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Frederick the Great's Family Tree
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska B. F. A.


Friedrich Wilhelm/Frederick William I (1640-1688) was kurfurst/ruler of Brandenberg, known as the Mark or marshlands. Frederick William was Margrave/Markgraf/"Count of the Mark." Friedrich married (1) Louis Henriette, daughter of Frederick Hendrik of the Netherlands.

Being an elector (kurfurst) meant that he was one of the seven imperial princes to cast a vote to elect the Holy Roman Emperor. Bradenburg went from the Rhine River to the Nieman River. Cleves was next to Brandenburg (on the west) and the Duchy of Prussia was to the east. These areas were all possessions of the Teutonic Knights who invaded in 1231. The Teutonic Knight's castles were located at Marienwerder, Thorn, Kulm, and Marienburg. Marienburg was the seat of the Teutonic Knights.

In 1523 the Teutonic's Grand Master was Count Albrecht of Hohenzollern-Ansback. Count Albrecht had changed from Catholic to Lutheran. Albrecht was the first Duke of Prussia in 1525. By 1591, Prussia and Brandenburg were united under the main Hohenzollern line. Later on, Germany would be united under Otto von Bismarck.

Friedrich Wilhelm's mother was the sister of the "Winter King," Friedrich V of the Palatinate. His accession to the Bohemian throne started the Thirty Years War. Friedrich Wilhelm's aunt married Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. Friedrich studied law in Leyden, Holland in 1634 (Citino).


Friedrich Wilhelm I (1701-1713) of Prussia, married (2) Sophie Charlotte (d. 1705), sister of George I of Great Britain.


Friedrich Wilhelm I (1713-1740) was never officially crowned. He was born February 26, 1712. He married Sophia Dorothea of Britain (Hanover).




Citino, Robert M. The German Way of War. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2005.

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