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

Friedrich Ulrich
(Frederick Ulrich)

Duke of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel

Friedrich Ulrich, the eldest son of Duke Heinrich Julius (1564-1613), took over the reign in Wolfenbüttel five years before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War.  He had the benefit of an extensive education in Helmstedt and Tübingen, thereby became a patron of learning.  In 1618 he gave his entire palace library to the university in Helmstedt and improved the pay for professors, while transferring to the university the three monasteries of Weende, Hilwartshausen, and Mariegarten.  The Thirty Years' War ruined improvements in the principality.  Monasteries, churches, and construction projects had to be closed.  In the chaos of the war, the realm lost up to thirty per cent of the population.  Christian (1599-1626), administrator of the Catholic bishopric of Halberstadt, a brother of the ruling duke Friedrich Ulrich, sought in vain to break the Catholic power of the Habsburgs in north Germany through his military bravado.

In general duke Friedrich Ulrich was burdened with an unfortunate ruling style with many political failures. Under his control the principality of Wolfenbüttel suffered its greatest loss of territory in history.  Between 1616 and 1622 ruling authority was taken away from him by his widowed mother and her brother, king Christian IV. (1577-1648) of Denmark.

Friedrich Ulrich was married to Anna Sophie, a daughter of the Elector of Brandenburg.  This unhappy marriage remained without descendents.  In 1623 his wife even hatched a murder plot against him.  With the death of duke Friedrich Ulrich in 1634, the Middle House of Brunswick was extinguished.  The successor became duke August the Younger (1579-1666) of the Dannenberg line.  With the beginning of his rule in Wolfenbüttel, Duke August became the founder of the New House of Brunswick.

--Adapted from the website, Die Welfen


  • Eckart, Rudolf. Die welfischen Fürsten.  Brunswick, 1895.
  • Gatenbröcker, Silke. In the catalog for the exhibition "Hofkunst der Spätrenaissance."  Brunswick, 1998.
  • Judge, Harry, ed.  Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia.  3 vols.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.