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A duke or duchess (female) is a member of the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, historically of highest rank below the monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, and historically controlling a duchy
Duchy
A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess.Some duchies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms only during the Modern era . In contrast, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the Medieval era...

. The title comes from the Latin Dux
Dux
Dux is Latin for leader and later for Duke and its variant forms ....

, 'leader', a term used in republican Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 to refer to a military commander without an official rank (particularly one of Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 or Celtic origin), and later coming to mean the leading military commander of a province.

In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 the title signified first among the Germanic monarchies
Germanic monarchy
Germanic kingship refers to the customs and practices surrounding kings among the pagan Germanic tribes of the Migration period and the kingdoms of the Early Middle Ages ....

. Dukes were the rulers of the provinces and the superiors of the count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

s in the cities and later, in the feudal monarchies, the highest-ranking peers of the king.

During the 19th century many of the smaller German and Italian states were ruled by Dukes or Grand Dukes. At present however, with the exception of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, there are no dukes who rule. Duke remains the highest titular peerage in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The Pope, as a temporal sovereign, has also but rarely granted the title of Duke and Duchess to persons for services to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

.

A woman who holds in her own right the title to such duchy or dukedom, or is the wife of a duke, is normally styled duchess. However, Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 is known as Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

 in the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

 and Duke of Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

 in Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

.

Duchy versus dukedom


A duchy is the territory or geopolitical entity ruled by a duke. The term implies a territorial domain, within which the duke has actual subjects and/or significant land holdings, both of which are ruled by the duke, either directly or as a vassal to a higher (i.e. royal or imperial) authority. A dukedom is the title of duke, a rank of nobility, and is not necessarily attached to a duchy. A few examples exist today: The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a fully independent state and its head, the Grand Duke, is a sovereign monarch ruling over his Luxembourgeois subjects. The Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in the peerage of England.The present Duke of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning British monarch .-History:...

 holds both the dukedom (title) and Duchy (estate holdings), the latter being the source of his personal income; both the Duke and those living in his estates are subjects of the British Sovereign. In Scotland the same person is always the Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland....

 as well, but this is a dukedom (title) without a duchy (territorial ownership). Similarly, the British Sovereign rules and owns the Duchy of Lancaster as both Sovereign and Duke of Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

, with the income of the duchy estates providing the Sovereign's Privy Purse
Privy Purse
The Privy Purse is the British Sovereign's remaining private income, mostly from the Duchy of Lancaster. This amounted to £13.3 million in net income for the year to 31 March 2009. The Duchy is a landed estate of approximately 46,000 acres held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. It also has...

. He or she also rules the Channel Islands as Sovereign and Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

, but without especial income therefrom.

Middle Ages


During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 following the collapse of Roman power in Western Europe, the title was still employed in the Germanic kingdoms, most often to refer to the rulers of the old Roman provinces.

Visigoths


The Visigoths retained the Roman divisions of their kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and it seems that dukes ruled over these areas. They were the most powerful landowners and, along with the bishops, elected the king, usually from their own midst. They were the military commanders and in this capacity often acted independently from the king, most notably in the latter period before the Muslim invasions.

The army was structured decimally with the highest unit, the thiufa
Thiufa
The thiufa was the highest division of the Visigothic army in Hispania. Based on the known decimal structure of the rest of the army, it seems likely that it was nominally composed of one thousand men...

, probably corresponding to about one thousand people from each civitas (city district). The cities were commanded by counts, who were in turn answerable to the dukes, who called up the thiufae when need be.

Lombards



When the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 entered Italy, the Latin chroniclers called their war leaders duces in the old fashion. These leaders eventually became the provincial rulers, each with a recognized seat of government. Though nominally loyal to the king, the concept of kingship was new to the Lombards and the dukes were highly independent, especially in central and southern Italy, where the Duke of Spoleto and the Duke of Benevento were de facto sovereigns. In 575, when Cleph
Cleph
Cleph was king of the Lombards from 572 or 573 to 574 or 575.He succeeded Alboin, to whom he was not related by blood. He was a violent and terrifying figure to the Romans and Byzantines struggling to maintain control of the peninsula...

 died, a period known as the Rule of the Dukes
Rule of the Dukes
The Rule of the Dukes was an interregnum in the Lombard Kingdom of Italy during which Italy was ruled by the Lombard dukes of the old Roman provinces and urban centres...

, in which the dukes governed without a king, commenced. It lasted only a decade before the disunited magnates, in order to defend the kingdom from external attacks, elected a new king and even diminished their own duchies to provide him with a handsome royal demesne
Demesne
In the feudal system the demesne was all the land, not necessarily all contiguous to the manor house, which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants...

.

The Lombard kings were usually drawn from the duke pool when the title was not hereditary. The dukes tried to make their own offices hereditary. Beneath them in the internal structure were the counts and gastald
Gastald
A gastald was a Lombard official in charge of some portion of the royal demesne with civil, martial, and judicial powers. By the Edictum Rothari of 643, the gastalds were given the civil authority in the cities and the reeves the like authority in the countryside...

s, a uniquely Lombard title initially referring to judicial functions, similar to a count's, in provincial regions

Franks


The Franks employed dukes as the governors of Roman provinces, though they also led military expeditions far from their duchies. The dukes were the highest ranking officials in the realm, typically Frankish (whereas the counts were often Gallo-Roman), and formed the class from which the kings' generals were chosen in times of war. The dukes met with the king every May to discuss policy for the upcoming year, the so-called Mayfield.

In Burgundy and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, the titles of patrician and prefect
Prefect
Prefect is a magisterial title of varying definition....

 were commonly employed instead of duke, probably for historical reasons relating to the greater Romanization of those provinces. The titles, however, were basically equivalent.

In late Merovingian Gaul, the mayors of the palace of the Arnulfing clan began to use the title dux et princeps Francorum
Duke of the Franks
The title dux et princeps Francorum, or duke and prince of the Franks, was the title adopted by Pepin of Heristal after his epoch-making victory at the Battle of Tertry in 687...

