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  #1  
Old 02-14-2008, 08:18 PM
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The Duchy of Courland 1561-1795

Thought maybe this ought to be in the Russian area but might be better suited here. Read a very cool book about 10 years ago about the last Duchess and her daughters. She had 4 I believe, 1 was the lover of Metternich and the other, The Duchess of Dino was the lover of Tallyrand.
The Duchy of Courland, 1561-1795
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:24 PM
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Isn't that what is now Latvia? Courland?
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:08 PM
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Yes, it is. They let it go. It was an interesting little piece of property and their Duchess was well educated as were her girls. I should find some pics for this.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:17 PM
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The last Duke of Courland was Ferdinand Kettler but he was denied the post because he lived in Danzig and not 'Courland'. Catherine the Great put in a puppet Duke called Ernst Biron but it'd be interesting to trace the line and see who would be reigning today. Then again, the Duchy doesn't exist anymore so it's a Russia situation.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:43 PM
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Wasn't the last duke of Courland Duke Peter? I believe he had to hand over his Duchy to the Russians int he late 18th century. He had several daughters, the eldest one, Wilhelmine became rather notorious for her affairs. Even Metternich fell for her graces and commented later 'She sins seven times a day and loves as often as others dine'.

Wilhelmine did not get Courland indeed but she did get the Duchy of Pagan. Later this title would go to a younger sister who married a Hohenzollern-Hechtingen.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:04 PM
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Well, this is where it's confusing. Before the Duchy of Courland was the Livonia Confederation. Before that was the Kingdom of Semigalle which is modern Zemgale in Latvia. The only known ruler of this Kingdom was King Vesthardus who refused to accept Christianity and so fought against the invasion of the crusaders of the Livonian Order. He lost and Semigallia and the territory of Courland were teamed together as the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia which was controlled by the Grand Duke of Lithuania. He appointed the last Master of the Livionian Order as first Duke of Courland and Semigallia so even the claim of the first Duke is a shaky one. This chap was called Gotthard Kettler and it's through him that it passed down the line to Ferdinand Kettler via a chap called Jacob I believe. Ferdinand wasn't living in the Duchy (thus making his claim void) and Catherine the Great saw her chance and put in Ernst Biron. His son Peter inherited the Dukedom and he signed it away to Russia. So the Tsars became Dukes of Courland.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
Wasn't the last duke of Courland Duke Peter? I believe he had to hand over his Duchy to the Russians int he late 18th century. He had several daughters, the eldest one, Wilhelmine became rather notorious for her affairs. Even Metternich fell for her graces and commented later 'She sins seven times a day and loves as often as others dine'.

Wilhelmine did not get Courland indeed but she did get the Duchy of Pagan. Later this title would go to a younger sister who married a Hohenzollern-Hechtingen.
There were 4 daughters, the last one, who was the Duchess of Dino (my fav. since that's my son's name) who's paternity was in question. She married Tallyrand's son? Or nephew? But had an affair with Tallyrand.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:24 AM
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There were 4 daughters, the last one, who was the Duchess of Dino (my fav. since that's my son's name) who's paternity was in question. She married Tallyrand's son? Or nephew? But had an affair with Tallyrand.
The Duchess of Dino (Dorothea) was married to the nephew of Talleyrand, Edmond de Talleyrand-Périgord. Her biological father is Alexander Batowski, a Polish envoy to the Duchy of Courland.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
Wasn't the last duke of Courland Duke Peter? I believe he had to hand over his Duchy to the Russians int he late 18th century. He had several daughters, the eldest one, Wilhelmine became rather notorious for her affairs. Even Metternich fell for her graces and commented later 'She sins seven times a day and loves as often as others dine'.

Wilhelmine did not get Courland indeed but she did get the Duchy of Pagan. Later this title would go to a younger sister who married a Hohenzollern-Hechtingen.
Wilhelmine did become Duchess of Sagan. The duchy succession is unique, because it can be passed to female and male. The title did pass on to her sister, Pauline the Princess of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. But it immediately went to Dorothea (Duke Peter acknowledge her as his own offspring) and not the third daughter, Johanna Katharina because Duke Peter disowned her after having an affair with an Italian musician and almost ran away with him, but the duke found her.

They are interesting sisters
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:40 AM
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Their mother, Duchess Dorothea of Courland, had many lovers and most of her lovers also become her daughters' lovers !
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:04 AM
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Their mother, Duchess Dorothea of Courland, had many lovers and most of her lovers also become her daughters' lovers !
Probably the mother was into younger men and the daughters preferred their lovers a bit on the older side. So this could very well work out fine for all concerned..
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:54 PM
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The duchy succession is unique, because it can be passed to female and male.
The Duchy of Sagan (in Polish, księstwo żagańskie) was not sovereign in any way and it was rather a hereditary estate. Those who possesed Sagan were called Dukes of Sagan because historically they were successors of the Dukes of Silesia from the Polish House of Piast, who ruled the region divided in many small duchies until the 16th or 17th century. One of the historical Silesian duchies was Sagan and after its last ruler died and his line totally died out, it passed to the Bohemian Crown, of which the former Dukes were vassals. So, the so-called Duchy fell to the Crown and it became a semi-feudal property which can be given and sold. Those who held Sagan used the title of Dukes of that place but it was just a noble title of the Kingdom. And because the Courland princesses were not successors of the Piast Dukes of Sagan, they were just heirs to their father's property. Thus, it could pass to them.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:59 AM
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The Duchy of Sagan (in Polish, księstwo żagańskie) was not sovereign in any way and it was rather a hereditary estate. Those who possesed Sagan were called Dukes of Sagan because historically they were successors of the Dukes of Silesia from the Polish House of Piast, who ruled the region divided in many small duchies until the 16th or 17th century. One of the historical Silesian duchies was Sagan and after its last ruler died and his line totally died out, it passed to the Bohemian Crown, of which the former Dukes were vassals. So, the so-called Duchy fell to the Crown and it became a semi-feudal property which can be given and sold. Those who held Sagan used the title of Dukes of that place but it was just a noble title of the Kingdom. And because the Courland princesses were not successors of the Piast Dukes of Sagan, they were just heirs to their father's property. Thus, it could pass to them.
Thank you about the information since what I know is King Fredrick William III granted that special succession to the Courland princesses.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:12 AM
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Probably the mother was into younger men and the daughters preferred their lovers a bit on the older side. So this could very well work out fine for all concerned..
It is just a little bit strange . But probably back then, it was considered fine to do by people as culture and habits change all the time.

Note: I do not mean to offend anyone and I am not against other opinions as everyone deserves to give one. I am just explaining my post further on the fear of offending anyone.Thank you.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:43 PM
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Duke Jacob Kettler established the merchant fleet of the Duchy of Courland.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:38 PM
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My goodness this is indeed an interesting thread! Interesting history! Although the duchy no longer exists, I would assume that there is still someone out there who is a descendant? Like the ottomans.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:39 PM
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Do we have any pictures?
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:53 PM
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The Duchy of Courland 1561-1795

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Originally Posted by USCtrojan View Post
My goodness this is indeed an interesting thread! Interesting history! Although the duchy no longer exists, I would assume that there is still someone out there who is a descendant? Like the ottomans.

There might be some matrilinial Kettler descendants out there somewhere but I know that the House of Biron that followed them as Dukes of Courland is still extant.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:39 PM
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In 1618 Duke Friedrich was elected sole Duke of Courland.
He approved a new constitution.
The constitution, Formula Regiminis, stated that The Duke cannot implement decisions without the prior consent of the Duchy's council.
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