The Elector of the Palatinate (German: Kurfürst von der Pfalz) ruled the Palatinate of the Rhine in the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire from 915 to 1803.

Counts Palatine of Lotharingia 915–1085Edit

The Palatinate emerged from the County Palatine of Lotharingia which came into existence in the 10th century.

House of EzzonenEdit

During the 11th century, the Palatinate was dominated by the Ezzonian dynasty, which governed several counties on both banks of the Rhine. These territories were centered around Cologne-Bonn, but extended south to the Moselle and Nahe Rivers. The southernmost point was near Alzey.[1]

Counts Palatine of the Rhine 1085–1214Edit

From c.1085, after the death of the last Ezzonian count palatine, Herman II of Lotharingia, the Palatinate lost its military importance in Lotharingia. The territorial authority of the count palatine was reduced to his counties along the Rhine, henceforth called the County Palatine of the Rhine.

Hohenstaufen Counts PalatineEdit

The first hereditary Count Palatine of the Rhine was Conrad of Hohenstaufen, who was the younger brother of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The territories attached to this hereditary office began with those held by the Hohenstaufens in Franconia and Rhineland. (Other branches of the Hohenstaufen dynasty received territories including lands in Swabia and Franche-Comté). Part of this land derived from their imperial ancestors, the Franconian emperors, and part from Conrad's maternal ancestors, the Saarbrücken. This explains the composition of the inheritance that comprised the Upper and Rhenish Palatinate in the following centuries.

Welf Counts PalatineEdit

In 1195, the Palatinate passed to the House of Welf through the marriage of Agnes, heir to the Staufen count.

The Palatinate under the Wittelsbach: the Electoral dignity (1214–1803)Edit

On the marriage of the Welf heiress Agnes in the early 13th century, the territory passed to the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria, who were also dukes and counts palatine of Bavaria. During a later division of territory among the heirs of Duke Louis II of Upper Bavaria in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in Bavaria north of the Danube river (the Nordgau) centred around the town of Amberg. As this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz) became common from the early 16th century, to contrast with the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine.

The Golden Bull of 1356, in circumvention of inner-Wittelsbach contracts and thus bypassing Bavaria, the Palatinate was recognized as one of the secular electorates. The count was given the hereditary offices of archsteward (Erztruchseß) of the Empire and Imperial Vicar (Reichsverweser) of Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine and southern Germany. From that time forth, the Count Palatine of the Rhine was usually known as the Elector Palatine (Kurfürst von der Pfalz). The position of prince-elector had existed earlier (for example, when two rival kings of Germany were elected in 1257: Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso of Castile), though it is difficult to determine exactly the earliest date of the office.

By the early 16th century, owing to the practice of dividing territories among different branches of the family, junior lines of the Palatine Wittelsbachs came to rule in Simmern, Kaiserslautern and Zweibrücken in the Lower Palatinate, and in Neuburg and Sulzbach in the Upper Palatinate. The Elector Palatine, now based in Heidelberg, adopted Lutheranism in the 1530s and Calvinism in the 1550s.

House of WittelsbachEdit

Partitions of Palatinate under Wittelsbach ruleEdit

1214-1356 County Palatine of the Rhine
1356-1410 Electoral Palatinate
(Main line)
1410-1448        Neumarkt
(1st creation)
1448-1459 Mosbach
1459-1490        Zweibrücken
(Main line)
1505-1543 Neuburg
(1st creation)
1543-1557 Veldenz
1557-1559 Part of Zweibrücken
1559-1569 Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern Line, 1st creation)
1569-1597 Neuburg
(2nd creation)


(1st creation)
1597-1598 Part of Neuburg
1604-1610        Landsberg
Part of Neuburg
1610-1614        Simmern
(2nd creation)
1614-1615 Sulzbach
(2nd creation)
1615-1623 Zweibrücken

1623-1648 Part of the Electorate of Bavaria
1648-1654 Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern Line, 2nd creation)
1654-1661        Zweibrücken

1661-1671 Zweibrücken
(Landsberg Line)
1677-1685 Annexed to the Kingdom of France
1685-1693 Electoral Palatinate
(Neuburg Line)
Part of Electoral Palatinate
1693-1694 Zweibrücken
(Swedish Kleeburg Line, 1st creation)
1718-1731 Zweibrücken
(Kleeburg Line, 2nd creation)
1731-1742 Zweibrücken
(Birkenfeld Line)
1742-1799 Electoral Palatinate
(Sulzbach Line)
Part of Electoral Palatinate
1799-1803 Electoral Palatinate
(Zweibrücken Line)

Table of rulersEdit

(Note: Here the numbering of the counts/electors is the same for all counties, as all were titled Counts Palatine (or Elector), despite of the different parts of land and its particular numbering of the rulers. The counts and electors are numbered by the year of their succession.)

