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Gotthard von Kettler

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Gotthard von Kettler

Gotthard Kettler
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Reign 1561–1587
Born (1517-02-02)February 2, 1517
Birthplace Anröchte, Kreis Soest
Died May 17, 1587(1587-05-17) (aged 70)
Place of death Mitau
Successor Friedrich Kettler
Consort Anna, Duchess of Mecklenburg
Issue Friedrich Kettler
Wilhelm Kettler
Royal House Kettler
Father Gotthard Kettler zu Melrich
Mother Sophie of Nesselrode
Religious beliefs Lutheranism

Gotthard von Kettler (also Ketteler, German: Gotthard Kettler, Herzog von Kurland; 2 February 1517 – 17 May 1587) was the last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia.

Biography

Kettler was born near Anröchte, Kreis Soest, of an old Westphalian noble family and the ninth child of the German knight Gotthard Kettler zu Melrich (mentioned 1527–1556) and his wife Sophie of Nesselrode. Gotthard's older brother Wilhelm Kettler was bishop of Münster from 1553 to 1557.

In 1554 Gotthard Kettler became Komtur of Dünaburg,[1] and in 1557 Komtur of Fellin. In 1559, during the Livonian War (1558–1582) he succeed to Wilhelm von Fürstenberg as a Master of the Teutonic Order in Livonia. When the Livonian Confederation came under increasing pressure from Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Kettler converted to Lutheranism and secularised Semigallia and Courland. On the basis of the Treaty of Vilnius (28 November 1561), he created the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia as a vassal state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was soon merged into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[2]

On 11 March 1566 Kettler married Anna, Duchess of Mecklenburg, daughter of Duke Albert VII of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and Princess Anna of Brandenburg.[3] He died on 17 May 1587 in Mitau (Polish Mitawa, Latvian Jelgava).

Kettler died at Mitau, aged 70. His heirs ruled in Courland until 1737.

References

Sources

  • Grusemann, Hans, 1990. Die Frühgeschichte des Geschlechts Ketteler (Kettler), 12.-16. Jahrhundert. Soest.
  • Schwennicke, Ditleff. Europäische Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten (Neue Folge), Band VIII, Tafel 91 (Die Ketteler).
  • Salomon Henning's Chronicle of Courland and Livonia, translated and edited by Jerry C. Smith, William Urban and Ward Jones
  • Heinz Matthiesen (1964) (in German). "full text online)
Preceded by
Title created
Duke of Courland
1561–1587
Succeeded by
Friedrich Kettler

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