Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004

Albrecht I. The Great (1236-1279)

Duke of Brunswick
Founder of the Old House of Brunswick (1267)

In 1252 Albrecht I., also called the Great, assumed the rule in the duchy of Brunswick - Lüneburg following the death of his father, Otto the Child (1204-1252).  He took over the guardianship of his younger brother Johann (1242-1277).  Later the brothers ruled the Welf inheritance together.  In 1254 duke Albrecht I. married Elisabeth of Brabant. The interregnum (1250-1273) marked the reign of duke Albrecht I. During this time none of the claimants to the throne succeeded.  The Hohenstaufen were cut off as kings and emperors.  In 1272 the German princes chose Rudolf of Habsburg as the new king.  In north Germany Albrecht was able to succeed for the most part against his opponents, and he further extended his domain.  In 1264 duke Johann married Liutgard of Holstein.  Thereupon, as was the custom of the time, the two brothers agreed to divide their common inheritance.  As elder brother, duke Albrecht I. proposed the partition of the duchy of Brunswick - Lüneburg in 1267.  The younger brother Johann received thereby the right to chose one of the two parts.  Duke Albrecht divided the land into the following parts:

  1. The land around Brunswick and Wolfenbüttel with estates in Calenberg and in the area of Göttingen.
  2. Lüneburg, the city of Hanover and its environs.

 In 1269, when the final agreement ensued, Johann chose the land of Lüneburg and was consequently the founder of the Old House of Lüneburg, while Albrecht founded the old House of Brunswick.  Since the time of this division in 1267 the estate has never again been united in a Welf hand.  From duke Albrecht's marriage with Adelheid of Monferrat there issued a daughter and six sons, of whom the three eldest sons, Heinrich, Albrecht II. the Fat (1268-1318), and Wilhelm took over their father's inheritance.

--Adapted from the website, Die Welfen


  • Hohnstein, O.  Branuschweigische Geschichte.  Brunswick, 1908.