: "duke and prince of the Franks". In this title, "duke" implied supreme military control of the entire nation (Francorum, the Franks) and it was thus used until the end of the Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 dynasty in France in 987.
Anglo-Saxon times

The highest political division beneath that of kingdom among the Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 was the ealdormanry and, while the title ealdorman was replaced by the Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

 eorl (later earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

) over time, the first ealdormen were referred to as duces (the plural of the original Latin dux) in the chronicles. Thus, in Anglo-Saxon England, where the Roman political divisions were largely abandoned, the grade of duke was retained as supreme landlord after the king.
However, following the Norman conquest
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

, their power and regional jurisdiction was limited to that of the Norman count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

s.
Late medieval times

Edward III of England
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

 created the first three English dukedoms (Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in the peerage of England.The present Duke of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning British monarch .-History:...

, Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

 and Clarence
Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the English and British Royal families. The first three creations were in the Peerage of England, the fourth in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the fifth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.The title was first...

) by naming his eldest son Edward, the Black Prince
Edward, the Black Prince
Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine, KG was the eldest son of King Edward III of England and his wife Philippa of Hainault as well as father to King Richard II of England....

, as Duke of Cornwall in 1337. Upon the death of the Black Prince the duchy of Cornwall passed to his 9 year old son, who would eventually succeed his grandfather as Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

.

The duchy of Lancaster was created by Edward III in 1351 for Henry of Grosmont
Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster, 4th Earl of Leicester and Lancaster, KG , also Earl of Derby, was a member of the English nobility in the 14th century, and a prominent English diplomat, politician, and soldier...

, but became extinct upon the duke's death in 1361. The following year, Edward III bestowed the title (2nd creation) on his fourth son, John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster , KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

, who was also married to the first duke's daughter. On the same day Edward III also created his second son, Lionel of Antwerp
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, jure uxoris 4th Earl of Ulster and 5th Baron of Connaught, KG was the third son, but the second son to survive infancy, of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

, as Duke of Clarence.

All five of Edward III's surviving sons eventually became dukes. In 1385, ten years after their father's death, his heir Richard II created dukedoms for his last two uncles on the same day. Thomas of Woodstock
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, 1st Earl of Buckingham, 1st Earl of Essex, Duke of Aumale, KG was the thirteenth and youngest child of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

 was named Duke of Gloucester
Duke of Gloucester
Duke of Gloucester is a British royal title , often conferred on one of the sons of the reigning monarch. The first four creations were in the Peerage of England, the next in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the last in the Peerage of the United Kingdom; this current creation carries with it the...

 and Edmund of Langley
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, 1st Earl of Cambridge, KG was a younger son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, the fourth of the five sons who lived to adulthood, of this Royal couple. Like so many medieval princes, Edmund gained his identifying nickname from his...

 became Duke of York
Duke of York
The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. The title has been created a remarkable eleven times, eight as "Duke of York" and three as the double-barreled "Duke of York and...

, thereby founding the House of York
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

, which later fought for the throne with John of Gaunt's Lancastrian
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

 descendants during the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

.

By 1483, a total of 16 ducal titles had been created: Cornwall, Lancaster, Clarence, Gloucester, York, Ireland
Duke of Ireland
The title of Duke of Ireland was created in 1386 for Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Oxford, the favourite of King Richard II of England, who had previously been created Marquess of Dublin. Both titles were Life peerages. At this time, only the Pale of Ireland was under English rule...

, Hereford
Duke of Hereford
There has only been one Duke of Hereford: The title was created in the Peerage of England for Richard II's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, due to his support for the King in his struggle against their uncle Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester...

, Aumale, Exeter
Duke of Exeter
The title Duke of Exeter was created several times in England in the later Middle Ages, when Exeter was the main town of Devon. It was first created for John Holland, the half-brother of King Richard II in 1397. That title was rescinded upon Henry IV's accession to the throne two years later, and...

, Surrey
Duke of Surrey
The title of Duke of Surrey was created by Richard II for Thomas Holland, 3rd Earl of Kent. Following Richard's deposition, his successor, Henry IV deprived his predecessors' supporters of many of their titles, including this one, which has never been recreated.The title Earl of Surrey, also...

, Norfolk
Duke of Norfolk
The Duke of Norfolk is the premier duke in the peerage of England, and also, as Earl of Arundel, the premier earl. The Duke of Norfolk is, moreover, the Earl Marshal and hereditary Marshal of England. The seat of the Duke of Norfolk is Arundel Castle in Sussex, although the title refers to the...

, Bedford
Duke of Bedford
thumb|right|240px|William Russell, 1st Duke of BedfordDuke of Bedford is a title that has been created five times in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1414 in favour of Henry IV's third son, John, who later served as regent of France. He was made Earl of Kendal at the same time...

, Somerset
Duke of Somerset
Duke of Somerset is a title in the peerage of England that has been created several times. Derived from Somerset, it is particularly associated with two families; the Beauforts who held the title from the creation of 1448 and the Seymours, from the creation of 1547 and in whose name the title is...

, Buckingham
Duke of Buckingham
The titles Marquess and Duke of Buckingham, referring to Buckingham, have been created several times in the peerages of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. There have also been Earls of Buckingham.-1444 creation:...

, Warwick and Suffolk
Duke of Suffolk
Duke of Suffolk is a title that has been created three times in British history, all three times in the Peerage of England.The third creation of the dukedom of Suffolk was for Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, in 1551. The duke also held the title Baron Ferrers of Groby...

. Some became extinct, others had multiple creations, and some had merged with the crown upon the holder's accession to the throne. When the Plantagenet dynasty came to an end at the Battle of Bosworth Field
Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians...

 on 22 August 1485, only four ducal titles remained extant, of which two were now permanently associated with the crown. John de la Pole
John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk
John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, KG , known as "the Trimming Duke". He was the son of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Alice Chaucer, daughter of Thomas Chaucer.-Life:...

 was Duke of Suffolk and John Howard
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal was an English nobleman, soldier, and the first Howard Duke of Norfolk...

 was Duke of Norfolk (2nd creation), while the duchy of Cornwall was reserved as a title and source of income for the eldest son of the sovereign, and the duchy of Lancaster was now held by the monarch.

