Electoral Saxony
Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital
(and largest city)
Dresden
Language German
Electoral Prince Ludwig V
Prime Minister Erich Schücking
Population 5,314,400 
Independence 1485
Currency SXM

Electoral Saxony, Saxony, is a medium-sized constitutional monarchy in central Europe. It is a member of the Holy Roman Empire. It has borders with (clockwise from north) Brandenburg, Jüterbog, Sorbia, Austria-Bohemia, Schönburg, Mugeln, various duchies of Ducal Saxony, Selb-Wunseidel, Bavaria, Bayreuth, Henneberg, Erfurt, Mulhausen, Mansfield, Magdeburg and Anhalt. The capital is Dresden and the population around 5.3 million.

The official language is German

The Head of State is Prince-Elector Ludwig V

The currency is the Saxon Mark (SXM)

History

'Saxony' originally held a large portion of Northern Germany and was a stem duchy of East Francia. The overly-ambitious Henry the Lion fell foul of Frederick I and Saxony was partitioned. The Ascanian dynasty would take Sax-Wittenberg, forming the core of the lands later known as Ducal and Electoral Saxony, or Upper Saxony. The term 'Lower Saxony' is still sometimes used for the old swathe of lands to the north-west.

Handed a electorate by Emperor Olaf in 1355 for their support Ascanian rule lasted until 1422 when the dynasty died out. Charles IV gave the territory to the Wettin lords of Meissen over the claims of Sax-Lauenberg as thanks for their efforts against the Hussites of Bohemia.

In 1485 the electorate was divided; Ernest took roughly the western part and Electoral title, Albert III the eastern parts. Initially the division was a simple division between brothers but it soon took on a religious angle; Ernestine Saxony soon wholly embraced Lutheranism and was an original signatory to the Schmalkaldic League. Meanwhile the Albertines held on to Catholicism for longer. George II, would eventually convert to Lutheranism to follow most of the population but did not have any enthusiasm for the Schmalkaldic League, hence Albertine Saxony stayed more or less loyal to the Holy Roman Emperors and when Ernestine Saxony left to join the Schmalkaldic Empire Albertine Saxony was given its electoral title. Wars between the two had already increased the Albertine share of the lands and the Ernestine portion was slowly partitioned by split inheritances leaving Albertine Saxony very much in the ascendancy.

Electoral Prince Christian II

Elector Christian II was initially unwilling to get involved in the Bohemian revolt of 1618, or the Schmalkaldic Empire's counter-attack, but was won over when Charles I promised him Schmalkaldic land, especially from Ducal Saxony. There was even a promise to look again at the Peace of Eger which had settled Saxony's border with Hussite Bohemia (even though that area had already been secretly promised to Luxembourg to secure their alliance). With only a month or two for preparation it meant he could do little to prevent the advance of William-George of Oldenburg's Schmalkaldic army through Saxony, in fact he was humiliated at the two set battles of Halle and Dresden as the army moved up the Elbe. But by the time Austria and Poland were advancing on Prague in 1621 to remove William-George's regime the Saxon army was proving its worth in Northern Germany.

The death of Christian II in 1640 prompted an abrupt shift. His son, Augustus II, was incensed by the terms of the Peace of Heilbronn now being offered out across various German Lutheran states in return for cessation of hostilities; namely the lack of any territorial gains for Saxony, and Austria's almost immediate reneging on the terms by returning various seized territories to ecclesiastical control. Augustus II promptly switched sides, openly inviting the Svealanders into bolster its defenses and working together to begin assaulting Bavaria.

Saxony's switch to what was left of the Schmalkaldic alliance made an instant difference; from a position of relative power Austria was soon on the back-foot once more as the ex-Schmalkaldic states of Germany were slowly cleared of Catholic armies and bit by bit it looked like the Austrians would be forced into conceding. However a Luxembourg army obliterated the Saxon-Kalmar army at Gottingen in August 1646, one of several battles that year which convinced Emperor Rudolph II he had final victory in his sights. Both Electoral and Ducal Saxony were given amnesty in 1648 which allowed them to recover slightly, and even wage a small war between themselves in 1660-1662.

It still suffered from the depredations of moving armies but it had time to reform its army along the same lines as Svealand had done previously, building a formidable professional army which subsequent rulers were determined to use. At the war's end Electoral Saxony did expand, but not at the expense of Ducal Saxony or Bohemia, instead it received eastern Bayreuth giving it a border with Bavaria (Bayreuth was compensated with lands of the ex-bishopric of Bamburg) and it was given jurisdiction over Jüterbog.

