Frederick William, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Frederick William I

Frederick William I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Reign 1692–1713
Born (1675-03-28)28 March 1675
Died 31 July 1713(1713-07-31) (aged 38)
Spouse Sophie Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
House Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Father Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg-Grabow
Mother Christine Wilhelmine of Hesse-Homburg

Frederick William I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin [1] (28 March 1675 31 July 1713) was the reigning Duke of Mecklenburg in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin portion of the duchy of Mecklenburg from 1692 until 1713.

Frederick William was the eldest son of Prince Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg-Grabow, and Christine Wilhelmine of Hesse-Homburg (1653–1722). He was a nephew of the childless Duke Christian Ludwig I of Mecklenburg. Frederick Wiliam succeeded his uncle on 21 June 1692 as regent of the Schwerin portion of the duchy of Mecklenburg. After the extinction of the Mecklenburg-Güstrow line of the dynasty with the death of Duke Gustav Adolph in 1695, Frederick William became embroiled in a violent succession dispute with his uncle Adolf Frederick II that escalated quickly. It brought the country to the brink of civil war and was settled only through the intervention of foreign powers. The dispute was ended in 1701 by the Hamburg Compromise. Mecklenburg was again split into two parts with limited autonomy. The two sub-principalities, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin, existed until 1918. The Compromise also introduced the right of succession of the first-born to the dynasty.

In 1708, Frederick William introduced the "Consumption and Tax Statute" to overcome the fiscal consequences of the Thirty Years' War and the Great Northern War. In addition to the taxation of knights and the clergy, this law included the abolition of serfdom, freeing farmers from dependence on their landlords. The former peasants could lease their land and forced labor was to be replaced by work for a salary. This created a sharp conflict between the duke and the landed estates.

Frederick William married Sophie Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel on 2 January 1704 in Kassel. She was a daughter of Count Charles I of Hesse-Kassel. The couple had no children.

Frederick William had numerous mistresses, with whom he had at least nine children, including:

A lady named Frederika Wilhelmina was born 1702 in Boitzenburg [3] and died 1748 in Schwerin. In 1719, she married 1719 Hermann Christian von Wolffradt (died in 1723 in Dömitz)). She was a mistress of Duke Karl Leopold of Mecklenburg. Whether she was an illegitimate daughter of Frederick William is a point of controversy in the historical literature.[4]

Frederick William died in Mainz on 31 July 1713 on his return from Schlangenbad. His wife Sofia Charlotte took up her dower in Bützow, where she died. She was buried beside her husband in the crypt of the newly built Schelfkirche St. Nikolai in Schwerin.[5]


  1. Frederick William I appears in the counting of the dynastic rulers of Mecklenburg almost entirely without numeral. There, since there was a later ruler of the same name in Mecklenburg, Frederick Wiliam II, and this dynasty numbered its members without regard to earlier division of its territory or the higher rank obtained in 1815. Wikipedia tries to correct this common mistake.
  2. Included in the Mecklenburg nobility as "v. Mecklenburg" on 6 November 1742, offspring are the noble family of those of Mecklenburg in the Meckelburgian, Swedish and Prussian nobility, later Prussian barons (for example, Baron Henry of Mecklenburg (b. 1871, d. 1862) (cf. Gothaischer Hofkalender B, 1916 (Master series 1925) and 1942, Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels B, Volume III, total series Volume 17, 1958, pages 312-316)
  3. Or perhaps ref in Boizenburg?
  4. Her ancestry is highly controversial in the literature; next to the Duke of Mecklenburg, authors also mention Frederick William I, the Prussian "Soldier King", as her father. It is considered implausible and improbable that she actually used the noble family name of Mecklenburg. Nothing is (yet) known about her recognition or ennoblement
  5. Friedrich Wigger: genealogies of the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg. In: Annals of the Association for Mecklenburg History and Archaeology 50 (1885), p. 111ff (digitized)

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Frederick William, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Born: 28 March 1675 Died: 31 July 1713
Preceded by
Christian Louis I
Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Succeeded by
Karl Leopold
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