The Count of Lippe

Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Von Shaumburg- Lippe was born on January 9th 1724 in London, where he remained until he was five years old. He studied in Leyden (Holland), Genève (Switzerland) and in Montpellier (France). He was dedicated to rationalist and German philosophy, being an apologist of the idea that everything should be directed towards the good and progress, and early on revealing his love for physics, mathematics and exact sciences, thus becoming an autodidact.

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In 1742, he completed eighteen years old and had the opportunity to achieve positions at the Emperor’s service and on foreign courts. The following years, he participated with his father, in the Battle of Dettiragen, siding with the Dutch. Back then, with twenty years old, he already presented a considerable reputation, before society, as a philosopher. In 1744, he enlisted in the British navy however he had to abandon the career due to health problems. In 1748, his father dies and in the following year he was given the title of the Lord of the County of Schaumbourg-Lippe. In 1757, he gathers his troops with the Hanoverian Army, on which he was the Gran-Master of Artillery, and after two years he was nominated Commandant and Director of Artillery of both allied armies of German.

On November 12th 1765, he marries the Countess Maria Bárbara Leonor with whom he had a single daughter, Emília. His daughter dies at the age of eighteen and his wife dies two years after.

Lippe was a true genius, a man who was interested in Art, Religion and Philosophy, having perfected the Military Art on which he demonstrated his commitment and dedication, creating new military war strategies, as well as designing regulations and instructions.s.

He died on September 10th 1777, with fifty-three years old, being buried in the mausoleum where his wife and daughter rested, at the Palace of Baum, in Schamburger Wald.

His action in Portugal

In 1762, the Count of Lippe is summoned to Portugal by the Marquis of Pombal and by indication of the King of England. He was granted the mission of reorganizing the Portuguese Army and commanding the Portuguese-British troops, foreseeing the imminence of a new war with the neighbouring enemy.

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Lippe landed in Portugal on July 3rd, accompanied by several German officers, who came as his assistants, among which there was the Prince Carlos Luís Frederico, Duke of Mecklenburg, the Colonel Böhm, and the captains Riepe, Tileman, Colson, Ferdinand Biesterfeld and Ruxleben. He settled in Pedrouços with his officers and the Marquis of Pombal appoints Miguel de Arriaga as his secretary and interpreter.

When Lippe arrived in Portugal, he found a Portuguese-British army of only 15000 men and the country invaded by 42000 man and 93 pieces of artillery. Given the proportion of the forces, he bet on a defensive war and took advantage of every available resources. The result was positive and the victory went to the Portuguese.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Army was in a deplorable state and was little efficient. The soldiers were poor, coming from humble families, underpaid, badly dressed, malnourished and with very low salaries. Concerning the officers, the situation wasn’t better. Lippe starts by paying the soldiers in good time, instilling zeal and assiduity. He educates soldiers and officers in the military arts and not only. Less than a year later, the results are visible. At the beginning of 1763, he wanted to leave Portugal but the King, appreciative of his efforts, published a decree on which Lippe was given the treatment of Highness and eventually decides to stay. He continues his Army reorganization, imposing discipline, order and instruction. In 1762, it is edited his work “General instructions regarding several essential parts of the daily service to the army of S. Magestade Fidelissima…” on which he exposes all his knowledge and demonstrates the necessity of the education of the military. One year later, he publishes the “Regulation to the exercise and discipline of the infantry regiments of the army…” He renews regiments, creates registry books for each one of them, reorganizes the entire Artillery and, in 1764, he begins an inspection trip to every fortification of the country. When the construction of the Fort finishes, in 1792, as a tribute, the Fort becomes knows as Fort of Lippe, a name which would only be changed by the hand of the Queen D. Maria when she changed it to Fort of Graça.

In 1764, Lippe returns to his County, not before giving King D. José several presents with an appraised value of 400.000 francs. Sometime later, fearing a new war with Spain, the Marquis of Pombal wanted to bring Lippe again to Portugal, however he was already undergoing a series of reparations of damages done by the war in German, and refuses to return, sending Colonel Böhm instead.

The Count of Lippe in Elvas

The project of the fortification of the Graça was executed by the hand of Count of Lippe himself. When Lippe returns to Portugal, he dedicates the majority of his time to Elvas, in assessing the construction of the Fort and the establishment of its service, which later harbored the permanent headquarters of the Regiment of the Artillery of Estremoz, leaving a part of the staff lodged on the Square of Elvas to where the referred headquarters was moved in 1800.

On March 26th 1764, he began an inspection trip across the Kingdom, with the purpose of acknowledging the importance of the fortifications and their condition, leaving from Cacilhas to Setúbal, moving on to Vila Nova de Milfontes, Sagres, Costa Algarvia, Mértola, Serpa, Moura, Mourão, Juromenha, Olivença e Elvas. Lippe’s tour allowed him to conclude that there were certain deficiencies regarding the defense methods of the country, most especially in Alentejo, the main target of the Spanish threats and thus realizing the need to improve strategically the Stronghold of Elvas, a key point to the defense of the Kingdom.

According to this perspective, the priority was to supervise the army, assuring the fulfillment of the laws and regulations that had been created since its recent organization. The following is a transcription of one of the items of the military observations regarding the Stronghold of Elvas: “15. º – The service performed nowadays in the stronghold of Elvas, with more accuracy than any other place. It might be useful to send here, from time to time, the nearest regiments, such as the Campo Maior, Olivença, Castelo de Vide and Moura, changing among themselves, so that the number and the type of the troops that compose the garrison does not change, which wouldn’t be beneficial if it happened, unless an exceptional motive occurs.”

Lippe was, therefore, the savior of the profound military decadence of the Kingdom, innovating in the Art of War and revealing himself as a grand military architect by projecting the fortification of Wilhelmstein, near Buckeburg, and the Fort which adopted his name in Elvas.


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