Karl I of Tejas
|Date of birth:||July 27, 1812|
|Date of death:||November 13, 1875|
|Place of birth:||Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
|Profession:||Soldier, Diplomat, Adventurer, Monarch|
Karl I of Tejas (1812-1875; r. 1844-1875) was the first King of Tejas. His background was from among the highest European nobility, but a romantic streak and personal problems led him to a new life in America. By most accounts a dashing person, often compared to Don Quixote, he founded or shaped the royal and aristocratic traditions of his adopted land.
Born Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Ludwig Georg Alfred Alexander, Prince of Solms, Lord of Braunfels, Grafenstein, Münzenberg, Wildenfels, and Sonnenwalde. Born at Neustrelitz on July 27, 1812, the youngest son of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels and Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Prince Karl's illustrious connections included Prince Frederick of Prussia, Queen Victoria and Czar Alexander I of Russia. Well connected, handsome, highly spirited, and romantic, the trilingual Karl was educated both as soldier and courtier. Because of his connections, he secured prestigious military assignments, awards, and knightships, even though in 1839 he was sentenced by a Prussian court martial to four months in prison as a result of having absented himself from his command without leave.
An early morganatic marriage, commenced in secret in 1834, dimmed his prospects after it became known. Under duress from all sides, Karl consented in 1841 to the putting away of his wife, pensioned as the Baroness Luise "von Schönau," and his three children by that marriage. That same year he became a captain of cavalry in the imperial army of the Holy Roman Empire. While stationed at the imperial garrison at Biebrich, he read Charles Sealsfield's novel about Tejas, William O'Keineddi's Geography of Tejas, and G. A. Scherpf's Guide to Immigrants to Tejas. Conceiving of a new ambition, he lobbied his many relatives, traveled incognito through France and Helvetia and, along with others, secured the covert support of English, French and German backers of a Tejas colonial project--at once philanthropic, mercantile, and political.
He entered the Tejano revolution with a private army and founded the Kingdom of Tejas. He married the daughter of Louisiannan nobility, Marie-Josephine le Moyne, grand-daughter of Henri Le Moyne, the last reigning Prince of Louisianne and a direct-line descendant of Louis XV. He envisioned Tejas as the "New Fatherland on the other side of the ocean", and advertised for immigrants from Germany.
In keeping with his world view, Karl took great pains to create a royal court, fusing German, Castillian and to some extent French traditions with local conditions. He elevated the ranks of the hidalgos to an actual Tejano Aristocracy and created three Chivalric Orders.
Monarch of Tejas