EUROPEAN ROYAL HOUSES

 

 

PRINCES BIRON, DUKES OF CURLAND (COURLAND)

GENEALOGY OF THE PRINCES BIRON

The family of Biron, originally Biren Büren or Bühren, descends from Carol Büren, living in Klanzeen 13 Sep 1573 who was resident in Courland from 20 Jan 1630. Ernst Johann von Bieran (Biron), grand chamberlain of the Russian Court and Minister (b 23 Nov 1690; d 29 Dec 1772), served first the Duke of Courland, but after becoming the lover of the Empress Anne of Russia, following the death of her husband Frederick William Kettler, Duke of Courland (d 1711) was cr Count of the Holy Roman Empire 2 Sep 1730, acquired by purchase the Lordship of Wartenberg, Silesia 1734; Sovereign Duke of Courland 13 Jul 1737 on the death of the last Kettler Duke of Courland (with which he was invested by the King of Poland 20 Mar 1739/ 3 Jan 1765), assumed the title of Serene Highness and Prince for all his descendants. (Courland, or Kurland, included much of modern Latvia and Estonia, became a Duchy in 1561 for Gotthard Kettler, last Grand Master of the Knights of the Sword whose territory it had been, and passed to his descendants). Peter Biron, Duke of Courland (b 15 Feb 1724; d 13 Jan 1800), abdicated in favor of Emperor Paul I of Russia, 28 Mar 1795, when the Duchy was incorporated into the Russian Empire. Acquired the Duchy of Sagan (1785), this passing by inheritance to the family of Talleyrand, while the male line retained the Lordship of Wartenberg. Hereditary Member of the Prussian Upper House, recognised as Fürst, Prince and Princesses, and Serene Highness, 12 Oct 1854.