Karlsberg Castle - Historical Situation

Historical Situation

Charles II August was the son of the (titular) Count Palatine and prince of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler Frederick Michael. This means, his father was the head of the house Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler, a side branch of the house Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, which was a side branch of the ducal house of Palatinate-Zweibrücken, which itself was a side branch of the house of Wittelsbach-Palatinate, which held the title of elector Palatinate of the Rhine and was the Protestant branch of the house of Wittelsbach.

His upbringing as the son of an unimportant poor prince did not give Charles II August the chance to build a castle of European standing. It was the extinction of the three main branches of the house of Wittelsbach, which gave him the opportunity to do so. In 1775 Christian IV, duke of Zweibrücken died without legitimate children. Charles August became his successor. At the same time, neither Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, Elector Palatine, the head of the Protestant main branch of the house of Wittelsbach, nor Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, the head of the Catholic main branch of the house of Wittelsbach, had surviving legitimate children. So Charles August was expected to succeed these relatives too.

Charles Theodore was not interested in the Bavarian inheritance (because of their illegitimate birth, his own children would not benefit from the inheritance). Therefore he was willing to sell his hereditary title and, after the death of Maximilian Joseph, his Bavarian property to the Austrian house of Habsburg.

The European powers, especially Prussia, were not interested in seeing the house of Habsburg make further land gains. The only way to prevent this from happening was to make sure that, instead of selling his own hereditary title too, Charles August protested against every attempt to impede his succession to the Bavarian throne. To insure this, Charles August received financial support from European powers such as France and Prussia. Part of the demonstration of his position as the inheritor of the Electorate of the Palatinate and Bavaria was an extensive holding of court.

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