissolution = 1918
nationality = German
cadet branches = House of Hanover
The House of Welf (or House of Guelph) is a European dynasty that has included many German and British monarchs from the 11th to 20th century.

The House of Welf is the older branch of the House of Este, a dynasty whose oldest known members lived in Lombardy in the 9th century. For this reason, it is sometimes also called Welf-Este. The first member of this branch was Welf IV; he inherited the property of the Elder House of Welf when his maternal uncle Welf, Duke of Carinthia, died in 1055. In 1070, Welf IV became duke of Bavaria.

Welf V married countess Matilda of Tuscany who died childless and left him her possessions, including Tuscany, Ferrara, Modena, Mantua, and Reggio, which played a role in the Investiture controversy. Since the Welfs sided with the Pope in this controversy, partisans of the Pope came to be known as "Guelphs" in Italy; see Guelphs and Ghibellines.

Henry the Black, duke of Bavaria from 1120–1126, was the first of the three Henrys of the Welf dynasty. His son, Henry the Proud, duke of Bavaria and also of Saxony, was the favoured candidate in the imperial election against Conrad III of the Hohenstaufens. He lost the election, as the other princes feared his power and temperament, and was dispossessed of his duchies by Conrad III.

Henry the Lion recovered his father's two duchies, Saxony in 1142, Bavaria in 1156. In 1158 he married Matilda (1156–1189), the daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and sister of Richard Lionheart. Dispossessed of his duchies after the Battle of Legnano in 1176 by Emperor Frederick I and the other princes of the German Empire eager to claim parts of his vast territories, he was exiled to the court of his father-in-law Henry II in Normandy in 1180, returned to Germany three years later. He died in 1195. His son Otto of Brunswick was elected king and crowned emperor as Otto IV. His grandson Otto the Child became 1235 the duke of a part of Saxony, the new so-called Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and died there in 1252. The Welfs of Brunswick-Lüneburg continued to rule in that area until the fall of the German monarchies in 1918.

In 1692 the head of the cadet Calenberg line was raised to the status of an imperial elector, and became known as the Elector of Hanover. His son, Georg Ludwig, inherited the British throne in 1714 as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701. Members of the Welf dynasty continued to rule in Britain until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901; in Britain they were known as the House of Hanover.

Hanover itself was raised to a kingdom in 1814, but was annexed by Prussia following the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, in which Hanover had sided with Austria. The senior line of the dynasty ruled the much smaller Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. This line became extinct in 1884. Although the Duchy should have been inherited by the Duke of Cumberland, son of the last king of Hanover, suspicions of his loyalty led the duchy's throne to remain vacant until 1913, when Cumberland's son, Ernst August, married the daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II and was allowed to inherit the duchy. His rule there was short-lived, however, as the monarchy came to an end following the First World War in 1918.

The Welf dynasty continues to exist. Its current head, named, like many of his ancestors, Ernst August, is most famous as the third and present husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

ee also

*Kings of Germany family tree. The Welfs were the 7th dynasty to rule Germany and were related by marriage to all the others.

Welf family tree 12th century

External links

* [ Die Welfen. Official site (in German)]
* [ Succession laws in the House of Welf]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Elder House of Welf — The Elder House of Welf was a dynasty of European rulers in the 9th through 11th centuries to 1055. It consisted of two groups, a Burgundian group and a Swabian group. It is disputed whether the two groups formed one dynasty or whether they… …   Wikipedia

  • Welf — is a Germanic first name that could refer to: *Welf, 9th century Frankish count, father in law of Louis the Pious *Welf I, d. bef. 876, count of Alpgau and Linzgau *Welf II, d. 1030, supposed descendant of Welf I *Welf, Duke of Carinthia (Welf… …   Wikipedia

  • Welf, Duke of Carinthia — Welf III (died 13 November 1055), as he is numbered in the genealogy of the Swabian line of the Elder House of Welf, was the duke of Carinthia and margrave of Verona from 1047. He was the only son of Welf II, Count of Altdorf, and Imiza.… …   Wikipedia

  • Welf (father of Judith) — Welf or Hwelf also known as Welf I, was the son of the 9th century Frankish count Rothard of Metz. He is the oldest known member of the Elder House of Welf. Welf is mentioned only once: on the occasion of the wedding of his daughter Judith with… …   Wikipedia

  • Welf VII — (c.1135 ndash; 11 or 12 September 1167) was the only son of Welf VI, Duke of Spoleto and Margrave of Tuscany, and Uta, daughter of Godfrey of Calw, count palatine of the Rhine. He was a member of the House of Welf. His father inherited the family …   Wikipedia

  • Welf I — or Welfo (died before 876) was a Swabian nobleman. He was a member of the Elder House of Welf.Welf was probably a son of Conrad I, son of Welf, and seems to have taken over his father s offices in Swabia, namely: count of Alpgau, count of Linzgau …   Wikipedia

  • Welf II — (died 10 March 1030) was a Swabian count and a member of the Elder House of Welf. He opposed the election of Conrad II in 1024 because it did not suit his interests, but he had to eventually relent. [Reuter, 203.] In the 1020s, Welf feuded with… …   Wikipedia

  • Welf dynasty — Dynasty of German nobles and rulers. They descended from Count Welf of Bavaria (early 9th century), whose daughters married Louis I the Pious and Louis the German. The Welfs were linked to the House of Este in the 11th century. They supported the …   Universalium

  • House of Este — The coat of arms of the House of Este Este redirects here. For the city, see Este, Italy. For the proto historic culture of Veneto, see Este culture. For J. R. R. Tolkien s fictional character, see Estë. This article is about dynasty. For a… …   Wikipedia

  • House of Hanover — Royal house surname = House of Hanover estate = Hanover and Great Britain coat of arms = country = Hanover parent house = House of Este, cadet branch of the House of Welf titles = *Duke of Brunswick Lüneburg *Elector of Hanover *King of Hanover… …   Wikipedia

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