Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Spouse(s) Maria of Württemberg
Sophie Jagiellon
Noble family House of Guelph
Father Henry IV, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Mother Catherine of Pomerania
Born (1489-11-10)10 November 1489
Died 11 June 1568(1568-06-11) (aged 78)

Henry (Latin: Henricus; 10 November 1489 – 11 June 1568), Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, called the Younger, (also called Heinrich der Jüngere) was Prince of Wolfenbüttel from 1514 until his death. The last Catholic of the Welf princes is known for the large number of wars in which he was involved.


He was born at Wolfenbüttel Castle, the son of Duke Henry IV of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince of Wolfenbüttel, known as Henry the Elder. Henry V became ruling duke when his father was killed in battle in 1514, and soon entered into the Great Diocesan Feud with the Bishopric of Hildesheim under John IV of Saxe-Lauenburg, against whom he lost the Battle of Soltau in 1519. However, the duke profited from his support of Charles V in the succession as Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1523 the Bishopric had to cede large territories to Wolfenbüttel. Henry remained loyal to the Imperial authority during the German Peasants' War, and in 1528 he assisted Emperor Charles V in the War of the League of Cognac against King Francis I of France in Italy.

While Henry initially leaned towards Protestantism and supported parts of the Augsburg Confession in 1530, he remained Catholic. He was involved in an ongoing conflict with the Protestant Electorate of Saxony, and strongly protested when the Calenberg branch of Brunswick-Lüneburg switched to Protestantism. In 1541, under a pretext but actually to gain the fertile mines of Rammelsberg, Henry attacked the Protestant Imperial City of Goslar. When in 1542 Elector John Frederick I of Saxony and Landgrave Philip I of Hesse as members of the Protestant Schmalkaldic League came to the help of Goslar, they managed to occupy the complete Principality of Wolfenbüttel. Henry fled to the Duchy of Bavaria.

In 1545, Henry recruited an army with the support of Emperor Charles and managed to take control of parts of Wolfenbüttel. But in October he was captured by Hessian troops and kept prisoner,[1] until the Emperor finally defeated the Schmalkaldic League at the Battle of Mühlberg, freed Henry and reinstated him in 1547. In 1550 the mercenaries of Count Volrad of Mansfeld occupied Wolfenbüttel, and Henry again fled, this time to the Emperor's troops at Metz. But Mansfeld soon left, and Henry returned. In 1553, he allied himself with Elector Maurice of Saxony against Margrave Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, who had attacked Wolfenbüttel. This conflict culminated in the bloody Battle of Sievershausen, in which Maurice as well as Henry's two eldest sons were killed. The battle, however, ended in a victory for Henry.

Henry finally converted to Protestantism under the influence of his only remaining son, Julius, and died in 1568 at Wolfenbüttel.


Henry firstly married Maria (died 1541), daughter of Henry, Count of Württemberg, former Count of Montbéliard, in 1515. They had the following children:

Henry secondly married Sophie Jagiellon (died 1575), daughter of King Sigismund I of Poland, in 1556. The second marriage remained childless.

He had a mistress, Eva von Trott zu Solz, with whom he had ten children.


  1. Letter from Melanchthon to Medler, MBW 4050


Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Cadet branch of the House of Este
Born: 10 November 1489 Died: 11 June 1568
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry IV
Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

Succeeded by
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