Joachim Ernest of Anhalt (21 October 1536 – 6 December 1586), was a German prince of the House of Ascania, ruler of the principality of Anhalt-Zerbst from 1551, and from 1570 sole ruler of all the Anhalt lands.
|Prince of Anhalt|
|Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst|
|Successor||none (unification of all Anhalt principalities in 1570)|
|Prince of Anhalt|
|Predecessor||none (unification of all Anhalt principalities in 1570)|
|Successor||John George I|
|Born||21 October 1536|
|Died||6 December 1586 (aged 50)|
|Spouse||Agnes of Barby-Mühlingen|
Eleonore of Württemberg
|Issue||Anna Maria, Duchess of Legnica-Brzeg-Oława-Wołów|
Elisabeth, Electress of Brandenburg
Sibylla, Duchess of Württemberg
John George I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
Christian I, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg
Bernhard, Prince of Anhalt
Agnes Hedwig, Electress of Saxony and Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
Dorothea Maria, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar
Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Plötzkau
Rudolph, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
John Ernest, Prince of Anhalt
Louis I, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen
Anna Sophie, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
|Father||John V, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst|
|Mother||Margaret of Brandenburg|
Joachim Ernest was born in Dessau on 21 October 1536 as the second son of John V, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg. He received an extensive education under the supervision of his father. On 1 February 1549, just thirteen years of age, he was officially admitted to the University of Wittenberg, where, among others, he studied with the theologian Georg Helt.
The death of his uncle George III without male heirs permitted him and his brothers, Karl I and Bernhard VII, to inherit Anhalt-Plötzkau in 1553, while the death of his uncle Joachim I permitted him and his surviving brother Bernhard VII to inherit Anhalt-Dessau in 1561. In 1562 his cousin Wolfgang abdicated Anhalt-Köthen in his favor.
In Stuttgart on 9 January 1571 Joachim Ernest married for a second time to Eleonore (b. Tübingen, 22 March 1552 – d. Schloss Lichtenberg, 12 January 1618), daughter of Christoph, Duke of Württemberg. They had ten children.
In 1570 the death of his last surviving brother, Bernhard VII, left him as sole ruler of all the Anhalt states, which were finally unified for the first time since their first partition in 1252. Joachim Ernest made Dessau the seat of his government.
Joachim Ernest was a typical Renaissance monarch who generously supported the arts and culture. He sent his sons with their tutors on educational journeys across Europe. Also, he ordered the son of his chancellor, Tobias Hübner, to create a description of the famous knight's games (German: Ritterspiele) that took place at the Dessau court.
In 1572 he created in the Regional Legal Code of Anhalt (German: Landesverordnung Anhalts) and in 1582 he founded the Francisceum High School (German: Gymnasium Francisceum) in Zerbst. He was a fervent supporter of the Reformation and the Huguenots.
Prince Joachim Ernest died in Dessau on 6 December 1586. Since succession in the territories of Anhalt was not governed by the rules of primogeniture, Joachim Ernest's seven sons shared rule of the territories of Anhalt until 1603, when the five surviving sons divided their lands among themselves.
|Ancestors of Joachim Ernest, Prince of Anhalt|
|By Agnes of Barby-Mühlingen|
|Anna Maria||Zerbst, 13 June 1561||Brzeg, 14 November 1605||married on 19 May 1577 to Joachim Frederick, Duke of Legnica-Brzeg-Oława-Wołów|
|Agnes||Zerbst, 16 September 1562||Bernburg, 4 June 1564|
|Elisabeth of Anhalt-Zerbst||Zerbst, 25 September 1563||Crossen, 5 October 1607||married on 19 May 1577 to John George, Elector of Brandenburg|
|Sibylla||Bernburg, 28 September 1564||Leonberg, 26 October 1614||married on 22 May 1581 to Frederick I, Duke of Württemberg|
|John George I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau||Harzgerode, 9 May 1567||Dessau, 24 May 1618||married on 22 February 1588 to Countess Dorothea of Mansfeld-Arnstein, and secondly on 21 February 1595 to Countess Palantine Dorothea of Simmern|
|Christian I, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg||Bernburg, 11 May 1568||Bernburg, 17 April 1630||married on 2 July 1595 to Countess Anna of Bentheim-Steinfurt-Tecklenburg-Limburg|
|By Eleonore of Württemberg|
|Bernhard, Prince of Anhalt||b. Dessau, 25 September 1571||Klosterhof bei Tyrnau, 24 November 1596)|
|Agnes Hedwig||Dessau, 12 March 1573||Sonderburg, 3 November 1616)||married on 3 January 1586 to Augustus, Elector of Saxony, and secondly on 14 February 1588 to John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg|
|Dorothea Maria||Dessau, 2 July 1574||Weimar, 18 July 1617||married on 7 January 1593 to John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar|
|Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Plötzkau||Dessau, 14 July 1575||Plötzkau, 22 August 1653)||married on 25 January 1618 to Countess Sibylle of Solms-Laubach|
|Rudolph, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst||Harzgerode, 28 October 1576||Zerbst, 30 July 1621||married on 29 December 1605 to Dorothea Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and secondly on 31 August 1612 to Countess Magdalene of Oldenburg|
|John Ernest, Prince of Anhalt||Dessau, 1 May 1578||Vienna, 22 December 1601|
|Louis I, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen||Dessau, 17 June 1579||Köthen, 7 January 1650||married on 31 October 1606 to Countess Amöena Amalie of Bentheim-Steinfurt-Tecklenburg-Limburg, and secondly on 12 September 1626 to Countess Sophie of Lippe|
|Sabine||Dessau, 7 November 1580||Darmstadt, 28 March 1599|
|Joachim Christoph||Dessau, 7 July 1582||Dessau, 16 July 1583|
|Anna Sophie||Dessau, 15 June 1584||Oberkranichfeld, 9 June 1652)||married on 13 June 1613 to Charles Günther, Count of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt|