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Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...

state
in the northeast of
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
. With an area of and a population of 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth-largest German state by area and the tenth-most populous.
Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also Ge ...

Potsdam
is the state capital and largest city, while other major towns include
Cottbus Cottbus (; , ) is a university city and the second-largest city in Brandenburg, Germany. Situated around southeast of Berlin, on the River Spree, Cottbus is also a major railway junction with extensive Siding (rail), sidings/depots. Although onl ...

Cottbus
,
Brandenburg an der Havel Brandenburg an der Havel () is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, which served as the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg until replaced by Berlin in 1417. With a population of 71,778 (as of 2010), it is located on the banks of the Havel, Ri ...
and
Frankfurt (Oder) Frankfurt (Oder) (also known as Frankfurt an der Oder, ; abbreviated ', 'Frankfurt on the Oder') is a town in Brandenburg, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest ...
. Brandenburg surrounds the national capital and city-state of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city limits. One of 's , Berlin is surrounded by the state of , and contiguous with , Brande ...

Berlin
, and together they form the
Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region The Berlin/Brandenburg metropolitan region (german: Metropolregion Berlin-Brandenburg) or capital region (german: Hauptstadtregion Berlin-Brandenburg) is one of eleven metropolitan regions of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , ...
, the third-largest metropolitan area in Germany. Brandenburg borders the states of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
,
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (sta ...
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
, and
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (german: Freistaat Sachsen, links=no ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Freischdaad Saggsn''; hsb, Swobodny stat Saksk ...

Saxony
, as well as the country of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
. Brandenburg originated in the
Northern March The Northern March or North March (german: Nordmark) was created out of the division of the vast '' Marca Geronis'' in 965. It initially comprised the northern third of the ''Marca'' (roughly corresponding to the modern state of Brandenburg B ...
in the 900s AD, from areas conquered from the
Wends 230px, ''Germaniae veteris typus'' (Old Germany). Aestui, Venedi, Goths, Gythones and Ingaevones are visible on the right upper corner of the map. Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, 1645. Wends ( ang, Winedas; Old Norse: ''Vindr''; german: Wenden ...
. It later became the
Margraviate of Brandenburg The Margraviate of Brandenburg (german: link=no, Markgrafschaft Brandenburg) was a major principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a regnant-mon ...
, a major principality of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
. In the 15th century, it came under the rule of the
House of Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzollern, ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal whose members were variously s, , s and of , , , the , and . The family came from the area around the town of in during the late 11 ...
, which later also became the ruling house of the
Duchy of Prussia The Duchy of Prussia (german: Herzogtum Preußen, pl, Księstwo Pruskie) or Ducal Prussia (german: Herzogliches Preußen, link=no; pl, Prusy Książęce, link=no) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The histor ...

Duchy of Prussia
and established
Brandenburg-Prussia Brandenburg-Prussia (german: Brandenburg-Preußen; ) is the historiographic Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians wh ...

Brandenburg-Prussia
, the core of the later
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
. From 1815 to 1947, Brandenburg was a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
. Following the
abolition of Prussia The formal abolition of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 1525 with Duchy of Prussia, a duchy centered on the Prussia (region), region of Prussia ...
after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, Brandenburg was established as a state by the
Soviet Military Administration in Germany The Soviet Military Administration in Germany (russian: Советская военная администрация в Германии, СВАГ; ''Sovyetskaya Voyennaya Administratsiya v Germanii'', SVAG; german: Sowjetische Militäradministrati ...
, and became a state of the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = Ge ...
in 1949. In 1952, the state was dissolved and broken up into multiple regional districts. Following
German reunification German reunification (german: link=no, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic (GDR) became part of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = ...
, Brandenburg was re-established in 1990 and became one of the five new states of the Federal Republic of Germany.


History

In late medieval and early modern times, Brandenburg was one of seven electoral states of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
, and, along with
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
, formed the original core of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
, the first unified German state. Governed by the Hohenzollern dynasty from 1415, it contained the future German capital Berlin. After 1618 the
Margraviate of Brandenburg The Margraviate of Brandenburg (german: link=no, Markgrafschaft Brandenburg) was a major principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a regnant-mon ...
and the
Duchy of Prussia The Duchy of Prussia (german: Herzogtum Preußen, pl, Księstwo Pruskie) or Ducal Prussia (german: Herzogliches Preußen, link=no; pl, Prusy Książęce, link=no) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The histor ...

Duchy of Prussia
were combined to form
Brandenburg-Prussia Brandenburg-Prussia (german: Brandenburg-Preußen; ) is the historiographic Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians wh ...

Brandenburg-Prussia
, which was ruled by the same branch of the
House of Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzollern, ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal whose members were variously s, , s and of , , , the , and . The family came from the area around the town of in during the late 11 ...
. In 1701 the state was elevated as the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
. Franconian
Nuremberg Nuremberg ( ; german: link=no, Nürnberg ; in the local dialect: ''Nämberch'' ) is the second-largest city of the of after its capital , and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants make it the in Germany. On the (from its with the in onwards: ...

Nuremberg
and
Ansbach File:De Merian Frankoniae 108.jpg, 280px, Ansbach in the 17th century Ansbach (; ) is a city in the Germany, German state of Bavaria. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk, administrative region of Mittelfranken, Middle Franconia. Ansbach is ...

Ansbach
, Swabian
Hohenzollern
Hohenzollern
, the eastern European connections of Berlin, and the status of Brandenburg's ruler as
prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the that elected the of the . From the 13th century onwards, the prince-electors had the privilege of who would ...
together were instrumental in the rise of that state.


Early Middle Ages

Brandenburg is situated in territory known in antiquity as
Magna Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman provinces of the same name, was a large historical region in north-cent ...
, which reached to the Vistula river. By the 7th century,
Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity and language. Most ethnic groups share a first language. However, the term is often used to emphasise ...
are believed to have settled in the Brandenburg area. The Slavs expanded from the east, possibly driven from their homelands in present-day Ukraine and perhaps Belarus by the invasions of the
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people who lived in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe between the 4th and 6th century AD. According to European tradition, they were first reported living east of the Volga River, in an area that was part ...

Huns
and
Avars Avar(s) or AVAR may refer to: Peoples and states * Avars (Caucasus), a modern Northeast Caucasian-speaking people in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, Russia **Avar language, the modern Northeast Caucasian language spoken by the Avars of the North Ca ...
. They relied heavily on river transport. The two principal Slavic groups in the present-day area of Brandenburg were the
Hevelli The Hevelli or Hevellians/ Navellasîni, also known as Svatodorans/ Sγatodorans, a name referring to the Golden Arrow, (sometimes ''Havolane''; german: Heveller or ''Stodoranen''; pl, Hawelanie or ''Stodoranie''; cs, Havolané or ''Stodorané'') ...
in the west and the
Sprevane The Sprevane or Sprevani (; Slavonic: ''Sprevjane'') were a Slavic tribe who lived around the river Spree, where Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both a ...
in the east. Beginning in the early 10th century,
Henry the Fowler Henry the Fowler (german: Heinrich der Vogler or '; la, Henricus Auceps) (c. 876 – 2 July 936) was the Duke of Saxony This article lists dukes, electors, and kings ruling over different territories named Saxony from the beginning of the ...

Henry the Fowler
and his successors conquered territory up to the
Oder River The Oder ( , ; Czech language, Czech, Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian and pl, Odra; szl, Ôdra; hsb, Wódra) is a river in Central Europe. It is Poland's second-longest river in total length and third-longest within its borders after th ...
. Slavic settlements such as Brenna (
Brandenburg an der Havel Brandenburg an der Havel () is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, which served as the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg until replaced by Berlin in 1417. With a population of 71,778 (as of 2010), it is located on the banks of the Havel, Ri ...
), Budusin (
Bautzen Bautzen (; Upper Sorbian language, Upper Sorbian: Budyšin ; until 1868 German language, German: ''Budissin''; Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian: ''Budyšyn'' , cz, Budyšín , pl, Budziszyn ) is a hill-top town in eastern Free State of Saxo ...

Bautzen
), and Chośebuz (
Cottbus Cottbus (; , ) is a university city and the second-largest city in Brandenburg, Germany. Situated around southeast of Berlin, on the River Spree, Cottbus is also a major railway junction with extensive Siding (rail), sidings/depots. Although onl ...

Cottbus
) came under
imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperial, Nebraska * Imperial, Pennsylvania * Imperial, Texas * ...
control through the installation of margraves. Their main function was to defend and protect the eastern
marches In medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe si ...
. In 948 Emperor
Otto I Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (german: Otto der Große, it, Ottone il Grande), was East Francian king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henr ...

Otto I
established margraves to exert imperial control over the pagan Slavs west of the Oder River. Otto founded the Bishoprics of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
and
Havelberg Havelberg () is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt (; Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northe ...
. The
Northern March The Northern March or North March (german: Nordmark) was created out of the division of the vast '' Marca Geronis'' in 965. It initially comprised the northern third of the ''Marca'' (roughly corresponding to the modern state of Brandenburg B ...
was founded as a northeastern border territory of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western, Central Europe, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Age ...
. However, a great uprising of
Wends 230px, ''Germaniae veteris typus'' (Old Germany). Aestui, Venedi, Goths, Gythones and Ingaevones are visible on the right upper corner of the map. Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, 1645. Wends ( ang, Winedas; Old Norse: ''Vindr''; german: Wenden ...
drove imperial forces from the territory of present-day Brandenburg in 983. The region returned to the control of Slavic leaders.


Late Middle Ages

During the 12th century, the German kings and emperors re-established control over the mixed Slav-inhabited lands of present-day Brandenburg, although some Slavs like the
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
in
Lusatia Lusatia (german: Lausitz, pl, Łużyce, hsb, Łužica, dsb, Łužyca, cs, Lužice, la, Lusatia, rarely also referred to as Sorbia) is a historical region in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. Lusatia stretches from the Bóbr ...
adapted to
Germanization Germanisation, or Germanization, is the spread of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austri ...
while retaining their distinctiveness. The Roman Catholic Church brought
bishoprics In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
which, with their walled towns, afforded protection from attacks for the townspeople. With the monks and bishops, the history of the town of
Brandenburg an der Havel Brandenburg an der Havel () is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, which served as the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg until replaced by Berlin in 1417. With a population of 71,778 (as of 2010), it is located on the banks of the Havel, R ...
, which was the first center of the state of Brandenburg, began. In 1134, in the wake of a German
crusade The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...
against the
Wends 230px, ''Germaniae veteris typus'' (Old Germany). Aestui, Venedi, Goths, Gythones and Ingaevones are visible on the right upper corner of the map. Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, 1645. Wends ( ang, Winedas; Old Norse: ''Vindr''; german: Wenden ...
, the German magnate,
Albert the Bear Albert the Bear (german: Albrecht der Bär; 1100 – 18 November 1170) was the first margrave of Brandenburg Margrave was originally the Middle ages, medieval title for the military commander assigned to maintain the defence of one of the bor ...
, was granted the
Northern March The Northern March or North March (german: Nordmark) was created out of the division of the vast '' Marca Geronis'' in 965. It initially comprised the northern third of the ''Marca'' (roughly corresponding to the modern state of Brandenburg B ...
by the Emperor
Lothar III Lothair III, sometimes numbered Lothair II and also known as Lothair of Supplinburg (1075 – 4 December 1137), was Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 until his death. He was appointed List of rulers of Saxony, Duke of Saxony in 1106 and elected List of ...
. He formally inherited the town of Brandenburg and the lands of the Hevelli from their last Wendish ruler,
PribislavPribislav, ''Przibislaus'' (from Slavic ''пробивающая слава'', "pribi" – ''pierced, breaking'' or "more, much more" and "slav" - ''glory'') is a Slavic origin name. Its feminine form is Pribislava. Notable bearers of the name incl ...
, in 1150. After crushing a force of Sprevane who occupied the town of Brandenburg in the 1150s, Albert proclaimed himself ruler of the new
Margraviate of Brandenburg The Margraviate of Brandenburg (german: link=no, Markgrafschaft Brandenburg) was a major principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a regnant-mon ...
. Albert, and his descendants the
Ascanians The House of Ascania (german: Askanier) is a dynasty of German rulers. It is also known as the House of Anhalt, which refers to its longest-held possession, Principality of Anhalt, Anhalt. The Ascanians are named after Ascania (or Ascaria) Castl ...
, then made considerable progress in conquering, colonizing, Christianizing, and cultivating lands as far east as the Oder. Within this region, Slavic and German residents intermarried. During the 13th century, the Ascanians began acquiring territory east of the Oder, later known as the
Neumark The Neumark (), also known as the New March ( pl, Nowa Marchia) or as East Brandenburg (), was a region of the Margraviate of Brandenburg and its successors located east of the Oder River in territory which became part of Poland Poland ...

Neumark
(see also
Altmark:''See German tanker Altmark for the ship named after Altmark and Stary Targ for the Polish village named Altmark in German language, German.'' The (English: Old March (territorial entity), MarchHansard, ''The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 18 ...

Altmark
). In 1320, the Brandenburg Ascanian line came to an end, and from 1323 up until 1415 Brandenburg was under the control of the
Wittelsbach The House of Wittelsbach () is the Kingdom of Bavaria, Royal Bavarian dynasty from Germany, with branches that have ruled over territories including Bavaria, the Palatinate, Holland and Zeeland, Sweden (with Denmark and Norway), Hungary (with ...

Wittelsbach
s of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
, followed by the
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...
Dynasties. Under the Luxembourgs, the
Margrave of Brandenburg Margrave was originally the Middle ages, medieval title for the military commander assigned to maintain the defence of one of the border provinces of the Holy Roman Empire or of a monarchy, kingdom. That position became hereditary in certain Feuda ...
gained the status of a
prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the that elected the of the . From the 13th century onwards, the prince-electors had the privilege of who would ...
of the Holy Roman Empire. In the period 1373–1415, Brandenburg was a part of the
Bohemian Crown The Lands of the Bohemian Crown were a number of incorporated states in Central Europe during the Middle Ages, medieval and early modern periods connected by feudalism, feudal relations under the List of Bohemian monarchs, Bohemian kings. The crow ...
. In 1415, the Electorate of Brandenburg was granted by Emperor
SigismundSigismund (variants: Sigmund (given name), Sigmund, :de:Siegmund, Siegmund) is a German proper name, meaning "protection through victory", from Old High German ''sigu'' "victory" + ''munt'' "hand, protection". Tacitus latinises it ''Segimundus''. The ...
to the
House of Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzollern, ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal whose members were variously s, , s and of , , , the , and . The family came from the area around the town of in during the late 11 ...
, which would rule until the end of World War I. The Hohenzollerns established their capital in Berlin, by then the economic center of Brandenburg.


16th and 17th centuries

Brandenburg converted to Protestantism in 1539 in the wake of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
, and generally did quite well in the 16th century, with the expansion of trade along the Elbe, Havel, and Spree rivers. The Hohenzollerns expanded their territory by co-rulership since 1577 and acquiring the
Duchy of Prussia The Duchy of Prussia (german: Herzogtum Preußen, pl, Księstwo Pruskie) or Ducal Prussia (german: Herzogliches Preußen, link=no; pl, Prusy Książęce, link=no) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The histor ...

Duchy of Prussia
in 1618, the
Duchy of Cleves The Duchy of Cleves (german: Herzogtum Kleve; nl, Hertogdom Kleef) was a Imperial State, State of the Holy Roman Empire which emerged from the medieval . It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capi ...
(1614) in the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term ...

Rhineland
, and territories in
Westphalia Westphalia (; german: Westfalen ; nds, Westfalen ) is a region of northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of and 7.9 million inhabitants. The territory of the region ...

Westphalia
. The result was a sprawling, disconnected country known as
Brandenburg-Prussia Brandenburg-Prussia (german: Brandenburg-Preußen; ) is the historiographic Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians wh ...

Brandenburg-Prussia
that was in poor shape to defend itself during the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
. Beginning near the end of that devastating conflict, however, Brandenburg enjoyed a string of talented rulers who expanded their territory and power in Europe. The first of these was Frederick William, the so-called "Great Elector", who worked tirelessly to rebuild and consolidate the nation. He moved the royal residence to
Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also Ge ...

Potsdam
. At the
Treaty of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
, his envoy
Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal The von Blumenthal family are Lutheran and Roman Catholic German nobility The German nobility (german: deutscher Adel) and royalty were status groups of the medieval society in Central Europe, which enjoyed cert ...
negotiated the acquisition of several important territories such as
Halberstadt Halberstadt is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares an origin w ...
. Under the Treaty of Oliva Christoph Caspar
von Blumenthal The von Blumenthal family are Lutheran and Roman Catholic German nobility The German nobility (german: deutscher Adel) and royalty were status groups of the medieval society in Central Europe, which enjoyed certain privileges relative to other ...
(son of the above) negotiated the incorporation of the
Duchy of Prussia The Duchy of Prussia (german: Herzogtum Preußen, pl, Księstwo Pruskie) or Ducal Prussia (german: Herzogliches Preußen, link=no; pl, Prusy Książęce, link=no) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The histor ...

Duchy of Prussia
into the Hohenzollern inheritance.


Kingdom of Prussia and German Empire

When Frederick William died in 1688, he was followed by his son
FrederickFrederick may refer to: People * Frederick (given name), the name Nobility Anhalt-Harzgerode *Frederick, Prince of Anhalt-Harzgerode (1613–1670) Austria * Frederick I, Duke of Austria (Babenberg), Duke of Austria from 1195 to 1198 * Frederick ...

Frederick
, third of that name in Brandenburg. As the lands that had been acquired in Prussia were outside the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick assumed (as Frederick I) the title of "
King in Prussia King ''in'' Prussia ( German: ''König in Preußen'') was a title used by the Prussian kings (also in personal union Electors of Brandenburg) from 1701 to 1772. Subsequently, they used the title King ''of'' Prussia (''König von Preußen''). Th ...
" (1701). Although his self-promotion from margrave to king relied on his title to the Duchy of Prussia, Brandenburg was still the most important portion of the kingdom. However, this combined state is known as the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female m ...
. Brandenburg remained the core of the Kingdom of Prussia, and it was the site of the kingdom's capitals, Berlin and Potsdam. When Prussia was subdivided into provinces in 1815, the territory of the Margraviate of Brandenburg became the
Province of Brandenburg The Province of Brandenburg (german: Provinz Brandenburg) was a Provinces of Prussia, province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, comprised the bulk of the historic Marg ...
, again subdivided into the government region of Frankfurt and Potsdam. In 1881, the City of Berlin was separated from the Province of Brandenburg. However, industrial towns ringing Berlin lay within Brandenburg, and the growth of the region's industrial economy brought an increase in the population of the province. The Province of Brandenburg had an area of and a population of 2.6 million (1925). After Germany's defeat in World War II, the
Neumark The Neumark (), also known as the New March ( pl, Nowa Marchia) or as East Brandenburg (), was a region of the Margraviate of Brandenburg and its successors located east of the Oder River in territory which became part of Poland Poland ...

Neumark
, the part of Brandenburg east of the
Oder–Neisse line The Oder–Neisse line (german: Oder-Neiße-Grenze, pl, granica na Odrze i Nysie Łużyckiej) is the basis of most of the international border between Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = B ...
, even absent any Polish-speaking population in this area, became part of Poland. The entire population of former East Brandenburg was expelled en masse.The remainder of the province became a state in the
Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany The Soviet Occupation Zone (; , ''Sovetskaya okkupatsionnaya zona Germanii'', "Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany") was an area of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union as a communist area at the end of World War II in 1945. On 7 October 1949 the ...
when Prussia was dissolved in 1947.


East Germany

After the foundation of
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
in 1949, Brandenburg formed one of its component states. The State of Brandenburg was completely dissolved in 1952 by the Socialist government of East Germany, doing away with all component states. The East German government then divided Brandenburg among several ''Bezirke'' or districts. (See Administrative division of the German Democratic Republic). Most of Brandenburg lay within the Bezirke of Cottbus,
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...
, or
Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital, Berlin, and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the Havel, Ri ...
, but parts of the former province passed to the
Schwerin Schwerin (, , ; Mecklenburgian Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic languages, Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic languages, West ...
,
Neubrandenburg Neubrandenburg (lit. ''New Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Dep ...
and Magdeburg districts (town
Havelberg Havelberg () is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt (; Low German , , (in a stricter sense) nl, Nedersaksisch da, Plattysk, , , (rarely) , states = Northern Germany, Northe ...
). East Germany relied heavily on
lignite Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langu ...

lignite
(the lowest grade of coal) as an energy source, and lignite strip mines marred areas of south-eastern Brandenburg. The industrial towns surrounding Berlin were important to the East German economy, while rural Brandenburg remained mainly agricultural.


Federal Republic of Germany

The present State of Brandenburg was re-established on 3 October 1990 upon
German reunification German reunification (german: link=no, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic (GDR) became part of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = ...
. The newly elected Landtag of Brandenburg first met on 26 October 1990. As in other former parts of East Germany, the lack of modern infrastructure and exposure to West Germany's competitive market economy brought widespread unemployment and economic difficulty. In the recent years, however, Brandenburg's infrastructure has been modernized and unemployment has slowly declined. In 1995, the governments of Berlin and Brandenburg proposed to merge the states in order to form a new state with the name of "Berlin-Brandenburg", though some suggested calling the proposed new state "Prussia". The merger was rejected in a
plebiscite A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
in 1996 – while West Berliners voted for a merger, East Berliners and Brandenburgers voted against it.


Geography

Brandenburg is bordered by
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
in the north,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...

Poland
in the east, the Freistaat Sachsen in the south,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
in the west, and
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (sta ...
in the northwest. The
Oder river The Oder ( , ; Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is ...
forms a part of the eastern border, the
Elbe river The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe river
a portion of the western border. The main rivers in the state itself are the
Spree The Spree (; wen, Sprjewja, cs, Spréva) is, with a length of approximately , the main tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of ...

Spree
and the
Havel The Havel () is a river in northeastern Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of G ...

Havel
. In the southeast, there is a wetlands region called the
Spreewald The Spree Forest (German: ''Spreewald''; Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian: :dsb:Błota, ''Błota'', i.e. 'the Swamps') is a large inland delta of the river Spree (river), Spree, and a historical cultural landscape located in the region of ( ...

Spreewald
; it is the northernmost part of
Lusatia Lusatia (german: Lausitz, pl, Łużyce, hsb, Łužica, dsb, Łužyca, cs, Lužice, la, Lusatia, rarely also referred to as Sorbia) is a historical region in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. Lusatia stretches from the Bóbr ...
, where the
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
, a Slavic people, still live. These areas are bilingual, i.e., German and Sorbian are both used.


Cities and towns

Havel-Park-Lake-Babelsberg-Downtown-Potsdam-Green.jpg,
Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also Ge ...

Potsdam
View-over-cottbus.jpg,
Cottbus Cottbus (; , ) is a university city and the second-largest city in Brandenburg, Germany. Situated around southeast of Berlin, on the River Spree, Cottbus is also a major railway junction with extensive Siding (rail), sidings/depots. Although onl ...

Cottbus
St. Johannis in Brandenburg an der Havel 2.JPG,
Brandenburg an der Havel Brandenburg an der Havel () is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, which served as the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg until replaced by Berlin in 1417. With a population of 71,778 (as of 2010), it is located on the banks of the Havel, Ri ...
01 Luftbild Frankfurt oder Slubice 09072011.jpg,
Frankfurt (Oder) Frankfurt (Oder) (also known as Frankfurt an der Oder, ; abbreviated ', 'Frankfurt on the Oder') is a town in Brandenburg, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest ...
Schloss Oranienburg - Jan 2013.jpg,
Oranienburg Oranienburg () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin ...


Protected areas

Brandenburg is known for its well-preserved natural environment and its ambitious natural protection policies which began in the 1990s. 15 large protected areas were designated following Germany's reunification. Each of them is provided with state-financed administration and a park ranger staff, who guide visitors and work to ensure nature conservation. Most protected areas have visitor centers. National parks *
Lower Oder Valley National Park The Lower Oder Valley International Park is a shared Germany, German-Poland, Polish nature reserve. It comprises the western banks of the Oder ( pl, Odra) river within the Uckermark (district), Uckermark district in the German state of Brandenburg a ...
(106 km2) Biosphere reserves *
Spreewald The Spree Forest (German: ''Spreewald''; Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian: :dsb:Błota, ''Błota'', i.e. 'the Swamps') is a large inland delta of the river Spree (river), Spree, and a historical cultural landscape located in the region of ( ...

Spreewald
Biosphere Reserve () * Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve () *River Landscape Elbe-Brandenburg Biosphere Reserve () Nature parks *
Barnim Nature Park Barnim Nature Park () is a nature park and reserve in the state of Brandenburg, and partly in Berlin, Germany. It covers an area of 750 km² (290 sq mi). It was established on September 24, 1998. Overview The park is located between the north ...
() * Dahme-Heideseen Nature Park () * High Fläming Nature Park () * Märkische Schweiz Nature Park () * Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft Nature Park () * Niederlausitzer Landrücken Nature Park () * Nuthe-Nieplitz Nature Park () * Schlaube Valley Nature Parke () * Uckermark Lakes Nature Park () * Westhavelland Nature Park () * Stechlin-Ruppiner Land Nature Park ()


Demography

Brandenburg has the List of German states by population density, second lowest population density among the German states, after Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.


Development


Religion

17.1% of the Brandenburgers are registered members of the local Evangelical Church in Germany (mostly the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia), while 3.1% are registered with the Roman Catholic Church (mostly the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin, Archdiocese of Berlin, and a minority in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Görlitz, Diocese of Görlitz).''Die kleine Brandenburg–Statistik 2011''
Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg.
The majority (79.8%) of Brandenburgers, whether of Christian or other beliefs, choose not to register with the government as members of these churches, and therefore do not pay the church tax.


Foreign population


Politics


Subdivisions

Brandenburg is divided into 14 rural districts (''Landkreise'') and four urban districts (''kreisfreie Städte''), shown with their population in 2011:


Government

The most recent election took place on 1 September 2019. A coalition government was formed by the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrats, Alliance 90/The Greens, The Greens, and the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union led by incumbent Minister-President Dietmar Woidke (SPD), replacing the previous coalition between the Social Democrats and The Left (Germany), The Left. The next ordinary state election will likely occur in autumn 2024.


Economy

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the state was 72.9 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 2.2% of German economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 26,700 euros or 88% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 91% of the EU average. The GDP per capita was the third lowest of all states in Germany. The unemployment rate stood at 5.8% in October 2018 and was higher than the German average but lower than the average of Eastern Germany.


Transport

Berlin Schönefeld Airport (IATA code: SXF) is the largest airport in Brandenburg. It is the second largest international airport of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region and is located southeast of central
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city limits. One of 's , Berlin is surrounded by the state of , and contiguous with , Brande ...

Berlin
in Schönefeld. The airport is a base for Condor Flugdienst, Condor, easyJet and Ryanair. In 2016, Schönefeld handled 11,652,922 passengers (an increase of 36.7%). It is planned to incorporate Schönefeld's existing infrastructure and terminals into the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which is not scheduled to open before the end of 2020. The new BER will have an initial capacity of 35-40 million passengers a year. Due to increasing air traffic in Berlin and Brandenburg, plans for airport expansions are in the making (as of 2017).


Education

In 2016, around 49,000 students were enrolled in Brandenburg universities and higher education facilities. The largest institution is the University of Potsdam, located southwest of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city limits. One of 's , Berlin is surrounded by the state of , and contiguous with , Brande ...

Berlin
. In 2019 the state of Brandenburg adopted an Open Access strategy calling on universities to develop transformation strategies to make knowledge from Brandenburg freely accessible to all.


Culture


Music

The ''Brandenburg concerti'' by Johann Sebastian Bach (original title: ''Six Concerts à plusieurs instruments'')Johann Sebastian Bach's Werke, vol.19: Kammermusik, dritter band, Bach-Gesellschaft, Leipzig; ed. Wilhelm Rust, 1871 are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721 (though probably composed earlier). They are widely regarded as among the finest musical compositions of the baroque music, Baroque era and are among the composer's best known works.


Cuisine

A famous speciality food from Brandenburg are the Spreewald gherkins. The wet soil of the
Spreewald The Spree Forest (German: ''Spreewald''; Lower Sorbian language, Lower Sorbian: :dsb:Błota, ''Błota'', i.e. 'the Swamps') is a large inland delta of the river Spree (river), Spree, and a historical cultural landscape located in the region of ( ...

Spreewald
makes the region ideal for growing cucumbers. Spreewald gherkins are protected by the European Union, EU as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). They are one of the biggest exports of Brandenburg.


Notable people

* Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), philosopher, linguist, diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin * Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811), poet, dramatist, and novelist * Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841), architect, city planner, and painter * Peter Joseph Lenné (1789–1866), gardener and landscape architect * Theodor Fontane (1819–1898), novelist and poet * Wilhelm Pieck (1876–1960), politician, first President of the German Democratic Republic * Wolfgang Joop (born 1944), fashion designer, founder of JOOP! * Matthias Platzeck (born 1953), politician, Minister President of Brandenburg from 2002 to 2013 * Henry Maske (born 1964), professional boxer * Paul van Dyk (born 1971), DJ, record producer, and musician * Britta Steffen (born 1983), competitive swimmer, former Olympic, World, and European champion * Robert Harting (born 1984), discus thrower, former Olympic, World, and European champion * Roehl brothers, Charles Roehl, Charles (1857–1927) and William Roehl, William (1890–1968), businessmen and pioneers of Washington state.


See also

*Outline of Germany * Former countries in Europe after 1815


References


External links


Official website

Official local information system

Brandenburg Tourist Board
* {{Authority control Brandenburg, NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union States and territories established in 1990 1990 establishments in Germany