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I have a dataset that says that Saxe Altenburg was part of some other entity (simply coded "263") until 1827.

I have been trying to figure out what the entity "263" is, but have not been able to do so.

I am thus posting this question here in the hopes that some history buff here might know more about what may have happened to Saxe Altenburg circa 1827.


Some details about the dataset:

It is oldish (metadata says 2003) and seems to be connected to the Correlates of War (COW) Project.

I can't find any accompanying documentation.

I have emailed lots of folks at COW but so far have gotten absolutely nothing. I have also emailed who I think might be the author (the metadata says the Author is one "dbennett" and I guessed that this was D. Scott Bennett at PSU), but haven't gotten a reply.

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This transition came about due to the 1825 extinction of the Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg line, which reorganized the Thuringian States, including Saxe-Altenburg. Per Wikipedia, "As a result of an arbitration issued by King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony in 1826, the Ernestine duchies were rearranged and Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was again split".

  • Thanks for your answer. I also read that on Wikipedia, but was doubtful because (i) Wikipedia does not seem to give any sources for this claim (nor was I able to find any); and (ii) the 1825 or 1826 date doesn't match my dataset's 1823 (though of course my dataset could very well have made a mistake). Perhaps you could list more sources other than Wikipedia to back this up? – user38378 Jul 2 '19 at 3:27
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    I suspect that the "quarrels" and "arbitration" that are mentioned could account for a discrepancy. The dataset you posted has no sources either. – Aaron Brick Jul 2 '19 at 4:47
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    @JerryS1988 It is well known that the line of Saxe-Alternburg became extinct in the male line in the 1820s and that the lands of Saxe-Altenburg were inherited by a Wettin cousin, causing a redistribution of the various Wettin lands. almanachdegotha.org/id54.html amazon.com/Lines-Succession-Heraldry-Families-Europe/dp/… – MAGolding Jul 2 '19 at 17:04
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To expand on the answer by @Aaron Brick:

Google Translate does a passable job on this more detailed history of the Thuringian States as well as this one on Saxe-Altenburg specifically. Here is the former's explanation of the 1826 dynastic land division:

In 1826, the last dynastic land division took place in the Ernestine lands after the extinction of the line Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1826). Saxe-Meiningen received all Saxe-Hildburghausen and the Saalfelder part of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The Hildburghausen Duke received Saxe-Altenburg as an independent duchy. Saxe-Coburg received Saxe-Gotha and united to the double duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Also as noted by MAGolding in a comment:

It is well known that the line of Saxe-Alternburg became extinct in the male line in the 1820s and that the lands of Saxe-Altenburg were inherited by a Wettin cousin, causing a redistribution of the various Wettin lands.

"Well known' because Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha is the line of Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, and thus of their descendants including the present Queen Elizabeth II, though renamed Windsor in 1917 by Victoria's grandson, George V.

The Duchy of Gotha itself had been in the Ernestine Branch of the House of Wettin since its founding in 1640 by Duke Wilhelm von Saxe-Weimar as a landholding for his younger brother Ernest the Pious.

  • The redisitrubtion of the Thuringian lands is not well known merely because of its dynastic connection to Great Britain. Another reason is that each of the Thuringian Duchies was an independent sovereign state, so this is a 19th century example of a European sovereign state that ceased to exist and was divided among other sovereign states, in this case by inheritance and not by war, a highly unusual happening. – MAGolding Jul 3 '19 at 18:01
  • @MAGolding: Okay - Is the count five royal houses, three still reigning, not just United Kingdom? As for "by inheritance and not by war" - I would argue that within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, because of its inheritance rules, "by inheritance and not by war" is at least as common as by war. There were literally hundreds of sovereign states within the HRE prior to 1648 (if not later), most of which required inheritance amongst all surviving sons. The reason for the large count is precisely because creation and fragmentation of sovereignties by inheritance was so common. – Pieter Geerkens Jul 3 '19 at 18:24

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