List of rulers of Mecklenburg

Monarchy of Mecklenburg

Royal coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Frederick Francis IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Style His Royal Highness
First monarch Niklot
Last monarch Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Formation 1130
Abolition 1918
Appointer Hereditary
Pretender(s) Borwin, Duke of Mecklenburg
Seven-section coat of arms of Mecklenburg. Each field symbolises one of the seven high lordly dominions of the state of Mecklenburg: the Duchy of Mecklenburg, the Principalities (formerly Dioceses) of Schwerin and Ratzeburg, the County of Schwerin as well as the Dominions of Rostock, Werle and Stargard.

This list of dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg dates from the origins of the German princely state of Mecklenburg's royal house in the High Middle Ages to the monarchy's abolition at the end of World War I. Strictly speaking, Mecklenburg’s princely dynasty was descended linearly from the princes (or kings) of a Slavic tribe, the Obotrites, and had its original residence in a castle (Mecklenburg) in Dorf Mecklenburg (Mikelenburg) close to Wismar.[1] As part of a feudal union under German law from 1160—at first under the Saxons—Mecklenburg was granted imperial immediacy in 1348 and its princely rulers styled Dukes of Mecklenburg.[2] Despite several partitions, Mecklenburg remained an integral state until the end of the monarchy. The First Partition of Mecklenburg came in 1234, causing the principality to lose land. Thus arose the partial principalities (lordships) of Werle, Parchim-Richenberg, Rostock and Mecklenburg.[3] In modern times it was divided into the two (partial) duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (I) and Mecklenburg-Stargard (1348–1471), Mecklenburg-Schwerin (II) and Mecklenburg-Güstrow (1555–1695), and with the Treaty of Hamburg (1701) into Mecklenburg-Schwerin (III) and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.[1][4] However, the dynasty always retained feudal rights to the entire fief and the rulers of both parts of the country always had identical titles,[4] which led to diplomatic confusion.

The Congress of Vienna in 1815 granted the ruling dukes an adjustment in rank with the title Grand Duke of Mecklenburg and the personal style Royal Highness.[1] Both parts of the country were henceforth designated Grand Duchies. Besides both rulers, each heir to the throne, their respective wives and all other members of the princely family used the title of Duke (or Duchess) of Mecklenburg, notwithstanding the customary name of Princes and Princesses. The rulers of Mecklenburg were styled Duke of (from 1815 Grand Duke of) Mecklenburg, Prince of the Wends, Schwerin and Ratzeburg, and Count of Schwerin, Lord of the Lands of Rostock and Stargard (Herzog zu / Großherzog von Mecklenburg, Fürst zu Wenden, Schwerin und Ratzeburg, auch Graf zu Schwerin, der Lande Rostock und Stargard Herr).[5]

At the end of the monarchy in 1918, the House of Mecklenburg was the oldest ruling princely dynasty in Germany. During the Weimar Republic, the former princely title was turned into a commoner’s surname, Herzog zu Mecklenburg ("Duke of Mecklenburg").[5]

List of names

The period of rule is indicated next to the name of the duke and his relationship to his predecessor.[6] The partitions played a role, particularly from the Middle Ages; administration changed more frequently, and any period of rule or reign is noted separately for the respective ruler.

Princes (Kings) of the Obotrites

Name (lived) Reign Notes
(1090August 1160)
1131–1160 Prince of the Obotrites
(unknown30 December 1178)
1167–1178 (Son of Niklot), Prince of the Obotrites, Lord of Mecklenburg
–1164 (Son of Niklot), Prince of the Obotrites

Lords in the Land of the Obotrites

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Henry Borwin I
(d. 28 January 1227)
1178–1227 (Son of Pribislav)
Nicholas I
(before 116425 May 1200)
1183–1200 (Son of Wertislav), Lord of Rostock
Henry Borwin II
(11705 December 1226)
1219–1226 (Son of Henry Borwin I), Lord of Rostock
Nicholas II
(before 118028 September 1225)
(Son of Henry Borwin I), Lord of Mecklenburg

