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Henry IV, Duke of Saxony

Duke of Saxony
The basics
Occupation Politician
AKA Henrique V de Saxe, Heinrich IV., Herzog von Sachsen Heinrich IV.
Date of birth Dresden
Date of death Aug 18, 1541 Dresden
Mother: Sidonie of Poděbrady
Father: Albert III Duke of Saxony
Spouse: Catherine of Mecklenburg
Brother(s): Frederick of Saxony George Duke of Saxony
Children: Sibylle of Saxony Emilie of Saxony Sidonie of Saxony Maurice Elector of Saxony Severinus of Saxony Augustus Elector of Saxony
Authority Library of congress id ISNI id VIAF id
The details

Henry IV the Pious, Duke of Saxony (German: Heinrich der Fromme) (Dresden, 16 March 1473 – Dresden, 18 August 1541) was a Duke of Saxony from the House of Wettin.


Heinrich was the second son of Albert, Duke of Saxony, and his wife Sidonie Podiebrad, princess of Bohemia. When Albert died in 1500, his eldest son Georg succeeded to the Duchy of Saxony, and Heinrich became Lord of Friesland.

Saxon rule of Friesland was disturbed by constant revolts. Consequently, Heinrich, who was of a rather inert disposition, gave up his title there. In 1505 Heinrich ceded Friesland to Georg, in return for an annuity and the districts of Wolkenstein and Freiberg, where Heinrich made his residence.

In 1517, Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in Germany, and a few years later Heinrich converted to Lutheranism. Georg remained a devout Catholic. Both of Georg's sons predeceased him without issue.

When Georg's second son died in 1539, Heinrich (a Protestant) became heir presumptive to the Duchy under the Act of Settlement of 1499. To prevent a Protestant succession, Georg tried to override his father's will, disinherit Heinrich, and bequeath the Duchy to Ferdinand, brother of Charles V. But Georg died only two months later, and Heinrich succeeded to the Duchy.

He was then 66 years old, and reigned for only two years. Heinrich made Lutheranism the state religion of the Duchy of Saxony.

Marriage and children

In Freiberg, on 6 July 1512, Heinrich married Catherine of Mecklenburg, daughter of Duke Magnus II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. They had six children:

  • Sybille (b. Freiberg, 2 May 1515 – d. Buxtehude, 18 July 1592), married on 8 February 1540 to Duke Francis I of Saxe-Lauenburg.
  • Emilie (b. Freiberg, 27 July 1516 – d. Ansbach, 9 March 1591), married on 25 August 1533 to Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
  • Sidonie (b. Meissen, 8 March 1518 – d. Kloster Weissenfels, 4 January 1575), married on 17 May 1545 to Eric II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Calenberg).
  • Maurice (b. Freiberg, 21 March 1521 – d. of wounds received in action at Sievershausen, 11 July 1553), later Elector of Saxony.
  • Severinus (b. Freiberg?, 28 August 1522 – d. Innsbruck, 10 October 1533).
  • Augustus (b. Freiberg, 31 July 1526 – d. Dresden, 11 February 1586).


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