List of rulers of Brandenburg

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Coat of arms of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

This article lists the Margraves and Electors of Brandenburg during the period of time that Brandenburg was a constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Mark, or March, of Brandenburg was one of the primary constituent states of the Holy Roman Empire. It was created in 1157 as the Margraviate of Brandenburg by Albert the Bear, Margrave of the Northern March. In 1356, by the terms of the Golden Bull of Charles IV, the Margrave of Brandenburg was given the permanent right to participate in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor with the title of Elector (German: Kurfürst).

The early rulers came from several different dynasties, but from 1415 Brandenburg and its successor states were ruled by the House of Hohenzollern for over 500 years. From 1618 onward, Brandenburg was ruled in personal union with the Duchy of Prussia. The Hohenzollerns raised Prussia to a kingdom as the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, and from then on Brandenburg was de facto treated as part of the kingdom even though it was legally still part of the Holy Roman Empire. The titles of Margrave of Brandenburg and Elector of Brandenburg were abolished along with the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 (although they were one of the titles of the Kings of Prussia until 1918), and Brandenburg was formally integrated into Prussia. From 1871 to 1918 the Hohenzollerns were also the German Emperors.

Margraves of Brandenburg

Ascanian Dynasty
Name Reign Comments
Albert I 1157–1170 Ruler of the Nordmark from 1134. Called "Albert the Bear".
Otto I 1170–1184 Son of Albert I. Ruled together with his father from 1144.
Otto II 1184–1205 Son of preceding.
Albert II 1205–1220 Brother.
  • 1220–1266
  • 1220-1267
Co-rulers, sons of Albert II.
From 1266 to 1319, Brandenburg was held by the two lines of Brandenburg-Stendal and Brandenburg-Salzwedel, all of whom jointly shared the title of Margrave.
Brandenburg-Stendal Brandenburg-Salzwedel
Co-rulers, sons of John I: Co-rulers, sons of Otto III:
Co-rulers: Co-rulers:
After the extinction of the Ascanian dynasty in 1320, Brandenburg came under the control of the Emperor Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach, who granted Brandenburg to his eldest son, Louis V of Bavaria.
Wittelsbach Dynasty
Name Reign Comments
Louis I "the Brandenburger" 1323–51 Cousin of Henry II, Son of Emperor Louis IV.
Louis II "the Roman". 1351–56 Half-brother of preceding; named Elector in 1356.

Electors of Brandenburg

Wittelsbach Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
Louis VI the Roman.jpg Louis II
Ludwig II
10 January 1356 17 May 1365 First Elector of Brandenburg. Called "the Roman"
OttoV Faule Siegesallee.JPG Otto VII 17 May 1365 18 August 1373 Brother of preceding. Co-ruler of Brandenburg with his brother from 1351, but as a minor (b. 1346) took no part in administration until his brother's death. Abdicated 1373 but retained Electoral title. Died 1379.
Luxemburg Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
Vasikzfrkronik.jpg Wenceslaus
2 October 1373 29 November 1378 Emperor Charles IV forced the last Wittelsbach Elector to abdicate, and then installed his own son, Wenceslaus. As Wenceslaus was still a minor (b. 1361), the Emperor administered the margraviate for him.
Albrecht Dürer 082.jpg Sigismund 29 November 1378 1388 Younger brother of Wenceslaus; took control of Brandenburg on his brother's ascension as King of Germany and Bohemia. Gave up Brandenburg to his cousin Jobst as security for a substantial loan.
Jošt Lucemburský.jpg Jobst 1388 16 January 1411 Sigismund's first cousin, nephew of Charles IV. Elected as German King in 1410 in opposition to Sigismund, but died very shortly afterwards.
Albrecht Dürer 082.jpg Sigismund 16 January 1411 30 April 1415 Following Jobst's death, Sigismund regained control of Brandenburg and was elected undisputed King of Germany.
Hohenzollern Dynasty
Image Name Began Ended Comments
Friedrich I Brandenburg Siegesallee Zitadelle.JPG Frederick I
Friedrich I
30 April 1415 20 September 1440 Originally Burgrave of Nuremberg. Appointed by King Sigismund in 1415 and enfeoffed in 1417. His eldest son John the Alchemist administered Brandenburg as Margrave from 1425 to 1437, but Frederick retained the Electorship.
Friedrich II 300f.jpg Frederick II
Friedrich II
20 September 1440 10 February 1471 Son of Frederick I. Called "Irontooth" (German: Eisenzahn). Administered Brandenburg from 1437 and became Elector on his father's death in 1440.
Albrecht Achilles.jpg Albert III Achilles
Albrecht III Achilles
10 February 1471 11 March 1486 Brother.
JohannCicero1500.JPG John Cicero
Johann Cicero
11 March 1486 9 January 1499 Son.
Joachim I. Nestor.jpg Joachim I Nestor 9 January 1499 11 July 1535 Son. His younger brother, Albert was co-Margrave 1499–1513, but only Joachim was Elector.
Joachim II of Brandenburg by Lucas Cranach the Younger.jpg Joachim II Hector 11 July 1535 3 January 1571 Son. First Protestant Elector of Brandenburg.
JohannGeorg1564.JPG John George
Johann Georg
3 January 1571 8 January 1598 Son.
JoachimFriedrichBrandenburg1600.JPG Joachim Frederick
Joachim Friedrich
8 January 1598 28 July 1608 Son.
Johann Sigismund Grunewald.jpg John Sigismund
Johann Sigismund
28 July 1608 3 November 1619 Son. Duke of Prussia from 1618.
GeorgWilhelm.1635.Ausschnitt.JPG George William
Georg Wilhelm
3 November 1619 1 December 1640 Son. Ruled during the Thirty Years' War. Also Duke of Prussia.
Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg 2.gif Frederick William
Friedrich Wilhelm
1 December 1640 9 May 1688 Son. Called "the Great Elector". Also Duke of Prussia.
Friedrich I of Prussia.jpg Frederick III
Friedrich III
9 May 1688 25 February 1713 Son. "King in Prussia" as Frederick I from 1701; from here the ordinals reset
Antoine pesne friedrich wil.jpg Frederick William I
Friedrich Wilhelm I
25 February 1713 31 May 1740 Son. King in Prussia. Called "the Soldier-King".
Antoine Pesne - Friedrich der Große als Kronprinz (1739).jpg Frederick II
Friedrich II
31 May 1740 17 August 1786 Son. King in Prussia to 1772; after annexations of Polish Prussian territory, "King of Prussia". Called "Frederick the Great".
Frederick Wilhelm II.png Frederick William II
Friedrich Wilhelm II
17 August 1786 16 November 1797 Nephew. King of Prussia.
FWIII.jpg Frederick William III
Friedrich Wilhelm III
16 November 1797 6 August 1806 Son. King of Prussia and last Elector of Brandenburg. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, after which Frederick William ruled as independent King of Prussia (including Brandenburg) to his death in 1840.

Titular Margraves of Brandenburg after 1806

This includes Kings of Prussia with the title of Margrave of Brandenburg (1806–1918) and pretenders to the throne of Prussia (1918–present)

Margrave Portrait Lifespan Reign start Reign end
Frederick William III
Friedrich Wilhelm III
FWIII.jpg 3 August 1770 – 7 June 1840 6 August 1806 7 June 1840
Frederick William IV
Friedrich Wilhelm IV
FWIV.jpg 15 October 1795 – 2 January 1861 7 June 1840 2 January 1861
William I
Wilhelm I
Kaiser Wilhelm I. .JPG 22 March 1797 – 9 March 1888 2 January 1861 9 March 1888
Frederick III
Friedrich III
Friedrich III as Kronprinz - in GdK uniform by Heinrich von Angeli 1874.jpg 18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888 9 March 1888 15 June 1888
William II
Wilhelm II
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany - 1902.jpg 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941 15 June 1888 Prussian monarchy abolished on 28 November 1918
4 June 1941
William III
Wilhelm III
William, German Crown Prince.jpg 6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951 4 June 1941 20 July 1951
Louis Ferdinand I
Ludwig Ferdinand I
Louis ferdinand c1930.jpg 9 November 1907 – 26 September 1994 20 July 1951 26 September 1994
George Frederick I
Georg Friedrich I
Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen.jpg 10 June 1976 – present 26 September 1994 Incumbent

Upper Presidents of Brandenburg

In 1815 Brandenburg was constituted as the Prussian Province of Brandenburg without a sovereign ruler, but with Upper Presidents appointed by the central Prussian government. The upper president carried out central prerogatives on the provincial level and supervised the implementation of central policy on the lower levels of administration.

Land Directors of Brandenburg

Since 1875, with the strengthening of self-rule within the provinces, the urban and rural counties elected representatives for the provincial diets (Provinziallandtage). These parliaments legislated within the competences transferred to the provinces. The provincial diet of Brandenburg elected a provincial executive body (government), the provincial committee (Provinzialausschuss), and a head of province, the land director (Landesdirektor).[1] Self-rule was abolished under the Nazi dictatorship.


Wappen Mark Brandenburg.png
Wappen Preußen.png

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
pre–12th century
Old Prussians
pre–13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
Duchy of Prussia
Royal (Polish) Prussia
Kingdom in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
Klaipėda Region
1920–1939 / 1945–present
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
Kaliningrad Oblast

After the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, Brandenburg, which had previously been merely a province of Prussia, re-emerged as a German Land.

Prime Minister of Brandenburg, 1945–1952

After being abolished in a reorganization of the territories administered by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), the Land Brandenburg was restored in the prelude to German unification in 1990.

Ministers President of Brandenburg, 1990 to date


  1. In other Prussian provinces the same office used to be called Landeshauptmann (about in English: land captain). Cf. article: "Landesdirektor", in: Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 vols.; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 151928–1935; Bd. 11 (1932), p. 71.

See also