Norfolk perished alongside Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 at Bosworth field, and the title was forfeit. It was restored to his son Thomas
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal , styled Earl of Surrey from 1483 to 1514, was the only son of John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk by his first wife, Katherine Moleyns...

 thirty years later by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, as one of a number of dukes created or recreated by the Tudor dynasty
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 over the ensuing century. England's premier ducal title, Norfolk, remains in the Howard family to this day.

The modern age



In the 19th century, the sovereign dukes of Parma and Modena
Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

 in Italy, and of Anhalt
Anhalt
Anhalt was a sovereign county in Germany, located between the Harz Mountains and the river Elbe in Middle Germany. It now forms part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.- Dukes of Anhalt :...

, Brunswick-Lüneburg
Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

, Nassau
Nassau (state)
Nassau was a German state within the Holy Roman Empire and later in the German Confederation. Its ruling dynasty, now extinct in male line, was the House of Nassau.-Origins:...

, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen
Saxe-Meiningen
The Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia....

 and Saxe-Altenburg
Saxe-Altenburg
Saxe-Altenburg was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia.-History:The duchy originated from the medieval Burgraviate of Altenburg in the Imperial Pleissnerland , a possession of the Wettin Margraves of Meissen since 1243...

 in Germany survived Napoleon's reorganization.

Since the unification of Italy in 1870 and the end of monarchy in Germany in 1918, there have no longer been any reign
Reign
A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation or of a people . In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office...

ing dukes in Europe; Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 is ruled by a grand duke
Grand duchy
A grand duchy, sometimes referred to as a grand dukedom, is a territory whose head of state is a monarch, either a grand duke or grand duchess.Today Luxembourg is the only remaining grand duchy...

, a higher title, just below king.

In the United Kingdom, the inherited position of a duke along with its dignities, privileges, and rights is a dukedom. However, the title of duke has never been associated with independent rule in the British Isles: they hold dukedoms, not duchies (excepting the Duchy of Cornwall
Duchy of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning British monarch inherits the duchy and title of Duke of Cornwall at the time of his birth, or of his parent's succession to the throne. If the monarch has no son, the...

 and the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

). Dukes in the United Kingdom are addressed as "Your Grace" and referred to as "His Grace". Currently, there are twenty-seven dukedoms in the Peerage of England
Peerage of England
The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain....

, Peerage of Scotland
Peerage of Scotland
The Peerage of Scotland is the division of the British Peerage for those peers created in the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707. With that year's Act of Union, the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England were combined into the Kingdom of Great Britain, and a new Peerage of Great Britain was...

, Peerage of Great Britain
Peerage of Great Britain
The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerages created in the Kingdom of Great Britain after the Act of Union 1707 but before the Act of Union 1800...

, Peerage of Ireland
Peerage of Ireland
The Peerage of Ireland is the term used for those titles of nobility created by the English and later British monarchs of Ireland in their capacity as Lord or King of Ireland. The creation of such titles came to an end in the 19th century. The ranks of the Irish peerage are Duke, Marquess, Earl,...

 and Peerage of the United Kingdom
Peerage of the United Kingdom
The Peerage of the United Kingdom comprises most peerages created in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the Act of Union in 1801, when it replaced the Peerage of Great Britain...

, held by twenty-four different people (see List of Dukes in order of precedence).

Equivalents in other European languages



Royal dukes



Various royal houses traditionally awarded (mainly) dukedoms to the sons and in some cases, the daughters, of their respective sovereigns; others include at least one dukedom in a wider list of similarly granted titles, nominal dukedoms without any actual authority, often even without an estate. Such titles are still conferred on royal princes or princesses in the current European monarchies of Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Other historical cases occurred for example in Denmark, Finland (as a part of Sweden) and France, Portugal and some former colonial possessions such as Brazil and Haiti.

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom, ducal titles which have been given within the royal family include Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in the peerage of England.The present Duke of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning British monarch .-History:...

, Duke of Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

, Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the English and British Royal families. The first three creations were in the Peerage of England, the fourth in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the fifth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.The title was first...

, Duke of York
Duke of York
The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. The title has been created a remarkable eleven times, eight as "Duke of York" and three as the double-barreled "Duke of York and...

, Duke of Gloucester
Duke of Gloucester
Duke of Gloucester is a British royal title , often conferred on one of the sons of the reigning monarch. The first four creations were in the Peerage of England, the next in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the last in the Peerage of the United Kingdom; this current creation carries with it the...

, Duke of Bedford
Duke of Bedford
thumb|right|240px|William Russell, 1st Duke of BedfordDuke of Bedford is a title that has been created five times in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1414 in favour of Henry IV's third son, John, who later served as regent of France. He was made Earl of Kendal at the same time...

, Duke of Cumberland
Duke of Cumberland
Duke of Cumberland is a peerage title that was conferred upon junior members of the British Royal Family, named after the county of Cumberland.-History:...

, Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Cambridge is a title which has been conferred upon members of the British royal family several times. It was first used as a designation for Charles Stuart , the eldest son of James, Duke of York , though he was never formally created Duke of Cambridge...

, Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland....

, Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany is a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottish, and later the British, royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Hanover....

, Duke of Ross
Duke of Ross
The title Duke of Ross has been created twice in the Peerage of Scotland, both times for younger sons of the King of Scotland. Named for Ross in Scotland, it was first created in 1488 for James Stewart, Earl of Ross, the second son of James III. On his early death in 1504, the title became...

, Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh is a British royal title, named after the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, which has been conferred upon members of the British royal family only four times times since its creation in 1726...

, Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent is a title which has been created various times in the peerages of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, most recently as a royal dukedom for the fourth son of George V.-Pre-history:...

, Duke of Sussex
Duke of Sussex
Duke of Sussex was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was conferred on 27 November 1801 upon The Prince Augustus Frederick, the sixth son of George III, who was created Duke of Sussex, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Arklow, all in the Peerage of the United Kingdom...

