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Saxony (german: Sachsen ;
Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present ...
: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (german: Freistaat Sachsen, links=no ;
Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present ...
: ''Freischdaad Saggsn''; hsb, Swobodny stat Sakska, links=no), is a landlocked
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
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
, bordering the states 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), ...

Brandenburg
,
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
,
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), 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 ...
,
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
, as well as the countries 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
and 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 a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It ...
. Its capital is
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
, and its largest city is
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of , and the sixth most populous, with more than 4 million inhabitants. The history of Saxony spans more than a millennium. It has been a medieval
duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a , territory, , or domain ruled by a or , a high-ranking nobleman hierarchically second to the or in European tradition. The term is used almost exclusively in Europe. There once existed an important diffe ...
, an
electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dominion of a Prince-elector in the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 * An electo ...
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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, a
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 monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
, and twice a republic. The first Free State of Saxony was established in 1918 as a constituent state of the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, it became part of the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
and was abolished by the communist government in 1952. Following
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
, the Free State of Saxony was reconstituted with enlarged borders in 1990 and became one of the five new states of the Federal Republic of Germany. The area of the modern state of Saxony should not be confused with
Old Saxony Old Saxony is the original homeland of the . It corresponds roughly to the modern German states of , , Nordalbingia (Holstein, southern part of ) and western , which all lie in northwestern Germany. It should not be confused with the modern German ...
, the area inhabited by
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxons
. Old Saxony corresponds roughly to the modern German states of
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 the Westphalian part of
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, ...
.


History

Saxony has a long history as a
duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a , territory, , or domain ruled by a or , a high-ranking nobleman hierarchically second to the or in European tradition. The term is used almost exclusively in Europe. There once existed an important diffe ...
, an
electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dominion of a Prince-elector in the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 * An electo ...
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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
(the
Electorate of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony (german: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also ') was 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 (newsp ...
), and finally as a
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
dom (the
Kingdom of Saxony The Kingdom of Saxony (german: Königreich Sachsen), lasting from 1806 to 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and ...
). In 1918, after Germany's defeat in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, its monarchy was overthrown and a republican form of government was established under the current name. The state was broken up into smaller units during communist rule (1949–1989), but was re-established on 3 October 1990 on the reunification of East and
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 19 ...
.


Prehistory

In prehistoric times, the territory of present-day Saxony was the site of some of the largest of the ancient central European monumental temples, dating from the fifth century BC. Notable archaeological sites have been discovered in Dresden and the villages of Eythra and
Zwenkau
Zwenkau
near Leipzig. The
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
presence in the territory of today's Saxony is thought to have begun in the first century BC. Parts of Saxony were possibly under the control of the Germanic King Marobod during the Roman era. By the late Roman period, several tribes known as the
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxons
emerged, from which the subsequent state(s) draw their name.


Stem Duchy of Saxony

The first medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
"Carolingian
stem duchy A stem duchy (german: Stammesherzogtum, from '' Stamm'', meaning "tribe", in reference to the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated wi ...
", which emerged around the start of the 8th century AD and grew to include the greater part of Northern
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
, what are now the modern German states of
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
,
Hamburg
Hamburg
,
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 ...
,
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, ...
,
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , lan ...

Schleswig-Holstein
and
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
. The Saxons converted to Christianity during this period. This geographical region is unrelated to present-day Saxony but the name moved southwards due to certain historical events (see below). The territory of the Free State of Saxony, called
White Serbia White Serbia ( sr, / ; Sorbian: ''Biеło Srbsko''), called also Boiki ( grc, Βοΐκι, Boiki; sr, / ; Sorbian: ''Boika''), is the name applied to the assumed homeland of the ( sr, / ), a tribal subgroup of Wends 230px, The '' Limes ...
was, since the 6th century, populated by Slavs before being conquered by Germans e.g.
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxons
and
Thuringii The Thuringii (Thervingi), Toringi or Teuriochaimai, were an early Germanic people that appeared during the late Migration Period The Migration Period or better known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective) was a per ...
. It was not part of the old Saxon stem duchy. A legacy of this period is the Sorb population in Saxony. Eastern parts of present Saxony were ruled by Poland between 1002 and 1032 and by
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic gr ...

Bohemia
since 1293.


