1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Joachim II

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JOACHIM II. (1505-1571), surnamed Hector, elector of Brandenburg, the elder son of Joachim I., elector of Brandenburg, was born on the 13th of January 1505. Having passed some time at the court of the emperor Maximilian I., he married in 1524 a daughter of George, duke of Saxony. In 1532 he led a contingent of the imperial army on a campaign against the Turks; and soon afterwards, having lost his first wife, married Hedwig, daughter of Sigismund I., king of Poland. He became elector of Brandenburg on his father's death in July 1535, and undertook the government of the old and middle marks, while the new mark passed to his brother' John. Joachim took a prominent part in imperial politics as an advocate of peace, though with a due regard for the interests of the house of Habsburg. He attempted to make peace between the Protestants and the emperor Charles V. at Frankfort in 1539, and subsequently at other places; but in 1542 he led the German forces on an unsuccessful campaign against the Turks. When the war broke out between Charles and the 'league of Schmalkalden in 1546 the elector at first remained neutral; but he afterwards sent some troops to serve under the emperor. With Maurice, elector of Saxony, he persuaded Philip, land grave of Hesse, to surrender to Charles after the imperial victory at Miihlberg in April 1547, and pledged his word that the land grave would be pardoned. But, although he felt aggrieved when the emperor declined to be bound by this promise, he refused to join Maurice in his attack on Charles. He supported the Interim, which was issued from Augsburg in May 1548, and took part in the negotiations that resulted in the treaty of Passau (1552), and the religious peace of Augsburg (1555). In domestic politics he sought to consolidate and strengthen the power of his house by treaties with neighbouring princes, and succeeded in secularizing the bishoprics of Brandenburg, Havelberg and Lebus. Although brought up as a strict adherent of the older religion, he showed signs of wavering soon after his accession, and in 1539 allowed free entrance to the reformed teaching in the electorate. He took the communion himself in both kinds, and established a new ecclesiastical organization in Brandenburg, but retained much of the ceremonial of the Church of Rome. His position was not unlike that of Henry VIII. in England, and may be partly explained by a desire to replenish his impoverished exchequer with the wealth of the Church (see BRANDENBURG). After the peace of Augsburg the elector mainly confined his attention to Brandenburg, where he showed a keener desire to further the principles of the Reformation. By his luxurious habits and his lavish expenditure on public buildings he piled up a great accumulation of debt, which was partly discharged by the estates of the land in return for important concessions. He cast covetous eyes upon the archbishopric of Magdeburg and the bishopric of Halberstadt, both of which he secured for his son Frederick in 1 5 51. When Frederick died in the following year, the elector's son Sigismund obtained the two sees; and on Sigismund's death in 1 566 Magdeburg was secured by his nephew, Joachim Frederick, afterwards elector of Brandenburg. Joachim, who was a prince of generous and cultured tastes, died at Kopenick on the 3rd of January 1571, and was succeeded by his son, John George. In 1880 a statue was erected to his memory at Spandau. See Steinmiiller, Einfzihrung der Reformation in die Kurmark Brandenburg dureh Joachim II. (1903); S. Isaacsohn, “ Die Finanzen Joachims ll." in the Zeitschrzftfiir Preussische Gerchichte und Landes/eunde (1864-1883); J. G. Droysen. Geschichte der Preusrischen Politik (1855~18S6).