List of rulers 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. Despite this, the Prussian kings still included the title "Margrave of Brandenburg" in their royal style. From 1871 to 1918 the Hohenzollerns were also German Emperors.

Margraves and Electors of Brandenburg

Ascanian Dynasty
Name Reign Comments
Albert I the Bear 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 the Generous 1184–1205 Son of preceding.
Albert II 1205–1220 Brother.
  • 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: Co-rulers, sons of Otto III:
Reunited Brandenburg
1317-1318: Henry I Lackland, Valdemar I the Great
1318-1319: Valdemar I the Great
1319-1320: Henry II the Child
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.

House of Wittelsbach

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Louis I the BrandenburgerMay 1315 1323-135118 September 1361Margraviate of BrandenburgMargaret of Denmark
no children

Margaret, Countess of Tyrol
10 February 1342
four children
In 1351 his brothers Louis and Otto gave up their inheritance in Bavaria, in exchange for the Electoral dignity in Brandenburg.
Louis II the Roman7 May 1328 1351-135617 May 1365Margraviate of BrandenburgCunigunde of Poland
before 1349
no children

Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
no children
Elevated in 1356 by the Holy Roman Emperor as First Elector of Brandenburg.
Otto VII the Lazy1340/421365-137315 November 1379Electorate of BrandenburgCatherine of Bohemia
19 March 1366
no children
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.

House of Hohenzollern

Partitions of Brandenburg under Hohenzollern rule

Electorate of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
(under Luxemburg rule)
       Margraviate of Brandenburg
Electorate of Brandenburg and Margraviate of Brandenburg-Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
(1st creation)
       Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
(2nd creation)
       Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
(3rd creation)
       Margraviate of Brandenburg-Küstrin
       Margraviate of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
(changed seat from Kulmbach to Bayreuth)
Electorate of Brandenburg, Duchy of Prussia and Margraviate of Brandenburg-Brandenburg
       Margraviate of Brandenburg-Schwedt
Electorate of Brandenburg and Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

Table of rulers

(Note: Here the numbering of the princes is the same for all principalities, as all were titled Margraves of Brandenburg, despite of the different parts of land and its particular numbering of the rulers. The princes are numbered by the year of their succession.)

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Frederick I
Friedrich I
21 September 1371 30 April 1415 - 20 September 1440 20 September 1440 Electorate of Brandenburg Elisabeth of Bavaria-Landshut
18 September 1401
ten children
Originally Burgrave of Nuremberg as Frederick VI. Appointed by King Sigismund in 1415 and enfeoffed in 1417.
1417-1426Margraviate of BrandenburgIn spite of being granted with the Electorate in 1415, the Margraviate was only given to him in 1417, which he abdicated to his son in 1426. In 1420 joined all his ancestors' Nurembergian lands with Brandenburg.
John VI the Alchemist 1406 1426-1440 16 November 1464 Margraviate of Brandenburg Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg
four children
Received the Margraviate of Brandenburg from his father. However, after the latter's death, Brandenburg was redivided, and from then on retained Kulmbach. Abdicated 1457.
1440-1457Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
Frederick II Irontooth
Friedrich II Eisenzahn
19 November 141320 September 1440 - 10 February 147110 February 1471Margraviate of Brandenburg and Electorate of BrandenburgCatherine of Saxony
11 June 1441
three children
Reunited definitely the Margraviate and the Electorate of Brandenburg; however, his father gave to his brothers the lands of Ansbach and Kulmbach.
Albert IV Achilles
Albrecht Achilles
9 November 1414 1440-1457 11 March 1486 Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach Margaret of Baden
four children

