The Ernestine branch

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Ernest Ernest (* 24. 3. 1441,† 26. 8. 1486 in Colditz),
governed together with his brother Albert III. the Bold, until he arranged 1485 the division of the common possession. In the Division of Leipzig he received area around Wittenberg, the south Thuringian part, the Vogtland and parts of the Pleissnerland. As residence he selected Wittenberg. He provided for the welfare of the country and introduced the constitution. One year after the division elector Ernest died at the age of 46 years at the consequences of a fall of the horse.

Frederick III. the Wise Frederick III. the Wise ( * 17.1. 1463 in Torgau, †25.Mai1525 inLochau near Torgau ),
created in 1502 the University of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther taught. Although he was faithful catholic, Frederick III. protected the Reformator Luther, when this was banned by the Pope. Since Frederick did not trust the free escort, which the emperor had assured, he let Luther kidnap and brought him as "Junker Joerg" in security on the Wartburg castle. Thus he saved the reformation, which, outgoing from Saxony, seized widened parts of the realm and Europe. Frederick III. opposed for a long time the new teachings, and admitted themselves only on the dying bed to the reformation.

John the Steadfast John the Steadfast (* 1468, †16.08.1532 castle Schweinitz),
followed his brother in the rule. As its surname betrays, he took the same attitude as his brother in relation to the reformation. 1527 were created the Evangelic-Lutheran regional church, whose "highest bishop" was the elector. The 1530 for the defense of the reformation created Schmalkaldic federation of the Evangelics stood under guidance of Saxony and Hesse. After his death John, like his brother Frederick, was buried in the castle church to Wittenberg.

John Frederick John Frederick ( * 1503, †03.03.1554 in Weimar),
the reformation already promoted, like before it its uncle and father. In the Schmalkalden war it stood at the point of the reformers. Betrayed by his cousin Maurice he was taken prisoner at the 24.April 1547 by the supremacy of the imperial troops on the Lochauer heath. The originally expressed death sentence was converted after help of influential princes (among other things also Maurice) into lifelong prison. After five years shank dismisses, lost however and all its the countries. (later his sons got a majority of the possessions back.)

By the loss of electorship and constant divisions (and associated splintering of their possession) the Ernestine branch became very soon politically insignificantly. Their largest merit remains probably the support of the reformation in Germany.

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