Wolrad IV, Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg
Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg
Coat of arms
PredecessorJosias I
SuccessorPhilip Theodor
Full name
Wolrad IV Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg
Native nameWolrad IV Graf von Waldeck-Eisenberg
Born(1588-07-07)7 July 1588
Eisenberg Castle
Baptised4 August 1588
Eisenberg Castle
Died6 October 1640(1640-10-06) (aged 52)
BuriedSt. Kilian Church, Korbach
Noble familyHouse of Waldeck
Spouse(s)Anne of Baden-Hochberg
FatherJosias I of Waldeck-Eisenberg
MotherMary of Barby and Mühlingen

Count Wolrad IV 'the Pious' of Waldeck-Eisenberg (7 July 1588 – 6 October 1640), German: Wolrad IV. 'der Fromme' Graf von Waldeck-Eisenberg, official titles: Graf zu Waldeck und Pyrmont, was since 1588 Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg. He founded of the new line of Waldeck-Eisenberg.

Never before was the independence of the County of Waldeck more threatened by Hesse than during the reign of Count Wolrad IV. Together with his elder brother Christian, however, he later successfully continued the sovereignty-oriented territorial policy of their father Josias I. They made use of the legal possibilities and chose during the for Waldeck disastrous Thirty Years' War the for them favourable side of Sweden. However, neither count lived to see the end of the war and with it the conflict with Hesse.[1]


The ruins of Eisenberg Castle, 2015.

Wolrad was born at Eisenberg Castle on 7 July 1588[2] as the second son of Count Josias I of Waldeck-Eisenberg and Countess Mary of Barby and Mühlingen.[3] He was baptised at Eisenberg Castle on 4 August.[2] Two days later, on 6 August, his father died suddenly and unexpectedly there, where the guests for the baptism of Wolrad were still staying. Because Wolrad and his elder brother Christian were still minors, they were under the custody and regency of their mother and Count Francis III of Waldeck-Landau [de]. The reforms started by their father were not continued, to the advantage of the estates of the realm, which had come under pressure. The other cadet branches of the House of Waldeck became extinct shortly after each other. Count William Ernest of Waldeck-Wildungen [de] died young on 16 September 1598 of dysentery. With Count Francis III of Waldeck-Landau, who had opposed Hesse like no other before him, the cadet branch Waldeck-Landau [nl] also became extinct on 12 March 1597. As he had no descendants, Francis III bequeathed his share of the County of Waldeck by will and testament to the children of Count Josias I.[1]

At a young age Wolrad and Christian witnessed how the hitherto dormant conflict over the sovereignty over the County of Waldeck developed from 1604 – the year in which Christian took over the government – into an open and later belligerent dispute which was dramatic for Waldeck. After the death of Landgrave Louis IV of Hesse-Marburg, his cousin Maurice of Hesse-Kassel inherited part of the land. Although a change of religion was excluded by the will and testament and the Peace of Augsburg did not allow it, territorial lord Maurice, who converted to Calvinism in 1605, introduced the Reformed confession and exerted both political and religious pressure on Waldeck. Wolrad and Christian responded by making Lutheranism the religion for the entire county.[1]

Wolrad came of age in 1607.[4] In that same year the County of Waldeck was divided up again. For although Wolrad and Christian clearly acted jointly in government, they are said to have quarrelled regularly.[1] Wolrad got the northern part, with the cities of Arolsen and Rhoden [de] and Christian obtained Wildungen, Waldeck, Landau [de] and Wetterburg [de]. They jointly owned the city of Korbach.[5]

From the beginning of their reigns in 1607 and 1604 respectively, Wolrad and Christian followed their father's policy entirely. After the long years of regency and thus the lack of an active policy adapted to the needs of the time, this would turn out to be very unpleasant for the young counts. Due to the long period of political stagnation, the now revived attempts to reorganise the country internally and at the same time the limitation of the feudal rights externally acted as a sharp caesura for the County of Waldeck.[6]

Both counts had their imperial immediacy confirmed shortly after Matthias' coronation as Emperor on 20 January 1612, at which Christian was present. But this did not secure the county's sovereignty.[5] The long absence of a strong territorial policy in the whole country led after 1607, when Christian and Wolrad tried to bring the County of Waldeck back in line with 'modern' developments, to such a large number of serious conflicts, that from 1614 onwards one can clearly speak of a deep governmental crisis. The number of sessions of the Landtag [de] since then alone is proof of the tensions that existed in the county. But even more worrying was the external pressure that had been exerted on the county and its rulers by the completely unpredictable Landgrave Maurice, since the attack on the border town Freienhagen [de] in 1615. From the increasing dangers from outside Wolrad and Christian drew the consequence that in the same year they sought to join the Wetterauer Grafenverein,[6] in which smaller states united against Hesse and to which the Counts of Waldeck had already sought support during the time of Count Phillip II of Waldeck-Eisenberg.[5] Furthermore, they did everything possible to introduce the defence measures, that had been implemented in the neighbouring counties, in Waldeck too.[6] In view of Waldeck's feudal links with Hesse, Landgrave Maurice considered joining to be impossible. But Christian, through his marriage to Elisabeth, daughter of Count John VII 'the Middle' of Nassau-Siegen, had the counts of the Wetterauer Grafenverein on his side, even though Maurice was a son-in-law of John VII 'the Middle' too. But it was not until the attempts of Wolrad and Christian to gain dominion over the city of Korbach that provoked Landgrave Maurice to such an extent that he invaded and occupied the country.[5]

Apart from the landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, Christian and Wolrad also had disputes with the city of Korbach, the main domestic opposition.[7] From 1610 onwards Wolrad and Christian had continued their father's efforts to control the largest and most influential city in the county. The controversial question of the highest jurisdiction in Waldeck, which the counts had answered in their favour, led initially to the Reichskammergericht. The judicial mills grinded slowly.[5] A deduction drafted and published in 1619 by chancellor Zacharias Viëtor, which once again emphasised Waldeck's imperial immediacy, shows how dangerous the situation was for the independence of the County of Waldeck.[7] In the summer of 1620[note 1] the situation had become so intense that Landgrave Maurice occupied the county – with the exception of Waldeck Castle [de] and Arolsen. The county was to be annexed by Hesse. Waldeck was in danger of losing its independence more than ever before. The two Counts of Waldeck did not give up. The Wetterauer Grafenverein had sent soldiers to Waldeck, who were trapped in the castle together with Count John VII 'the Middle'.[5] While Wolrad won Prince Maurice of Orange, one of the most successful military commanders of the time, as an ally and thus dragged the Dutch Republic into the conflict, Christian tried to win over Emperor Ferdinand II,[5][8] whose life Christian had saved during a hunt.[5][9] The policy of Landgrave Maurice did not go unnoticed in the Holy Roman Empire, despite the fact that the Bohemian-Palatinate War was of greater importance. Under pressure from the Emperor and others and threats of disadvantages, the landgrave ended the occupation of Waldeck in the summer of 1621.[5][note 2]

After the acute threat to the county had been averted, Wolrad and Christian did not give up and tried, through the Reichskammergericht and the Reichshofrat, to get legally closer to their goal. Moreover, they demanded compensation for the damage that the soldiers of the Hessian landgrave had caused in Waldeck during the occupation.[5][10] After lengthy negotiations, Emperor Ferdinand II obliged Landgrave Maurice in 1630 to pay. The negotiations ended in a settlement in Kassel in 1632.[5] The subjugation of Korbach in February 1624, where a commissioner of the counts was appointed by treaty, thus eliminating the economic power that was still the strongest competitor in the county, contributed to a certain relaxation of the situation in the county.[5][10]

Copper engraving of Pyrmont Castle from 1698, presumably in the state before the Thirty Years' War.

Even territorial gains were made in what were difficult times. The County of Pyrmont became part of Waldeck. After the death of Count Philip Ernest of Gleichen on 18 November 1619, his younger brother Hans Louis ruled in Pyrmont. When it became clear that he would have no descendants, he signed a succession treaty with his relatives Wolrad and Christian from Waldeck and ceded the County of Pyrmont to them in 1625. Hans Louis died on 15 January 1631. Wolrad and Christian took the title of Count of Pyrmont in early 1630.[11]

In contrast to the favourable developments for the counts, there were the devastating consequences of the Thirty Years' War. The acquisition of the County of Pyrmont, which lies almost 90 kilometres north of the County of Waldeck, proved to be difficult, because, as in previous years, the Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn laid claim to it. Prince-bishop Ferdinand I had the county occupied in 1629 and besieged Pyrmont Castle, forcing its surrender after ten months. However, in 1631 Christian met King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden, changed sides during the war and secured the county's support from the great power. After Sweden's victory over the imperial forces in June 1633 at the Battle of Oldendorf, Pyrmont was also taken a short time later and returned to Sweden's ally Waldeck.[11]

However, Waldeck's ties to Sweden could not prevent hardship and misery. Troops passing through almost bled the County of Waldeck dry. Moreover, in the middle of the 1630s the plague broke out. Imperial troops retook possession of Pyrmont Castle on 26 September 1636. Wolrad and Christian did not live to see the recapture.[11] Wolrad died in Arolsen on 6 October 1640, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son Philip Theodor.[2]

Marriage and issue

Wolrad married in Durlach on 8 September 1607 to Margravine Anne of Baden-Hochberg (Hochberg, 13 November 1587 – 11 March 1649), daughter of Margrave James III of Baden-Hochberg[2] and Countess Elisabeth of Culemborg.

From the marriage of Wolrad and Anne the following children were born:[12]

  1. Mary Elisabeth (Eisenberg Castle, 2 September 1608 – Basel, 19 February 1643), was since 2 October 1620 Stiftsfrau in Gandersheim Abbey, became deaconess on 30 March 1626. Was since 1623 also Abbess of Schaaken Abbey [de]. Married at Karlsburg Castle on 12 January 1634 to Margrave Frederick V of Baden-Durlach (Sulzburg, 6 July 1594 – Karlsburg Castle, 8 September 1659).
  2. Josias Floris (Arolsen, 23 juli 1612 – Eilhausen [de], 1 February 1613).
  3. Count Philip Theodor (2 November 1614 – Korbach, 7 December 1645), succeeded his father in 1640. Married in Culemborg on 25 August 1639 to Countess Mary Magdalene of Nassau-Siegen (Siegen Castle [de], 21 October 1622[note 3]Spa, 20/30 August 1647[note 4]).
  4. John Louis (Arolsen, 20 November 1616 – near Wouw, 17 July 1638), served in the Dutch States Army.
  5. Fürst George Frederick (Arolsen, 31 January 1620Jul. – Arolsen, 9 November 1692Jul.), succeeded his nephew Henry Wolrad in 1664, was elevated to Reichsfürst in 1682. Married in Culemborg on 29 November/9 December 1643[note 5] to Countess Elisabeth Charlotte of Nassau-Siegen (Emmerich, 11 March 1626[note 6] – Culemborg, 16 November 1694Jul.[note 7]).
  6. James (Arolsen, 2 May 1621 – near Walbeck [de], 3 June 1645), served in the Dutch States Army.
  7. Christian (Arolsen, 17 March 1623 – Arolsen, 21 October 1623).
  8. Anne Juliane (Arolsen, 15 January 1624 – Arolsen, 20 August 1624).
  9. Wolrad V (Arolsen, 25 November 1625 – Bartenstein, 29 January 1657), was major general in the army of Brandenburg.
  10. Charlotte (Arolsen, 4 February 1629 – Arolsen, 3 July 1629).


Ancestors of Count Wolrad IV of Waldeck-Eisenberg[15][16][17][18][19][20]
Great-great-grandparents Philip II of Waldeck-Eisenberg
⚭ 1481
Catherine of Solms-Lich
Otto IV of Hoya

Anne of Lippe
Günther XXXIX of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
⚭ 1493
Amelia of Mansfeld
William VI of Henneberg-Schleusingen

Anastasia of Brandenburg
Burchard of Barby and Mühlingen
⚭ 1482
Magdalene of Mecklenburg
Gebhard VII of Mansfeld-Hinterort
⚭ 1510
Margaretha of Gleichen
(ca. 1495–1567)
Ernest of Anhalt-Zerbst
⚭ 1494
Margaret of Münsterberg
Joachim I Nestor of Brandenburg
⚭ 1502
Elisabeth of Denmark
Great-grandparents Philip III of Waldeck-Eisenberg
⚭ 1503
Adelaide of Hoya
Henry XXXII of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
⚭ 1524
Catherine of Henneberg-Schleusingen
Wolfgang of Barby and Mühlingen
⚭ 1526
Agnes of Mansfeld-Hinterort
John II of Anhalt-Zerbst
⚭ 1534
Margaret of Brandenburg
Grandparents Wolrad II of Waldeck-Eisenberg
⚭ 1546
Anastasia Günthera of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
Albrecht X of Barby and Mühlingen
⚭ 1559
Mary of Anhalt-Zerbst
Parents Josias I of Waldeck-Eisenberg
⚭ 1582
Mary of Barby and Mühlingen