Anna of Saxony
12 November 1458
thirteen children
Received Ansbach after his father's death. In 1457 inherited Kulmbach from his brother John. On the death of his brother n 1471, became Elector.
1457-1486Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
10 February 1471 - 11 March 1486Electorate of Brandenburg
John VII Cicero
Johann Cicero
2 August 145511 March 1486 - 9 January 14999 January 1499Electorate of BrandenburgMargaret of Thuringia
15 August 1476
six children
Eldest son of Albert Achilles.
Sigismund27 September 14681486-149526 February 1495Margraviate of Brandenburg-KulmbachUnmarriedReceived Kulmbach after his father's death. Left no descendants, and Kulmbach returned to Ansbach.
Frederick III the Elder 8 May 1460 1486-1495 4 April 1536 Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach Sophia of Poland
14 February 1479
Frankfurt (Oder)
seventeen children
Received Ansbach after his father's death. In 1495 inherited the land of his brother. In 1515 the lands were separated again.
1495-1515Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
1515-1536Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Joachim I Nestor21 February 14849 January 1499 - 11 July 153511 July 1535Electorate of BrandenburgElizabeth of Denmark
10 April 1502
five children
Casimir I27 December 14811515-152721 September 1527Margraviate of Brandenburg-KulmbachSusanna of Bavaria
25 August 1518
five children
Eldest son of Frederick III, received Kulmbach in his father's lifetime.
George of Brandenburg-Ansbach (regent)4 March 14841527-154127 December 1543Margraviate of Brandenburg-KulmbachBeatrice de Frangepan
21 January 1509
no children

Hedwig of Münsterberg-Oels
9 January 1525
two children

Emilie of Saxony
25 August 1533
four children
Heir of Frederick III and brother of Casimir, became regent on behalf of his nephew, in 1527.
Albert V Alcibiades the Warlike28 March 15221541-15578 January 1557Margraviate of Brandenburg-KulmbachUnmarriedLeft no descendants, and Kulmbach returned to Ansbach.
Joachim II Hector13 January 150511 July 1535 - 3 January 15713 January 1571Electorate of BrandenburgMagdalena of Saxony
6 November 1524
six children

Hedwig of Poland
29 August/1 September 1535
six children
First Protestant Elector of Brandenburg.
John VIII3 August 15131535-157113 January 1571Margraviate of Brandenburg-KüstrinCatherine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
11 November 1537
two children
Son of Elector Joachim I. The Margraviate of Küstrin was created for him. After his death without male descendants, Küstrin was annexed again to the Electorate.
George I the Pious4 March 14841536-154327 December 1543Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachBeatrice de Frangepan
21 January 1509
no children

Hedwig of Münsterberg-Oels
9 January 1525
two children

Emilie of Saxony
25 August 1533
four children
Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg (regent)13 January 15051543-c.15483 January 1571Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachMagdalena of Saxony
6 November 1524
six children

Hedwig of Poland
29 August/1 September 1535
six children
Regents on behalf of George I's son.
John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (regent)30 June 15031543-15473 March 1554Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachSibylle of Cleves
9 February 1527
four children
Maurice, Elector of Saxony (regent)13 January 15051547-c.15483 January 1571Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachAgnes of Hesse
9 January 1541
two children
Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse (regent)13 November 15041543-c.154831 March 1567Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachChristine of Saxony
11 December 1523
ten children

Margarethe von der Saale
14 March 1540
(bigamous and morganatic)
nine children
George Frederick I the Elder 5 April 1539 c.1548-1557 25 April 1603 Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach Elisabeth of Brandenburg-Küstrin
26 December 1558
no children

Sophie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
3 May 1579
tno children
In 1557 reunited Kulmbach to Ansbach once more. Left no descendants, and the Margraviates passed to sons of the Elector John George.
1557-1603Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
John George
Johann Georg
11 September 15253 January 1571 - 8 January 15988 January 1598Electorate of BrandenburgSophie of Legnica
15 February 1545
one child

Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach
12 February 1548
eleven children

Elisabeth of Anhalt-Zerbst
6 October 1577
eleven children
Joachim Frederick
Joachim Friedrich
27 January 15468 January 1598 - 18 July 160818 July 1608Electorate of BrandenburgCatherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin
8 January 1570
eleven children

Eleanor of Prussia
2 November 1603
one child
Joachim Ernest22 June 15831603-16257 March 1625Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachSophie of Solms-Laubach
three children
Son of Elector John George. Received Ansbach
Christian30 January 15811603-165530 May 1655Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthMaria of Prussia
29 April 1604
nine children
Son of Elector John George. Received Kulmbach. In 1604 moved the capital of the Margraviate to Bayreuth. From 1604 on, Brandenburg-Kulmbach changed its name to Brandenburg-Bayreuth.
John Sigismund
Johann Sigismund
8 November 157218 July 1608 - 3 November 161923 December 1619Electorate of BrandenburgAnna of Prussia
30 October 1594
eight children
Duke of Prussia from 1618.
George William I
Georg Wilhelm
13 November 15953 November 1619 - 1 December 16401 December 1640Electorate of BrandenburgElizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
24 July 1616
four children
His reign was marked by ineffective governance during the Thirty Years' War. Also Duke of Prussia.
Frederick IV1 May 16161625-16346 September 1634Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachUnmarriedLeft no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Albert VI18 September 16201634-166722 October 1667Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachHenriette Louise of Württemberg-Mömpelgard
31 August 1642
three children

Sophie Margarete of Oettingen-Oettingen
15 October 1651
five children

Christine of Baden-Durlach
6 August 1665
no children
Frederick William I the Great Elector
Friedrich Wilhelm
16 February 16201 December 1640 - 29 April 168829 April 1688Electorate of BrandenburgLouise Henriette of Nassau
7 December 1646
The Hague
six children

Sophia Dorothea of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
13 July 1668
seven children
Also Duke of Prussia.
Christian Ernest6 August 16441655-171220 May 1712Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthErdmuthe Sophie of Saxony
29 October 1662
no children

Sofie Louise of Württemberg
8 February 1671
six children

Elisabeth Sophie of Brandenburg
30 March 1703
nine children
Son of Erdmann August, son of Christian I.
John Frederick18 October 16541667-168622 March 1686Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachJohanna Elisabeth of Baden-Durlach
26 January 1673
five children

Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
4 November 1681
three children
Appointed regency (1686-1692)
Christian Albert18 September 16751686-169216 October 1692)Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachUnmarriedDied as a minor; he was succeeded by his brother.
Frederick V
Friedrich I
11 July 165729 April 1688 - 25 February 171325 February 1713Electorate of BrandenburgElisabeth Henriette of Hesse-Kassel
13 August 1679
one child

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
8 October 1684
two children

Sophia Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
28 November 1708
no children
Also Duke of Prussia. In 1701 became the first King in Prussia, as Frederick I.
George Frederick II3 May 16781692-170329 March 1703Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachUnmarriedDied without descendants; he was succeeded by his brother.
Philip William19 May 16691692-171119 December 1711Margraviate of Brandenburg-SchwedtJohanna Charlotte of Anhalt-Dessau
25 January 1699
six children
Son of Elector Frederick William I. The Margraviate of Schwedt was created for him.
William Frederick8 January 16861703-17237 January 1723Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachChristiane Charlotte of Württemberg-Winnental
28 August 1709
three children
Frederick William II17 November 17001711-17714 March 1771Margraviate of Brandenburg-SchwedtSophia Dorothea of Prussia
10 November 1734
five children
Left no male descendants. The title passed to his brother, Frederick Henry.
George William II26 November 16781712-172618 December 1726Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthSophie of Saxe-Weissenfels
16 October 1699
five children
Frederick William III the Soldier-King
Friedrich Wilhelm I
14 August 168825 February 1713 - 31 May 174031 May 1740Electorate of BrandenburgSophia Dorothea of Hanover
28 November 1706
fourteen children
Also King of Prussia as Frederick William I.
Christiane Charlotte of Württemberg-Winnental (regent)20 August 16941723-172925 December 1729Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachWilliam Frederick
28 August 1709
three children
Charles William Frederick the Wild Margrave12 May 17121729-17573 August 1757Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachFriederike Luise of Prussia
30 May 1729
two children
George Frederick Charles30 June 16881726-173517 May 1735Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthPrincess Dorothea of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
17 April 1709
five children
Frederick VI10 May 17111735-176326 February 1763Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthWilhelmine of Prussia
17 April 1709
one child