, and Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
The title Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was granted by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to her third son, Prince Arthur....

.

Belgium


In Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the title of Duke of Brabant
Duke of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was formally erected in 1183/1184. The title "Duke of Brabant" was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I, son of Godfrey III of Leuven . The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant...

 (historically the most prestigious in the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

, and containing the federal capital Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

), if still vacant, has been awarded preferentially to the eldest son and heir presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

 of the king, other male dynasts receiving various lower historical titles (much older than Belgium, and in principle never fallen to the Belgian crown), such as Count of Flanders (King Leopold III's so-titled brother held the title when he became the realm's temporary head of state as prince-regent) and Prince of Liège (a secularised version of the historical prince-bishop
Prince-Bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

ric; e.g., the present King Albert II
Albert II of Belgium
Albert II is the current reigning King of the Belgians, a constitutional monarch. He is a member of the royal house "of Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 until he succeeded his older brother Baudouin I).

Denmark


Denmark's kings gave appanages in their twin-duchies of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

 (now three-fourths of them is part of Germany, but then the Holstein half of it was part of the Holy Roman Empire in personal union with Denmark proper) to younger sons and/or their male-line descendants, with a specific though not sovereign title of Duke, e.g., Duke of Gottorp, Duke of Sonderburg, Duke of Augustenborg
Duke of Augustenborg
The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg was a branch of the dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg of the House of Oldenburg. The line descended from Alexander, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg...

, Duke of Franzhagen, Duke of Beck, Duke of Glucksburg and Duke of Norburg.

Iberian peninsula


When the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

, sweeping the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 from the former Caliphate of Córdoba and its taifa-remnants
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

, transformed the territory of former Suevic
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

 and Visigothic realms into Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 feudal
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 principalities, none of these warlords was exactly styled Duke. A few (as Portugal itself
County of Portugal
The County of Portugal was the region around Braga and Porto, today corresponding to littoral northern Portugal, from the late ninth to the early twelfth century, during which it was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León.-History:...

) started as Count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 (even if the title of Dux
Dux
Dux is Latin for leader and later for Duke and its variant forms ....

 was sometimes added), but soon all politically relevant princes were to use the royal style of King
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

.

Portugal


In Portugal, the title of Duke was granted for the first time in 1415 to infante Peter and infante Henry, the second and third sons of king John I
John I of Portugal
John I KG , called the Good or of Happy Memory, more rarely and outside Portugal the Bastard, was the tenth King of Portugal and the Algarve and the first to use the title Lord of Ceuta...

, following their participation in the successful Conquest of Ceuta. Pedro became the first Duke of Coimbra
Duke of Coimbra
Duke of Coimbra was an aristocratic Portuguese title with the level of Royal Dukedom, that is, associated with the Portuguese Royal House, created in 1415, by King John I of Portugal to the his 2nd. male son, Infante Pedro...

 and Henry the first Duke of Viseu
Duke of Viseu
Duke of Viseu was a Portuguese Royal Dukedom created in 1415 by King John I of Portugal for his third male child, Prince Henry the Navigator, following the conquest of Ceuta....

.

From the reign of king Manuel I
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

, the title of Duke of Beja
Duke of Beja
Duke of Beja was an aristocratic Portuguese title with the level of Royal Dukedom, associated with the Portuguese Royal House, created in 1453, by King Afonso V of Portugal for his younger brother Infante Ferdinand of Portugal.Infante Ferdinand younger son, became King of Portugal as Manuel I and,...

 was given to the second son of the monarch. This was changed during the Liberal regime in the 19th century (with queen Maria II), when the first infante (second son of the monarch) got the title of Duke of Porto
Duke of Porto
Duke of Porto was an aristocratic Portuguese title with the status of royal dukedom, associated with the Portuguese royal house, created in 1833, by Queen Maria II of Portugal for herself, in honor of the city of Oporto, due its loyalty to the liberal cause she represented.From then on, this title...

 and the second infante (third son) was known as Duke of Beja.

There are examples of Duke as a subsidiary title, granted to the most powerful noble Houses:
  • Duke of Barcelos
    Duke of Barcelos
    The Dukes of Barcelos was an Nobility title granted by King Sebastian of Portugal on 5 August 1562, to the Duke of Braganza heir, during his father's life....

    , to be used by the heir of the Duke of Braganza
    Duke of Braganza
    The title Duke of Braganza in the House of Braganza is one of the most important titles in the peerage of Portugal. Since the House of Braganza acceded to the throne of Portugal in 1640, the male heir of the Portuguese Crown was known as the Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil until 1822, or...

    ;
  • Duke of Torres Novas
    Duke of Torres Novas
    The Dukes of Torres Novas was an aristocratic Portuguese title granted by King Philip II of Portugal, also known as Philip III of Spain, by a royal decree of September 26, 1619, to George of Lencastre, 1st Duke of Torres Novas, who died before his parents, Juliana and Álvaro of Lencastre of...

    , to be used by the heir of the Duke of Aveiro
    Duke of Aveiro
    The Royal Dukedom of Aveiro was an aristocratic Portuguese title, granted in 1535 by King John III of Portugal to his 4th cousin, John of Lencastre, son of Infante George of Lencastre, a natural son of King John II of Portugal....

    ;
  • Duke of Miranda do Corvo
    Duke of Miranda do Corvo
    The Dukes of Miranda do Corvo was a Portuguese title of nobility granted by Queen Maria I of Portugal, by a royal decree dated from May 13, 1796, to Dom José João Miguel de Bragança e Ligne, 1st Duke of Miranda do Corvo, who died in 1801, before his father, João Carlos de Bragança e Ligne de Sousa...

    , to be used by the heir of the Duke of Lafões
    Duke of Lafões
    Duke of Lafões was a Portuguese title of nobility created under the decree of February 17, 1718, of King John V of Portugal and granted to his nephew, Pedro Henrique de Bragança, son of the Infante Miguel de Bragança, an illegitimate son of King Peter II of Portugal and Anne Armande Pastre de...

    .


Usually, the title of Duke was granted to relatives of the Royal Family, such as the infantes or natural sons of the monarch. There are exceptions, such as António José de Ávila
António José de Ávila, 1st Duke of Ávila and Bolama
António José de Ávila was a Portuguese politician, mayor of the city of Horta, on the island of Faial, in the Azores, Civil Governor of the same, Peer-of-the-Realm, Minister of State, and later Ambassador to Spain....

, who, although not having any relation to the royal family, was given the title of duke of Ávila and Bolama
Duke of Ávila and Bolama
This was a Portuguese Nobility title granted by King Luís I of Portugal to António José de Ávila, 1st Duke of Ávila and Bolama, a remarkable Portuguese politician and ambassador during the liberal period....

 in the 19th Century.

Spain



Spanish infantes and infantas were usually given a dukedom upon marriage, excepting the heir apparent who is the Prince of Asturias
Prince of Asturias
Prince of Asturias is the historical title given to the heir to the Spanish throne. It was also the title under the earlier Kingdom of Castile. The current Prince of Asturias is Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofía...

. This title is nowadays not hereditary but carries a Grandeza de España. The current royal duchesses are: HRH the Duchess of Badajoz (Infanta Maria del Pilar), HRH the Duchess of Soria (Infanta Margarita) (although she inherited the title of Duchess of Hernani from her cousin and is second holder of that title), HRH the Duchess of Lugo (Infanta Elena) and HRH the Duchess of Palma de Mallorca (Infanta Cristina).

In Spain all the dukes hold the court rank of Grande, i.e., Grandee
Grandee
Grandee is the word used to render in English the Iberic high aristocratic title Grande , used by the Spanish nobility; Portuguese nobility, and Brazilian nobility....

 of the realm, which had precedence over all other feudatories.

Finland and Sweden



Sweden had a history of making the sons of its kings real ruling princes of vast duchies
Duchy
A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess.Some duchies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms only during the Modern era . In contrast, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the Medieval era...

, but this ceased in 1622. Title-wise, however, all Swedish princes since 1772, and princesses since 1980, are given a dukedom for life. Currently, there are one duke and three duchesses. The territorial designations of these dukedoms refer to five of the Provinces of Sweden
Provinces of Sweden
The provinces of Sweden, landskap, are historical, geographical and cultural regions. Sweden has 25 provinces and they have no administrative function, but remain historical legacies and the means of cultural identification....

.

Key parts of Finland were sometimes under a Duke of Finland
Duke of Finland
Duke of Finland was an occasional medieval title granted as a tertiogeniture to the relatives of the King of Sweden between the 13th and 16th centuries. It included a duchy along with the feudal customs, and often meant a veritably independent principality...

 during the Swedish reign.

France and other former monarchies


See appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

 (mainly for the French kingdom) and the list in the geographical section below, which also treats special ducal titles in orders or national significance.

France


The highest precedence in the realm, attached to a feudal territory, was given to the twelve original pairie
Pairie
The French word pairie is the equivalent of the English word peerage, in the sense of an individual title carrying the rank of Pair , which derives from the Latin par 'equal', and signifies the members of an exclusive body of noblemen and prelates, considered to be the highest social order -not...

s, which also had a traditional function in the royal coronation, comparable to the German imperial archoffices. Half of them were ducal: three ecclesiastical (the six prelates all ranked above the six secular peers of the realm) and three temporal, each time above three counts of the same social estate:
The Prince-Bishop
Prince-Bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

s
with ducal territories among them were:
  • The Archbishop of Reims
    Archbishop of Reims
    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. Erected as a diocese around 250 by St. Sixtus, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese around 750...

    , styled archevêque-duc pair de France (in Champagne; who crowns and anoints the king, traditionally in his cathedral)
  • Two suffragan bishop
    Suffragan bishop
    A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.-Anglican Communion:...

    s, styled evêque-duc pair de France :
    • the bishop-duke of Laon
      Laon
      Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

       (in Picardy; bears the 'Sainte Ampoule' containing the sacred ointment)
    • the bishop-duc de Langres
      Langres
      Langres is a commune in north-eastern France. It is a subprefecture of the Haute-Marne département in the Champagne-Ardenne region.-History:As the capital of the Romanized Gallic tribe the Lingones, it was called Andematunnum, then Lingones, and now Langres.The town is built on a limestone...

       (in Burgundy; bears the scepter)

Later, the Archbishop of Paris
Archbishop of Paris
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Paris is one of twenty-three archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The original diocese is traditionally thought to have been created in the 3rd century by St. Denis and corresponded with the Civitas Parisiorum; it was elevated to an archdiocese on...

 was given the title of duc de Saint-Cloud with the dignity of peerage, but it was debated if he was an ecclesiastical peer or merely a bishop holding a lay peerage.

The secular dukes in the peerage of the realm were, again in order of precedence:
  • the duc de Bourgogne, i.e., Duke of Burgundy
    Duke of Burgundy
    Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

     (known as Grand duc; not a separate title at that time; just a description of the wealth and real clout of the 15th century Dukes, cousins of the Kings of France) (bears the crown, fastens the belt)
  • Duke of Normandy
    Duke of Normandy
    The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

     or duc de Normandie (holds the first square banner)
  • Duke of Aquitaine
    Duke of Aquitaine
    The Duke of Aquitaine ruled the historical region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English and later French kings....

     or duc d'Aquitaine or - de Guyenne (holds the second square banner)


It should be noted that the theory of the participation of the peers in the coronation was laid down in the late 13th century, when some of the peerage (the Duchy of Normandy and the County of Toulouse) had already been merged in the crown.

At the end of this same century, the king elevated some counties into duchies, a practice that increased up until the Revolution. Many of this duchies were also peerages (the so-called 'new peerages').

