Leopold I

Leopold I

Leopold I, 1640-1705, Holy Roman emperor (1658-1705), king of Bohemia (1656-1705) and of Hungary (1655-1705), second son and successor of Ferdinand III. Upon his elder brother's death (1654), Leopold, who had been educated for the church, became Ferdinand's heir. During his reign the Holy Roman Empire was menaced by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the east and by King Louis XIV of France in the west. The Turkish invasions of Hungary were temporarily checked by the imperial commander Montecucculi, but by the Treaty of Vasvar (1664) the Turks kept their conquests and their suzerainty over Transylvania. In the west, Leopold joined the anti-French coalition in the third (1672-78) of the Dutch Wars. A revolt in Hungary against Hapsburg rule reopened war with the Ottomans, who supported the rebel leader Thököly. The Turks besieged Vienna (1683), which Leopold saved with the aid of King John III of Poland and the imperial general Charles V of Lorraine. Other victories followed. However, Leopold's attempts to stop French aggression divided his energies and postponed the successful conclusion of war with the Turks. In 1686 he formed a defensive alliance against France known as the League of Augsburg. In 1688, Louis XIV invaded the Palatinate and war broke out (see Grand Alliance, War of the). The Treaty of Ryswick with Louis XIV temporarily halted French expansion. In the east the triumph of Eugene of Savoy over the Turks at Zenta (1697) led to the Treaty of Karlowitz by which Leopold obtained nearly all of Hungary. War with France over the succession to the Spanish throne ensued in 1701 (see Spanish Succession, War of the). After Leopold's death the war continued under Joseph I, his son and successor. During Leopold's reign Vienna became a cultural center. His particular interest was music, and he was a fair composer.
Leopold I, 1790-1865, king of the Belgians (1831-65); youngest son of Francis Frederick, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After serving as a page at the court of Napoleon I and as a general of the Russian army, he married (1816) Princess Charlotte, daughter of the English prince regent (later King George IV) and heiress presumptive to the English throne. After her death (1817) Leopold remained in England. In 1830 he rejected the throne of Greece, but in 1831 he accepted election as king of newly formed Belgium. Though his primary concern was with maintaining the unity and independence of his kingdom, his reign was notable for such improvements as the introduction of ministerial responsibility, a reformed electoral law, and a national bank. He married (1832) a daughter of King Louis Philippe of France, and he brought about the marriage of his niece Queen Victoria of England to his nephew Prince Albert. He was succeeded by his son, Leopold II. He was also the father of Carlotta, empress of Mexico.
Leopold I, 1676-1747, prince of Anhalt-Dessau (1693-1747). He served as field marshal in the Prussian army and was nicknamed "the Old Dessauer." As chief military adviser to King Frederick William I of Prussia, he reorganized the Prussian infantry, making it the best in Europe. A stern disciplinarian, Leopold was an able commander. He also helped introduce administrative reform in Prussia. In the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) his victory at Kesseldorf (1745) helped bring about the Treaty of Dresden between Prussia and Austria.
Leopold I, grand duke of Tuscany: see Leopold II, Holy Roman emperor.

Leopold I (Leopold George Christian Frederick (in German Leopold Georg Christian Friedrich) Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony) (16 December, 179010 December, 1865) was from 21 July, 1831 the first King of the Belgians. He was the founder of the Belgian line of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. His children included Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico.

He was born in Coburg and died in Laeken.

Early life

He was the youngest son of Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf, and later became a prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha after the territorial swap by his father of Ehrenburg Castle in the Bavarian town of Coburg. He was also an uncle of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

In 1795, as a mere child, Leopold was appointed colonel of the Izmaylovsky Imperial Regiment in Russia. Seven years later he became a major general. When Napoleonic troops occupied the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg in 1806 Leopold went to Paris. Napoléon offered him the position of adjutant, but he refused. Instead he took up a military career in the Imperial Russian cavalry. He campaigned against Napoléon, and distinguished himself at the Battle of Kulm at the head of his cuirassier division. In 1815, Leopold reached the rank of lieutenant general in the Imperial Russian Army.

In Carlton House on 2 May, 1816, he married Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, the only legitimate child of the British Prince Regent (later King George IV of the United Kingdom) and therefore heiress to the British throne, and was created a British field-marshal and Knight of the Garter. On 5 November, 1817, Princess Charlotte was delivered of a stillborn son; she herself died the following day. Had she lived, she would have become Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her father, and Leopold presumably would have assumed the role later taken by his nephew, Prince Albert, as Prince Consort of Great Britain, and never chosen King of the Belgians. Despite Charlotte's death, the Prince Regent granted Prince Leopold the British style of Royal Highness by Order-in-Council on 6 April 1818. In honor of his first wife, Leopold and Louise-Marie of France, his second wife, named their first daughter Charlotte, who would later become Empress Carlota of Mexico.