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Louis I the KelheimerLudwig der KelheimerErmordungsszene in Johanneskirche(KlosterScheyern) Lkr Paffenhofen Oberbayern23 December 11731214–123115 September 1231County Palatine of the RhineLudmilla of Bohemia
one child
Son of Otto I of Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria. Louis obtained the Palatinate of the Rhine in 1214. So Louis I served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. He was assassinated 1231.
Otto II the IllustriousOtto II Wittelsbach7 April 12061231–125329 November 1253 County Palatine of the RhineAgnes of the Palatinate
eleven children
Otto IV served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. On Otto IV's death, Bavaria was divided between his sons. Louis received the Palatinate.
Louis II the StrictFürstenfeldbruck-Klosterkirche 813 April 12291253–12942 February1294 County Palatine of the RhineMaria of Brabant
2 August 1254
no children

Anna of Głogów
two children

Matilda of Austria
24 October 1273
four children
During a later division of territory among his heirs in 1294, the elder branch of the Wittelsbachs came into possession of both the Rhenish Palatinate and the territories in Bavaria north of the Danube river (the Nordgau) centred around the town of Amberg. As this region was politically connected to the Rhenish Palatinate, the name Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz) became common from the early 16th century, to contrast with the Lower Palatinate along the Rhine.
Rudolph I the StammererAusschnitt Codex Balduini Trevi4 October 12741296–131712 August 1319 County Palatine of the RhineMatilda of Nassau
1 September 1294
six children
Ruled jointly. In 1317 Rudolph abdicated of his rights to his son
In 1327, Louis IV, Duke of Bavaria occupied Palatinate, but wasn't recognized as Count Palatine, as he was defending the position of his younger nephews against the claimancy of his older nephew, Adolf, Count Palatine of the Rhine. Ten years later gave it to his nephews, sons of Rudolph. With the Treaty of Pavia in 1329, as Emperor, Louis made formal his donation, pushing back the claimant Count Adolf.
Rudolph II the BlindRudolf II. von der Pfalz8 August 13061327–13534 October 1353 County Palatine of the RhineAnna of Carinthia-Tyrol
one child

Margaret of Sicily
no children
Son of Rudolph I.
The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the right to participate in the election of a Holy Roman Emperor to the Count Palatine, title that evolved to Elector Palatine. Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his cousin Robert, son of the pushed Count Adolf.
Robert I the Red
(Ruprecht I. der Blinde)
Ruprecht I., 1910 9 June 1309 1353–1356 16 February 1390 County Palatine of the Rhine Elisabeth of Namur
1350 or 1358
no children

Beatrix of Berg
no children
Son of Rudolph I and brother of Rudolph II. In January 1356 was recognized as the First Elector Palatine.
10 January 1356 – 16 February 1390Electoral Palatinate
Robert II the Hard
(Ruprecht II. der Harte)
Ruprecht und Gattin 212 May 132516 January 1390 – 6 January 13986 January 1398 Electoral PalatinateBeatrice of Sicily
seven children
Son of the claimant count Adolf.
Robert III the Righteous
(Ruprecht III. der Gerechte)
Die deutschen Kaiser Ruprecht von der Pfalz5 May 13526 January 1398 – 18 May 141018 May 1410 Electoral PalatinateElisabeth of Nuremberg
27 June 1374
seven children
Also King of Germany (1400–1410).
Louis III the Bearded
(Ludwig III. der Bärtige)
Ludwig III. (Pfalz)23 January 137818 May 1410 – 30 December 143630 December 1436 Electoral PalatinateBlanche of England
6 July 1402
no children

Matilda of Savoy
30 November 1417
five children
Stephen IStefan von Pfalz-Simmern-Zweibrücken23 June 13851410–145914 February 1459 Palatinate-SimmernAnna of Veldenz
10 June 1410
eight children
Son of Robert III, received Simmern after his father's death in 1410. After his own death Zweibrücken split off from Simmern. Brought, by marriage, the County of Veldenz to his possessions.
John IJohann von Pfalz-Neumarkt13831410–144314 March 1443 Palatinate-NeumarktCatherine of Pomerania-Stolp
15 August 1407
seven children
Son of Robert III, received Neumarkt after his father's death in 1410.
Otto IIIPfalzgraf Otto I Mosbach a24 August 13901410–14615 July 1461 Palatinate-MosbachJoanna of Bavaria-Landshut
January 1430
eight children
Son of Robert III, received Mosbach after his father's death in 1410.
Louis IV the Meek
(Ludwig IV. der Sanftmütige)
1 January 142430 December 1436 – 13 August 144913 August 1449 Electoral PalatinateMargaret of Savoy
18 October 1445
one child
Christopher IKristoffer, 1418-48, av Bayern konung av Danmark Norge och Sverige - Nationalmuseum - 1505026 February 14161443–14485/6 January 1448 Palatinate-NeumarktDorothea of Brandenburg
12 September 1445
no children
Also King of the Kalmar Union (1440–1448), in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Left no descendants. Neumarkt reverted to Palatinate-Mosbach.
Neumarkt definitely annexed to Palatinate-Mosbach
Frederick I the Victorious
(Friedrich I. der Siegreiche)
Friedrich der Siegreiche von Albrecht Altdorfer1 August 142513 August 1449 – 12 December 147612 December 1476 Electoral PalatinateClara Tott
two children
Brother of his predecessor. Left no legitimate heirs to the Electorate. He was succeeded by his nephew.
Frederick II the Pious19 November 14171459–148029 November 1480 Palatinate-SimmernMargaret of Guelders
6 August 1454
ten children
Louis V the Black14241459–148919 July 1489 Palatinate-ZweibrückenJohanna de Croÿ
20 March 1454
twelve children
Zweibrücken split off from Simmern.
Otto IV the MathematicianGrab Otto II - Pfalz Mosbach - Neumarkt -01426 June 14351461–14908 April 1499 Palatinate-MosbachUnmarried Had a strong interest in astronomy and mathematics. Abdicated in 1490 to spent the remainder of his life in scientific pursuits. Mosbach reverted to the Electorate.
Mosbach definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Philip I the Upright
(Philipp I. der Aufrichtige)
Pfalzgraf Philipp I (1448-1508) as donor, from St. Cacilien in Neckarsteinach, Middle Rhine - Pfalz, 1483 AD, stained and painted glass - Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt - Darmstadt, Germany - DSC0061414 July 144812 December 1476 – 28 February 150828 February 1508 Electoral PalatinateMargaret of Bavaria
fourteen children
John II15 May 14591480–150927 January 1509 Palatinate-SimmernJoanna of Nassau-Saarbrücken
29 September 1481
three children
Alexander I the Lame26 November 14621489–151421 October 1514 Palatinate-ZweibrückenMargaret of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
six children
Sons of Louis the Black, ruled jointly.
Kaspar11 July 14591489–14901527 Palatinate-ZweibrückenAmalie of Brandenburg
19 April 1478
no children
Otto Henry I the MagnanimousGeorg Pencz 00110 April 15021505–155712 February 1559 Palatinate-NeuburgSusanna of Bavaria
16 October 1529
Neuburg an der Donau
no children
Sons of Robert of Palatinate, bishop of Freising (and grandsons of Philip I). Their father married the heiress of Bavaria-Landshut, Elisabeth, was adopted by his father-in-law, and eventually became heir of Bavaria-Landshut. This new declaration led to the Landshut War. In the aftermath of the conflict, a part of Landshut joined Palatinate with the name of Palatinate-Neuburg. In 1557 Otto Henry abdicated of Neuburg to become Elector. Neuburg fell to Wolfgang I.
Philip II the WarlikeCount Palatine Philip the Warlike, by Hans Baldung12 November 15031505–15414 July 1548 Palatinate-NeuburgUnmarried
Louis VI the Pacific
(Ludwig V. der Friedfertige)
Ludwig V. Pfalz2 July 147828 February 1508 – 16 March 154416 March 1544 Electoral PalatinateSibylle of Bavaria
23 February 1511
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
John IIIJohannIISimmern21 March 14921509–155718 May 1557 Palatinate-SimmernBeatrix of Baden
22 May 1508
twelve children
He introduced the Reformation into Simmern which led to increased tensions with his neighbours, the Archbishoprics of Trier and Mainz.
Louis VII the YoungerLudwig II., Pfalzgraf von Zweibrücken (1502-1532)14 September 15021514–15323 December 1532 Palatinate-ZweibrückenElisabeth of Hesse
10 September 1525
two children
Sons of Alexander I, ruled jointly. In 1543 Robert created Veldenz to himself.
Robert IV Rupprecht von Pfalz-Veldenz 1506 1532–1543 28 July 1544 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Ursula of Salm-Kyrburg
23 June 1537
three children
Wolfgang I Wolfgang von Zweibrücken-Neuburg 26 September 1526 1532–1557 11 June 1569 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Anna of Hesse
24 February 1544
thirteen children
Son of Louis II, ruled with his uncle Robert until 1543. Inherited Neuburg in 1557.
1557–1569Palatinate-Zweibrücken and Palatinate-Neuburg
Frederick III the Wise
(Friedrich II. der Weise)
Hans Besser 0069 December 148216 March 1544 – 26 December 155626 December 1556 Electoral PalatinateDorothea of Denmark
18 May 1535
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by a cousin.
(Council of Regency:1544-c.1560)
George John I the AstuteGeorg Johann von Pfalz-Veldenz11 April 15431560–159218 April 1592 Palatinate-VeldenzAnna of Sweden
20 December 1562
eleven children
Otto Henry I the Magnanimous
(Ottheinrich. der Großmütige)
Georg Pencz 00110 April 150226 December 1556 – 12 February 155912 February 1559 Electoral PalatinateSusanna of Bavaria
16 October 1529
Neuburg an der Donau
no children
Son of Robert of Palatinate, bishop of Freising. Left no descendants. Main line became extinct with his death. Simmern line succeeded in the Electorate.
Frederick IV the Pious
(Friedrich III. der Fromme)
Friedrich der Fromme 14 February 1515 1557–1559 26 October 1576 Palatinate-Simmern Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
21 October 1537
eleven children

Amalia of Neuenahr
25 April 1569
no children
When the senior branch of the family died out in 1559, the electorate passed to Frederick III of Simmern, son of John III and a staunch Calvinist. The Palatinate became one of the major centers of Calvinism in Europe, supporting Calvinist rebellions in both the Netherlands and France.
12 February 1559 – 26 October 1576 Electoral Palatinate
George20 February 15181559–156917 May 1569 Palatinate-SimmernElisabeth of Hesse
9 January 1541
one child
Son of John II. Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
RichardRichard of Pfalz-Simmern by the Brunswick-Lüneburg Court Miniaturist25 July 15211569–159813 January 1598 Palatinate-SimmernJulianna of Wied
30 January 1569
four children

Emilie of Württemberg
26 March 1578
no children

Anne Margaret of Palatinate-Veldenz
14 December 1589
no children
Son of John II. Left no descendants. Simmern returned to the Electorate.
Simmern briefly annexed to the Electoral Palatinate (1598–1610)
John IV the Lame8 May 15501569–160412 August 1604 Palatinate-ZweibrückenMagdalene of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Bad Bergzabern
nine children
Son of Wolfgang.
Frederick VFriedrich von Pfalz-Vohenstrauß-Parkstein11 April 15571569–159717 December 1597 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Vohenstrauss-ParksteinKatharina Sophie of Legnica
26 February 1587
three children
Son of Wolfgang. Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Vohenstrauss-Parkstein split off from Zweibrücken. Left no surviving children. At his death, his lands were annexed to Palatinate-Nauburg.
Zweibrücken-Vohenstrauss-Parkstein definitely annexed to Palatinate-Neuburg
Otto Henry IIOtto Heinrich von Pfalz-Sulzbach (1556-1604, reg. 1582-1604)22 July 15671569–160429 August 1604 Palatinate-SulzbachDorothea Maria of Württemberg
25 November 1582
thirteen children
Son of Wolfgang. Left no surviving children. Palatinate-Sulzbach split off from Zweibrücken. At his death, his lands were inherited by Palatinate-Neuburg.
Charles ICarolvs Pfalzgraff bei Rhein4 September 15601569–160016 December 1600 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-BirkenfeldDorothea of Brunswick-Lüneburg
23 November 1590
four children
Son of Wolfgang. Left no surviving children. Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld split off from Zweibrücken.
Philip Louis Philip Ludwig von Pfalz-Neuburg 2 October 1547 1569–1604 22 August 1614 Palatinate-Neuburg Anna of Cleves
27 September 1574
Neuburg an der Donau
eight children
Son of Wolfgang. Inherited Sulzbach from his brother Otto Henry.
1604–1614 Palatinate-Neuburg and Palatinate-Sulzbach
Louis VIII the Careless
(Ludwig VI. der Leichtsinnige)
Kurfuerst Ludwig VI. Pfalz4 July 153926 October 1576 – 22 October 158322 October 1583 Electoral PalatinateElisabeth of Hesse
8 July 1560
twelve children

