Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken
Charles II/III August Christian (German: Karl II./III. August Christian) (October 29, 1746 – April 1, 1795) was Duke of Zweibrücken
Palatinate-Zweibrücken is a former state of the Holy Roman Empire. Its capital was Zweibrücken.-Overview:→ History before 1394 see main article County of Zweibrücken→ History before 1444 see main article County of Veldenz...

 from 1775 to 1795. He was the son of Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and Maria Franziska of Sulzbach. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld
Palatinate-Birkenfeld , later Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, was the name of a collateral line of the Palatine Wittelsbachs. The Counts Palatine from this line initially ruled over only a relatively unimportant territory, namely the Palatine share of the Rear County of Sponheim; however, their...

, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.


Charles was born in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, as the eldest of five children born to Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken and his wife Countess Palatine Maria Franziska of Sulzbach. He was an older brother of Amalie, Queen of Saxony and Maximilian, eventual King of Bavaria.

Rejected suitor

He wanted to marry Archduchess Marie Amalie, the eighth child of Empress Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

. He was well known in the Austrian court, and Marie Amalie was also in love with him. However, Maria Theresa deemed him of insufficient rank to marry an Archduchess. Moreover, she wanted to strengthen Austria's alliance with the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 by marrying a daughter to either the King of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 or Ferdinand, Duke of Parma
Ferdinand, Duke of Parma
Ferdinand Maria Philip Louis Sebastian Francis James of Parma was Duke of Parma from 1765 to 1802. He was the second child and only son of Philip, Duke of Parma and Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France, eldest daughter of Louis XV of France and Maria Leszczyńska...

. This was to be Marie Amalie, due to the death of another daughter, Maria Josepha
Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria
Archduchess Maria Josepha Gabriela Johanna Antonia Anna of Austria . She was the daughter of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Austria, Holy Roman Empress...


Maria Amalie's older brother, Emperor Joseph
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

, also favored the marriage of his sister and to Parma, who was the younger brother of his beloved wife, Isabella. So in 1769, Maria Amalie was married to Ferdinand against her will. This decision not only permanently embittered Charles against the Empress and Austria but also Marie Amalie against her mother.

Charles eventually married Maria Amalia, the sister of the Elector of Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....


Bavarian claims

Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, died without children in 1778. Charles Theodore
Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria
Charles Theodore, Prince-Elector, Count Palatine and Duke of Bavaria reigned as Prince-Elector and Count palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as Prince-Elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777, until his death...

, then Elector Palatine, was his heir. However, Charles Theodore would have to surrender the Palatine Electorate to succeed to the Bavarian title. Furthermore, he had only illegitimate children, who could inherit neither the Palatinate nor Bavaria. To get territory he could bequeath to his illegitimate children, Charles Theodore tried to exchange Lower Bavaria to Emperor Joseph in return for parts of the Austrian Netherlands.

Charles August was the next in line for Bavaria, and objected strenuously. He had the support of Frederick the Great of Prussia
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

 and of most of the German minor states. Thanks to his mother-in-law, this included Saxony.

The War of the Bavarian Succession was resolved without fighting; Charles Theodore succeeded in Bavaria. A second attempt to make the exchange in 1784 was also opposed by Charles August, again with Prussian support, and also failed. Charles Theodore outlived Charles August who died without a son, but Bavaria went to Charles August's brother, Maximilian Joseph.


In Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 in 1774, Charles married Maria Amalia of Saxony
Maria Amalia of Saxony (1757–1831)
Maria Amalia of Saxony was a daughter of Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony and his wife Maria Antonia Walpurgis of Bavaria...

, daughter of Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony was the Prince-Elector of Saxony for less than three months in 1763...

. They had one son who died in childhood. Upon his death the title of Duke of Zweibrücken was inherited by his brother Maximilian.

Charles August was the principal owner of the famous Karlsberg Castle
Karlsberg castle
Karlsberg Castle is a castle ruin on Buchenberg east of Homburg in Saarland, Germany. The castle was constructed from 1778 to 1788 in Baroque and Classical style by Johann Christian von Mannlich, architect and general building director of the dukes of Zweibrücken, by order of Charles II August,...

. He died at Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 in 1795.


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