Albert, Duke of Prussia

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Albert of Prussia (German: Albrecht; Latin: Albertus) (16 May 1490 – 20 March 1568) was the 37th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and, after converting to Lutheranism, the first duke of the Duchy of Prussia, which was the first state to adopt the Lutheran faith and Protestantism as the official state religion. Albert proved instrumental in the political spread of Protestantism in its early stage.

Because Albert was a member of the Brandenburg-Ansbach branch of the House of Hohenzollern, it had been hoped that his election as Grand Master would reverse the decline of the Teutonic Knights since 1410; Duke Frederick of Saxony of the House of Wettin had been elected for the same reason. Instead, Albert's secularization of the Prussian territories of the Order eventually led to the inheritance of the Duchy of Prussia by the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

Albert's titles (on his proclamation of 1561 in Königsberg) were: Albert the Elder, Margrave of Brandenburg in Prussia, Stettin in Pomerania, Duke of the Kashubians, and Wends, Burgrave of Nuremberg, and Count of Rügen etc..[citation needed]

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Early life

Albert was born in Ansbach in Franconia as the third son of Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. His mother was Sophia, daughter of Casimir IV Jagiellon, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, and his wife Elisabeth of Austria. He was raised for a career in the Church and spent some time at the court of Hermann IV of Hesse, Elector of Cologne, who appointed him canon of the Cologne Cathedral. Despite being quite religious, he was also interested in mathematics and science, and sometimes is claimed to have contradicted the teachings of the Church in favour of scientific theories. His career was forwarded by the Church however and institutions of the Catholic clerics supported his early advance.

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