Anne of Ostfriesland
12 July 1583
no children
Frederick VI the Righteous
(Friedrich IV. der Aufrichtige)
Arolsen Klebeband 01 095 35 March 157422 October 1583 – 19 September 161019 September 1610 Electoral PalatinateLouise Juliana of Orange-Nassau
23 June 1593
eight children
With his adviser Christian of Anhalt, he founded the Evangelical Union of Protestant states in 1608.
Anna of Sweden (regent)Anna of the Veldenz Palatinate 1580 by unknown19 June 15451592–159820 March 1610 Palatinate-VeldenzGeorge John I
20 December 1562
eleven children
Regent on behalf of her sons.
George GustavusGeorg Gustav von Pfalz-Veldenz6 February 15641598–16343 June 1634 Palatinate-VeldenzElisabeth of Württemberg
30 October 1586
no children

Maria Elizabeth of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
17 May 1601
eleven children
Ruled jointly. In 1598 divided the land: George Gustavus kept Veldenz; John Augustus received Lützelstein; and Louis Philip and George John received jointly received Gutenberg. In 1601 George John ruled alone Gutenberg. In 1611, after the death of John Augustus with no descendants, Lützelstein was annexed to Guttenberg. In 1654, after the death of George John without descendants, Guttenberg reerted to Veldens, united under Leopold Louis, George Gustavus' son.
John AugustusJohann August zu Veldenz-Lützelstein26 November 15751598–161118 September 1611 Palatinate-Veldenz (-Lützelstein)Anne Elizabeth of the Palatinate
no children
Louis Philip I24 November 15771598–160124 October 1601 Palatinate-Veldenz (-Gutenberg)Unmarried
George John II24 June 15861598–165429 September 1654 Palatinate-Veldenz (-Gutenberg)Susanna of Palatinate-Sulzbach
20 December 1562
eleven children
(Council of Regency:1600-c.1608/c.1615)
George WilliamGeorg-wilhelm6 August 15911608–166925 December 1669 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-BirkenfeldDorothea of Solms-Sonnenwalde
30 November 1616
six children

Juliana of Salm-Grumbach
30 November 1641
no children

Anne Elizabeth of Öttingen-Öttingen
8 March 1649
no children
Son of Charles I.
Christian IChristian I. von Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler3 November 15981615–16546 September 1654 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-BischweilerMagdalene Catherine of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
14 November 1630
nine children

Maria Joanna of Helffenstein
28 October 1648
one child
Son of Charles I. Received Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler, split off from Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld.
John V the YoungerJohann II von Pfalz-Zweibruecken26 March 15841604–16359 August 1635 Palatinate-ZweibrückenCatherine de Rohan
26 August 1604
one child

Louise Juliana of the Palatinate
13 May 1612
seven children
Son of John IV. Kept Zweibrücken
Frederick Casimir10 June 15851604–164530 September 1645 Palatinate-LandsbergEmilia Antwerpiana of Orange-Nassau
4 July 1616
de (Burg Landsberg (Alsace))
three children
Son of John IV, received Landsberg.
John CasimirJohn Casimir of the Kleeburg Palatinate c 1645 crop20 April 15891604–165218 June 1652 Palatinate-KleeburgCatherine of Sweden
11 June 1615
eight children
Son of John IV, received Kleeburg.
Frederick VII the Winter King
(Friedrich V. der Winterkönig)
Friedrich V. von der Pfalz bis26 August 159619 September 1610 – 23 February 162329 November 1632 Electoral PalatinateElizabeth of Great Britain
14 February 1613
thirteen children
In 1619, he accepted the throne of Bohemia from the Bohemian estates. He was defeated by the Emperor Ferdinand II at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, and Spanish and Bavarian troops soon occupied the Palatinate itself. He was known as "the Winter King" because his reign in Bohemia only lasted one winter. In 1623, Frederick was put under the ban of the Empire.
Frederick V's territories and his position as elector were transferred to the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I, of a distantly related branch of the House of Wittelsbach. Although technically Elector Palatine, he was known as the Elector of Bavaria. From 1648 he ruled in Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate alone, but retained all his electoral dignities and the seniority of the Palatinate Electorate.