John I Line (Mecklenburg)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
John I, the Theologian
(ca. 12111 August 1264)
1227–1264 (Son of Henry Borwin II), Lord of Mecklenburg
Henry I, the Pilgrim
(ca. 12302 January 1302)
(Son of John I), Lord of Mecklenburg
Albert I
(after 123015 May or 17 May 1265)
1264–1265 (Brother of Henry I), Lord of Mecklenburg
Nicholas III
(after 12308 June 1289 or 1290)
1264–1289 (Brother of Henry I), Lord of Mecklenburg, regent during Henry I's absence
John II
(ca. 125012 October 1299)
1264–1299 (Brother of Henry I), Lord of Mecklenburg at Gadebusch, regent during Henry I's absence
John III
(after 126627 May 1289)
1287–1289 (Son of Henry I), Lord of Mecklenburg
Henry II, the Lion
(1266 (after 14 April)21 January 1329)
1287–1329 (Son of Henry I), Lord of Mecklenburg, Stargard and Rostock
Albert II
(ca. 131818 February 1379)
1329–1348 (Son of Henry II), Lord of Mecklenburg, from 1348 Duke of Mecklenburg

Nicholas I Line (Werle)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Nicholas I
(ca. 121014 May 1277)
1227–1277 (Son of Henry Borwin II), Lord of Werle
Henry I
(ca. 12458 October 1291)
1277–1291 (Son of Nicholas I), Lord of Werle-Güstrow
John I
(ca. 124515 October 1283)
1277–1283 (Son of Nicholas I), Lord of Werle-Parchim
Bernhard I
(ca. 1245 ca. 1286)
1277–1281 (Son of Nicholas I), Lord of Werle
Nicholas II
(before 128318 February 1316)
1283–1316 (Son of John I), Lord of Werle
(d. 15 May 1298)
1291-1292 (Son of Henry I), Lord of Werle-Güstrow
Henry II
(d. 1307)
1291-1292 (Son of Henry I), Lord of Werle-Penzlin
John II, the Bald
(after 125027 August 1337)
1316–1337 (Son of John I), Lord of Werle-Güstrow
John III, van Ruoden
(before 13001352)
1316–1350 (Son of Nicholas II), Lord of Werle-Goldberg
Nicholas III, Staveleke
(after 13111360/1361
1337–1360 (Son of John II), Lord of Werle-Güstrow
Bernard II
(ca. 13201382)
1337–1382 (Son of John II), Lord of Werle-Waren (-Güstrow)
Nicholas IV, Poogenoge
(after 13111360/1361)
1350–1354 (Son of John III), Lord of Werle-Goldberg
(after 13381393/1394)
1360–1393 (Son of Nicholas III), Lord of Werle-Güstrow
John V
(after 13381378)
1365–1378 (Son of Nicholas III), Lord of Werle-Güstrow, co-regent
John VI
(after 1341after 16 October 1385)
(Son of Bernhard II), Lord of Werle-Waren
John IV
(before 13501374)
1354–1374 (Son of Nicholas IV), Lord of Werle-Goldberg
(ca. 13755 April 1421)
1393–1421 (Son of Lorenz), Lord of Werle-Güstrow, Prince of the Wends
John VII
ca. 1375between 14 August and 17 December 1414)
1395–1414 (Son of Lorenz), Lord of Werle-Güstrow, co-regent
(before 13988 September 1436)
1393–1436 (Son of Lorenz), Lord of Werle-Güstrow, Prince of the Wends
Nicholas V
(before 1385after 21 January 1408)
(Son of John VI), Lord of Werle-Goldberg and Werle-Waren
(before 138525 August 1425)
(Son of John VI), Lord of Werle-Waren, Prince of the Wends
Werle fell to the Duke of Mecklenburg in 1436.

Henry Borwin III Line (Rostock)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Henry Borwin III
(ca. 12201 August 1278)
1227–1277 (Son of Henry Borwin II), Lord of Rostock
(before 12629 November 1282)
1277–1282 (Son of Henry Borwin III), Lord of Rostock
Nicholas I, the Child
(before 126225 November 1314)
1282–1314 (Son of Waldemar), Lord of Rostock
Rostock fell to the Prince of Mecklenburg in 1323.

