John I, Duke of Saxony

John I
Johann I. von Sachsen, Engern und Westfalen (de)
Duke of Saxony, Angria and Westphalia

colloquially: Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg

Coat-of-arms of John I
Duchy of Saxony
(joint rule with his younger brother Albert II)
Joint Reign 1260–1282
Predecessor Albert I, Duke of Saxony
Successors Albert II with John I's sons Eric I, John II and Albert III (joint rule)
Born 1249
Died 30 July 1285
Wittenberg upon Elbe
Saxon consort Ingeborg Birgersdotter of Småland
Helen (*ca. 1272–1337*)
Elisabeth (*ca. 1274–1306*)
Eric I
John II
Albert III
Sophia (*?–1319*)
House of Ascania (by birth)
Father Albert I, Duke of Saxony
Mother Helen of Brunswick and Lunenburg
Religion Roman Catholic

Duke John I of Saxony (1249 30 July 1285, Wittenberg upon Elbe) was the elder son of Duke Albert I of Saxony and his third wife Helen of Brunswick and Lunenburg, a daughter of Otto the Child. John and his younger brother Albert II jointly ruled the Duchy of Saxony after the death of their father Albert I in 1260.


In 1269, 1272 and 1282 the brothers gradually divided their governing competences within the three territorially unconnected Saxon areas (one called Land of Hadeln around Otterndorf, another around Lauenburg upon Elbe and the third around Wittenberg), thus preparing a partition. As part of this arrangement John I became Burgrave of Magdeburg in 1269.

In the imperial election in 1273 Albert II represented the jointly ruling brothers. John I resigned in 1282 in favour of his three minor sons Eric I, John II and Albert III. Later John I entered the Franciscan monastery in Wittenberg, becoming its warden (guardian), which position he held until he died. John I's sons and their uncle Albert II continued the joint rule in Saxony, with the sons entering into the government on growing major. The last document, mentioning Albert II with his nephews as Saxon fellow dukes dates back to 1295.[1]

Marriage and issue

In 1270 John married Ingeborg Birgersdotter of Småland (*ca. 1253–30 June 1302*, Mölln), a daughter or grandchild of Birger jarl. They had eight children, among them the following:



  1. Cordula Bornefeld, "Die Herzöge von Sachsen-Lauenburg", in: Die Fürsten des Landes: Herzöge und Grafen von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg [De slevigske hertuger; German], Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen (ed.) on behalf of the Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2008, pp. 373-389, here p. 375. ISBN 978-3-529-02606-5
John I, Duke of Saxony
Born: 1249 Died: 30 July 1285 in Wittenberg
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Albert I, Duke of Saxony
Dukes of Saxony
with his brother Albert II (12601296)
Succeeded by
Albert II,
Eric I,
John II and
Albert III
(joint rule by the uncle and his nephews)
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