Italy, Germany and Austria


In Italy, Germany and Austria the title of "duke" (duca in Italian, and Herzog in German) was quite common. As the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 was until its dissolution a feudal structure, most of its Dukes were actually reigning in their lands. As the titles from the HRE were taken over after its dissolution, or in Italy after their territories became independent of the Empire, both countries also had a share of fully sovereign dukes. Also, in Germany in many ducal families every agnate would bear the ducal title of the family as a courtesy title
Courtesy title
A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives do not themselves hold substantive titles...

.

In Italy some important sovereign ducal families were the Visconti
House of Visconti
Visconti is the family name of two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages. There are two distinct Visconti families: The first one in the Republic of Pisa in the mid twelfth century who achieved prominence first in Pisa, then in Sardinia where they became rulers of Gallura...

 and the Sforza, who ruled Milan
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

; the Capece Minutolo in Naples; the Savoia in Piemonte; the Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

; the Farnese of Parma and Piacenza
Duchy of Parma
The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from that part of the Duchy of Milan south of the Po River, as a fief for Pope Paul III's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, centered on the city of Parma....

; the Cybo-Malaspina of Massa
Massa
Massa is a town and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, the administrative centre of the province of Massa-Carrara. It is located in the Frigido River Valley, near the Alpi Apuane, some 5 kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea....

; the Gonzaga
House of Gonzaga
The Gonzaga family ruled Mantua in Northern Italy from 1328 to 1708.-History:In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua, and in 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Duchy of Monferrato through marriage...

 of Mantua
Duchy of Mantua
The Duchy of Mantua was a duchy in Lombardy, Northern Italy, subject to the Holy Roman Empire.-History:After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Mantua was invaded by Byzantines, Longobards and Franks. In the 11th century it became a possession of Boniface of Canossa, marquis of Toscana...

; the Este
Este
The House of Este is a European princely dynasty. It is split into two branches; the elder is known as the House of Welf-Este or House of Welf historically rendered in English, Guelf or Guelph...

 of Modena
Duchy of Modena and Reggio
The Duchy of Modena and Reggio |Italian]] state that existed from 1452 to 1859, with a break between 1796 and 1814. It was ruled by the noble House of Este, from 1814 Austria-Este.-House of Este:...

 and Ferrara
Duchy of Ferrara
The Duchy of Ferrara is a former sovereign state of northern Italy.Obizzo II d'Este was proclaimed lifelong ruler of Ferrara in 1264. He also became seignior of nearby Modena in 1288 and of Reggio in 1289...

.

In Germany, important ducal families were the Wittelsbachs in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, the Welfs in Hannover
Electorate of Hanover
The Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg was the ninth Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation...

, the ducal family of Cleves
Duchy of Cleves
The Duchy of Cleves was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capital Cleves and the town of Wesel, bordering the lands of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster in the east and the Duchy of Brabant in the west...

, the Wettins in Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 (with its Ernestine branch
Ernestine duchies
The Ernestine duchies, also called the Saxon duchies , were a changing number of small states largely located in the present German state of Thuringia, governed by dukes of the Ernestine line of the House of Wettin.-Overview:The...

 divided into several duchies), the Württembergs, the Mecklenburgs
House of Mecklenburg
The House of Mecklenburg is a North German dynasty of West Slavic origin that ruled until 1918.- Origins :Niklot was a lord of the Wendish tribe of Obotrites. When the Holy Roman Empire expanded eastwards, notably to the coast of Baltic in 13th century, a portion of Obotrite lords allied with...

 and finally of course also the Habsburgs in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 as "Archdukes". In the German Confederation the Nassaus
House of Nassau
The House of Nassau is a diversified aristocratic dynasty in Europe. It is named after the lordship associated with Nassau Castle, located in present-day Nassau, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The lords of Nassau were originally titled Count of Nassau, then elevated to the princely class as...

, the Ascanians of Anhalt
Anhalt
Anhalt was a sovereign county in Germany, located between the Harz Mountains and the river Elbe in Middle Germany. It now forms part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.- Dukes of Anhalt :...

, the Welf branch of Brunswick
Duchy of Brunswick
Brunswick was a historical state in Germany. Originally the territory of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in the Holy Roman Empire, it was established as an independent duchy by the Congress of Vienna in 1815...

 and the Ernestine lines of the Saxon duchies were the sovereign ducal families.

Nordic countries

  • In Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    , the longest-surviving duchy was Schleswig
    Schleswig
    Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

    , i.e., Sonderjylland (part of which later was transferred to Germany). Its southern neighbour Holstein
    Holstein
    Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

     in personal union with the Danish crown was always a German principality. Ultimately both ended up joined as the German federation's Bundesland
    States of Germany
    Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

     of Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

    .
    • duchies of Laland, Halland
      Halland
      ' is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden , on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland, Scania and the sea of Kattegat.-Administration:...

      , Jutland
      Jutland
      Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

      , Reval, and Osilia.
  • In Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    , medieval duchies of Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    , Södermanland
    Södermanland
    ', sometimes referred to under its Latin form Sudermannia or Sudermania, is a historical province or landskap on the south eastern coast of Sweden. It borders Östergötland, Närke, Västmanland and Uppland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea.In Swedish, the province name is...

    , Skåne, and Halland
    Halland
    ' is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden , on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland, Scania and the sea of Kattegat.-Administration:...

    , and in modern times almost every province.

Hungary


In the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 no ducal principalities existed but duchies were often formed for members of the dynasty as appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

s. During the rule of the Árpád dinasty dukes held territorial powers, some of them even minted coins, but later this title became more often nominal.
These duchies usually were
  • the Duchy of Nitra
  • the Duchy of Bihar
  • the Duchy of Slavonia
    Slavonia
    Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

    , or whole Slavonia (consisting of Slavonia
    Slavonia
    Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

     and Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    )
  • the Duchy of Transylvania
    Transylvania
    Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

     (consisting of the voivodship of Transylvania and some other counties)


In the Jagellonian era (1490–1526) only two dukes did not belong to the royal dynasty: John Corvin (the illegitimate son of Matthias Corvinus) and Lőrinc Újlaki (whose father was the king of Bosnia
Bosnia (region)
Bosnia is a eponomous region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies mainly in the Dinaric Alps, ranging to the southern borders of the Pannonian plain, with the rivers Sava and Drina marking its northern and eastern borders. The other eponomous region, the southern, other half of the country is...