On 2 July, 1829, Leopold participated in nuptials of doubtful validity (a private marriage-contract with no religious or public ceremony) with the actress Caroline Bauer, created Countess of Montgomery, a cousin of his advisor, Christian Friedrich Freiherr von Stockmar. The 'marriage' reportedly ended in 1831 and the following year he married Louise-Marie at the Château de Compiègne, in Compiègne, France, on 9 August, 1832.

King of the Belgians

After Belgium asserted its independence from the Netherlands on 4 October 1830, the Belgian National Congress, considered several candidates and eventually asked Leopold to become king of the newly formed country. He was elected on 4 June and accepted and became "King of the Belgians" on 26 June, 1831. He swore allegiance to the constitution in front of the Saint Jacob's Church at Coudenbergh Place in Brussels on 21 July 1831. This day became the Belgian national holiday. Jules Van Praet would become his personal secretary.

Less than two weeks later, on 2 August, the Netherlands invaded Belgium. Skirmishes continued for eight years, but in 1839 the two countries signed the Treaty of London establishing Belgium's independence.

With the opening of the railway line between Brussels and Mechelen on 5 May, 1835, one of King Leopold's fondest hopes—to build the first railway in continental Europe—became a reality.

In 1840, Leopold arranged the marriage of his niece, Queen Victoria, the daughter of his sister, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, son of his brother, Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Even before she succeeded to the throne, Leopold had been advising the then-Princess Victoria by letter, and after her accession, he was one of the great influences on her in the early days of her monarchy.

In 1842, Leopold tried unsuccessfully to pass laws to regulate female and child labor. A wave of revolutions passed over Europe after the deposition of King Louis-Philippe from the French throne in 1848. Belgium remained neutral, mainly because of Leopold's diplomatic efforts.

On 11 October, 1850, Leopold again lost a young wife, as Queen Louise-Marie died of tuberculosis at age 38. At 11:45 am on 10 December 1865, the king died in Laken. He lies buried in the Royal vault at the Church of Our Lady, Laken Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium.


Leopold's ancestors in three generations
Leopold I of Belgium Father:
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Paternal Grandfather:
Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna Sophie, Princess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Paternal Grandmother:
Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Ferdinand Albert II of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Antoinetta Amelia of Wolfenbüttel-Blackenburg
Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf
Maternal Grandfather:
Count Heinrich XXIV Reuss of Ebersdorf and Lobenstein
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Heinrich XXIII Reuss of Ebersdorf and Lobenstein
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Sophie Theodora of Castell-Remlingen
Maternal Grandmother:
Karoline Ernestine of Erbach-Schönberg
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Georg August of Erbach-Schönberg
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Ferdinande Henriette of Stolberg-Gedern

Patrilineal descent

Descent before Conrad the Great is taken from and may be inaccurate.

House of Wettin

  1. Burkhard I, Duke of Thuringia, d. 870
  2. Burchard, Duke of Thuringia, 836 - 908
  3. (possibly) Burkhard III of Grabfeldgau, 866 - 913
  4. Dedi I, Count of Hessegau, 896 - 957
  5. (probably) Dietrich I of Wettin, d. 976
  6. (possibly) Dedi II, Count of Hessegau, 946 - 1009
  7. Dietrich II of Wettin, 991 - 1034
  8. Thimo I of Wettin, d. 1099
  9. Thimo II the Brave, Count of Wettin, d. 1118
  10. Conrad, Margrave of Meissen, 1098 - 1157
  11. Otto II, Margrave of Meissen, 1125 - 1190
  12. Dietrich I, Margrave of Meissen, 1162 - 1221
  13. Henry III, Margrave of Meissen, c. 1215 - 1288
  14. Albert II, Margrave of Meissen, 1240 - 1314
  15. Frederick I, Margrave of Meissen, 1257 - 1323
  16. Frederick II, Margrave of Meissen, 1310 - 1349
  17. Frederick III, Landgrave of Thuringia, 1332 - 1381
  18. Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, 1370 - 1428
  19. Frederick II, Elector of Saxony, 1412 - 1464
  20. Ernest, Elector of Saxony, 1441 - 1486
  21. John, Elector of Saxony, 1468 - 1532
  22. John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, 1503 - 1554
  23. Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, 1530 - 1573
  24. John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, 1570 - 1605
  25. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, 1601 - 1675
  26. John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1658 - 1729
  27. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1697 - 1764
  28. Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1724 - 1800
  29. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1750 - 1806

See also


External links

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