Holy Roman Empire

The territory of the Free State of Saxony became part 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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
by the 10th century, when the dukes of Saxony were also kings (or emperors) of the Holy Roman Empire, comprising the
Ottonian The Ottonian dynasty (german: Ottonen) was a Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguist ...
, or Saxon, Dynasty. Around this time, the
Billung The House of Billung was a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The ...
s, a
Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languag ...

Saxon
noble family, received extensive lands in Saxony. The emperor eventually gave them the title of
dukes of Saxony The Duchy of Saxony ( nds, Hartogdom Sassen, german: Herzogtum Sachsen) was originally the area settlement geography, settled by the Saxons in the late Early Middle Ages, when they were subdued by Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars from 772 and inc ...
. After Duke Magnus died in 1106, causing the extinction of the male line of Billungs, oversight of the duchy was given to
Lothar of Supplinburg 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 ...
, who also became emperor for a short time. The
Margravate of Meissen The Margravate of Meissen (german: Markgrafschaft Meißen) was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (German: , Upper Sorbian: ), ...
was founded in 985 as a
frontier march In medieval Europe In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the ...
, that soon extended to the
Kwisa The Kwisa (german: Queis, hsb, Hwizdź) is a river in south-western Poland, a left tributary of the Bóbr, which itself is a left tributary of the Oder river. It rises in the Izera Mountains, part of the Western Sudetes range, where it runs along ...

Kwisa
(Queis) river to the east and as far as the Ore Mountains. In the process of
Ostsiedlung (, literally "East settling") is the term for the High Medieval The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages In the history of Eur ...

Ostsiedlung
, settlement of German farmers in the sparsely populated area was promoted. In 1137, control of Saxony passed to the
Guelph Guelph ( ; 2016 Canadian Census The 2016 Canadian Census is the most recent detailed enumeration of Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, histor ...
dynasty, descendants of Wulfhild Billung, eldest daughter of the last Billung duke, and the daughter of Lothar of Supplinburg. In 1180 large portions west of the Weser were ceded to the
Bishops of CologneImage:Balduineum Wahl Heinrich VII.jpg, Cologne was one of the seven electorates of the Holy Roman Empire (''Codex Balduini Trevirorum'', c. 1340) The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop representing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne, Arc ...
, while some central parts between the Weser and the Elbe remained with the Guelphs, becoming later the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The remaining eastern lands, together with the title of Duke of Saxony, passed to an
Ascanian The House of Ascania (german: Askanier) is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the univers ...
dynasty (descended from Eilika Billung, Wulfhild's younger sister) and were divided in 1260 into the two small states of
Saxe-Lauenburg The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg, called ''Niedersachsen'' (Lower Saxony) between the 14th and 17th centuries), was a '' reichsfrei'' duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of E ...
and
Saxe-Wittenberg The Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg () was a medieval duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretati ...
. The former state was also named ''
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 ...
'', the latter ''
Upper Saxony{{short description, Historic lands in Central Germany Upper Saxony (german: Obersachsen) was the name given to the majority of the German lands held by the House of Wettin The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequenc ...
'', thence the later names of the two
Imperial Circle During the Early Modern period the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western and Central Europe that develope ...
s Saxe-Lauenburg and Saxe-Wittenberg. Both claimed the Saxon electoral privilege for themselves, but the
Golden Bull of 1356 The Golden Bull of 1356 (, , , ) was a decree issued by the Imperial Diet at Nuremberg and Metz Metz ( , , ; lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle (river), Moselle and t ...

