Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) served as the name of the two German duchies of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha in Germany, in the present-day states of Bavaria and Thuringia, which were in personal union between 1826 and 1918.
The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha may also refer to the family of the ruling House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This family played many and varied roles in 19th-century European dynastic and political history.
The two duchies of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha were both among the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty. The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha originated as the personal union of these two in 1826, following the death of the last Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg without male heirs. His Wettin relations repartitioned his lands, and the Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (former husband of Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, the only niece of the last duke) received Gotha, and changed his title to Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, although the two duchies remained technically separate.
Ernst I died in 1844 and his elder son and successor, Ernst II, ruled until his death in 1893. As he died childless, the throne of the Duchy would have passed to the male descendants of Ernst's late brother Albert the Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, the Duchies' constitutions excluded the King and heir apparent of Great Britain from the ducal throne if other eligible male heirs exist. Therefore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales had already renounced his claim to the throne in favour of his next brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. Alfred's only son, also named Alfred, committed suicide in 1899, so when Duke Alfred died in 1900, he was succeeded by his nephew the Duke of Albany, the sixteen-year-old son of Queen Victoria's youngest son, Leopold (Duke Arthur of Connaught and his son did not want to receive the Coburg-Gotha Duchy, so had already renounced their right to succession). Reigning as Duke Carl Eduard, and under the regency of the Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg until he came of age in 1905, Carl Eduard also continued to use the British title Duke of Albany. As Carl Eduard fought for Germany in the First World War, he was stripped of his British titles in 1919.
Carl Eduard reigned until November 18, 1918 when the Workers' and Soldiers' Council of Gotha deposed him during the German Revolution. The two Duchies, bereft of a common ruler, became separate states, but ceased to exist shortly thereafter, with Saxe-Coburg becoming a part of Bavaria, and Saxe-Gotha merging with other small states to form the new state of Thuringia in 1920 in the Weimar Republic.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the only European country to appoint a diplomatic consul to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The consul was named Ernst Raven, assigned to a position in the State of Texas. Raven applied to the Confederate Government for a diplomatic exequatur on July 30, 1861 and was accepted.
Wir, Ernst, Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, Jülich, Cleve und Berg, auch Engern und Westphalen, Landgraf in Thüringen, Markgraf zu Meißen, gefürsteter Graf zu Henneberg, Graf zu der Mark und Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein und Tonna usw.
Translation: We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera.