Carl Alexander
(Charles Alexander)

Carl Alexander
1866 1 Thaler
Silver 0.7500
mintage: 63,000
MM: ?
Carl Alexander

Titles: Grand Duke Sachsen-Weimar
Born: 24/6/1818
Died: 5/1/1901
Father: Karl Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Mother: Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia
Married to: Princess Sophie of the Netherlands (1842)
Children: Karl August Wilhelm Nicolaus Alexander Michael Bernhard Heinrich Frederick Stefan (1844-1894)
Marie Anna Alexandrine Sophie Auguste Helene (1849-1876)
Maria Anna Sophia Elisabeth Bernhardine Ida Auguste Helene (1851-1859)
Elisabeth Sibylle Maria Dorothea Anna Amalie Luise (1854-1886)
Flag of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1813-1897 Location of Sachsen-Meiningen
Coat of arms of Sachsen-Meiningen

Karl Alexander, born on June 24th 1818 was the ruler of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach fron 1853 until his death on January 5th 1901. He was born in Weimar and was the second son of his parents, (Karl Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia) the first having died in early life.

The family of the grandduke stands at the head of the Ernestine or elder line of the princely houses of Saxony which include Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, while the younger or Albertine line is represented by the kings of Saxony.

Saxe-Weimar was firmed into an independent duchy towards the end of the 16th century, when ElectorJohann Wilhelm of Saxony divided his territory between his two sons, Frederick Wilhelm and Johann, giving the former Saxe-Altenburg and the latter Saxe-Weimar. There were frequent divisions subsequently, until by the extinction of branch lines, the original family estates were again obtained. At the congress of Vienna, a considerable increase of territory together with the title of grandduke was awarded to Duke Charles Augustus, the celebrated patron of German literature and friend of Gothe and Schiller.

The grandduke has a large private fortune part of which he received in dowry with his consort, Princess Sophie of the Netherlands. He also had a civil list of 280,000 thalers (£41,000) which equated to one sixth of the revenue of Saxe Weimar. His tutor in childhood was Frederic Soret who later became a close friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. As a young man he was a close friend of the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen but this friendship ended over the first German Danish war in 1849. While his father died on July 8th 1853 allowing him to become grandduke and ruler, he postponed his accession until August 28th to correspond with Goethe's birthday. As Grand Duke he renovated Wartburg Castle, and patronised the composers Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt as well as continuing the tradition of becoming president of Jena University. This university housed some notable collections, among them a substantial coin cabinet of oriental coins, which he particually supported.

The constitution of the Grand duchy was granted on May 5 1816, but slightly altered by the law of October 15 1849. According to this charter the legislative power is vested in a House of Parliament, represented by one chamber. It is composed of 31 members, 10 chosen by the nobility, 10 by the towns, 10 by the inhabitants of the rural districts and one by the University of Jena. At the general election, which takes place every 7 years, not only the representatives themselves are chooses, but also a substitute for every member, who must take their place in the event of death or incapacity. The 10 members of the nobility are elected directly by all proprietors of Ritterguter or noble estates. Women were also allowed to vote.

In itís representation of towns and rural districts the mode of election is indirect. The whole body of voters in a town choose a certain number of delegates, in the proportion of 1 to every 50 houses, and it is these deputies who elect the member for the Parliament. To be a member for a town a property qualification of about £50 per annum was required, which rose to £75 per annum for the cities of Weimar and Eisenach.

The election of members for the rural districts took place in the same manner as that for the towns, but the choice of members is limited, as they had to belong to the same class as the electors.

Two brothers or a father and son was allowed to sit in the chamber at the same time. The president of the chamber was an Earl-Marshal, elected by the deputies of the nobility. He was assisted by two vice-presidents chosen from the representatives of the town and rural districts.

The grandduke kept a private retinue of 37 horseguards which he maintained out of his private funds.

The grand-duchy was divided into three "Kreise" or circles. Weimar was the most populas with 140,772 in the population and an area of 693 square miles, Eisenach had a population of 82,444 and covered 485 square miles and Neustadt had a population of 50,036 and covered 243 square miles.

Religion Number
Protestants 262,272
Roman Catholics 9,824
Greek Catholics 57
Jews 1,088
Mennonites 5
Other Christan 6