Principality of Auersperg

Principality of Auersperg
Fürstentum Auersperg
State of the Holy Roman Empire

Coat of arms

Capital Tengen
Languages Alemannic
Government Princely County
Historical era Early modern era
  To Habsburg Further Austria 1522
   Auersperg raised to princely status 17/18 September 1663
  Joined Council of Princes 1664
to Baden
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Further Austria
Grand Duchy of Baden

The House of Auersperg (Slovene: Auerspergi or Turjaški) is an Austrian noble family with its roots in Carniola (present-day Slovenia). Former ministeriales in the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. They rose to princely status in 1653 and were appointed Dukes of Münsterberg one year later. From 1663 the Princes of Auersperg also held immediate estates around Tengen (in modern Baden-Württemberg, Germany).


House of Auersperg

Turjak Castle (Auersperg Castle)

The former edelfrei family was first mentioned as Ursperch in an 1162 deed issued by Duke Herman II of Carinthia at his residence St. Veit. Their ancestral seat was Turjak Castle in the March of Carniola, according to an engraving on site built in 1067 by one Conrad of Auersperg. The family name may derive from Ursberg in Swabia, their ancestors probably settled in Lower Carniola after the victory of King Otto I of Germany over the Hungarian forces at the 955 Battle of Lechfeld. The Auersperg coat of arms originally displayed an aurochs (German: Auerochs(e) or Ur), they held large estates from Grosuplje in the north down to Velike Lašče and Ribnica, rivalling with the Meinhardiner counts of Görz, the Carinthian Ortenburg dynasty and the Patriarchs of Aquileia.

In the 13th century, the high noble line became extinct and was succeeded by a dynasty of ministeriales. Turjak Castle in the Duchy of Carniola was held by one Pankraz of Auersperg (1441–1496), married with Anne of Frankopan, his son Trojan (1495–1541) served at the Habsburg courts in Ljubljana and the Austrian capital Vienna as a Carniolan chamberlain and regent, Imperial Hofrat and commander during the Ottoman Siege of Vienna in 1529. Trojan's son Herbard VIII von Auersperg (1528–1575), called Hervard Turjaški in Slovene, was Carniolan Landeshauptmann and commander of the Croatian and Slavonian Military Frontier, he played a vital role as a patron of Primož Trubar, Jurij Dalmatin and the Protestant Reformation in the Slovene Lands. He received the noble rank of an Imperial Freiherren (Barons) in 1550, his descendants were elevated to Imperial Counts (Reichsgrafen) in 1630.


Count Johann Weikhard of Auersperg (1615–1677) from 1640 onwards served as a member of the Reichshofrat council, as an envoy of Emperor Ferdinand III in the negotiations preparing the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, and as a tutor to young King Ferdinand IV. Emperor Ferdinand III elevated him to a hereditary Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1653 and enfeoffed him with the Silesian Duchy of Münsterberg in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown the next year. In 1663 Johann Weikhard received in pawn the lands of the extinct Counts of Tengen (Thengen), a Habsburg possession in Further Austria since 1522, and reached Imperial immediacy as Gefürsteter Graf with a seat in the Imperial Diet the next year.

The Duchy of Münsterberg was conquered by Prussia in the course of the First Silesian War with Austria in 1742, nevertheless the Auerspergs at first could retain their possessions as a Silesian state country. In 1791 Charles Joseph of Auersperg finally sold Münsterberg to King Frederick William II of Prussia. The Auersperg territory at Tengen upon the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 was mediatised to the Grand Duchy of Baden.

Princes of Auersperg (1653–present) [1][2]

Coat of arms of the Princes of Auersperg
  • Johann Weikhard, 1st Prince 1653–1677, Count of Auersperg, Duke of Silesia-Münsterberg (1615-1677)
    • Johann Ferdinand, 2nd Prince 1677–1705, Duke of Silesia-Munsterberg (1655-1705)
    • Franz Karl, 3rd Prince 1705–1713, Duke of Silesia-Munsterberg (1660-1713)
      • Heinrich Joseph Johann, 4th Prince 1713-1783, Duke of Silesia-Munsterberg (1697-1783)
        • Karl Josef, 5th Prince 1783–1800, Duke of Silesia-Munsterberg then Duke of Gottschee (1720-1800)
          • Wilhelm I, 6th Prince 1800–1822, Duke of Gottschee (1749-1822)
            • Wilhelm II, 7th Prince 1822-1827, Duke of Gottschee (1782-1827)
              • Karl Wilhelm Philipp, 8th Prince 1827–1890, Duke of Gottschee, Minister-President of Cisleithania 1867-1868 (1814-1890)
              • Prince Adolf of Auersperg, Minister-President of Cisleithania 1871-1879 (1821-1885)
                • Karl, 9th Prince 1890–1927, Duke of Gottschee (1859-1927)
                  • Adolf, Hereditary Prince of Auersperg (1886-1923)
                    • Karl Adolf, 10th Prince 1927-2006, Duke of Gottschee, Princely Count of Wels (1915-2006)
                      • Adolf, 11th Prince 2006–present, Duke of Gottschee, Princely Count of Wels (born 1937)
                        • Prince Carl Adolf (born 1962)
                        • Prince Alexander (born 1963)
                          • Prince Alejandro (born 1993)
                        • Prince Andreas (born 1980)
                      • Prince Ferdinand (born 1939)
                        • Prince Ferdinand (born 1976)
                    • Prince Franz Weikhard of Auersperg (1923-2004), 3 sons, each with son(s)
                  • Karl Alain, 1st Prince of Auersperg-Breunner 1929-1980 (1895-1980), male heirs exist

Other family members


Turjak Castle and all the other Slovenian property was seized by the government of Yugoslavia in 1946. It has never been returned to the head of the family. Other branches however still own property in Austria and Southern Tyrol (Italy):

See also


  1. Marek, Miroslav. "auersperg/auersperg4.html".
  2. Marek, Miroslav. "auersperg/auersperg5.html".
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