Sophie Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
20 September 1759
no children
Left no male descendants; the title passe to Frederick Christian, from a collateral Bayreuth line.
Frederick VII the Great
Friedrich II
24 January 171231 May 1740 - 17 August 178617 August 1786Electorate of BrandenburgElisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern
12 June 1733
no children
Also King of Prussia as Frederick II. King in Prussia to 1772; after annexations of Polish Prussian territory, "King of Prussia". Left no descendants. The title passed to his nephew, Frederick William II of Prussia.
Charles Alexander24 February 17361757-17695 January 1806Margraviate of Brandenburg-AnsbachFrederica Caroline of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
22 November 1754
no children

Elizabeth Craven
13/30 October 1791
no children
In 1769 reunited both Margraviates of Ansbach and Bayreuth.
Frederick Christian17 July 17081763-176920 January 1769Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthVictoria Charlotte of Anhalt-Zeitz-Hoym
26 April 1732
two children
Great-grandson of Christian I and cousin of his predecessors. Left no male descendants; Bayreuth was reunited to Ansbach.
Charles Alexander24 February 17361769-17915 January 1806Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Margraviate of Brandenburg-BayreuthFrederica Caroline of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
22 November 1754
no children

Elizabeth Craven
13/30 October 1791
no children
In 1791 sold both Margraviates to the Kingdom of Prussia.
Frederick Henry21 August 17091771-178812 December 1788Margraviate of Brandenburg-SchwedtLeopoldine Marie of Anhalt-Dessau
13 February 1739
two children
Left no male descendants. Schwedt went back to the Electorate.
Frederick William IV
Friedrich Wilhelm II
25 September 174417 August 1786 - 16 November 179716 November 1797Electorate of BrandenburgElisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
14 July 1765
(annulled 18 April 1769)
one child

Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt
14 July 1769
eight children

Julie von Voss
7 April 1787
(morganatic and bigamous)
no children

Sophie von Dönhoff
11 April 1790
(morganatic and bigamous)
two children
Nephew of Frederick the Great, as son of Augustus William, his brother. Also King of Prussia as Frederick William II.
Frederick William V
Friedrich Wilhelm III
3 August 177016 November 1797 - 6 August 18067 June 1840Electorate of BrandenburgLouise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
24 December 1793
ten children

Auguste von Harrach
9 November 1824
no children
King of Prussia (as Frederick William III) 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.

Titular Margraves of Brandenburg after 1806

This includes Kings of Prussia with the title of Margrave of Brandenburg (1806–1918) and pretenders to the throne of Prussia (1918–present)

MargravePortraitLifespanReign startReign end
Frederick William III
Friedrich Wilhelm III
3 August 1770 – 7 June 1840 6 August 1806 7 June 1840
Frederick William IV
Friedrich Wilhelm IV
15 October 1795 – 2 January 1861 7 June 1840 2 January 1861
William I
Wilhelm I
22 March 1797 – 9 March 1888 2 January 1861 9 March 1888
Frederick III
Friedrich III
18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888 9 March 1888 15 June 1888
William II
Wilhelm II
27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941 15 June 1888 Prussian monarchy abolished on 28 November 1918
4 June 1941
William III
Wilhelm III
6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951 4 June 1941 20 July 1951
Louis Ferdinand I
Ludwig Ferdinand I
9 November 1907 – 26 September 1994 20 July 1951 26 September 1994
George Frederick I
Georg Friedrich I
10 June 1976 – present 26 September 1994 Incumbent

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)


History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
Old Prussians
pre-13th century
Lutician federation
983–12th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806) {HRE)
(Bohemia 1373–1415)
Teutonic Order
(Polish fief 1466-1525)
Duchy of Prussia
1525–1618 (1701)
(Polish fief 1525-1657)
Royal (Polish) Prussia (Poland)
Kingdom in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Free State of Prussia (Germany)
Klaipėda Region
1920–1939 / 1945–present
Recovered Territories
1947–1952 / 1990–present
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


  1. In other Prussian provinces the same office used to be called Landeshauptmann (about in English: land captain). Cf. article: "Landesdirektor", in: Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 vols.; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 151928–1935; Bd. 11 (1932), p. 71.

See also

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