Electoral Palatinate briefly annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria (1623–1648)
Louis Philip IILudwig Philipp von Pfalz-Simmern23 November 16021610–16556 January 1655 Palatinate-SimmernMaria Eleonora of Brandenburg
4 December 1631
seven children
Son of Elector Frederick, restored Simmern.
Wolfgang WilliamWolfgang Wilhelm4 November 15781614–165314 September 1653 Palatinate-NeuburgMagdalene of Bavaria
11 November 1613
one child

Catharina Charlotte of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
11 November 1631
two children

Maria Franziska of Fürstenberg-Heiligenberg
3 June 1651
no children
Son of Philip Louis, inherited Neuburg.
AugustusAugust, Pfalzgraf von Sulzbach2 October 15821614–163214 August 1632 Palatinate-SulzbachHedwig of Holstein-Gottorp
17 July 1620
seven children
Sons of Philip Louis, inherited Sulzbach. John Frederick created Palatinate-Sulzbach-Hilpoltstein, but at his death with no surviving children, Sulzbach became reunited under Augustus' son, Christian August.
John Frederick23 August 15871614–164419 October 1644 Palatinate-Sulzbach (-Hilpoltsein)Sophie Agnes of Hesse-Darmstadt
7/17 November 1624
eight children
Christian AugustusChristianAugustPfalzSulz26 July 16221632–170823 July 1708 Palatinate-SulzbachAmalie of Nassau-Siegen
27 March 1649
five children
Reunited Sulzbach after John Frederick's death in 1644.
Leopold LouisLeopoldLudwigPfalzVeld1 February 16251634–169429 September 1694 Palatinate-VeldenzAgatha Christine of Hanau-Lichtenberg
4 July 1648
twelve children
Reunited Palatinate-Veldenz 1654. However, left no surviving male descendants. Veldenz went to the Electorate.
Veldenz definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Frederick VIII5 April 16191635–16619 July 1661 Palatinate-ZweibrückenAnna Juliane of Nassau-Saarbrücken
6 April 1640
ten children
Left no male surviving descendants. Zweibrucken was inherited by Landsberg line.
Frederick Louis Fredrik Ludvig, 1619-1681, pfalzgreve av Landsberg och Zweibrücken - Nationalmuseum - 15766 27 October 1619 1645–1661 11 April 1681 Palatinate-Landsberg Juliana Magdalena of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
14 November 1645
thirteen children

Anna Marie Elisabeth Hepp
21 August 1672
five children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Frederick in 1661, and annexed Landsberg to it. In 1677 the Kingdom of France occupied his duchies. He left no surviving descendants.
1661–1677 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Landsberg was definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Zweibrücken (with Landsberg) was briefly annexed to the Kingdom of France (1677–1693)
Charles Louis
(Karl I. Ludwig)
KarlILudwigvonderPfalz0222 December 161724 October 1648- 28 August 168028 August 1680 Electoral Palatinate
(Simmern line restored)
Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
22 February 1650
(unilateral divorce in 1658)
three children

Marie Luise von Degenfeld
6 January 1658
(morganatic and bigamous)
thirteen children

Elisabeth Hollander von Bernau
11 December 1679
one child
Son of Frederick VII. By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Charles Louis was restored to the Lower Palatinate and was given a new electoral title, also that of "Elector Palatine" but lower in precedence than the other electorates.
Charles GustavusSébastien Bourdons-Karl X Gustav8 November 16221652–165413 February 1660 Palatinate-KleeburgHedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
24 October 1654
one child
Abdicated from Kleeburg in 1654, to become King of Sweden (as Charles X), right hat he inherited from his mother.
John Charles17 October 16381654–170421 February 1704 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-GelnhausenSophie Amalie of Palatinate-Zweibrücken
one child

Esther Maria von Witzleben
28 July 1696
five children
Son of Christian I, received Gelnhausen.
Adolph John IAdolf Johan d.ä., 1629-1689 (David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl) - Nationalmuseum - 3978521 October 16291654–168924 October 1689 Palatinate-KleeburgElsa Beata Brahe
19 June 1649
one child

Elsa Elisabeth Brahe
nine children
Brother of Charles Gustavus, received Kleeburg after the abdication of his brother.
Louis Henry11 October 16401655–16743 January 1674 Palatinate-SimmernMaria of Orange-Nassau
23 September 1666
no children
Left no descendants. Simmern returned to the Electorate.
Simmern definitely annexed to the Electoral Palatinate
Charles Otto5 September 16251669–167130 March 1671 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-BirkenfeldMargaret Hedwig of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
26 September 1658
three children
Left no surviving descendants. Birkenfeld passed to Bischweiler line.
Christian II Christian II. (Pfalz-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld) 22 June 1637 1654–1671 26 April 1717 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler Catherine Agatha of Rappoltstein
5 September 1667
seven children
Son of Christian I, kept Bischweiler, while his brother John Charles gained Gelnhausen.Inherited Birkenfeld from his cousin Charles Otto, and annexed Bischweiler to it.
1671–1717 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Charles II
(Karl II)
Charles II, Elector Palatine 0110 April 165128 August 1680 – 26 May 168526 May 1685 Electoral PalatinateWilhelmine Ernestine of Denmark
20 September 1671
no children
Last of Simmern line.
Philip William
(Philipp Wilhelm)
Anonym Herzog Philipp Wilhelm 24 November 1615 1653–1685 2 September 1690 Palatinate-Neuburg Anna Catherine of Poland
8 June 1642
no children

Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
3 September 1653
Bad Schwalbach
seventeen children
When the Simmern branch of the family died out in 1685, the electorate passed to Philip William of Neuburg (also Duke of Jülich and Berg), son of Wolfgang William. He was a Catholic and a maternal nephew of Maximilian I of Bavaria.
26 May 1685 – 2 September 1690 Electoral Palatinate
Adolph John II21 August 16661689–170127 April 1701 Palatinate-KleeburgUnmarried Left no descendants. His lands went to his brother, Gustavus.
John William
(Johann Wilhelm)
Jan Frans van Douven 00319 April 16582 September 1690 – 8 June 17168 June 1716 Electoral PalatinateMaria Anna Josepha of Austria
25 October 1678
Wiener Neustadt
two children

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici
6 May 1691
no children
Left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Charles IIICharles XI of Sweden (1691)24 November 16551693–16975 April 1697 Palatinate-ZweibrückenUlrika Eleonora of Denmark
6 May 1680
seven children
Son of Charles Gustavus (Charles X of Sweden), assumed the restored Palatinate-Zweibrücken. Also King of Sweden, as Charles XI.
Charles IVKarl (Charles) XII of Sweden17 June 16821697–171830 November 1718 Palatinate-ZweibrückenUnmarried Son of Charles II. Also King of Sweden, as Charles XII. After his death with no descendants, Zweibrücken was inherited by Kleeburg line.
Gustavus Gustav Samuel Leopold NMGrh 1101 12 April 1670 1701–1718 17 September 1731 Palatinate-Kleeburg Dorothea of Palatinate-Veldenz
10 July 1707
no children

Louise Dorothea von Hoffmann
13 May 1723
no children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Charles III, and annexed Kleeburg to it. Left no descendants. His lands went to Birkenfeld line.
1718–1731 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Kleeburg was definitely reannexed to the Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Frederick Bernard28 May 16971704–17395 August 1739 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-GelnhausenErnestine Louise of Waldeck-Pyrmont
30 May 1737
two children
Left no male descendants. He was succeeded by his brother John.
Theodore EustaceTheodor, Pfalzgraf von Sulzbach Hz von Bayern14 February 16591708–173211 July 1732 Palatinate-SulzbachMaria Eleonore of Hesse-Rotenburg
6 June 1692
nine children
Charles Philip
(Karl III. Philipp)
Karl Philipp, Kurfürst (1716-1742)4 November 16618 June 1716 - 31 December 174231 December 1742 Electoral PalatinateLudwika Karolina Radziwiłł
10 August 1688
four children

Teresa Lubomirska
15 December 1701
two children

Violante Theresia of Thurn and Taxis
no children
Left no descendants. The Electorate went to Sulzbach line.
Christian III Christian III de Deux-Ponts-Birkenfeld--Joseph Matter-f4232641 7 November 1674 1717–1731 3 February 1735 Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Caroline of Nassau-Saarbrücken
21 September 1719
four children
Inherited Zweibrücken from his cousin Gustavus, and annexed Birkenfeld to it.
1731–1735 Palatinate-Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld definitely reannexed to Palatinate-Zweibrücken
John ChristianBildnis Johann Christian von Sulzbach (1700-1733)23 January 17001732–173320 July 1733 Palatinate-SulzbachMaria Henriette de La Tour d'Auvergne
15 February 1722
two children