Golden Bull of 1356
accepted only Wittenberg's claim, with Lauenburg nevertheless continuing to maintain its claim. In 1422, when the Saxon electoral line of the Ascanians became extinct, the Ascanian
Eric V of Saxe-Lauenburg Eric V of Saxe-Lauenburg (died 1436) was a member of the House of Ascania; son of Duke Eric IV of Saxe-Lauenburg Eric IV of Saxe-Lauenburg (1354 – 21 June 1411 or 1412) was a son of Eric II, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and Agnes of Holstein. Li ...
tried to reunite the Saxon duchies. However,
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 ...
,
King of the Romans King of the Romans ( la, Rex Romanorum; german: König der Römer) was the title used by the German king following his election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple i ...
, had already granted Margrave Frederick IV the Warlike of
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...
(
House of Wettin The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of th ...
) an expectancy of the Saxon electorate in order to remunerate his military support. On 1 August 1425 Sigismund enfeoffed the Wettinian Frederick as Prince-Elector of Saxony, despite the protests of Eric V. Thus the Saxon territories remained permanently separated. The
Electorate of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony (german: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also ') was 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 (newsp ...
was then merged with the much larger Wettinian
Margraviate of Meissen The Margravate of Meissen (german: Markgrafschaft Meißen) was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony. It originally was a March (territory), frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, created out of the vast ''Marca ...
; however, it used the higher-ranking title Electorate of Saxony and even the Ascanian coat-of-arms for the entire monarchy. Thus Saxony came to include
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
and
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
. Hence, the territory of the modern Free State of Saxony shares the name with the old Saxon stem duchy for historical and dynastic reasons rather than any significant ethnic, linguistic or cultural connection. In the 18th and 19th centuries Saxe-Lauenburg was colloquially called the
Duchy of Lauenburg The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg, called ''Niedersachsen'' (Lower Saxony) between the 14th and 17th centuries), was a '' reichsfrei'' duchy that existed 1296–1803 and 1814–1876 in the extreme southeast region of ...
, which was held in a personal union by the
Electorate of Hanover The Electorate of Hanover (german: Kurfürstentum Hannover or simply ''Kurhannover'') was an Prince-elector, Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany and taking its name from the capital city of Hanover. It was fo ...
from the 18th century to the Napoleonic wars, and in a personal union with Denmark (along with neighbouring
Holstein Holstein (; nds, label=Northern Low Saxon, Holsteen; da, Holsten; Latin and historical en, Holsatia, italic=yes) is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider (river), Eider. It is the southern half of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost S ...
and
Schleswig The Duchy of Schleswig ( da, Hertugdømmet Slesvig; german: Herzogtum Schleswig; nds, Hartogdom Sleswig; frr, Härtochduum Slaswik) was a duchy in Southern Jutland () covering the area between about 60 km (35 miles) north and 70 km ( ...
) for much the 19th century. In 1876 it was absorbed into
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 ...
as the Duchy of Lauenburg district of the
Province of Schleswig-Holstein The Province of Schleswig-Holstein (german: Provinz Schleswig-Holstein ) was a Provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia (subsequently the Free State of Prussia after 1918) from 1868 to 1946. History It was created from the Duchi ...
).


Foundation of the second Saxon state

Saxe-Wittenberg, mostly in modern
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
, became subject to the
margravate of Meissen The Margravate of Meissen (german: Markgrafschaft Meißen) was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (German: , Upper Sorbian: ), ...
, ruled by the Wettin dynasty in 1423. This established a new and powerful state, occupying large portions of the present Free State of Saxony, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria (Coburg and its environs). Although the centre of this state was far to the southeast of the former Saxony, it came to be referred to as Upper Saxony and then simply Saxony, while the former Saxon territories in the north were now known as Lower Saxony (the modern term
Niedersachsen 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 ...
deriving from this). In 1485, Saxony was split in the
Treaty of Leipzig The Treaty of Leipzig or Partition of Leipzig (German ''Leipziger Teilung'') was signed on 11 November 1485 between Elector Ernest of Saxony and his younger brother Albert III, the sons of Elector Frederick II of Saxony from the House of Wettin ...
. A collateral line of the Wettin princes received what later became
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), 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 ...
and founded several small states there (see ''
Ernestine duchies The Ernestine duchies (), also known as the Saxon duchies (''Sächsische Herzogtümer'', although the Albertine appanage duchies of Weissenfels, Merseburg and Zeitz were also "Saxon duchies" and adjacent to several Ernestine ones), were a cha ...
''). Since these princes were allowed to use the Saxon coat of arms, in many towns of Thuringia, the coat of arms can still be found on historical buildings. The remaining Saxon state became still more powerful, also incorporating new territories and was known in the 18th century for its cultural achievements, although it was politically weaker than
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
and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
, states which oppressed Saxony from the north and south, respectively. Between 1697 and 1763, the Electors of Saxony were also elected
Kings of Poland Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area o ...
in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states 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 Stat ...

personal union
. In 1756, Saxony joined a coalition of Austria, France and Russia against Prussia.
Frederick II of Prussia Frederick II (german: Friedrich II.; 24 January 171217 August 1786) was King in Prussia from 1740 until 1772, and King of Prussia from 1772 until his death. His most significant accomplishments include his military successes in the Silesian wa ...

