Portrait of Charles of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1670 to 1730.
Charles of Hesse-Kassel (German: Karl, Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel; 3 August 1654 – 23 March 1730), of the House of Hesse, was the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1670 to 1730. Charles was the second son of William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg (1623–1683). Until 1675 his mother ruled as his guardian and regent before Charles was old enough to take over the administration for the next 5 years. His older brother, William VII, had died in 1670 shortly after reaching adulthood, even before he had had the chance to make any changes with the administration. Under the reign of Charles, the consequences of the Thirty Years' War in the agricultural county could be overcome more quickly than they were in the more industrialized regions of the Holy Roman Empire. He pushed for the recreation of a large army and put it in the service of other countries in the War of Spanish Succession. Even before the Edict of Fontainebleau (October 1685), Charles adopted on 18 April 1685 the Freiheits-Concession, promising the exiles from France, the Huguenots and Waldensians, free settlement and their own churches and schools. In the following years, about 4000 the Protestants fled persecution in their homelands for Northern Hesse and, for example, about 1700 of them settled in Oberneustadt, the newly created borough of Kassel. Following the ideas of mercantilism, Charles founded in 1679 the Messinghof, one of the first metal-processing plants in Hesse, in Bettenhausen, east of Kassel. In 1699 Charles founded Sieburg (since 1717 Karlshafen) and also moved some of the Huguenots and Waldensians there. With the construction of the Landgrave-Carl-Canal from the Diemel River to Kassel (and beyond), he tried to circumvent the existing customs borders but, after only a few kilometers, the construction was discontinued. Charles married his first cousin, Maria Amalia of Courland (1653–1711), the daughter of Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland, and had with her seventeen children, fourteen of which lived long enough to have names. After the death of his wife in 1713, Charles had a relationship with Jeanne Marguerite de Frere, Marquise de Langallerie, with whom he had a son, Charles Frederic Philippe de Gentil, Marquis de Langallerie, who died early. Charles secured in the same way the financial security of children who had come with his mistress. After the Marquise de Langallerie, the next mistress and confidante was Barbara Christine von Bernhold (1690–1756), who rose to Großhofmeisterin ("Senior Mistress of the Court") under Charles's son William VIII and in 1742 ennobled by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII to the rank of Reichsgrafin ("Imperial Countess"). She was housed in the Bellevue Palace.
Read more: Wikipedia