Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg
Herzogtum Sachsen-Merseburg
State of the Holy Roman Empire
Secundogeniture of Saxony
Flag Coat of arms
Capital Merseburg
Government Duchy
   1657–1691 Christian I
  1691–1694 Christian II
  1694 Christian III Maurice
  1604–1731 Maurice Wilhelm
  1731–1738 Heinrich
Historical era Early modern Europe
  Death of Elector John George I 1656
   Split off from Saxony 1657
   Fell back to Saxony 1738
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Electorate of Saxony
Electorate of Saxony

The Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg was a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, with Merseburg as its capital. It existed from 1656/57 to 1738 and was owned by an Albertine secundogeniture of the Saxon House of Wettin.


Merseburg Castle

The Wettin Elector John George I of Saxony stipulated in his will dated 20 July 1652 that his three younger sons should receive secundogeniture principalities. After the elector died on 8 October 1656, his sons concluded the "friend-brotherly main treaty" in the Saxon residence of Dresden on 22 April 1657 and a further treaty in 1663 delineating their territories and sovereign rights definitively. The treaties created three duchies: Saxe-Zeitz, Saxe-Weissenfels, and Saxe-Merseburg.

Prince Christian, the third oldest son, received, among other properties, the estates of the former Bishopric of Merseburg, secularised in 1565: the castles, cities and districts of Merseburg, Plagwitz, Rückmarsdorf, Delitzsch (with Delitzsch Castle), Bad Lauchstädt, Schkeuditz, Lützen, Bitterfeld, Zörbig, the County of Brehna as well as the Margraviate of Lower Lusatia, including the cities and castles of Lübben, Doberlug, Finsterwalde, Döbern, Forst and Guben. Many of these territories had belonged to the Diocese of Merseburg until it was secularized in 1562.

The area of Saxe-Merseburg stretched to the western city limits of Leipzig. The customs station was in what is now the inner city district of Lindenau.

After the death of the last male heir of the Saxon branch line in 1738, the Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg fell back to the Electorate of Saxony.


Merseburg in 1650.

Cadet lines

To supply his three younger sons with incomes befitting a duke, Duke Christian I created apanages for his younger sons during his lifetime. These territories remained dependent on the main line and their sovereignty was severely restricted. They were named after their owner's residences and disappeared with the death of their first duke, because none of them fathered surviving male heirs. Before it died out, the Saxe-Merseburg-Spremberg line inherited all of Saxe-Merseburg.


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