Electoral Prince Michael I, anti-king of Poland

In 1702 Prince-Elector Michael was elected anti-king of Poland by Sejm members appalled by Stephen II's authoritarian grasp of power. He gained some semblance of control over Wielkopolska before he and his allies were firmly defeated in 1711 at the Battle of Szadek. The Polish experiment had a longer lasting effect however; Michael had converted to Catholicism to be more appealing to the Polish lords (Poland-Lithuania was officially religiously tolerant but it still expected its rulers to be Catholic) leaving a Catholic royal family ruling over an almost completely Lutheran population in Saxony.

Denied the Polish-Lithuanian crown Michael tried to salvage some prestige and soothe his ego by getting Saxony involved in the Austrian Civil War. This knotty war essentially revolved around restoring a Catholic ruler to the Austrian throne after it had adopted the quasi-Lutheran Austrian High Church. As the war continued it moved more into a straight Austria-versus-its-neighbours conflict. There was even a brief plan to partition the Austrian lands, with Saxony earmarked Silesia and the German-speaking Aussig area of Bohemia. Saxony was by far the most competent participant amongst the uncoordinated Catholic alliance but the war was unpopular within the religiously divided Saxon nobility and the Austrian army proved remarkably resistant to the Catholic alliance's disunited attempts to better it. Faced with a potential civil war in Saxony Michael abdicated rather than face defeat.

During the Great Baltic War Prince Frederick III was Holy Roman Emperor (Frederick VII) and Saxon troops formed the backbone of the Imperial army that opposed Olaf IV of Svealand's bid to dominate the Baltic and carve up Poland. Though numerically superior the Imperial-Saxon army scored a few early victories but then were repeatedly defeated by Svealanders being led personally by Olaf IV, the arrogant General Konstantin von Kotzebue being led into poor positions and decisively beaten at the First and Second Battles of Aizkraukle, and at Nereta in 1767. Frederick III lost considerable face with the defeats and exited the war as quickly as possible.

The army fared better during the Six Years War (1783-1789) which determined Regensberg's succession, Eleanor's War (1802-1805) which led to a branch of the Saxon Wettins taking the Bavarian throne, and the Brandenburg Wars (1801-1815) which went some way to untangle Saxony's messy northern borders. The Imperial Diet eventually intervened in the latter war to halt hostilities and limit Saxony's (and Magdeburg's) border revisions.

Katherine of Wessex, 'the Great Electoress'

The result of a century of war and ostentatious spending had emptied the treasury and coupled with the natural disaster of 1816 'the year without summer' (following the gigantic eruption of Mount Tambora) pushed Saxon society to the brink. Food prices rocketed in 1817 leading to riots and short-sighted attempts to refill the treasury with taxes brewed a revolutionary atmosphere. Meanwhile Prince John George VI was clearly unequipped to handle the brewing crisis. His wife, Katherine of Wessex, staged a palace coup removing John George IV (he would die a year later under house arrest), and then ruled as regent for their two young sons. The 15-year regency of 'the Great Electoress' calmed the country with urgent and consensual reforms; most notably by bringing in a permanent Diet (albeit with less-than sweeping powers), abolishing serfdom and the corvée (unpaid seasonal work for landowners), reforming poor laws and publicly converted the royal family to Lutheranism. A constitution, again limited in scope, was signed on her abdication in favour of her son Augustus IV, largely ensuring the country would not slide back into autocracy. It was a measure of her successes that when the 1832 revolts of the 'Verfassungurkund'-ists erupted in neighbouring states they found little support in Saxony.

Throughout the later 19th and 20th century Saxony has tried to position itself as the leader of the 'small' Imperial states i.e. not Austria or Luxembourg. This has largely meant clashing with the conservative anti-reformist Bavaria and taking a dim view of Denmark's politicking over Pomerania. Whilst internal conflicts are a thing of past it has nonetheless provided military guarantees to various smaller states including Ducal Saxony and the new Harz League. Revisions to the original Katherinian constitution and its associated reforms has left Saxony as a relatively liberal state

Government

Electoral Saxony is governed by a bi-cameral Diet with terms lasting no longer than five years, though coalition politics tends to mean elections happen on average every three. There is universal suffrage of all citizens over the age of 21. The current Prime Minister is Erich Schücking.


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