John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

John Ernest IV
Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Reign 6 August 1699 –
17 February 1729
Successor Christian Ernest
Duke of Saxe-Saalfeld
Reign 26 March 1675 –
17 February 1729
Predecessor Ernest I
Duke of Saxe-Coburg
Reign 6 August 1699 –
17 February 1729
Predecessor Albert V
Born (1658-08-22)22 August 1658
Gotha, Saxe-Gotha, Holy Roman Empire
Died 17 February 1729(1729-02-17) (aged 70)
Saalfeld, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Holy Roman Empire
Spouse Sophie Hedwig of Saxe-Merseburg
Charlotte Johanna of Waldeck-Wildungen
Issue Princess Christiane Sophie
Christian Ernest
Princess Charlotte Wilhelmine
Prince Wilhelm Frederick
Prince Karl Ernst
Princess Sophia Wilhelmina
Princess Henriette Albertine
Princess Louise Emilie
Princess Charlotte
Francis Josias
Princess Henriette Albertine
House House of Wettin
Father Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg
Mother Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg
Religion Lutheranism

John Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (22 August 1658, Gotha 17 February 1729, Saalfeld) was a reigning duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.


He was the tenth but seventh surviving son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Elisabeth Sophie of Saxe-Altenburg.

After the death of his father in 1675, John Ernest initially governed the duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, jointly with his six older brothers, as set out in their father's will. However, in 1680, the brothers concluded a treaty dividing the paternal lands and John Ernest became duke of Saxe-Saalfeld, with the towns of Gräfenthal, Probstzella and Pössneck. As he was the youngest, he kept the smallest portion of the lands.

John Ernest and his brother Ernest soon found themselves financially overstretched as a result of the partition (the income of their eldest brother, Frederick, far exceeded the income of John Ernest), and they both made a protest. Over the following years, the controversy continued and increased, as their older brothers Albert of Saxe-Coburg, Henry of Saxe-Römhild and Christian of Saxe-Eisenberg died without male heirs. During these years, John Ernest took possession of Coburg (in 1699), Römhild and 5/12 of Themar (in 1714).

The "Coburg-Eisenberg-Römhilder Erbstreit" was finally resolved (after repeated intervention and arbitration by the emperor) in 1735, six years after the death of John Ernest. His descendants retained Coburg. The decision was generally accepted, most importantly by the descendants of his older brother Bernhard, who also had a claim to Coburg.


In Merseburg on 18 February 1680, Johann Ernst married firstly Sophie Hedwig of Saxe-Merseburg, a daughter of Christian I, Duke of Saxe-Merseburg. They had five children:

  1. Christiane Sophie (b. Saalfeld, 14 June 1681 – d. Saalfeld, 3 June 1697).
  2. Stillborn daughter (Saalfeld, 6 May 1682).
  3. Christian Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (b. Saalfeld, 18 August 1683 – d. Saalfeld, 4 September 1745).
  4. Charlotte Wilhelmine (b. Saalfeld, 4 May 1685 – d. Hanau, 5 April 1767), married on 26 December 1705 to Philip Reinhard, Count of Hanau-Münzenberg.
  5. Stillborn son (Saalfeld, 2 August 1686).

In Maastricht on 2 December 1690 Johann Ernst married secondly Charlotte Johanna of Waldeck-Wildungen (b. Arolsen, 13 December 1664, d. Hildburghausen, 1 February 1699). They had eight children:

  1. Wilhelm Frederick (b. Arolsen, 16 August 1691 – d. Saalfeld, 28 July 1720).
  2. Karl Ernst (b. Saalfeld, 12 September 1692 – d. Cremona, 30 December 1720).
  3. Sophia Wilhelmina (b. Saalfeld, 9 August 1693 – d. Rudolstadt, 4 December 1727), married on 8 February 1720 to Frederick Anton, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.
  4. Henriette Albertine (b. Saalfeld, 8 July 1694 – d. Saalfeld, 1 April 1695).
  5. Louise Emilie (b. Saalfeld, 24 August 1695 – d. Coburg, 21 August 1713).
  6. Charlotte (b. Saalfeld, 30 October 1696 – d. Saalfeld, 2 November 1696).
  7. Franz Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (b. Saalfeld, 25 September 1697 – d. Rodach, 16 September 1764).
  8. Henriette Albertine (b. Saalfeld, 20 November 1698 – d. Coburg, 5 February 1728).



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John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Born: 22 August 1658 Died: 17 February 1729
Preceded by
Ernest I the Pious
Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Succeeded by
Christian Ernst
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