), and both bore the title as royal dukes.

After the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

 the Habsburg kings rewarded Hungarian aristocrats (like the Esterházys) with princely titles, but they created these titles as Holy Roman Emperors, not as kings of Hungary.

Greece


As the Catholic crusaders overran Orthodox Christian parts of the Byzantine empire, they installed several crusader states (see Frangokratia
Frangokratia
The Frankokratia or Frangokratia , also known as Latinokratia is the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade , when a number of Western European Crusader states were established in Greece, on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire .The term derives from the fact that Orthodox...

), some of which were of ducal rank:
  • the Duchy of Athens
    Duchy of Athens
    The Duchy of Athens was one of the Crusader States set up in Greece after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade, encompassing the regions of Attica and Boeotia, and surviving until its conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century....

    , to which the duchy of Neopatras was later linked
  • the Aegean insular Duchy of Naxos, officially the "Duchy of the Archipelago"


The Byzantines retained the title dux, transcribed as doux in Greek. As in the later Roman Empire, it remained a military office. In the 10th century, it was given to the military commanders over several themata (also known as katepano
Katepano
The katepánō was a senior Byzantine military rank and office. The word was Latinized as capetanus/catepan, and its meaning seems to have merged with that of the Italian "capitaneus"...

), and in the late 11th century it became used for the governor of a thema.

In Italy and other western countries, the later Byzantine appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

s of the Palaiologan period were sometimes translated as duchies: the Morea, Mesembria
Mesembria
Mesembria or Messembria or Mesambria may refer to:*Mesembria , modern Nesembar, an ancient Greek city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria...

, Selymbria and Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

. However, as these had Greek holders, they were titled Archon
Archon
Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.- Ancient Greece :In ancient Greece the...

("magistrate") or Despotes
Despotes
Despot , was a senior Byzantine court title that was bestowed on the sons or sons-in-law of reigning emperors, and initially denoted the heir-apparent...

.

In the independent Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

, the style of Duke of Sparta
Duke of Sparta
Duke of Sparta was a title instituted in 1868 to designate the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Greece. Its legal status was exceptional, as the Greek constitution forbade the award or acceptance of titles of nobility for Greek citizens...

 was instituted in 1868 upon the birth of Constantine I
Constantine I of Greece
Constantine I was King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. He was commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Army during the unsuccessful Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, in which Greece won Thessaloniki and doubled in...

 as a distinct title for the crown prince of Greece.

Slavic countries


Generally, confusion reigns whether to translate the usual petty ruler titles, knyaz/ knez/ ksiaze etc. as Prince (analogous to the German Fürst) or as Duke;
  • in splintered Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

     petty principalities generally ruled by branches of the earlier Polish Piast dynasty
    Piast dynasty
    The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

     are regarded as duchies in translated titulary. Examples of such: Kujavia, Masovia, Sandomir, Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

     and Kalisz
    Kalisz
    Kalisz is a city in central Poland with 106,857 inhabitants , the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce...

      as well as various minor duchies, often short-lived and/or in personal union or merger, named after their capitals, mainly in the regions known as Little Poland
    Little Poland
    Little Poland may refer to:*Lesser Poland , a historical region of southern Poland*Lesser Poland Voivodeship , a present-day administrative region in southern Poland...

     and Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

    , including (there are often also important Latin and/or German forms) Kraków
    Kraków
    Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

    , Łęczyca and Sieradz
    Sieradz
    Sieradz is a town on the Warta river in central Poland with 44,326 inhabitants . It is situated in the Łódź Voivodship , but was previously the eponymous capital of the Sieradz Voivodship , and historically one of the minor duchies in Greater Poland.It is one of the oldest towns in Poland,...

    .
  • In Pomerelia
    Pomerelia
    Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

     and Pomerania
    Pomerania
    Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

     (inhabited by the Kashubians, different Slavic people from the Poles proper), branches of native ruling dynasties were usually recognized as dukes, quite similarly to the pattern in Poland.
  • in Russia, before the imperial unification from Muscovy; sometimes even as vassal, tributary to a Tartar Khan
    Khan (title)
    Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

    ; later, in Peter the Great's autocratic empire, the russification gertsog was used as the Russian rendering of the German ducal title Herzog, especially as (the last) part of the full official style of the Russian Emperor: Gertsog Shlesvig-Golstinskiy, Stormarnskiy, Ditmarsenskiy i Oldenburgskiy i prochaya, i prochaya, i prochaya "Duke of Schleswig-Holstein [see above], Stormarn
    Stormarn
    Stormarn is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Segeberg and Ostholstein, the city of Lübeck, the district of Lauenburg, and the city-state of Hamburg.-History:...

    , Dithmarschen
    Dithmarschen
    Dithmarschen is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Flensburg, Rendsburg-Eckernförde, and Steinburg, by the state of Lower Saxony , and by the North Sea.-Geography:The district is located on the North Sea...

     and Oldenburg
    Oldenburg
    Oldenburg is an independent city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the western part of the state between the cities of Bremen and Groningen, Netherlands, at the Hunte river. It has a population of 160,279 which makes it the fourth biggest city in Lower Saxony after Hanover, Braunschweig...

    , and of other lands", in chief of German and Danish territories to which the Tsar was dynastically linked.
  • In Bohemia was Duchy of Krumlov, and short-lived Duchy of Reichstadt
    Napoleon II of France
    Napoléon II , after 1818 known as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria...

     and Duchy of Friedland
    Duchy of Friedland
    Duchy of Friedland was a de-facto sovereign duchy in Bohemia. It was created in 1627 and disappeared in 1634, after death of the ruler, Albrecht von Wallenstein...

    .
  • In Silesia
    Silesia
    Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

     were many petty duchies as Duchy of Brzeg
    Duchy of Brzeg
    The Duchy of Brzeg or Duchy of Brieg , was one of the Duchies of Silesia. Its capital was Brzeg.It was created in 1311 during the fragmentation of the Duchy of Legnica among the sons of Duke Henry V and ruled by Bolesław III the Generous of the Silesian Piasts, who declared himself a vassal of...

