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Margrave of Brandenburg

This article lists the Margraves and Electors of Brandenburg during the period of time that Brandenburg was a constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Mark, or March, of Brandenburg was one of the primary constituent states of the Holy Roman Empire. It was created in 1157 as the Margraviate of Brandenburg by Albert the Bear, Margrave of the Northern March. In 1356, by the terms of the Golden Bull of Charles IV, the Margrave of Brandenburg was given the permanent right to participate in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor with the title of Elector (German: Kurfürst).

The early rulers came from several different dynasties, but from 1415 Brandenburg and its successor states were ruled by the House of Hohenzollern for over 500 years. From 1618 onward, Brandenburg was ruled in personal union with the Duchy of Prussia. The Hohenzollerns raised Prussia to a kingdom as the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, and from then on Brandenburg was de facto treated as part of the kingdom even though it was legally still part of the Holy Roman Empire. The titles of Margrave of Brandenburg and Elector of Brandenburg were abolished along with the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and Brandenburg was formally integrated into Prussia. From 1871 to 1918 the Hohenzollerns were also the German Emperors.

Margraves of Brandenburg

Ascanian Dynasty
Name Reign Comments
Albert I 1157–1170 Ruler of the Nordmark from 1134. Called "Albert the Bear".
Otto I 1170–1184 Son of Albert I. Ruled together with his father from 1144.
Otto II 1184–1205 Son of preceding.
Albert II 1205–1220 Brother.
  • John I
  • Otto III
  • 1220–1266
  • 1220-1267
Co-rulers, sons of Albert II.
From 1266 to 1319, Brandenburg was held by the two lines of Brandenburg-Stendal and Brandenburg-Salzwedel, all of whom jointly shared the title of Margrave.
Brandenburg-Stendal Brandenburg-Salzwedel

Co-rulers, sons of John I:

  • John II, 1266-1282
  • Conrad, 1266-1304
  • Otto IV, 1266-1308
  • Henry I, 1266-1318

Co-rulers, sons of Otto III:

  • John III, 1267-1268
  • Otto V, 1267-1298
  • Otto VI, 1267-1291
  • Albert III, 1267-1300


  • Waldemar, 1308-1319, son of Conrad
  • Henry II, 1319-1320, son of Henry I


  • Herman, 1298-1308 (alone from 1300)
  • John V, 1308-1317
After the extinction of the Ascanian dynasty in 1320, Brandenburg came under the control of the Emperor Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach, who granted Brandenburg to his eldest son, Louis V of Bavaria.
Wittelsbach Dynasty
Name Reign Comments
Louis I "the Brandenburger" 1323–51 Cousin of Henry II, Son of Emperor Louis IV.
Louis II "the Roman". 1351–56 Half-brother of preceding; named Elector in 1356.

Electors of Brandenburg

Wittelsbach Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
Louis II
Ludwig II
10 January 1356 17 May 1365 First Elector of Brandenburg. Called "the Roman"
Otto VII 17 May 1365 18 August 1373 Brother of preceding. Co-ruler of Brandenburg with his brother from 1351, but as a minor (b. 1346) took no part in administration until his brother's death. Abdicated 1373 but retained Electoral title. Died 1379.
Luxemburg Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
2 October 1373 29 November 1378 Emperor Charles IV forced the last Wittelsbach Elector to abdicate, and then installed his own son, Wenceslaus. As Wenceslaus was still a minor (b. 1361), the Emperor administered the margraviate for him.
Sigismund 29 November 1378 1388 Younger brother of Wenceslaus; took control of Brandenburg on his brother's ascension as King of Germany and Bohemia. Gave up Brandenburg to his cousin Jobst as security for a substantial loan.
Jobst 1388 16 January 1411 Sigismund's first cousin, nephew of Charles IV. Elected as German King in 1410 in opposition to Sigismund, but died very shortly afterwards.
Sigismund 16 January 1411 30 April 1415 Following Jobst's death, Sigismund regained control of Brandenburg and was elected undisputed King of Germany.
Hohenzollern Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
Frederick I
Friedrich I
30 April 1415 20 September 1440 Originally Burgrave of Nuremberg. Appointed by King Sigismund in 1415 and enfeoffed in 1417. His eldest son John the Alchemist administered Brandenburg as Margrave from 1425 to 1437, but Frederick retained the Electorship.
Frederick II
Friedrich II
20 September 1440 10 February 1471 Son of Frederick I. Called "Irontooth" (German: Eisenzahn). Administered Brandenburg from 1437 and became Elector on his father's death in 1440.
Albert III Achilles
Albrecht III Achilles
10 February 1471 11 March 1486 Brother.
John Cicero
Johann Cicero
11 March 1486 9 January 1499 Son.
Joachim I Nestor 9 January 1499 11 July 1535 Son. His younger brother, Albert was co-Margrave 1499-1513, but only Joachim was Elector.
Joachim II Hector 11 July 1535 3 January 1571 Son. First Protestant Elector of Brandenburg.
John George
Johann Georg
3 January 1571 8 January 1598 Son.
Joachim Frederick
Joachim Friedrich
8 January 1598 28 July 1608 Son.
John Sigismund
Johann Sigismund
28 July 1608 3 November 1619 Son. Duke of Prussia from 1618.
George William
Georg Wilhelm
3 November 1619 1 December 1640 Son. Ruled during the Thirty Years' War. Also Duke of Prussia.
Frederick William
Friedrich Wilhelm
1 December 1640 9 May 1688 Son. Called "the Great Elector". Also Duke of Prussia.
Frederick III
Friedrich III
9 May 1688 25 February 1713 Son. "King in Prussia" as Frederick I from 1701; from here the ordinals reset
Frederick William I
Friedrich Wilhelm I
25 February 1713 31 May 1740 Son. King in Prussia. Called "the Soldier-King".
Frederick II
Friedrich II
31 May 1740 17 August 1786 Son. King in Prussia to 1772; after annexations of Polish Prussian territory, "King of Prussia". Called "Frederick the Great".
Frederick William II
Friedrich Wilhelm II
17 August 1786 16 November 1797 Nephew. King of Prussia.
Frederick William III
Friedrich Wilhelm III
16 November 1797 6 August 1806 Son. King of Prussia and last Elector of Brandenburg. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, after which Frederick William ruled as independent King of Prussia (including Brandenburg) to his death in 1840.