Pribislaw I Line (Parchim-Richenberg)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Pribislaw I
(1224after 12 February 1275)
1227–1256 (Son of Henry Borwin II), Lord of Parchim
Pribislaw was deprived of his power in 1256 and the country divided among his brothers.

Dukes of Mecklenburg

Mecklenburg-Schwerin Lines (I) and (II)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Albert II, the Great
(131818 February 1379)
1329–1379 (Son of Henry II), Lord of Mecklenburg, from 1348 Duke
Henry III
(ca. 133724 April 1383)
1379–1383 (Son of Albert II)
Magnus I
(ca. 13451 September 1384)
1379–1384 (Son of Albert II)
Albert III
(ca. 1338March 1412)
1384–1412 was Albert of Mecklenburg, King of Sweden (1364–1389), (Son of Albert II)
Albert IV
(before 1363between 24 and 31 December 1388)
1383–1388 (Son of Henry III), co-regent
Eric I
(after 135926 July 1397 in Visby)
to 1397 (Son of Albert III), co-regent
Albert V
(1397between 1 June and 6 December 1423)
1412–1423 (Son of Albert III)
John IV
(before 137016. October 1422 in Schwerin)
1384–1422 (Son of Magnus I), co-regent
Henry IV, the Fat
(before 14179 March 1477)
1422–1477 (Son of John IV), united the Werle and Stargard Mecklenburg Lines under one ruler upon their extinction
John V
1436–1442 (Son of John IV), co-regent
John VI
1439–1472 (Son of Henry IV), co-regent
Albert VI
(1438before 27 April 1483)
1477–1483 (Son of Henry IV)
Magnus II
(144120 November 1503 in Wismar)
1477–1503 (Son of Henry IV)
(145116 March 1507 in Wismar)
1477–1507 (Son of Henry IV), co-regent, Bishop of Schwerin in 1479-1482
Henry V, the Peaceful
(3 May 1479 – 6 February 1552)
1503–1552 (Son of Magnus II)
Eric II
(3 September 1483 – 22 December 1508)
1503–1508 (Son of Magnus II), co-regent
(d. 1557)
1552–1557 (Son of Henry V), co-regent
John Albert I
(23 December 1525 – 12 February 1576)
1547–1576 (Son of Albert VII)
John VII
(7 March 1558 in Güstrow22 March 1592 in Stargard)
1576–1592 (Son of John Albert I)
Adolf Frederick I
(15 December 1588 – 27 February 1658)
1592–1628, 1631–1658 (Son of John VII)
Albrecht von Wallenstein
1628–1631 Ruled after Adolf Frederick I was deposed by Emperor Ferdinand II
Christian Ludwig I
(1 December 162321 June [O.S. 11 June] 1692)
1658–1692 (Son of Adolf Frederick I)

Mecklenburg-Stargard Line

Name (lived) Reign Notes
John I (IV)
(1326between 9 August 1392 and 9 February 1393)
1329–1392 (Son of Henry II), Lord of Mecklenburg, from 1348 Duke
John II
(before 1370between 6 July and 9 October 1416)
1392–1416 (Son of John I), Duke of Mecklenburg [-Stargard-Sternberg]
Ulrich I
(before 13828 April 1417)
1392–1417 (Son of John I), Duke of Mecklenburg [-Stargard-Neubrandenburg]
Albert I
(before 1377between 11 February and 15 July 1397)
1392–1397 (Son of John I), co-regent
John III
(1389after 11 November 1438)
1416–1438 (Son of John II), Duke of Mecklenburg [-Stargard-Sternberg]
Albert II
(before 1400between 11 February 1421 and 4 October 1423)
1417–1423 (Son of Ulrich I), co-regent, Duke of Mecklenburg [-Stargard-Neubrandenburg]
Henry, der Gaunt
(before 1412between 26 May and 20 August 1466)
1417–1466 (Son of Ulrich I)
Ulrich II
(before 142813 July 1471)
1466–1471 (Son of Henry)

