The German state of Saxony
, is renowned for both its beauty, industry, and economic power. However, in the medieval era, Germany
was fragmented and inhabited by numerous Barbarian tribes, who fought amongst themselves for control of the land. The ancient dukedom of Saxony
derived its name from the Germanic tribe name the Saxons
who inhabited the territory after the fall of the Roman Empire.
In the 8th century, the pagan Saxons were conquered by the Carolingian Emperor Charlemagne. Charlemagne, who wanted to protect the Rhineland and convert new souls to Christianity, repeatedly invaded the Saxon lands and baptized the Saxons by force. The Saxons resisted his campaigns for 32 years, but in 782 Charlemagne ordered the execution of nearly 5,000 Saxons in a single day. Saxony submitted to Charlemagne's army and the missionaries that followed. By the 9th century, Frankish control of Saxony was established and the Saxons were gradually converted to Christianity. By the end of the 10th century, the Saxons governed one of the most powerful duchies in Germany.
Under powerful dukes, the duchies of Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Lorraine and Bavaria became independent political entities in the 10th and 11th centuries. In the early 10th century, when the Carolingian line came to an end, the German dukes recognized the need for a common leader and, in 919, they elected Henry of Saxony as their king. The most powerful of this line of Saxon kings was Otto I, who became King of Germany. The King subordinated the dukes, made the German Church a national institution, and fused the German tribes into a powerful state. Most importantly, Otto was crowned Emperor by Pope John XII in 962, which marks the genesis of the medieval Holy Roman Empire
In the 12th century, Frederick Barbarossa of the House of Hohenstaufen attempted to build a lasting foundation for the German Empire. In 1180, he placed Henry the Lion of the Welfen family, who was the duke of both Bavaria and Saxony, under ban and divided up his former duchy. Under Frederick, Saxony achieved status and power. Saxony enjoyed a period of intense development and the fertile regions in the north formed an rich wheat belt. However, Saxony was shaken by religious conflicts. The Hussite rebellion ruined most of this region and it was in the Saxon city of Wittenberg that Martin Luther started the Reformation. Saxony became the cradle of the Reformation and one of the most influential states of the Empire, but did not escape the devastation of the following Peasants' War.
In the 19th century, the course of Saxon history was drastically altered. After the Congress Of Vienna in 1815, Prussia took control of the northern region of Saxony, which reduced its size by over half. At this time, the various German states began to move toward the creation of a modern and united German nation. After the Revolutions of 1848, and the rise of Otto von Bismarck, Germany expanded territorially, developed its economy, and emerged as a great world power .The remaining part of Saxony joined the Reich when German Unification was proclaimed in 1871.
The modern state of Saxony is bordered by the North Sea, the Hartz mountains and the Elbe and Ems rivers. Lower Saxony was previously a mediaeval Saxon dukedom.
In the medieval era, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes.
In the medieval era, Germany was fragmented and inhabited by numerous Barbarian tribes, who fought amongst themselves for control of the land. The ancient dukedom of Saxony derived its name from the Germanic tribe name the Saxons who inhabited the territory after the fall of the Roman Empire.
In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes, who fought amongst themselves for control of the land.
Although the duchy of Brunswick presumably was founded in 861 by Bruno of the Liudolfing dynasty, its existence was first documented in 1031. In the 12th century, Henry the Lion, mightiest German prince of the Welfen House, made Brunswick his capital and built his castle Dankwarderode. In the 19th century Brunswick became a part of the Kingdom of Hannover, and was in 1918 the only princedom Bismarck had left to the Welfen dynasty when Hannover became a Prussian province.
A large part of the famous Lueneburg Heath is now a major wildlife conservation area. Early in the 20th century, oil was discovered near Celle; Hermann Loens, the Bard of the Lueneburg Heath, mentions that the local farmers carry their money in potato sacks! Near Lueneburg, the "Alten Land" forms Germany's richest orchard region. This territory became a district of Lower Saxony in 1946.
Emden, Ostfriesland's largest city and most important harbor. Emden, founded in 800 A.D., is connected through canals with the Ruhr and Wilhelmshaven, and is a center for fishing and imports. One such import is tea, a preferred beverage of the East Frisians. Osnabrueck was chosen as a bishop's seat by Charlemagne before 787, and was a Hanseatic city known for its linen in the Middle Ages.
- ^ Swyrich, Archive materials