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Welf VI

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Subject: House of Welf, Siege of Weinsberg, List of rulers of Tuscany, Duke of Spoleto, List of monarchs who lost their thrones before the 13th century
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Welf VI

Welf VI, portrait in the Weingartener Stifterbüchlein, ca. 1500 (Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod. hist. Q 584, fol. 38v)

Welf VI (1115 – 15 December 1191) was the margrave of Tuscany (1152–1162) and duke of Spoleto (1152–1162), the third son of Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, and a member of the illustrious family of the Welf.

Welf inherited the familial possessions in Swabia, including the counties of Altdorf and Ravensburg, while his eldest brother Henry the Proud received the duchies of Bavaria and Saxony and his elder brother Conrad entered the church. Henry married Welf to Uta, the daughter of Godfrey of Calw, count palatine of the Rhine. On Godfrey's death in 1131, a dispute opened up between Godfrey's nephew Adalbert and Welf over the inheritance of Calw.

Welf was an uncle of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, as Barbarossa's mother, Judith, was Welf's sister. Welf himself was only a decade or less older than his nephew, during whose reign most of Welf's activity occurred.

When Conrad III of Germany, Frederick's uncle, confiscated the duchy of Bavaria in 1142, Welf joined his brother in rebelling. They were defeated at the Battle of Flochberg. In 1152, the Welfs and the Hohenstaufen made peace and Frederick Barbarossa was elected king. He returned Bavaria to Henry's son Henry the Lion in 1156. In October 1152, at Würzburg, Frederick gave Welf, as the head of his family, the duchy of Spoleto, margraviate of Tuscany, and principality of Sardinia among other Italian properties.

Beginning in the 1150s, a feud broke out between Welf (and his son Welf VII) and Hugh of Tübingen, count palatine of Swabia. It came to a head between 1164 and 1166 and ended with the resolution of the emperor himself, generally on the side of the Welfs.

When Welf's aforementioned only son died of malaria at Rome in 1167, while campaigning with Barbarossa against Pope Alexander III, Henry demanded the inheritance of all the Welf estates. Welf demanded in return a large sum of money, which Henry did not raise. Welf therefore gave his Italian states to the emperor. Welf remained in charge of his Italian duchies until 1173, while Christian, Archbishop of Mainz, was imperial vicar.

A rift between Henry and Barbarossa over an Italian campaign in 1176

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