Frederick II of Prussia
chose to attack preemptively and invaded Saxony in August 1756, precipitating the
Third Silesian War The Third Silesian War () was a war between 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 (regio ...
(part of the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
). The Prussians quickly defeated Saxony and incorporated the Saxon army into the Prussian army. At the end of the Seven Years' War, Saxony recovered its independence in the 1763
Treaty of Hubertusburg The Treaty of Hubertusburg (german: Frieden von Hubertusburg) was signed on 15 February 1763 at Hubertusburg Castle by Kingdom of Prussia, Prussia, Habsburg Monarchy, Austria and Electorate of Saxony, Saxony to end the Third Silesian War. Together ...
.


19th century

In 1806, French Emperor
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
abolished 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 Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and established the Electorate of Saxony as a kingdom in exchange for military support. The Elector Frederick Augustus III accordingly became King
Frederick Augustus I of Saxony pl, Fryderyk August Józef Maria Antoni Jan Nepomucen Alojzy Ksawery , image = Frederick Augustus I of Saxony by Marcello Bacciarelli (ca 1808-1809).png , caption = Portrait by Marcello Bacciarelli Marcello Bacciarelli (; 16 February 1731 – ...
. Frederick Augustus remained loyal to Napoleon during the wars that swept Europe in the following years; he was taken prisoner and his territories declared forfeit by the allies in 1813, after the defeat of Napoleon. Prussia intended the annexation of Saxony but the opposition of Austria, France, and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
to this plan resulted in the restoration of Frederick Augustus to his throne at the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
although he was forced to cede the northern part of the kingdom to Prussia, which led to the loss of nearly 50% of the Saxon territory. Most of these lands were merged with the
Duchy of Magdeburg The Duchy of Magdeburg (german: Herzogtum Magdeburg) was a province of Margraviate of Brandenburg from 1680 to 1701 and a province of the German Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German Monarchy, k ...
, the
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
and some smaller territories to become the Prussian
Province of Saxony The Province of Saxony (german: Provinz Sachsen), also known as Prussian Saxony () was a provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg. It was formed ...
, a predecessor of the modern state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Lower Lusatia Lower Lusatia (; ; ; szl, Dolnŏ Łużyca; ; ) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethnic, linguistics, linguis ...
and part of the former Saxe-Wittenberg territory became part of the
Province of Brandenburg The Province of Brandenburg (german: Provinz Brandenburg) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial ...
and the northeastern part of
Upper Lusatia Upper Lusatia (german: Oberlausitz ; hsb, Hornja Łužica ; dsb, Górna Łužyca; szl, Gōrnŏ Łużyca; pl, Łużyce Górne or ''Milsko''; cz, Horní Lužice) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographic ...
became part of the
Province of Silesia The Province of Silesia (german: Provinz Schlesien; pl, Prowincja Śląska; Silesian: ''Prowincyjŏ Ślōnskŏ'') was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the anc ...
. The
rump Rump may refer to: * Rump (animal) ) The rump or croup, in the external Morphology (biology), morphology of an animal, is the portion of the posterior dorsum – that is, posterior to the loin The loins, or lumbus, are the sides between the low ...
Kingdom of Saxony had roughly the same extent as the present state, albeit slightly smaller. Meanwhile, in 1815, the southern part of Saxony, now called the "State of Saxony" joined the
German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as a replacement of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had ...

German Confederation
. T he German Confederation should not be confused with the
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
mentioned below. This southern Saxony shaped the territory of modern Saxony. In the politics of the Confederation, Saxony was overshadowed by Prussia. King
Anthony of Saxony Holborn, p. 24 en, Anthony Clement Theodore Mary Joseph John the Evangelist Nepomuk Francis Xavier Aloysius Januarius , image =Anton-sachsen.jpg , image_size = , reign =5 May 1827 – 6 June 1836 , coronation = , ...
came to the throne of Saxony in 1827. Shortly thereafter, liberal pressures in Saxony mounted and broke out in revolt during 1830—a year of revolution in Europe. The revolution in Saxony resulted in a constitution for the State of Saxony that served as the basis for its government until 1918. During the 1848–49 constitutionalist revolutions in Germany, Saxony became a hotbed of revolutionaries, with anarchists such as
Mikhail Bakunin Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (; – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to somethi ...

Mikhail Bakunin
and democrats including
Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Richard Wagner
and
Gottfried Semper Gottfried Semper (; 29 November 1803 – 15 May 1879) was a German architect, art critic An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities ...
taking part in the
May Uprising in Dresden The May Uprising took place in Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Le ...
in 1849. (Scenes of Richard Wagner's participation in the May 1849 uprising in Dresden are depicted in the 1983 movie ''Wagner'' starring Richard Burton as Richard Wagner.) The May uprising in Dresden forced King
Frederick Augustus II of Saxony , image = Friedrich August II of Saxony.jpg , caption = Potrait by Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein , image_size = 220px , reign = 6 June 1836 – 9 August 1854 , coronation = , predecessor = Anthony of ...
to concede further reforms to the Saxon government. In 1854 Frederick Augustus II's brother, King
John of Saxony , image =Louis Ferdinand von Rayski - König Johann von Sachsen, 1870.jpg , image_size = 200px , reign =9 August 1854 – 29 October 1873 , caption = Portrait by Ferdinand von Rayski , predecessor =Frederick August ...

John of Saxony
, succeeded to the throne. A scholar, King John translated Dante. King John followed a federalistic and pro-Austrian policy throughout the early 1860s until the outbreak of the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
. During that war, Prussian troops overran Saxony without resistance and then invaded Austrian (today's Czech)
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic gr ...

Bohemia
. After the war, Saxony was forced to pay an indemnity and to join the
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
in 1867. Under the terms of the North German Confederation, Prussia took over control of the Saxon postal system, railroads, military and foreign affairs. In the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
of 1870, Saxon troops fought together with Prussian and other German troops against France. In 1871, Saxony joined the newly formed
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 ...
.


20th century

After King
Frederick Augustus III of Saxony en, Frederick Augustus John Louis Charles Gustav Gregory Philip , image = Frederick Augustus III of Saxony.jpg , caption = , succession = King of Saxony , reign = 15 October 1904 – 13 November 1918 , predecessor = Georg ...

Frederick Augustus III of Saxony
abdicated on 13 November 1918, Saxony, remaining a constituent state of Germany (
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
), became the Free State of Saxony under a new constitution enacted on 1 November 1920. In October 1923 the federal government under Chancellor
Gustav Stresemann Gustav Ernst Stresemann (; 10 May 1878 – 3 October 1929) was a Germans, German statesman who served as Chancellor of Germany#Chancellor of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), chancellor in 1923 (for 102 days) and as Foreign Minister of Germany, f ...

Gustav Stresemann
overthrew the legally elected
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
-
Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
coalition government of Saxony. The state retained its name and borders during the Nazi era as a (
Gau Saxony The Gau Saxony (german: Gau Sachsen) was an Administrative divisions of Nazi Germany, administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 in the German state of Saxony. Before that, from 1926 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Na ...
), but lost its quasi-autonomous status and its parliamentary democracy. As
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
drew to its end, U.S. troops under General George Patton occupied the western part of Saxony in April 1945, while Soviet troops occupied the eastern part. That summer, the entire state was handed over to Soviet forces as agreed in the London Protocol (1944), London Protocol of September 1944. Britain, the US, and the USSR then negotiated Germany's future at the Potsdam Conference. Under the Potsdam Agreement, all German territory East of the Oder-Neisse line was annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union, and, unlike in the aftermath of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the annexing powers were allowed to expel the inhabitants. During the following three years, Poland and Czechoslovakia forcibly expelled German-speaking people from their territories, and some of these expellees came to Saxony. Only a small area of Saxony lying east of the Oder-Neisse line, Neisse River and centred around the town of Reichenau (now called Bogatynia), was annexed by Poland. Traditional close relations of Saxony with neighbouring German-speaking Egerland was thus completely destroyed, making the border of Saxony along the Ore Mountains a linguistic border. Part of the former Free State of Prussia (1918-1933), Prussian province of Lower Silesia lay west of the Oder-Neisse line and therefore was separated from the bulk of its former province; the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG) merged this territory into Saxony. This former Silesian territory broadly corresponded with the Upper Lusatian territory annexed by Prussia in 1815. On 1946 Soviet occupation zone state elections, 20 October 1946, SVAG organised elections for the Saxon state parliament (), but many people were arbitrarily excluded from candidacy and suffrage, and the Soviet Union openly supported the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The new minister-president Rudolf Friedrichs (SED), had been a member of the
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
until April 1946. He met his Bavarian counterparts in the U.S. zone of occupation in October 1946 and May 1947, but died suddenly in mysterious circumstances the following month. He was succeeded by Max Seydewitz, a loyal follower of Joseph Stalin. The
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
(East Germany), including Saxony, was established in 1949 out of the Soviet Union, Soviet zone of Occupied Germany, becoming a State socialism, constitutionally socialist state, part of COMECON and the Warsaw Pact, under the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED. In 1952 the government abolished the Free State of Saxony, and divided its territory into three : Leipzig (Bezirk), Leipzig, Dresden (Bezirk), Dresden, and Karl-Marx-Stadt (Bezirk), Karl-Marx-Stadt (formerly and currently Chemnitz). Areas around Hoyerswerda were also part of the Cottbus (Bezirk), Cottbus Bezirk. The Free State of Saxony was reconstituted with slightly altered borders in 1990, following
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
. Besides the formerly Silesian area of Saxony, which was mostly included in the territory of the new Saxony, the free state gained further areas north of
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
that had belonged to
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
until 1952.


Geography


Topography

The highest mountain in Saxony is the Fichtelberg (1,215 m) in the Western Ore Mountains.


Rivers

There are numerous rivers in Saxony. The Elbe is the most dominant one. The Neisse defines the border between Saxony and Poland. Other rivers include the Mulde and the White Elster.


Largest cities and towns

The largest cities and towns in Saxony according to the 30 September 2020 estimate are listed below. Leipzig forms a conurbation with Halle (Saale), Halle, known as ''Ballungsraum Leipzig/Halle''. The latter city is located just across the border of
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
. Leipzig shares, for instance, an S-train system (known as ''S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland'') and an airport with Halle.


Politics


2019 state election

AfD received its highest share of the vote in any state or federal election, while the CDU and The Left (Germany), The Left both fell to record lows in Saxony. Under normal circumstances AfD should have received 39 seats in the Landtag; however, due to positions 31–61 being ruled invalid and removed from AfD's party list, they had no candidates to fill the final seat. Thus, it remains vacant and there are only 119 seats in the Landtag, one fewer than the standard minimum size. The CDU formed a government coalition with the Alliance '90/The Greens, Greens and the
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
. , colspan=13 align=center, , - ! rowspan=2 colspan=2, Party ! colspan=4, Constituency ! colspan=4, Party list ! rowspan=2, Total
seats ! rowspan=2, +/- ! rowspan=2, Seats % , - ! Votes ! % ! +/- ! Seats ! Votes ! % ! +/- ! Seats , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , 703,006 , 32.5 , 7.2 , 41 , 695,560 , 32.1 , 7.3 , 4 , 45 , 14 , 37.8 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alternative for Germany (AfD) , 613,585 , 28.4 , 22.0 , 15 , 595,671 , 27.5 , 17.7 , 23 , 38 , 24 , 31.9 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke) , 265,871 , 12.3 , 8.7 , 1 , 224,354 , 10.4 , 8.5 , 13 , 14 , 13 , 11.8 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) , 192,489 , 8.9 , 2.6 , 3 , 187,015 , 8.6 , 2.9 , 9 , 12 , 4 , 10.1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) , 166,920 , 7.7 , 5.5 , 0 , 167,289 , 7.7 , 4.6 , 10 , 10 , 8 , 8.4 , - ! colspan=13, , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party (FDP) , 100,639 , 4.7 , 0.6 , 0 , 97,438 , 4.5 , 0.7 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Voters (FW) , 98,353 , 4.6 , 2.6 , 0 , 72,897 , 3.4 , 1.8 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Die PARTEI (PARTEI) , 12,557 , 0.6 , 0.4 , 0 , 33,618 , 1.6 , 0.9 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Human Environment Animal Protection (Tierschutz) , – , – , 0.0 , – , 33,476 , 1.5 , 0.4 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, National Democratic Party of Germany, National Democratic Party (NPD) , – , – , 0.0 , – , 12,947 , 0.6 , 4.3 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=black, , align=left, Partei für Gesundheitsforschung , – , – , New , – , 11,652 , 0.5 , New , 0 , 0 , New , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, The Blue Party (Germany), Blaue #TeamPetry Thüringen , 1,508 , 0.1 , New , 0 , 7,806 , 0.4 , New , 0 , 0 , New , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Pirate Party Germany (Piraten) , – , – , 1.6 , – , 6,632 , 0.3 , 0.8 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) , – , – , , – , 6,000 , 0.3 , 0.3 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=#110077, , align=left, Party of Humanists (Humanisten) , – , – , New , – , 4,305 , 0.2 , New , 0 , 0 , New , 0 , - , , align=left, Aufbruch deutscher Patrioten – Mitteldeutschland, Dawn of German Patriots – Middle Germany (ADPM) , – , – , New , – , 3,948 , 0.2 , New , 0 , 0 , New , 0 , - , bgcolor=#005488, , align=left, Party of Reason (PDV) , – , – , , – , 2,268 , 0.1 , 0.1 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=#FF0000, , align=left, Communist Party of Germany (1990), Communist Party of Germany (KPD) , – , – , , – , 1,951 , 0.1 , 0.1 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , , align=left, Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität (BüSo) , – , – , 0.4 , – , 1,630 , 0.1 , 0.1 , 0 , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Other , 2,732 , 0.1 , , 0 , – , – , – , – , 0 , ±0 , 0 , - ! colspan=2, Valid votes ! 2,159,850 ! 98.7 ! ! ! 2,166,457 ! 99.0 ! ! ! ! ! , - ! colspan=2, Blank and invalid votes ! 28,636 ! 1.3 ! ! ! 22,029 ! 1.0 ! ! ! ! ! , - ! colspan=2, Total ! 2,188,486 ! 100.0 ! ! 60 ! 2,188,486 ! 100.0 ! ! 59 ! 119 ! 7 ! , - ! colspan=2, Electorate/voter turnout ! 3,288,643 ! 66.5 ! 17.4 ! ! 3,288,643 ! 66.5 ! 17.4 ! ! ! ! , - , colspan=13, Source
Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen


Members of the state government

Saxony is a parliamentary democracy. A Minister president (Germany), Minister President heads the government of Saxony. Michael Kretschmer has been Minister President since 13 December 2017.


Federal politics

Saxony has 16 Electoral district, constituencies for the Bundestag.


Administration

Saxony is divided into 10 districts:   1. Bautzen (district), Bautzen (BZ)
  2. Erzgebirgskreis (ERZ)
  3. Görlitz (district), Görlitz (GR)
  4. Leipzig (district), Leipzig (L)
  5. Meissen (district), Meissen (MEI) (Meissen)
  6. Mittelsachsen (FG)
  7. Nordsachsen (TDO)
  8. Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge (PIR)
  9. Vogtlandkreis (V)
10. Zwickau (district), Zwickau (Z) In addition, three cities have the status of an Urban districts of Germany, urban district (german: kreisfreie Städte): # Chemnitz (C) #
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
(DD) #
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
(L) Between 1990 and 2008, Saxony was divided into the three regions (''Regierungsbezirke'') of Chemnitz (region), Chemnitz, Dresden (region), Dresden, and Leipzig (region), Leipzig. After a reform in 2008, these regions – with some alterations of their respective areas – were called ''Direktionsbezirke''. In 2012, the authorities of these regions were merged into one central authority, the '.


Demographics


Population change

Saxony is a densely populated state if compared with more rural German states such as
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
or
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 ...
. However, the population has declined over time. The population of Saxony began declining in the 1950s due to emigration, a process which accelerated after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After bottoming out in 2013, the population has stabilized due to increased immigration and higher fertility rates. The cities of Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz, and the towns of Radebeul and Markkleeberg in their vicinity, have seen their populations increase since 2000. The following tables illustrate the foreign resident populations and the population of Saxony since 1816:


Birthrate

The average number of children per woman in Saxony was 1.60 in 2018, the fourth-highest rate of all German states. Within Saxony, the highest is the Bautzen district with 1.77, while Leipzig is the lowest with 1.49. Dresden's fertility rate of 1.58 is the highest of all German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants.


Sorbian population

Saxony is home to the Sorbs. There are currently between 45,000 and 60,000 Sorbs living in Saxony (Upper Lusatia region). Today's Sorb minority is the remainder of the Slavic population that settled throughout Saxony in the early Middle Ages and over time slowly assimilated into the German speaking society. Many geographic names in Saxony are of Sorbic origin (including the three largest cities Chemnitz,
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
and
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
). The Sorbic language and culture are protected by special laws and cities and villages in eastern Saxony that are inhabited by a significant number of Sorbian inhabitants have bilingual street signs and administrative offices provide service in both, German and Sorbian. The Sorbs enjoy cultural self-administration which is exercised through the Domowina. Former Minister president (Germany), Minister President Stanislaw Tillich is of Sorbian ancestry and has been the first leader of a German state from a national minority.


