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Charles I
Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
Reign21 November 1670 –
23 March 1730
PredecessorWilliam VII
SuccessorFrederick I
Born(1654-08-03)3 August 1654
Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse
Died23 March 1730(1730-03-23) (aged 75)
Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse
(m. 1673; died 1711)
Frederick I of Sweden
Sophie Charlotte
William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Luise, Princess of Orange
George Charles
Eleonore Antoine
Wilhelmine Charlotte
FatherWilliam VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
MotherHedwig Sophia of Brandenburg

Charles of Hesse-Kassel (German: Karl von Hessen-Kassel; 3 August 1654 – 23 March 1730), member of the House of Hesse, was the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1670 to 1730.


Charles was the second son of William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg (1623–1683). Until 1675 his mother ruled as his guardian and regent before Charles was old enough to take over the administration for the next 5 years. His older brother, William VII, had died in 1670 shortly after reaching adulthood, even before he had had the chance to make any changes with the administration.


Under the reign of Charles, the consequences of the Thirty Years' War in the agricultural county could be overcome more quickly than they were in the more industrialized regions of the Holy Roman Empire. He pushed for the recreation of a large army and put it in the service of other countries in the War of Spanish Succession. His soldiers, he gave, as well as other princes of his time, to foreign service for the Subsidiengelder [ subsidies ]. This policy remained controversial for its dealings with the mercenaries, according to the 1908 Brockhaus (Volume 9, page 96) :

"Dieses System verbesserte die Finanzen, aber nicht den Wohlstand des Landes,
und brachte den glänzenden Hof selbst in ausländische Familienverbindungen.

[ This system improved the finances but not the prosperity of the country,
and brought to the brilliant court itself foreign familial connections. ]

Charles left in 1685 to his younger brother Philipp as the latter's Paragium a small part of the Landgraviate of Hesse, the so-called Landgraviate of Hesse–Philippsthal, named after Philippsthal [ "Philipp's Valley" ] (formerly Kreuzberg, a place near Vacha on the Werra River).


Even before the Edict of Fontainebleau (October 1685), Charles adopted on 18 April 1685 the Freiheits-Concession [ "Freedom Concession" ],[1] promising the exiles from France, the Huguenots and Waldensians, free settlement and their own churches and schools. In the following years, about 4000 the Protestants fled persecution in their homelands for Northern Hesse and, for example, about 1700 of them settled in Oberneustadt, the newly created borough of Kassel.

Following the ideas of mercantilism, Charles founded in 1679 the Messinghof, one of the first metal-processing plants in Hesse, in Bettenhausen, east of Kassel.

In 1699 Charles founded Sieburg (since 1717 Karlshafen) and also moved some of the Huguenots and Waldensians there. With the construction of the Landgrave-Carl-Canal from the Diemel River to Kassel (and beyond), he tried to circumvent the existing customs borders but, after only a few kilometers, the construction was discontinued.


Landgrave Charles continued the design of the hillside park, Wilhelmshöhe ("William's Peak") in the Habichtswald ("Hawk Forest"), now a nature preserve west of Kassel. In particular, it was the construction of the Hercules monument that brought the Italian-inspired cascades and other water features to the park. Under his rule, the Moritzaue ("Maurice's Meadow") park near the town was extended over a large area to another park, the Karlsaue ("Charles's Meadow"), which still exists today, and the Schloss Orangerie was built.

With the participation of the Landgrave, who was interested in history, the first archaeological excavations began in 1709 on the Mader Heide.


Charles married his first cousin, Maria Amalia of Courland (1653–1711), the daughter of Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland, and had with her fourteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. Their eldest surviving son, Frederick I succeeded his father as Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, while also becoming King of Sweden; their second-eldest surviving son William VIII also became landgrave after his brother's death.

∞ 1stly 1700 Princess Louisa Dorothea of Brandenburg (1680–1705)
∞ 2ndly 1715 Ulrika Eleonora, Queen of Sweden (1688–1741)
∞ 1704 Frederick William, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1675–1713)
∞ 1717 Dorothea Wilhelmina of Saxe-Zeitz (1691–1743)
∞ 1709 Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange (1687–1711)
∞ 1720 Friederike Landgravine of Hesse-Darmstadt (1698–1777)

Maria Amalia also suffered many miscarriages:

Other Relationships

After the death of his wife in 1713, Charles had a relationship with Jeanne Marguerite de Frere, Marquise de Langallerie (b. 1685), with whom he had a son, Charles Frederic Philippe de Gentil, Marquis de Langallerie, who died early. Charles secured in the same way the financial security of children who had come with his mistress.

After the Marquise de Langallerie, the next mistress and confidante was Barbara Christine von Bernhold (1690–1756), who rose to Großhofmeisterin ("Senior Mistress of the Court") under Charles's son William VIII and was raised to the rank of Reichsgräfin ("Imperial Countess") in 1742 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII. She was housed in the Bellevue Palace.



  1. ^ (in German) Klaus Kühnel, "Ein Beitrag für den freien Glauben : Vor 325 Jahren wurde die "Freiheits-Concession" für französische Glaubensflüchtlinge erlassen [ A Contribution to the Freedom of Religion : 325 years ago, the "Freedom Concession" for French Religious Refugees was Adopted ]", Deutschlandfunk, retrieved 30 December 2013.


Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel House of Hesse-KasselCadet branch of the House of HesseBorn: 3 August 1654 Died: 23 March 1730 Regnal titles Preceded byWilliam VII Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel 1670–1730 Succeeded byFrederick I