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HENRY II

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 293 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HENRY II. (1489-1568), duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel, was a son of Duke Henry I., and was born on the loth of November 1489. He began to reign in 1514, but his brother William objected to the indivisibility of the duchy which had been decreed by the elder Henry, and it was only in 1535, after an imprisonment of eleven years, that William recognized his brother's title. Sharing in an attack on John, bishop of Hildesheim, Henry was defeated at the battle of Soltau in June 1519, but afterwards he was more successful, and when peace was made received some lands from the bishop. In 1525 he assisted Philip, landgrave of Hesse, to crush the rising of the peasants in north Germany, and in 1528 took help to Charles V. in Italy, where he narrowly escaped capture. As a pronounced opponent of the reformed doctrines, he joined the Catholic princes in concerting measures for defence at Dessau and elsewhere, but on the other hand promised Philip of Hesse to aid him in restoring his own brother-in-law Ulrich, duke of Wurttemberg, to hisduchy. However he gave no assistance when this enterprise was undertaken in 1534, and subsequently the hostility between Philip and himself was very marked. Henry was attacked by Luther with unmeasured violence in a writing Wider Hans Worst ; but more serious was his isolation in north Germany. The duke soon came into collision with the Protestant towns of Goslar and Brunswick, against the former of which a sentence of restitution had been pronounced by the imperial court of justice (Reichskammergericht). To conciliate the Protestants Charles V. had suspended the execution of this sentence, a proceeding which Henry declared was ultra vires. The league of Schmalkalden, led by Philip of Hesse and John Frederick, elector of Saxony, then took up arms to defend the towns; and in 1542 Brunswick was overrun and the duke forced to flee. In September 1545 he made an attempt to regain his duchy, but was taken prisoner by Philip, and only released after the victory of Charles V. at Muhlberg in April 1547. Returning to Brunswick, where he was very unpopular, he soon quarrelled with his subjects both on political and religious questions, while his duchy was ravaged by Albert Alcibiades, prince of Bayreuth. Henry was among the princes who banded themselves together to crush Albert, and after the death of Maurice, elector of Saxony, at Sievershausen in July 1553, he took command of the allied troops and defeated Albert in two engagements. In his later years he became more tolerant, and was reconciled with his Protestant subjects. He died at Wolfenbiittel on the rrth of June 1568. The duke was twice married, firstly in 1515 to Maria (d. 15421), sister of Ulrich of Wurttemberg, and secondly in 1556 to Sophia (d. 1575) daughter of Sigismund I., king of Poland. He attained some notoriety through his romantic attachment to Eva von Trott, whom he represented as dead and afterwards kept concealed at Staufenburg. Henry was succeeded by his only surviving son, Julius (1528-1589). See F. Koldewey, Heinz von Wolfenbiittel (Halle, 1883) ; and F. Bruns, Die Vertreibung Herzog Heinrichs von Braunschweig durch den Schmalkaldischen Bund (Marburg, 1889).
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