Saxe-Gotha [key], Ger. Sachsen-Gotha, former duchy, Thuringia, central Germany. A possession of the Ernestine branch of the house of Wettin, it passed in the 16th cent. to the dukes of Saxe-Weimar. After the death (1605) of Duke John of Weimar, his territories were divided among his heirs. Saxe-Gotha, along with Coburg, Meiningen, Saalfeld, and other territories, gradually came under the control of Ernest the Pious, one of John's younger sons, who inherited Saxe-Altenburg in 1672. On Ernest's death (1675), the succession was divided among his seven sons; the eldest, Frederick I, received Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg, which his descendants ruled until the male line failed in 1825. Saxe-Gotha was awarded in 1826 to Ernest III of Saxe-Coburg (Ernest I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; see under Saxe-Coburg). Saxe-Altenburg became a separate duchy under a collateral line. In 1920 Saxe-Gotha was incorporated into Thuringia.
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