In 1640, in the middle of the Thirty Years War, the successful commander and brilliant state administrator became sovereign of the newly created duchy of Sachsen-Gotha.
He commissioned Friedenstein Palace.
Especially through his church and school reforms he rendered his duchy great service.
Within a short span of time Ernst I established a fatherly model state which remained exemplary far into the 18th century. Already shortly after his death he was only known as “Ernst the Pious” and was considered an exemplary statesman in Germany and abroad.