|Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg|
Christian of Anhalt, in an engraving of 1615
|Born||11 May 1568|
|Died||17 April 1630 (aged 61)|
|Spouse(s)||Anna of Bentheim-Tecklenburg|
|Father||Joachim Ernest, Prince of Anhalt|
|Mother||Agnes of Barby-Mühlingen|
Christian I, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg, also known as Christian of Anhalt, (11 May 1568 – 17 April 1630) was a German prince of the House of Ascania. He was ruling prince of Anhalt and, from 1603, ruling prince of the revived principality of Anhalt-Bernburg. From 1595 he was governor of Upper Palatinate, and soon became the advisor-in-chief of Frederick IV, Elector Palatine.
Christian was the second son of Joachim Ernest, Prince of Anhalt, by his first wife Agnes, daughter of Wolfgang I, Count of Barby-Mühlingen. Born in Bernburg, Christian was trained from 1570 in Dessau by Caspar Gottschalk in Latin, Italian, and French. Still a child, he participated in diplomatic missions, among other places, to Constantinople; thus prepared, he developed into an ambitious, urbane diplomat.
In the early months of 1586 he went to Dresden and remained there several years as the closest friend of his namesake, Christian I, Elector of Saxony, whose Calvinist sympathies he shared. It is known that he suffered from alcoholic excesses during his stay at the electoral court.
Taking possession of his family lands in December of the same year (1586), Christian remained a devoted Calvinist and later served as advisor to Frederick IV, Elector Palatine. In 1591 he led the Palatine army in aid of the French king Henry IV. When a dispute for the possession of the bishopric of Strasbourg—the so-called Bishops' War—erupted in 1592, he supported Brandenburg against Lorraine. In 1595 he was appointed Governor of the Upper Palatinate by Frederick IV and settled in Amberg.
In 1603 the principality of Anhalt was formally divided between Christian and his surviving brothers. He received Bernburg, and with this settlement revived the old principality of the same name that had been extinct since 1468.
As a diplomat, Christian played an important role in the formation of the Protestant Union in 1608. With the death of the Elector Frederick IV, Christian served his son, Frederick V, and was appointed to command the Protestant forces to defend Bohemia against Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II and his allies when that country's nobles elected Frederick as their king in 1619. The same year, Christian was accepted in the Fruitbearing Society. When Bohemian forces were defeated at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, Christian advised Frederick against making a stand in Prague. In 1621, in response to his affiliation with the Palatines, Christian was put under an imperial ban that effectively made him an outlaw within the Holy Roman Empire and stripped him of his lands.
Christian fled first to Sweden, and then became a guest of King Christian IV in Denmark. He appealed to Emperor Ferdinand for mercy in 1624 and was allowed to return to his principality, where he died six years later.
In Lorbach on 2 July 1595 Christian married Anna of Bentheim-Tecklenburg (b. Bentheim, 4 January 1579 – d. Bernburg, 9 December 1624), daughter of Arnold III, Count of Bentheim-Steinfurt-Tecklenburg-Limburg. They had sixteen children:
Christian I, Prince of Anhalt-BernburgBorn: 11 May 1568 Died: 17 April 1630
| Prince of Anhalt
with John George I,
Bernhard (until 1596),
John Ernest (until 1601)
Principality partitioned in Anhalt-Dessau, Anhalt-Bernburg, Anhalt-Plötzkau, Anhalt-Zerbst and Anhalt-Köthen
| Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg