Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden : biography
Louis William, Margrave of Baden (8 April 1655 – 4 January 1707) was the ruler of Baden in Germany and chief commander of the Imperial army. He was also known as Türkenlouis ("Turk Louis"). At his death in 1707, his wife, Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg, acted as regent of Baden-Baden.
Louis William, Margrave of Baden. Louis William served first under Raimondo Montecuccoli against Turenne, and then under the duke of Lorraine. At the siege of Vienna by the Turks, in 1683, he threw his forces into the city, and by a brilliant sally effected a junction with King Sobieski and the duke of Lorraine, who had come to its relief. In 1689 he defeated the Turks at Nissa.
Louis came to be called the Türkenlouis or shield of the empire. The Turks called him the red king because his red uniform jacket made him very visible on the battlefield. He was known as a defender of Europe against the Turks, as was Eugene of Savoy. As a military commander in the service of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1689 he was made chief commander of the Imperial army in Hungary, where he scored a resounding victory against the Ottomans at Slankamen in 1691. Louis saw Osijek as a location of exceptional strategic importance in the war against the Ottomans. He urged the repair of the city walls, and proposed construction of a new fort called Tvrđa, according to Vauban's principles of military engineering. Shortly afterward he was sent to head the army of the Rhine in the War of the Grand Alliance.
He later led the imperial army in the War of the Spanish Succession where he captured Landau in September 1702, but soon had to withdraw across the Rhine and was defeated by the French under the Duke of Villars at Friedlingen. In 1704 however, he participated in the successful German campaign of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy. He distinguished himself in the Battle of Schellenberg and besieged and conquered Ingolstadt and Landau, thus drawing Bavarian troops away from the decisive Battle of Blenheim.
He died in at his unfinished Schloss Rastatt in 1707. His wife took up a regency for their son Louis George; he took over his own government in October 1727.
Born in Paris, Louis was a son of Hereditary Prince Ferdinand Maximilian of Baden-Baden and his French wife Louise of Savoy. His godfather was Louis XIV of France. His father was the elder son of Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Baden, whom he pre-deceased, leaving Louis to succeed as reigning Margrave of Baden and head of the Catholic branch of the House of Zähringen.
His mother's brother was the Count of Soissons, father of the renowned general Prince Eugene of Savoy, in whose military shadow Louis would live and fight, although the cousins would also be allied in service to the Holy Roman Emperor against the French. His parents being estranged, he was kidnapped as a child from his mother's home in Paris and re-patriated to Germany, where he was raised by his paternal step-grandmother.
Marriage and children
The Emperor gave him a young heiress to wed, Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg. They had the following children:
- Leopold William of Baden-Baden (1694 – 1695) Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
- Charlotte of Baden-Baden (1696 – 1700) died in infancy;
- Charles Joseph of Baden-Baden (1697 – 1703) Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
- Louis George Simpert of Baden-Baden, (7 June 1702 – 22 October 1761) Margrave of Baden-Baden, married Maria Anna of Schwarzenberg, had issue; married again to Maria Anna of Bavaria, no issue;
- Wilhelm Georg Simpert of Baden-Baden (1703 – 1709), died in infancy;
- Augustus George Simpert of Baden-Baden, (14 January 1706 – 21 October 1771) Margrave of Baden-Baden, married Marie Victoire d'Arenberg, no issue;
- Wilhelmine of Baden-Baden (1700 in Schlackenwerth – 1702 in Schlackenwerth), died in infancy;
- Luise of Baden-Baden (1701 in Nürnberg – 1707), died in infancy;
- Auguste of Baden-Baden, (10. November 1704 in Aschaffenburg – 8. August 1726 in Paris) married Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans and had issue.
Ironically, for a soldier-prince who fought France most of his martial career, seventeen years after the margrave's death the only one of his daughters to survive childhood, Princess Auguste, married Louis d'Orléans, son of the infamous French Regent and, at the time of the wedding, first in the line of succession to the throne of France.
His descendant through this marriage became King Louis Philippe of the French in 1830.
After the death of Louis, his widow built Schloss Favorite castle as a summer residence in memory of her husband. He was buried at the Stiftskirche in Baden-Baden.
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