Christoph, Duke of Württemberg


Christoph, Duke of Württemberg
Christoph von Württemberg

Christoph of Württemberg, Duke of Württemberg (12 May 1515, Bad Urach – 28 December 1568 Stuttgart) ruled as Duke of Württemberg from 1550 until his death in 1568.

In November 1515, only months after his birth, his mother, Sabina of Bavaria, fled to the court of her parents in Munich. Young Christoph stayed in Stuttgart with his elder sister Anna and his father, Duke Ulrich. When the Swabian League mobilized troops against Ulrich, he brought them to Castle Hohentübingen. In 1519 Württemberg came under Austrian rule after the castle had surrendered and Duke Ulrich had been banished.

Christoph was sent to the court of Maximilian I in Innsbruck where he grew up and was able to gain political experience under Habsburg-tutelage. The successor of Maximilian I, Charles V took him on his travels through Europe.

Meanwhile his father Ulrich had regained Württemberg from the Austrians in 1534 and Christoph was sent to the French court, where he became embroiled in France's wars against Habsburg. At the end of the 1530s Christoph converted to protestantism. In 1542 the Treaty of Reichenweier installed him as the governor of the Württemberg region of Montbéliard.

In 1544 he married Anna Maria von Brandenburg-Ansbach (28 December 1526-20 May 1589), daughter of Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, with whom he fathered twelve children.

Monument for Christoph in Stuttgart
Anna Maria of Brandenburg-Ansbach
  • Eberhard ( 7 January 1545- 2 May 1568)
  • Hedwig (15 May 1547- 4 March 1590) - married Louis IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Marburg
  • Elisabeth ( 3 March 1548-28 February 1592) - married (1) Georg Ernst (1511-1583), Count von Henneberg-Schleusingen; (2) Georg Gustav (1564-1634), Count Palatine of Veldenz-Lauterecken
  • Sabine ( 2 July 1549-17 August 1582) - married William IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
  • Emilie (19 August 1550- 4 June 1589) - married Reichard (1521-1598), Count Palatine of Simmern-Sponheim
  • Eleonore (22 March 1552-12 January 1618) - married Joachim Ernest, Prince of Anhalt; (2) George I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
  • Ludwig I ( 1 January 1554- 8 August 1593) - succeeded as Duke of Württemberg
  • Maximilian (27 August 1556-17 March 1557)
  • Ulrich (?? May 1558- 7 July 1558)
  • Dorothea Maria ( 3 September 1559-23 March 1639) - married Otto Heinrich, Count Palatine of Sulzbach
  • Anna (12 June 1561- 7 July 1616) - married (1) Duke John George of Oława; (2) Duke Frederick IV of Legnica
  • Sophie (20 November 1563-21 July 1590) - married Friedrich Wilhelm I, Duke of Saxe-Weimar

On succeeding his father in 1550, Christoph was forced to make high payments to avoid charges of treason by King Ferdinand I.

In subsequent years, he re-organized the entire administration of the church and state. He also reformed and supported the educational system.

Christoph went to great efforts to boost Württemberg's profile. For example, he reconstructed the Altes Schloss in Stuttgart and hosted many celebrations.

Christoph, Duke of Württemberg
House of Württemberg
Born: 12 May 1515 Died: 28 December 1568
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ulrich
Duke of Württemberg
1550-1568
Succeeded by
Ludwig I

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