John William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg

Johann Wilhelm
Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg

Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Spouse(s) Jakobea of Baden
Antonia of Lorraine
Noble family La Marck
Father William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Mother Maria of Austria
Born (1562-05-28)28 May 1562
Died 25 March 1609(1609-03-25) (aged 46)
John William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg

Johann Wilhelm of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (German: Johann Wilhelm, Herzog zu Kleve, Julich und Berg) (28 May 1562 – 25 March 1609) was a Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg.[1]

His parents were William the Rich, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (1516–92) and Maria of Austria (1531–81), a daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. He grew up and was educated in Xanten. Johann Wilhelm became Bishop of Münster. However, after the unexpected death of his elder brother Karl Friedrich, Wilhelm was needed to succeed his father as Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, a secular fief. He was also Count of Altena. The United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg was a combination of reichsfrei states within the Holy Roman Empire.

Johann Wilhelm was first married in 1585 to Jakobea of Baden (d. 1597), daughter of Philibert, Margrave of Baden. He was secondly married to Antonia of Lorraine (d. 1610), daughter of Charles III, Duke of Lorraine.

He was subject to mental illness, for which he was treated by the physician Francesco Maria Guazzo.[2]

Upon Duke Johann William's childless death in 1609, his inheritance was claimed by the heirs of his two eldest sisters: the heir of Maria Eleonora of Cleves (1550–1608), the eldest sister and married to Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia, was Anna of Prussia, the Electress of Brandenburg, a Protestant. The second sister was Anna of Cleves (1552–1632), married with Philipp Ludwig, Count Palatine of Neuburg, and her son and heir was the then Count Palatine of Neuburg, a Catholic.

The disputes of the epoch between Protestants and Catholics escalated, leading to the Thirty Years' War in 1618; the succession dispute became part of the war. Ultimately, Brandenburg received Cleves-Mark and Neuburg received Jülich-Berg, after the lands had been trampled under military several times and lost much of the fabled wealth so renowned in Duke Wilhelm's time. Among his court servants and employees were the composer Konrad Hagius.

upper: left Julich, center Cleves, right Berg, down: left La Mark, right Ravensberg



  1. Wim Janse, Barbara Pitkin The Formation of Clerical And Confessional Identities in Early ... 2006 - Page 400 "By then, the Jülich-Kleve succession crisis was already simmering as Wilhelm (1516-92), the old, senile duke was dead, leaving the duchies to his mad and childless son, Johann Wilhelm (1562-1609).10 The details of the succession crisis are ..."
  2. Claudia Swan Art, Science and Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland 2005 -- Page 225 "Like Weyer, but nearly half a century later, Guazzo served the court at Cleves; he served as physician to Duke Johann Wilhelm of Cleves (1562-1609), to whom he dedicated his book. "
John William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Born: 28 May 1562 Died: 25 March 1609
Regnal titles
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John III of Hoya
Prince-Bishop of Münster
as administrator regnant
Succeeded by
Ernest of Bavaria
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William the Rich
Duke of Cleves,
Count of Mark,
Count of Ravensburg

Title next held by
John Sigismund,
Elector of Brandenburg
Duke of Jülich-Berg
Title next held by
Wolfgang Wilhelm,
Count Palatine of Neuburg
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