Coat of arms of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1724

Alsfeld given away?Alsfeld falls to Hesse-Darmstadt

During his lifetime, Landgrave Philip had defended the indivisibility of the land and laid it down in his will, but after his death the landgraviate was nevertheless divided up.

The eldest son, Wilhelm, received the Lower Principality of Hesse with Kassel; the second eldest son, Ludwig, the “Upper Principality” of Hesse-Marburg, i.e. Upper Hesse; the third son, Philipp, the fortress of Rheinfels and the territory of the County of Katzenelnbogen; the fourth son, Georg, the Upper County of Katzenelnbogen, with the castles, towns and offices of Darmstadt, Rüsselsheim and Auerbach, the later Hesse-Darmstadt.

The question of confessional affiliation developed into a point of contention; in Marburg, the childless Landgrave Ludwig IV adhered to Luther’s teachings. After his death in 1604, the disputes over Upper Hesse began. The decision of the arbitration court to give the northern part around Marburg to Hesse-Kassel and the southeastern part with Alsfeld, Grünberg and Giessen to Hesse-Darmstadt caused the division of Upper Hesse.

The disputes between Hesse-Darmstadt and Hesse-Cassel over the Marburg inheritance dragged on as the “Hessian Brotherly War” throughout the 30 Years War.

It was not until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 that a new treaty was reached, as a result of which about a quarter of Upper Hesse, the so-called “Marburg Portion” with the university city, remained with Hesse-Kassel and the remaining three-quarters of Upper Hesse (with Alsfeld) remained with Hesse-Darmstadt. MNic