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Christian Frederick Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach


Christian Frederick Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach

Christian Frederick Charles Alexander (German: Christian Friedrich Karl Alexander) (24 February 1736 in Ansbach – 5 January 1806 in Benham Castle near Speen) was the last Margrave[1] of the two Franconian principalities Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth, which he sold to the King of Prussia, a fellow member of the House of Hohenzollern.


His parents were Charles William Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Friederike Luise of Prussia, the daughter of King Frederick William I of Prussia and sister of Frederick II of Prussia.

After the sudden death of his elder brother Charles Frederick August on 9 May 1737, "Alexander," as he later called himself, became Crown Prince of the principality. From 1748 to 1759, he studied in Utrecht. As the young "Count of Sayn" (the county of Sayn-Altenkirchen in the Westerwald having been absorbed into the Principality of Ansbach in 1741) he travelled to Turin and Savoy.[2]

On 22 November 1754, in Coburg, Charles Alexander married Caroline Friederike of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1735–1791), daughter of Franz Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Anne Sophie, Princess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.

On 3 August 1757, Charles Alexander became the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. The Residenz of the principality was Ansbach, but Charles Alexander preferred his hunting estate and country seat in Triesdorf. Here, he renovated the "White Castle" for his mistress Hippolyte Clairon, the "Red Castle" for himself, and built the Villa Sandrina for another mistress, "Fräulein Kurz", and the "Round Villa" (Villa Rotunda) for his mistress (and later wife) Elizabeth Craven.

In 1758, Charles Alexander founded the porcelain factory in Ansbach and made ventures into agriculture by importing sheep. In 1769, he acquired the principality of Bayreuth pursuant to the Haus- und Reichsgesetze laws of the House of Hohenzollern.

In 1780, Charles Alexander founded his own bank, the Hochfürstlich-Brandenburg-Anspach-Bayreuthische Hofbanco, out of which later came the Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechselbank ("Bavarian Mortgage and Change Bank", today absorbed into the HypoVereinsbank). He evidently wanted to avoid supporting the Jewish banking houses that were then overseeing his financial affairs, and to keep as much of his revenue as possible in his own hands by setting himself up as a private banker.

One of Charles Alexander's enterprises earned income from hiring auxiliary troops to George III of Great Britain for the Colonies in America. He had nominal command over the "Frankish Army" of 1,644 mercenaries, of whom apparently only 1,183 returned to their homeland in 1783. The Margrave rented further troops to Holland. With these incomes, he paid down the principality's debts, which amounted to 5,000,000 guilders at the time he took office (1757). By the time of his abdication 34 years later, the principality's debt stood at only 1,500,000 guilders.

Charles Alexander's first wife Caroline Friederike died on 18 February 1791 in Unterschwaningen, where she had lived since separating from her husband. On 19 May of the same year, Charles Alexander left Triesdorf for England.

On 13 October or 30 October 1791, in Lisbon, he married Lady Elizabeth Craven (1750–1828), the daughter of the 4th Earl of Berkeley, and widow of the 6th Baron Craven, who had died shortly before.

The end of the Margravate

  Ansbach Bayreuth
1792 Prussia Prussia
1805 France
1806 Bavaria
1807 France
1810 Bavaria
1871 Germany Germany

On 16 January 1791, Charles Alexander sold his Margravate to Prussia. The contract was arranged by Charles August, Baron of Hardenberg, who had been Acting Minister in Ansbach since 1790. Under the terms of the contract, Prussia paid the Margrave as compensation an annual stipend of 300,000 guilders.

On 2 December, in Bordeaux, France, he signed his formal abdication as Margrave.

The Franconian region over which he had ruled changed hands many times. On 15 December 1805, in the first Treaty of Schönbrunn, Prussia ceded the Principality of Ansbach to France in exchange for the Electorate of Hanover; in 1806, Ansbach was acquired by the Kingdom of Bavaria in exchange for the Duchy of Berg, and soon afterwards, the Prussian defeat at Jena on 14 October 1806 resulted in the cession of the Principality of Bayreuth to the French in the Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807.[3] In 1810, Bayreuth was acquired by Bavaria. Finally, in 1871, Bavaria was incorporated into the North German Confederation to form a German Empire under Prussian control.

After abdication

Charles Alexander sailed to England as a private citizen with his second wife, [1]


Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Wilhelm Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise of Saxe-Eisenach
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Frederick Charles, Duke of Württemberg-Winnental
Duchess Christiane Charlotte of Württemberg
Eleonore Juliane of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Christian Frederick Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Frederick I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia
Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
Princess Friederike Luise of Prussia
George I of Great Britain
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Sophia Dorothea of Celle


See also


  • McNaughton, C. Arnold, The Book of Kings: A Royal Genealogy. Garnstone Press, London, 1973. Vol. 1, p. 79.
  • Taddey, Gerhard, Lexikon der deutschen Geschichte, Stuttgart 1998. ISBN 3-520-81303-3
  • Spindler, M. and Kraus A. Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, München 1997. ISBN 3-406-39451-5
  • Störkel, Arno, Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander: Der letzte Markgraf von Ansbach-Bayreuth, Ansbach 1995. ISBN 3-925649-02-6

External links

  • Triesdorf, Residenz des letzten Markgrafen von Ansbach-Bayreuth (German)
  • [2] (German)
  • The
  • Royal Berkshire History: Speen Monument to the Margrave of Anspach

Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Born: 24 February 1736 Died: 5 January 1806
Preceded by
Carl William Frederick
Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Frederick Christian
Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Succeeded by

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