The powerful Wettin dynasty had been active warriors, instrumental in pushing Germany frontiers east into Slavic lands in the 11th century. When six-year old Henry the Illustrious succeeded as Margrave in 1221, he commanded extensive lands, including the March of Meissen. As a reward for supporting the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, over a land dispute with Pope Innocent IV, Henry was made Landgrave (equivalent to a count) of Thuringia in 1243 and Frederick’s daughter was betrothed to Henry’s son, Albert II, with Pleissnerland as her dowry. By the time of the wedding in 1255, the Hohenstaufen dynasty was in decline. When Rudolph of Habsburg became Holy Roman emperor in 1273, Henry was, again, an invaluable support. Albert II, (‘the degenerate’) lost Lusitania and substantial portions of his lands to his sons, but retained Meissen. The Wettin family became prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire after acquiring Ducal Saxony in 1423. By 1485, the family split into two ruling branches, and had further acquisitions in Dohna, Vogtland and Pflege Cobur.
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