The geographic concept of Saxony has undergone great shifts and has acquired many meanings in the past 15 centuries. The land of the Saxons, Saxony was in Frankish times roughly the area in NW Germany between the Elbe and Ems rivers; it also included part of S Jutland. (This area corresponds in part to the state of Lower Saxony, created after World War II.)The Duchy of Saxony
After Charlemagne's conquest (772-804) of the Saxons, their land was incorporated into the Carolingian empire, and late in the 9th cent. the first duchy of Saxony. Including the four divisions of Westphalia, Angria, Eastphalia, and Holstein, it occupied nearly all the territory between the Elbe and Saale rivers on the east and the Rhine on the west; it bordered on Franconia and Thuringia in the south. Duke Henry I (Henry the Fowler) of Saxony was elected German king in 919, and his son, Emperor Otto I, bestowed (961) Saxony on Hermann Billung (d. 973), a Saxon nobleman, whose descendants held the duchy until the extinction of the male line in 1106. Lothair of Supplinburg (see Lothair II) bestowed it on his Guelphic son-in-law, Henry the Proud, who was already duke of Bavaria.
In 1142 the duchy passed to Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud. The struggle between Henry the Lion and Emperor Frederick I ended with Henry's loss of all his fiefs in 1180. The stem duchy was broken up into numerous fiefs. The Guelphic heirs of Henry the Lion retained only their allodial lands, the duchy of Brunswick. The ducal title of Saxony went to Bernard of Anhalt, a younger son of Albert the Bear of Brandenburg and founder of the Ascanian line of Saxon dukes. Besides Anhalt, Bernard received Lauenburg and the country around Wittenberg, on the Elbe. These widely separate territories continued after 1260 under separate branches of the Ascanians as Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg.Electoral Saxony
The Golden Bull of 1356 raised the duke of Saxe-Wittenberg to the permanent rank of elector, with the right to participate in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. Electoral Saxony, as his territory was called, was a relatively small area along the middle Elbe. To the S of Electoral Saxony extended the margraviate of Meissen, ruled by the increasingly powerful house of Wettin. The margraves of Meissen acquired (13th-14th cent.) the larger parts of Thuringia and of Lower Lusatia and the intervening territories, and in 1423 Margrave Frederick the Warlike added Electoral Saxony; he became (1425) Elector Frederick I. Thus, Saxony shifted to E central and E Germany from NW Germany.
In 1485 the Wettin lands were partitioned between two sons of Elector Frederick II; the division came to be permanent. Ernest, founder of the Ernestine branch of Wettin, received Electoral Saxony with Wittenberg and most of the Thuringian lands. Albert, founder of the Albertine branch, received ducal rank and the Meissen territories, including Dresden and Leipzig. Duke Maurice of Saxony, a grandson of Albert and a Protestant, received the electoral title in the 16th cent.; it remained in the Albertine branch until the dissolution (1806) of the Holy Roman Empire.Saxon Kings of Poland
The rivalry between Saxony and Brandenburg (after 1701 the kingdom of Prussia) was a decisive factor in later Saxon history, as was the election (1697) of Augustus II (who was Frederick Augustus I as elector of Saxony) as king of Poland; the election led to an economic partnership between the declining Poland and Saxony, whose prestige was thereby diminished. In the War of the Austrian Succession, Saxony adhered to what had become its traditional wavering policy, changing sides in the middle of the conflict. The death (1763) of Augustus III ended the union with Poland.
The period of Saxon rule in Poland marked a time of economic and social decay but of cultural and artistic flowering. Augustus II and Augustus III were lavish patrons of art and learning and greatly beautified their capital, Dresden. The universities of Wittenberg and Leipzig had long been leading intellectual centers, and 18th-century Leipzig led in the rise of German literature as well as in music, which reached its first peak in J. S. Bach.The Kingdom and Province of Saxony
Saxony sided with Prussia against France early in the French Revolutionary Wars, but changed sides in 1806. For this act its elector was raised to royal rank, becoming King Frederick Augustus I. His failure to change sides again before Napoleon's fall cost him (1815) nearly half his kingdom at the Congress of Vienna. The kingdom of Saxony lost Lower Lusatia, part of Upper Lusatia, and all its northern territory including Wittenberg and Merseburg to Prussia. Its principal remaining cities were Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz, and Plauen. The larger part of the territories ceded in 1815 were incorporated with several other Prussian districts into the Prussian province of Saxony, with Magdeburg its capital. (This was united after 1945 with Anhalt to form the state of Saxony-Anhalt.) The kingdom sided (1866) with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and was defeated. It was forced to pay a large indemnity and to join the North German Confederation. From 1871 until the abdication (1918) of Frederick Augustus III, it was a member state of the German Empire.The State of Saxony
The kingdom of Saxony became the state of Saxony after 1918 and joined the Weimar Republic. Dresden became its capital. In the 19th and early 20th cent. Saxony became one of the most industrialized German states, with a noted textile industry. Chemnitz became its main industrial center and Leipzig its chief commercial hub.
After World War II the state of Saxony was reconstituted (1947) under Soviet occupation; it lost a small district E of the Lusatian Neisse, but gained a part of Silesia W of the Neisse. The postwar state became part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. From 1952 to 1990 Saxony was divided into the East German districts of Handeburg Halle, Leipzig, and Cottbus; the districts produced about a third of East Germany's gross domestic product. In 1990, prior to German reunification, the districts were reintegrated as a state.
Historical region, former state, and recreated state, Germany. Before 1180 the name was applied to the territory conquered circa AD 200–700 by the Germanic Saxon tribe. They were conquered and Christianized by Charlemagne in the late 8th century. In the mid-9th century Saxony became part of the German kingdom of the Franks. The territory was broken up in 1180 and divided into two smaller and widely separated areas, Saxe-Lauenburg on the lower Elbe River and Saxe-Wittenberg on the middle Elbe. From 1422 the name Saxony was applied to a large region, including the country from Thuringia to Lusatia, bordering Bohemia. It was part of the German Empire (1871–1918) and a free state in the Weimar Republic (1919–33). The state was abolished in 1952 and divided among East German districts. Upon German reunification in 1990, a new state of Saxony was recreated. The current territory of Saxony Land (pop., 2001 est.: 4,384,192) occupies the southeastern portion of what was formerly East Germany and covers an area of 7,080 sq mi (18,337 sq km). The capital is Dresden.
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The Free State of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen ; ) is the easternmost federal state of Germany. Located in the country's southeast, it is the tenth-largest in area and sixth-largest in population among Germany's sixteen states, and has a land area of 18,413 km² and a population of 4.3 million.
Saxony has a long history as a duchy, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire (the Electorate of Saxony), and eventually as a kingdom (the Kingdom of Saxony). Its monarchy was overthrown in 1918 and a republican form of government was established under its current name subsequent to Germany's defeat in World War I. Abolished during communist rule, it was re-established on 3 October 1990 during the re-unification of East and West Germany.
During the early Middle Ages the term Saxony referred to the region occupied by today's states of Lower Saxony and northern North Rhine-Westphalia. The Saxons had migrated there from the area of present-day Schleswig-Holstein between 250 and 500; see History below.
Furthermore there are three urban districts (Kreisfreie Städte / Stadtkreise), which don't belong to any district:
The first mediæval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" and emerged about AD 700 covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony-Anhalt. In the 10th century the dukes of Saxony were at the same time kings (or emperors) of the Holy Roman Empire (Ottonian or Saxon Dynasty). At that time, a Saxon noble family of Billungs received extensive fiefs in Saxony, and the Emperor eventually gave them the title of Duke of Saxony. After the extinction of the male line of Billungs, the duchy was given to Lothar of Supplinburg, who then also became Emperor for a short time.
In 1137 Saxony was passed to the Welfen dynasty, who were descendants (1) of Wulfhild Billung, eldest daughter of the last Billung duke, and (2) of the daughter of Lothar of Supplinburg. It reached its peak under Duke Henry the Lion, and after his death it began to decline (Henry had declined to participate in the later Italian wars of his liege lord, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and those expeditions to Italy ended in disasters. The furious emperor retaliated and sent his troops to end Duke Henry's dominion). In 1180 large portions west of the Weser were ceded to the Bishops of Cologne, while some central parts between the Weser and the Elbe remained to the Welfs, later forming the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg). The remaining Eastern lands, together with the title of Duke of Saxony, were passed to an Ascanian dynasty (who descended from Eilika Billung, Wulfhild's younger sister) and divided in 1260 into the two small states of Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg. Saxony-Lauenburg was later renamed Lauenburg and was no longer part of Saxony or its history. Saxe-Wittenberg was confirmed to have inherited the "main" ducal title of the Saxons and as such was recognized as an Elector of the Empire in 14th century.
Saxony-Wittenberg, in present Saxony-Anhalt, became subject to the margravate of Meißen and ruled by the Wettin dynasty in 1423. A new powerful state was established, occupying large portions of present Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. Although the center of this state was far southeast of the former Saxony, it came to be referred to as Upper Saxony and then simply Saxony, while the former Saxon territories were now known as Lower Saxony.
In 1485, Saxony was split as a collateral line of the Wettin princes received what later became Thuringia and founded several small states there; see Ernestine duchies. The remaining Saxon state became even more powerful, becoming known in the 18th century for its cultural achievements, although it was politically inferior to Prussia and Austria, which pressed Saxony from either side.
During the 1848–49 constitutionalist revolutions in Germany, Saxony became a hotbed for revolutionaries, with anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin and democrats including Richard Wagner and Gottfried Semper taking part in the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849.
After 1918 Saxony was a state in the Weimar Republic and was the scene of Gustav Stresemann's overthrow of the KPD/SPD led government in 1923. The state was abandoned in all but name during the Nazi era, then reconstituted under Soviet occupation. It was officially dissolved in 1952, and divided into three smaller Bezirke based on Leipzig, Dresden and Karl-Marx-Stadt, but reestablished within slightly altered borders in 1990 upon German reunification. Saxony also includes a small part of the former German province of Silesia west of the town of Görlitz which remained German after the Second World War and which for obvious reasons of unavailability as a separate state was thus into Saxony. This part had been part of Silesia only after 1815 and belonged to Upper Lusatia and Bohemia before 1623 and thereafter to Saxony between 1623 and 1815.
Therefore, the current territory of Saxony includes the part of the former Prussian province of Lower Silesia that was located to the west of the 1945 Oder-Neisse line but excludes all territory or part of Saxony east of the same line, which like the majority of Silesia was incorporated into post-war Poland.
The most important patoises that are spoken in Saxony are combined in the group of "Thuringian and Upper Saxon dialects". Due to the incorrect name of "Saxon dialects" in colloquial language the Upper Saxon attribute has been added to distinguish from Old Saxon and Low Saxon. Other German dialects spoken in Saxony are the dialects in the Ore Mountains which has been affected by Upper Saxon dialects and the dialects of the Vogtland which is more affected by the east Frankish languages.
Upper Sorbian (a Slavic language) is still actively spoken in the parts of Upper Lusatia that are occupied by the Sorbian minority. The Germans in Upper Lusatia speak also distinct dialects of their own (Lusatian dialects).
By November 2006, the NPD only held 8 seats after a series of internal disputes saw 4 members leave the party or be expelled.
Managing emergency services in Lower Saxony: Lower Saxony participates in the large national technology project DIGITALFUNK BOS, using Intermap datasets.
Nov 01, 2009; Lower Saxony, along with Germany's 15 other states, will participate in one of the largest national technology projects....