John Günther I, Count of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

John Günther I, Count of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

John Günther I, Count of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Spouse(s) Anna of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst
Noble family House of Schwarzburg
Father Günther XL, Count of Schwarzburg
Mother Elisabeth of Isenburg-Büdingen-Ronneburg
Born (1532-12-20)20 December 1532
Died 28 October 1586(1586-10-28) (aged 53)

John Günther I of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (also known as Hans Günther or Johann Günther; 20 December 1532 in Sondershausen 28 October 1586 in Arnstadt) was the co-ruler of Schwarzburg from 1552 until 1571 and the sole ruler Schwarzburg-Sondershausen from 1571 until his death. He is regarded as the progenitor of the line Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.


Count John Günther I was the son of the Count Günther XL of Schwarzburg (1490–1552), nicknamed Günther the Rich or Günther with the large Jaws, and his wife Elisabeth (d. 14 May 1572), a daughter of Count Philip of Isenburg-Büdingen-Ronneburg.

John Günther I was raised as a Catholic and destined for an ecclesiastical career. After his father's death, however, he converted to Lutheranism. He spent some time at the court of Elector Maurice of Saxony and fought in the Battle of Sievershausen on the side of Maurice against Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. Maurice's successor Augustus confirmed his tariff privilege on the salt trade in Frankenhausen.

After his father's death, John Günther I initially ruled Schwarzburg jointly with his three brothers. He chose the city of Sondershausen as his residence. In 1571, the brothers decided to divide the County. John Günther I's part was named Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, after its capital.

He fought in the Netherlands alongside his eldest brother Günther XLI and distinguished himself during the conquest of Saint-Quentin in 1583.

After his brothers Günther XLI of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt and William I of Schwarzburg-Frankenhausen had died withour male heirs, John Günther I inherited Schwarzburg-Arnstadt and his remaining brother Albert VII inherited Schwarzburg-Frankenhausen.

Marriage and issue

John Gunther married on 16 February 1566 with Anna (1539–1579), daughter of Count Anton I of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst. They had the following children:


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