For further rulers of Brandenburg as part of Prussia, see List of rulers of Prussia.

Upper Presidents of Brandenburg

In 1815 Brandenburg was constituted as the Prussian Province of Brandenburg without a sovereign ruler, but with Upper Presidents appointed by the central Prussian government. The upper president carried out central prerogatives on the provincial level and supervised the implementation of central policy on the lower levels of administration.

  • 1815–1824: Georg Friedrich Christian von Heydebreck (1765–1828)
  • 1825–1840: Friedrich Magnus von Bassewitz (1773–1858)
  • 1840–1842: vacancy
  • 1842–1848: August Werner von Meding (1792–1871)
  • 1848–1849: Robert von Patow (1804–1890), per pro
  • 1849–1850: vacancy
  • 1849–1850: August Hermann Klemens Freiherr Wolff von Metternich (1803–1872), per pro
  • 1850–1858: Eduard Heinrich von Flottwell (1786–1865)
  • 1859–1862: Eduard Heinrich von Flottwell (1786–1865)
  • 1862: Werner Ludolph Erdmann von Selchow (1806–1884)
  • 1862–1879: Gustav Wilhelm von Jagow (1813–1879)
  • 1879–1899: Heinrich von Achenbach (1829–1899)
  • 1899–1905: Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (1856–1921)
  • 1905–1909: August von Trott zu Solz (1855–1938)
  • 1909–1910: Friedrich Wilhelm von Loebell (1855–1931)
  • 1910–1914: Alfred von Conrad (1852–1914)
  • 1914–1917: Rudolf von der Schulenburg (1860–1930)
  • 1917–1919: Friedrich Wilhelm von Loebell (1855–1931)
  • 1919–1933: Adolf Maier (1871–1963)
  • 1933–1936: Wilhelm Kube (1887–1943)
  • 1937–1945: Emil Stürtz (1892–1945), since 1936 per pro

Land Directors of Brandenburg

Since 1875, with the strengthening of self-rule within the provinces, the urban and rural counties elected representatives for the provincial diets (Provinziallandtage). These parliaments legislated within the competences transferred to the provinces. The provincial diet of Brandenburg elected a provincial executive body (government), the provincial committee (Provinzialausschuss), and a head of province, the land director (Landesdirektor).[1] Self-rule was abolished under the Nazi dictatorship.

  • 1876–1896: Albert Erdmann Karl Gerhard von Levetzow (1827–1903), German Conservative Party
  • 1896–1912: Otto Karl Gottlob von Manteuffel (1844–1913), German Conservative Party
  • 1912–1930: Joachim von Winterfeldt-Menkin (1865–1945)
  • 1930–1933: Hugo Swart (1885–1952)


Main article: Brandenburg
Northern March
pre–12th century
Old Prussians
pre–13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
Duchy of Prussia
Royal (Polish) Prussia
Kingdom in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
Klaipėda Region
1920–1939 / 1945–present
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
Kaliningrad Oblast

After the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, Brandenburg, which had previously been merely a province of Prussia, re-emerged as a German Land.

Prime Minister of Brandenburg, 1945-1952

After being abolished in a reorganization of the territories administered by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), the Land Brandenburg was restored in the prelude to German unification in 1990.

Ministers President of Brandenburg, 1990 to date


See also

  • List of rulers of Prussia
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