Adolf Friedrich II
Duke of Mecklenburg, Prince of Wenden, Schwerin and Ratzeburg, Count of Schwerin, Lord of the Lands of Rostock and Stargard
Duke Adolf Friedrich II was born in Grabow on 19 October 1658. He was the posthumous
son of the Duke Adolf Friedrich I of Mecklenburg-
Coming of age
Having reached his majority Adolf Friedrich received little help from his half brother
the reigning Schwerin Duke Christian Ludwig I who provided him with just enough money
to live on. His cousin Duke Gustav Adolf however proved more helpful and arranged
for the marriage of Adolf Friedrich with his daughter the Duchess Maria (1659-
In addition to his daughter’s hand in marriage Duke Gustav Adolf also granted Adolf Friedrich the towns of Strelitz and Feldburg and their revenues as part of the dowry. With the death of Adolf Friedrich's brother in law Hereditary Prince Carl in 1688 the Güstrow line of the House of Mecklenburg looked certain to die out with Duke Gustav Adolf making Adolf Friedrich a potential successor.
With the death of Duke Christian Ludwig I in 1692, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm, the nephew of both Adolf Friedrich and Christian Ludwig, claimed the duchy as the next senior prince in the family by primogeniture. This was disputed by Adolf Friedrich who having been born after his father’s death had not inherited anything. Adolf Friedrich based his claim on both his, and his nephew’s degree of kinship to Duke Christian Ludwig I. While Adolf Friedrich was the late dukes youngest half brother, Friedrich Wilhelm was the son of Duke Friedrich, Adolf Friedrich’s older full brother and thus senior to Adolf Friedrich although in the second degree of kinship, while Adolf Friedrich was in the first degree being a brother. While Friedrich Wilhelm claimed a sole right to the succession Adolf Friedrich only claimed a joint right and requested the Principality of Ratzeburg based on the right of partition which had been common over the history of the House of Mecklenburg and had been set out in the will of his father Duke Adolf Friedrich I.
Adolf Friedrich’s claim suffered a setback in 1693 when his nephew was recognised as Duke by the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I. An agreement of sorts was reached in 1694 when mediation by the Bishop of Lübeck resulted in Friedrich Wilhelm handing the commandery of Mirow over to Adolf Friedrich. On 26 October 1695 the Güstrow Duke Gustav Adolf died resulting in a reopening of the dispute between Adolf Friedrich and his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm, this time over the succession in Güstrow. Friedrich Wilhelm again based his claim on being the most senior prince of the House of Mecklenburg by primogeniture while Adolf Friedrich based his claim on his relationship to the deceased duke and the fact that Gustav Adolf had asked the Holy Roman Emperor to sanction a partition of his realm. As Adolf Friedrich was in Güstrow at the time of his father in law’s death he could have assumed control of the duchy but refrained from doing so, deciding instead to let the dispute be settled by due process.
Just as in 1692 when the Emperor Leopold recognised Friedrich Wilhelm’s right to
the Schwerin succession, in January 1697 Friedrich Wilhelm again found favour with
the Emperor when the Aulic council granted him possession of Mecklenburg-
After three years deliberation the commission came to a decision. Duke Friedrich Wilhelm was to receive the Duchy of Mecklenburg, the Principalities of Schwerin and Wenden, the County of Schwerin and the Lordship of Rostock. Adolf Friedrich on the other hand was to receive the Principality of Ratzeburg, the Lordship of Stargard and the Commandaries of Mirow and Nemerow with his capital at Strelitz. In addition to the territories Adolf Friedrich also received 8000 dollars to construct a new palace and 9000 dollars to be paid to him annually out of the proceeds collected from the Boizenburg toll. A law of primogeniture was also established in Mecklenburg whereby in the event of the extinction of one of the lines, the surviving branch of the family would inherit and untie the whole of Mecklenburg.
Although Adolf Friedrich was advised by some commissioners not to sign the agreement
as a courier was on his way from Vienna with news favourable to his cause he was
persuaded by his privy counsellor to sign the treaty which he duly did on 8 March
1701 thus ending an almost decade long struggle for his inheritance and resulting
in the creation of the new country and princely house of Mecklenburg-
The first Duke of Mecklenburg-
Adolf Friedrich’s wife Maria did not live to see the signing of the Treaty of Hamburg
for she had died on 16 January 1701. Therefore the distinction of being the first
duchess consort of the Strelitz line went to his second wife Princess Johanna of
Not long after his reign began a new dispute arose between Adolf Friedrich and his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm, this time over the signing of Schwerin agreement. The agreement resolved long standing disputes dating back to 1684 between the Schwerin duke and the nobility, and decided how much the states would have to pay annually for the defence of the country. Adolf Friedrich’s reason for opposing the agreement was that he was excluded from the negotiations believing it to be a contravention of the union of 1523.
Once Adolf Friedrich had assumed his sovereign rights he faced the task of building
his new country. Mecklenburg had suffered greatly during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-
After his long struggle to gain his throne Adolf Friedrich did not enjoy a long reign. Having spent seven years on the throne Adolf Friedrich the first Strelitz duke died on 12 May 1708 aged 49. He was survived by his third wife Emilie who died 1 November 1751 aged 70. Adolf Friedrich was succeeded by his eldest son who became Duke Adolf Friedrich III.