Eleonore of Hesse-Rotenburg
21 January 1731
no children
Christian IVChristian IV of Palatinate-Zweibrücken6 September 17221735–17755 November 1775 Palatinate-ZweibrückenMaria Johanna Camasse
six children
His children from his morganatic marriage were barred from succession. He was succeeded by his nephew.
John VI24 May 16981739–178010 February 1780 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-GelnhausenSophie Charlotte of Salm-Dhaun
eight children
Charles Theodore
(Karl IV Theodor)
Kurfürst Karl Theodor (Bayern) 11 December 1724 1733-1742 16 February 1799 Palatinate-Sulzbach Elisabeth Auguste of Palatinate-Sulzbach
17 January 1742
one child

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
15 February 1795
no children
The title and authority of Elector Palatine were subsumed into the Electorate of Bavaria in 1777. Charles Theodore and his heirs retaining only the single vote and precedence of the Bavarian elector, though they continued to use the title "Count Palatine of the Rhine" (German: Pfalzgraf bei Rhein, Latin: Comes Palatinus Rheni). Left no descendants, and the Electorates passed to Zweibrücken line.
31 December 1742 - 30 December 1777 Electoral Palatinate
30 December 1777 - 16 February 1799 Electoral Palatinate and Electorate of Bavaria
Charles AugustCharlesaugustzweibruecken29 October 17461775–17951 April 1795 Palatinate-ZweibrückenMaria Amalia of Saxony
12 February 1774
no children
Son of Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, brother of Christian IV. Succeeded his uncle, but left no descendants. He was succeeded by his brother.
Charles John13/18 September 17451780–178931 March 1789 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-GelnhausenUnmarried Left no male descendants. He was succeeded by his brother William.
WilliamHerzog Wilhelm in Bayern10 November 17521789–17998 January 1837 Palatinate-Birkenfeld-GelnhausenMaria Anna of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
30 January 1780
three children
In 1799 his lands were annexed to Bavaria.
Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria
Maximilian Joseph
(Maximilian I. Joseph)
Hornöck Maximilian I von Bayern um 1810 27 May 1756 1795-1799 13 October 1825 Palatinate-Zweibrücken Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
30 September 1785
five children

Caroline of Baden
9 March 1797
eight children
Charles Theodore's heir, Maximilian Joseph, Duke of Zweibrücken (on the French border), brought all the Wittelsbach territories under a single rule in 1799. The Palatinate was dissolved in the Wars of the French Revolution. First, its left bank territories were occupied (and then annexed) by France starting in 1795; then, in 1803, its right bank territories were taken by the Margrave of Baden. The Rhenish Palatinate, as a distinct territory, disappeared. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and all the rights and responsibilities of the electors with it.
16 February 1799 - 27 April 1803 Electoral Palatinate and Electorate of Bavaria
27 April 1803 - 1 January 1806 Electorate of Bavaria
Palatinate-Zweibrücken was definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria
Electoral Palatinate was definitely annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria

Electors of Bavaria and Counts Palatine of the Rhine, 1777–1803Edit

Zweibrücken Line
Image Name Began Ended Notes
King Max I Joseph in Coronation Robe Maximilian II Joseph 16 February 1799 27 April 1803 Charles Theodore's heir, Maximilian Joseph, Duke of Zweibrücken (on the French border), brought all the Wittelsbach territories under a single rule in 1799. The Palatinate was dissolved in the Wars of the French Revolution. First, its left bank territories were occupied (and then annexed) by France starting in 1795; then, in 1803, its right bank territories were taken by the Margrave of Baden. The Rhenish Palatinate, as a distinct territory, disappeared. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and all the rights and responsibilities of the electors with it.

Later historyEdit

Following the great restorations of 1815, the Lower Palatinate (albeit without any prince-elector role) was restored as one of eight Bavarian Districts. After World War II the American Military Government of Germany took the Lower Palatinate from Bavaria and merged it with neighbouring territories to form a new state called Rhenania-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz) with Mainz as the state capital. The people had felt neglected by the governments in Munich for generations and later approved the merger in a plebiscite.

The present head of the House of Wittelsbach, Franz, Duke of Bavaria (born 1933), is still traditionally styled as His Royal Highness the Duke of Bavaria, Duke in Swabia and Franconia, Count Palatine of the Rhine.


  1. ^ Kohnle, Armin (2005). "Mittelalterliche Grundlagen; Pfalzgraftenamt, Territorialentwicklung und Kurwürde" (in German). Kleine Geschichte der Kurpfalz. Regionalgeschichte-fundiert und kompakt (First ed.). Karlsruhe: G. Braun Buchverlag. p. 17. ISBN 3-7650-8329-1. 

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