Mecklenburg-Güstrow Line

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Albert VII, the Handsome
(25 July 1486 – 7 January 1547)
1503–1547 (Son of Magnus II)
(5 March 1527 – 14 March 1603)
1555–1603 (Son of Albert VII), initiator of the German Imperial Diet
Johann Albrecht II
(5 May 1590 – 23 April 1636)
1592–1628, 1631–1636 (Son of Johann VII)
Albrecht von Wallenstein
(24 September 1583 – 25 February 1634)
1628–1631 Ruled after Adolf Frederick I was deposed by Emperor Ferdinand II
Gustav Adolph
(26 February 1633 – 6 October 1695)
1636–1695 (Son of Johann Albrecht II)
Mecklenburg-Güstrow fell to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1695.

Dukes of Mecklenburg / Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg

Mecklenburg-Schwerin Line (III)

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Frederick William
(28 March 1675 – 31 July 1713)
1692–1713 (Nephew of Christian Ludwig I)
Karl Leopold
(26 November 1678 – 28 November 1747)
1713–1728 (Brother of Frederick William), named in the Reichsexekution of 1717, was deposed in 1728 by the Aulic Council in Vienna in favour of his brother Christian Ludwig II.
Christian Ludwig II
(15 November 1683 – 30 May 1756)
1728–1756 (Brother of Karl Leopold)
Frederick II, the Pious
(9 November 1717 – 24 April 1785)
1756–1785 (Son of Christian Ludwig II)
Frederick Francis I
(10 December 1756 – 1 February 1837)
1785–1837 from 1815 Grand Duke – [Son of Archduke Friedrich Ludwig, Nephew of Friedrich II]
Paul Frederick
(15 September 1800 – 7 March 1842)
1837–1842 (Grandson of Frederick Francis I)
Frederick Francis II
(28 February 1823 – 15 April 1883)
1842–1883 (Son of Paul Frederick)
Frederick Francis III
(19 March 1851 – 10 April 1897)
1883–1897 (Son of Frederick Francis II)
Johann Albrecht
(8 December 1857 – 16 February 1920)
1897–1901 (Brother of Grand Duke Frederick Francis III), from 11 April 1897 until 9 April 1901 regent
Frederick Francis IV
(9 April 1882 – 17 November 1945)
1897–1918 (Son of Grand Duke Frederick Francis III), from 1918 regent of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Monarchy abolished in 1918.

Mecklenburg-Strelitz line

Name (lived) Reign Notes
Adolf Frederick II
(19 October 1658 – 12 May 1708)
1701–1708 (Uncle of Frederick William of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) Duchy created, inaugural Duke
Adolf Friedrich III
(7 June 1686 – 11 December 1752)
1708–1752 (Son of Adolf Frederick II)
Adolf Friedrich IV
(5 May 1738 – 2 June 1794)
1752/53–1794 (Nephew of Adolf Friedrich III)
Charles II
(10 October 1741 – 6 November 1816)
1794–1816 (Brother of Adolf Friedrich IV) from 1815 Grand Duke
(12 August 1779 – 6 September 1860)
1816–1860 (Son of Charles II)
Friedrich Wilhelm
(17 October 1819 – 30 May 1904)
1860–1904 (Son of Georg)
Adolf Friedrich V
(22 July 1848 – 11 June 1914)
1904–1914 (Son of Friedrich Wilhelm)
Adolf Friedrich VI
(17 June 1882 – 23 February 1918)
1914–1918 (Son of Adolf Friedrich V)
Frederick Francis IV
(9 April 1882 – 17 November 1945)
1918 Regent
Monarchy abolished in 1918.


  1. 1 2 3 "Fürsten und Gutsherren..."
  2. Wigger, p.121
  3. (German) Die Ortsgeschichte von Dobbertin
  4. 1 2 "Von der Reformation..."
  5. 1 2 House Laws of Mecklenburg
  6. Wigger, p.326


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