    , Duchy of Legnica
    Duchy of Legnica
    The Duchy of Legnica or Duchy of Liegnitz was one of the Duchies of Silesia. Its capital was Legnica in Lower Silesia....

    , Duchy of Zator
    Duchy of Zator
    The Duchy of Zator was one of many Duchies of Silesia.It was split off the Duchy of Oświęcim, when after eleven years of joint rule the sons of Duke Casimir I in 1445 finally divided the lands among themselves, whereby his eldest son Wenceslaus received the territory around the town of Zator...

     and Duchy of Racibórz
    Duchy of Racibórz
    Duchy of Racibórz was one of the duchies of Silesia. Its capital was Racibórz in Upper Silesia.-History:After Bolesław I the Tall and his younger brother Mieszko I Tanglefoot backed by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa had retained their Silesian heritage in 1163, the Duchy of Racibórz was formed in...

    . They were vassals of King of Bohemia.

Netherlands


After Belgium and the Netherlands separated in 1830, the title of duke no longer existed in the Netherlands. There is, however, one exception; the title Hertog van Limburg (Duke of Limburg) still exists. This title, however, is an exclusive title for the head of state (the monarch, i.e., the king or queen of the Netherlands).

Brazilian empire


In this former Portuguese kingdom, ruled after separation by a branch of the Portuguese royal dynasty (House of Bragança), only three dukedoms were created, as the highest rank for people outside of the imperial dynasty. Two of these titles were for relatives of Peter I
Peter I of Brazil
Dom Pedro I of Brazil , nicknamed "the Liberator" and "the Soldier-King", was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil and also King of Portugal as Pedro IV, having reigned for eight years in Brazil and two months in Portugal.-Birth:Pedro was born on 12 October 1798, around...

: an illegitimate daughter and a brother-in-law
Auguste de Beauharnais, 2nd Duke of Leuchtenberg
Auguste Charles Eugène Napoléon de Beauharnais, 2nd Duke of Leuchtenberg was the first Prince consort of Maria II of Portugal.-Family:...

 who received the title when married with Peter's daughter Mary II. The third, given to the most important Brazilian military man, Luís Alves de Lima e Silva
Luís Alves de Lima e Silva
Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duke of Caxias , nicknamed "the Peacemaker" and "Iron Duke", was an army officer, politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. Caxias pursued a military career, as had his father and many relatives before him. In 1823, he fought as a young officer during most of...

, was the only dukedom created during the reign of Peter II. A fourth title was created for another illegitimate daughter of Peter I, but she died before receiving the title (and so it is seldom considered). None of these titles were hereditary, just like every other title in the Brazilian nobility system.

Haiti


The royal Christophe
Henri Christophe
Henri Christophe was a key leader in the Haitian Revolution, winning independence from France in 1804. On 17 February 1807, after the creation of a separate nation in the north, Christophe was elected President of the State of Haiti...

 dynasty created eight hereditary dukedoms, in rank directly below the nominal princes. They were short-lived and only recognised in the country.

Equivalents



Like other major Western noble titles, Duke is sometimes used to render (translate) certain titles in non-western languages. "Duke" is used even though those titles are generally etymologically and often historically unrelated and thus hard to compare. However, they are considered roughly equivalent, especially in hierarchic aristocracies such as feudal Japan, useful as an indication of relative rank.
The Indian cognate is Senapati
Senapati
Senapati is the Hindi word for general and Mahasenapati means great general. It is cognate with duke or Herzog and like this word means army leader .-List of few Maratha "Senapati" or "Commander-in-Chief":...

 (leader of an army).

China


During the era of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 in Ancient China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 (Spring and Autumn and the Warring States), the equivalent titles to Grand Marquis
Marquis
Marquis is a French and Scottish title of nobility. The English equivalent is Marquess, while in German, it is Markgraf.It may also refer to:Persons:...

 or Grand Duke were often granted to the nobility and governors of the individual kingdoms and principalities. Noble titles also existed in subsequent periods.

The Duke of Yansheng noble title was granted to the descendants of Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

. In 1935, the Nationalist Government changed the title to Sacrificial Official to Confucius (大成至聖先師奉祀官), which still exists as an office of the Republic of China, de facto hereditary.

Nonhereditary dukedoms and other lesser titles were also awarded, sometimes posthumously (see posthumous names), during the imperial period of Chinese history to recognize distinguished civil and military officials without the burdens of supporting a feudal peerage. For example, Emperor Lizong of Song
Emperor Lizong of Song
Emperor Lizong 理宗 was the 14th emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the fifth emperor of the Southern Song. His personal name was Zhao Yun . He reigned from 1224 to 1264. His temple name means "Reasonable Ancestor"...

 granted the posthumous title Duke of Hui (徽国公) to the Neo-Confucian thinker Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
Zhū​ Xī​ or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China...

.

See also

  • List of Dukes in the Peerage of the United Kingdom
  • List of dukes in the peerages of the British Isles
  • Duchy of Amalfi
    Duchy of Amalfi
    The Duchy of Amalfi or the Republic of Amalfi was a de facto independent state centred on the Southern Italian city of Amalfi during the 10th and 11th centuries. The city and its territory were originally part of the larger ducatus Neapolitanus, governed by a patrician, but it extracted itself...

  • Duchy of Gaeta
    Duchy of Gaeta
    The Duchy of Gaeta was an early medieval state centred on the coastal South Italian city of Gaeta. It began in the early ninth century as the local community began to grow autonomous as Byzantine power lagged in the Mediterranean and the peninsula thanks to Lombard and Saracen incursions.Our...

  • Duchy of Naples
    Duchy of Naples
    The Duchy of Naples began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the seventh century, in the reduced coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy in the sixth century...

  • Archduke
    Archduke
    The title of Archduke denotes a noble rank above Duke and below King, used only by princes of the Houses of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine....