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George William, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld

George William, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld

1591-1669, Duke of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld from 1600 until 1669
The basics
Quick Facts
Gender male
Birth August 6, 1591 (Ansbach)
Death December 25, 1669 (Birkenfeld)
Mother: Dorothea of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Father: Charles ICount Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Children: Charles II OttoCount Palatine of Zweibrücken-BirkenfeldAnna Sophia IAbbess of QuedlinburgMaria Magdalena de Birkenfeld
The details

George William (6 August 1591 – 25 December 1669), titular Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke in Bavaria, Count of Veldenz and Sponheim was the Duke of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld from 1600 until 1669.


Arms of George William.

George William was born in Ansbach in 1591 as the eldest son of Charles I, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld. He succeeded his father in 1600 as Count of Sponheim. He was joint ruler in the Sponheimish condominium together with Margrave Wilhelm of Baden, whose counter-reformationist movements he laboriously repelled. George William finished the expansion of Castle Birkenfeld, which his father had begun, and set the ground stone for the castle chapel. He is seen as an economical and prudent regent, though he could not do much through the Thirty Years' War. His lands were invaded during the Thirty Years' War in 1635, and in the same year the plague broke out killing 416 people. In the year 1666 he appointed Günter Heyler as court preacher to Birkenfeld. George William died in Birkenfeld in 1669. He was buried in the parish church of Birkenfeld; later his tomb was moved to the chapel of Birkenfeld castle and finally to Meisenheim.


George William married Dorothea of Solms-Sonnenwalde (1586–1625), daughter of Count Otto, on 30 November 1616 and had the following children:

  1. Dorothea Amalie (30 March 1618 – 6 August 1635)
  2. Anne Sophie (12 April 1619 – 1 September 1680)
  3. Elizabeth Juliana (28 October 1620 – 28 October 1651)
  4. Maria Magdalena (8 August 1622 – 27 October 1689)
  5. Clara Sybille (14 January 1624 – 1 February 1628)
  6. Charles Otto (5 September 1625 – 30 March 1671)

George William married Juliana of Salm-Grumbach (1616–1647) on 30 November 1641. The marriage remained childless and was divorced after Juliane gave birth to a child so shortly after the wedding that George William could not have been the father. (The child's father was in fact Johann Ludwig of Salm-Dhaun.)

George William married Anne Elizabeth of Öttingen-Öttingen (3 November 1603 – 3 June 1673), daughter of Count Louis Eberhard, on 8 March 1649. The marriage remained childless.



  • (German) Rodewald, Heinrich. Pfalzgraf Georg Wilhelm v. Birkenfeld und seine Kämpfe um das Luthertum in der hinteren Grafschaft Sponheim in den Jahren 1629-1630. Heuser, 1925
  • (German) Dotzauer, Winfried. Geschichte des Nahe-Hunsrück-Raumes von den Anfängen bis zur Französischen Revolution. Franz Steiner Verlag, 2001, p. 351
  • (German) Jahresbericht [afterw.] Trierer Jahresberichte, 1858, p. 50 (digitized)

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