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Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken


Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken

Charles II August
Duke of Zweibrücken

Duke Charles II August Christian of Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken
Spouse Maria Amalia of Saxony
Karl August Friedrich
House House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Father Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Mother Maria Franziska of Sulzbach
Born (1746-10-29)29 October 1746
Died 1 April 1795(1795-04-01) (aged 48)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Charles II August Christian (German: Karl II. August Christian) (October 29, 1746 – April 1, 1795) was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1775 to 1795. He was the son of Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and Maria Franziska of Sulzbach. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.


Charles was born in Düsseldorf, as the eldest of five children born to Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken and his wife Countess Palatine Maria Franziska of Sulzbach. He was an older brother of Amalie, Queen of Saxony and Maximilian, eventual King of Bavaria.

Rejected suitor

He wanted to marry Archduchess Marie Amalie, the eighth child of Empress Maria Theresa. He was well known in the Austrian court, and Marie Amalie was also in love with him. However, Maria Theresa deemed him of insufficient rank to marry an Archduchess. Moreover, she wanted to strengthen Austria's alliance with the House of Bourbon by marrying a daughter to Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, a grandson of French king Luis XV. This was to be Marie Amalie, due to the death of another daughter, Maria Josepha.

Maria Amalie's older brother, Emperor Joseph, also favored the marriage of his sister to the Duke of Parma, who was the younger brother of his beloved wife, Isabella. So in 1769, Maria Amalie was married to Ferdinand against her will. This decision not only permanently embittered Charles against the Empress and Austria but also Marie Amalie against her mother.[1]

Charles eventually married Maria Amalia, the sister of the Elector of Saxony.

Bavarian claims

Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, died without children in 1778. His Wittelsbach cousin Charles Theodore, then Elector Palatine, was his heir. However, he had no legitimate children to succeed him in his combined holdings in Bavaria and the Palatinate. Charles II August was the heir to the Wittelsbach territories of: Zweibrucken (his own duchy), the duchies of Neuborg, Sulzbach, Julich, and Berg, in addition to the electorates of the Palatine and Bavaria (though exercising only one electoral vote in the College of Electors, as stipulated in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648). Charles Theodore's preferred the Palatinate and therefore tried to exchange parts of the Bavarian inheritance with Emperor Joseph in return for parts of the Austrian Netherlands. Although Charles Theodore would have preferred to exchange the entire complex of territories of Bavaria for the Austrian Netherlands, the Austrian court would not countenance an outright exchange and a final arrangement was never concluded.[2]

Charles August was the next in line for Bavaria, and objected strenuously. He had the active support of Frederick the Great of Prussia and the Electorate of Saxony. The French government under Foreign Minister Vergennes passively supported Charles II August despite their formal alliance with the Viennese court. The War of the Bavarian Succession was resolved without prolongued fighting; Charles Theodore succeeded in all of Bavaria except for the district east of the Inn River, known as the Innviertel, that went to Austria by the Peace of Teschen (May 1779). A second attempt to make the exchange in 1784 was also opposed by Charles August, again with Prussian support, and also failed. Charles Theodore outlived Charles August who died without a son, but Bavaria went to Charles August's brother, Maximilian Joseph.[3]


In Dresden in 1774, Charles married Maria Amalia of Saxony, daughter of Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony. They had one son who died in childhood. Upon his death the title of Duke of Zweibrücken was inherited by his brother Maximilian.

Charles August was the principal owner of the famous Karlsberg Castle. He died at Mannheim in 1795.



Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken
Born: 29 October 1746 Died: 1 April 1795
Preceded by
Christian IV
Duke of Zweibrücken
Succeeded by
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