Leopold II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (December 22, 1700 – December 16, 1751), was a German prince of the House of Ascania and ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Dessau from 1747 to 1751; he also was a Prussian general.
Leopold Maximilian was born at Dessau as the second son of Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, by his morganatic wife Anna Louise Föhse.
At only nine years of age, he accompanied his father on his military duties for the Prussian army. In 1715 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel-in-Chief of the Infantry Regiment No. 27 of Stendal. In 1733 he led the Prussian forces stationed in the city of Mühlhausen in Thuringia during the First Silesian War.
The death in 1737 of his elder brother, the Hereditary Prince Wilhelm Gustaf made Leopold the new heir of Dessau. The late prince was already married and had nine children, but his wife was of non-noble birth; for this reason, the issue of the marriage was barred from succession. After the death of his father in 1747, Leopold inherited Anhalt-Dessau.
Leopold was one of the best subordinate generals who served under Friedrich II the Great of Prussia. He distinguished himself in the capture of Glogau in 1741 and at the battles of Mollwitz, Chotusitz (where he was made Generalfeldmarschall on the field of battle), Hohenfriedberg, and Soor.
Leopold II died at Dessau in 1751 days beforehis 51st birthday. In 1752 Friedrich II the Great named a newly founded village Leopoldshagen (est. 1748) in his honour.
Marriage and issue
In Bernburburg May 25, 1737 Leopold married his cousin Gisela Agnes of Anhalt-Köthen ( September 21, 1722 – April 20, 1751), the only surviving child of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen (1694–1728) from his first marriage to Friederike Henriette (1702–1723), daughter of Prince Charles Friedrich of Anhalt-Bernburg.
The marriage was described as very happy. The death of his wife hit Leopold II so hard that he, already in delicate health, died only eight months later. She was buried in the St. Mary’s Church in Dessau.
When her father died without leaving a male heir, he was succeeded as Prince of Anhalt-Köthen by her uncle Augustus Ludwig of Anhalt-Köthen. However, Gisela Agnes claimed her allodial title and took the case to the Reichskammergericht. Prince John Augustus of Anhalt-Zerbst mediated and a compromise was reached.
Gisela was compensated with a sum of 100000taler plus and annual pension until her marriage. She also received her father’s collection of guns and coins and another 32000taler for the estates of Prosigk, Klepzig and Köthen.
They had seven children:
Leopold III Friedrich Franz, Prince and (from 1807) Duke of Anhalt-Dessau (August 10, 1740 – August 9, 1817).
Louise Agnes Margarete (August 15, 1742 – July 11, 1743).
Henrietta Katharina Agnes (June 5, 1744 – December 15, 1799), married on October 26, 1779 to Johann Justus, Freiherr von Loën.
Marie Leopoldine (November 18, 1746 – April 14, 1769), married on August 4, 1765 to Simon August, Count of Lippe-Detmold.
Johann Georg (January 28, 1748 – April 1, 1811).
Casimire (January 19, 1749 – November 8, 1778), married on November 9, 1769 to Simon August, Count of Lippe-Detmold, widow of her sister.
Albrecht Friedrich (April 22, 1750 – October 31, 1811), married on October 25, 1774 to Henriette of Lippe-Weissenfeld, great-granddaughter of Jobst Herman, Count of Lippe; the union was childless (Albrecht Friedrich illegitimate son by one Anna Luise Franke: Gustav Adolf von Heideck).