  1. ^ Menk (1992), p. 14 dates the start of the occupation in November 1621.
  2. ^ Menk (1992), p. 14 dates the end of the occupation in 1622.
  3. ^ "Born on the 26th in Europäische Stammtafeln and Dek (1970), but a notification of birth, dated Siegen 1-11-1622, says: «jüngsthin den 21. abgelaufenen Monats 8bris». The place of birth must therefore be Siegen, where the parents lived until 1625 (see Menk (1967)). The inscription on the coffin reads: «nata XX Octobris MDCXXII ad fontes spadanos» (i.e. Spa, sic!). See Leiss (1928), p. 108."[13]
  4. ^ "See State Archives Wiesbaden (130II 7826), notification of death, Spa 20/30‑8‑1647: «heut früe umb halbvier Uhr, alhir zu Spa»."[13]
  5. ^ "See State Archives Wiesbaden (170III), invitation from Culemborg 24-11-1643 for the wedding that will be celebrated «nächtskommenden Mittwoch den 29 November alten Kalenders auf meinem Hause». See the princely archives in Schloss Wittgenstein, F. 320 III, notification dated Culemborg 4-12-1643: «am verschienen Mittwoch 29. Novemberbris»."[14]
  6. ^ "Born on 11-2-1626 at Europäische Stammtafeln I, 117; on 8-2-1626 at Europäische Stammtafeln I, 139 and on 11-3-1626 at Dek (1970). The latter date is confirmed by a notification preserved in the State Archives Marburg (115, Waldeck, 2) and dated Emmerik 12-3-1626: «gestriges tagks umb zwo Uhren vormittags»."[14]
  7. ^ "See State Archives Wiesbaden (130II 2183): notification of death «allhier den 16. dieses früh morgens zwischen 3 und 4 Uhr». The notification is dated Culemborg, unfortunately the date of dispatch is difficult to read: 10/20 or 18/28, making it impossible to establish the style of the death date with certainty. Hoffmeister (1883) wrongly claims it is the new style. There is in fact another notification (kept in the State Archives Karlsruhe Abt. 47 Nr. 1410) dated Culemborg 18-11 and stating that the Fürstin died «den 16/26 dieses früh morgens zw. 3 u. 4 Uhr». Therefore, it is 16 o.s."[14]


  1. ^ a b c d Haarmann (2014), p. 24.
  2. ^ a b c d Hoffmeister (1883), p. 51.
  3. ^ Hoffmeister (1883), p. 50.
  4. ^ Menk (1992), p. 12.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Haarmann (2014), p. 25.
  6. ^ a b c Menk (1992), p. 13.
  7. ^ a b Menk (1992), p. 14.
  8. ^ Gerhard Menk (1995). "Die Beziehungen Waldeck-Pyrmont und den Niederlanden in der Neuzeit". In: Horst Lademacher (ed.). Oranien und das deutsche Reich (in German). Berlin, Münster et al. pp. 231 ff.
  9. ^ Hoffmeister (1883), p. 58.
  10. ^ a b Menk (1992), p. 15.
  11. ^ a b c Haarmann (2014), p. 26.
  12. ^ Hoffmeister (1883), p. 52.
  13. ^ a b Huberty, et al. (1981), p. 288.
  14. ^ a b c Huberty, et al. (1981), p. 289.
  15. ^ Haarmann (2014).
  16. ^ Huberty, et al. (1987).
  17. ^ von Ehrenkrook, et al. (1928).
  18. ^ Hoffmeister (1883).
  19. ^ Behr (1854).
  20. ^ Europäische Stammtafeln.


Wolrad IV, Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg House of WaldeckBorn: 7 July 1588 Died: 6 October 1640 Preceded byJosias I Count of Waldeck-Eisenberg 1588–1640 Succeeded byPhilip Theodor Preceded byHans Louis of Gleichen Count of Pyrmont 1625–1640 Succeeded byPhilip Theodor of Waldeck-Eisenberg