Karl Alexander of Württemberg was appointed governor of the Kingdom of Serbia, on the territory the Habsburgs had recently liberated from the Ottomans.
Field Marshal Karl Alexander of Württemberg, a German who served as the governor of the Kingdom of Serbia for 13 years, died on this day in 1737. Karl Alexander was born in 1684 in Stuttgart as a member of one of the most powerful German dynasties in history. The Württembergs ruled over the area around Stuttgart from the early Middle Ages, and received their ducal title on 1495. Their duchy became part of the Holy Roman Empire, but was also a local power in its own right.
Karl Alexander of Württemberg entered the service of Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and the father of the famous Empress Maria Theresa. He converted to the Roman Catholic faith even though he was born a Protestant. Alongside Prince Eugen of Savoy, he fought against the Ottoman Empire. After the Habsburgs achieved several victories, the Ottomans were forced to concede them a part of the territory of what is today Serbia. The Habsburgs founded the Kingdom of Serbia on this territory, with Charles VI as king and Karl Alexander as governor.
He allegedly ruled as an autocrat over a territory that encompassed Belgrade, Smederevo, Valjevo, Požarevac, Kragujevac, Šabac, and many other Serbian settlements. Its main administrative center was Belgrade.
In 1733 Karl Alexander also inherited the throne of Württemberg after his cousin died without male issue. He then left Serbia and his position of governor and moved back to his homeland.
In his capital at Stuttgart, Karl Alexander of Württemberg then became very famous due to an affair. He employed Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, a man of Jewish heritage, as a financial advisor and drew the ire of many people. After Karl Alexander’s death, Süß was brought to a very dramatic trial and executed. Almost 200 years later, this affair was used as the basis for a Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda movie.