Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg
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|Reign||12 March 1737 - 24 October 1793 (56 years, 226 days)|
|Spouse||Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth|
Franziska of Hohenheim
|Father||Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg|
|Mother||Maria Augusta of Thurn and Taxis|
|Born||11 February 1728|
|Died||24 October 1793 (aged 65)|
His maternal grandparents were Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis (30 January 1681 – 8 November 1739) and Princess Maria Ludovika Anna von Lobkowicz (20 October 1683 – 20 January 1750). Maria Ludovika was daughter of Ferdinand August Leopold von Lobkowicz zu Saganand Princess Maria Anna Wilhelmine of Baden-Baden.
Maria Anna was a daughter of Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Baden (1593 - 1677) and Princess Maria Magdalena von Oetingen-Baldern (c. 1619 - 1688). Her paternal grandparents were Eduard Fortunatus, Margrave of Baden (1565 - 1600) and a Dutch heiress, Maria van Eicken (c. 1569 - 1636).
Edward was a son of Christoph, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern (1537 - 1575) and Cecilia of Sweden. (1540 - 1627).
Born in Brussels, he succeeded his father as ruler of Württemberg at the age of 9, but the real power was in the hands of Administrators Carl Rudolf, Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt (1737-1738) and Carl Frederick von Württemberg-Oels (1738-1746). He was educated at the court of Frederick II of Prussia. In the Seven Years' War against Prussia Karl Eugen advanced into Saxony. He ruled until his death in 1793, when he was succeeded by his younger brother.
He was an early patron of Friedrich Schiller. In 1765, Karl Eugen founded a public library in Ludwigsburg (now the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart) and was responsible for the construction of a number of other key palaces and buildings in the area including the New Palace which still stands at the centre of Schlossplatz, Castle Solitude and Castle Hohenheim.
Karl Eugen married twice, first to Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth with whom he had one daughter who died after 13 months. Elisabetha left Karl Eugen in 1756 to return to her parents' court in Bayreuth although they never divorced. In the meantime Karl Eugen had fathered 11 children through a string of "mistresses", the last of whom, Franziska of Hohenheim he raised to the status of Countess. She became his second wife in 1785.
Karl Eugen was known for his interest in agriculture and travel and is considered the inspiration behind today's Hohenheim university. His original botanical gardens form the basis for today's Landesarboretum Baden-Württemberg and Botanischer Garten der Universität Hohenheim, which still contain some of the specimens he planted. He also built a large number of palaces and bankrupted his lands through courtly extravagance, accepting huge French government loans in exchange for maintaining large numbers of support troops in Württemberg.
In his early years he ruled with an iron fist. For example in 1744 he ordered that the corpse of Joseph Süß Oppenheimer - the executed Jewish financial advisor of his father, Karl Alexander - be suspended in an iron cage as a warning to others. The decaying corpse was suspended by Stuttgart's Prag gallows for six years.
Between 1751 and 1759 Karl Eugen was involved in an increasingly bitter struggle with his adviser, the eminent Liberal jurist Johann Jakob Moser who strongly opposed the Duke's absolutist tendencies. In 1759 Karl Eugen had Moser charged with authoring "a subversive writing" and cast into prison for the next five years. However, in 1764 Moser was released, due in part to the intercession of Friedrich the Great of Prussia, and was rehabilitated and restored to his position, rank and titles.
Karl Eugen died in Hohenheim.
|Ancestors of Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg|
- ^ (German) Brockhaus Geschichte Second Edition
Karl Eugen, Duke of WürttembergBorn: 11 February 1728 Died: 24 October 1793
|Duke of Württemberg|