Saxe-Coburg [key], Ger. Sachsen-Coburg, former duchy, central Germany. A possession of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin, it was given by Ernest the Pious (d. 1675) of Saxe-Gotha to his son Albert. On Albert's death (1699) it passed to his younger brother, John Ernest, duke of Saxe-Saalfeld, whose descendants ruled the duchy of Coburg until 1918 and the duchy of Saalfeld until 1826. The extinction (1825) of the related line of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg resulted in a general redivision of the Ernestine possessions in 1826. The duchy of Saalfeld passed to the duke of Saxe-Meiningen, while Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg received the duchy of Gotha and assumed the style Ernest I, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Ernest I's brother was crowned (1831) as Leopold I, king of the Belgians, and Ernest's son Albert married (1840) Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Thus the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became the ruling dynasty of Belgium (where the name was changed to van België/de Belgique/von Belgien after World War I) and of Great Britain (where the name was changed to Windsor during the war). In 1887, Ferdinand, the grand nephew of Ernest I, became ruling prince (from 1908, czar) of Bulgaria, and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the ruling house there until the monarchy was abolished in 1946. Ernest II, the elder son and successor of Ernest I, sided with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. He was succeeded (1893) by Alfred, duke of Edinburgh, a son of Queen Victoria and the father of Queen Marie of Romania. On Alfred's death (1900) the duchy passed to his nephew, Charles Edward, who abdicated in 1918. In 1920 Saxe-Gotha was incorporated into Thuringia, and Saxe-Coburg into Bavaria.
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