Religion

As of 2011, the Evangelical Church in Germany represented the largest Christian denomination in the state, adhered to by 21.4% of the population. Members of the Roman Catholic Church formed a minority of 3.8%. About 0.9% of the Saxons belonged to an Evangelical free church (''Evangelische Freikirche'', i.e. various Protestants outside the EKD), 0.3% to Orthodox churches and 1% to other religious communities, while 72.6% did not belong to any public-law religious society. The Moravian Church (see above) still maintains its religious centre in Herrnhut and it is there where 'The Daily Watchwords' (Losungen) are selected each year which are in use in many churches worldwide. In particular in the larger cities, there are numerous smaller religious communities. The international Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a presence in the Freiberg Germany Temple which was the first of its kind in Germany, opened in 1985 even before its counterpart in Western Germany. It now also serves as a religious center for the church members in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In Leipzig, there is a significant Buddhist community, which mainly caters to the population of Vietnamese origin, with one Buddhist temple built in 2008 and another one currently under construction. The Sikh faith also maintains a presence in Saxony's three largest cities with three (though small) Gurdwara.


Economy

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the state was 124.6 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 3.7% of German economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 28,100 euros or 93% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 85% of the EU average. The GDP per capita was the highest of the states of the former GDR. Saxony has a 'very high' Human Development Index value of 0.930 (2018), which is at the same level as Denmark. Within Germany Saxony is List of German states by Human Development Index, ranked 9th. Saxony has, after Saxony Anhalt, the most vibrant economy of the states of the former East Germany (GDR). Its economy grew by 1.9% in 2010. Nonetheless, unemployment remains above the German average. The eastern part of Germany, excluding Berlin, qualifies as an "Objective 1" development-region within the European Union, and was eligible to receive investment subsidies up to 30% until 2013. FutureSAX, a business plan competition and entrepreneurial support organisation, has been in operation since 2002. Microchip-makers near Dresden have given the region the nickname "Silicon Saxony". The publishing and porcelain industries of the region are well known, although their contributions to the regional economy are no longer significant. Today, the automobile industry, machinery production, and services mainly contribute to the economic development of the region. Saxony reported an average unemployment of 5.5% in 2019. The Leipzig area, which until recently was among the regions with the highest unemployment rate, could benefit greatly from investments by Porsche and BMW. With the VW Phaeton factory in Dresden, and many parts suppliers, the automobile industry has again become one of the pillars of Saxon industry, as it was in the early 20th century. Zwickau is another major Volkswagen location. Freiberg, a former mining town, has emerged as a foremost location for solar technology. Dresden and some other regions of Saxony play a leading role in some areas of international biotechnology, such as electronic bioengineering. While these high-technology sectors do not yet offer a large number of jobs, they have stopped or even reversed the brain drain that was occurring until the early 2000s in many parts of Saxony. Regional universities have strengthened their positions by partnering with local industries. Glashütte is the birthplace of the List of German watch manufacturers, German watchmaking industry and home to highly regarded watch manufacturers such as A. Lange & Söhne, A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original. File:Luftbild AMD Dresden 2005.jpg, Dresden is the hub of Silicon Saxony. File:Leipzig Ri.-Le.-Str 6.jpg, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk is one of Germany's public broadcasters. File:Leipzig-Halle Airport Check-in.jpg, Leipzig/Halle Airport is the main hub of European Air Transport Leipzig, DHL and the fifth-busiest airport in Europe in terms of cargo traffic. File:Glashütte Original.jpg, Glashütte is the birthplace of the German watchmaking industry. File:Leipzig VNG.jpg, VNG – Verbundnetz Gas in Leipzig is the third-largest natural-gas importer in Germany. File:Porsche Diamond.jpg, Porsche customer center in Leipzig File:BMW Leipzig MEDIA Download Luftaufnahme 3 max.jpg, BMW production facility in Leipzig File:160 Jahre Waggonbau in Bautzen.jpg, Bombardier Transportation in Bautzen


International trade

Saxony is a strongly export-oriented economy. In 2018, exports amounted to 40.48 billion euros while imports stood at 24.41 billion euros. The largest export partner of Saxony is China with an amount of 6.72 billion euros, while the second largest export market are the United States with 3.59 billion. The largest exporting sectors are the automobile industry and mechanical engineering.


Tourism

Saxony is a renowned Tourism in Germany, tourist destination in Germany. The cities of Dresden and Leipzig are two of Germany's most visited cities.Zahlen Daten Fakten 2012
(in German), German National Tourist Board
Areas along the border with the Czech Republic, such as the Lusatian Mountains, Erzgebirge, Ore Mountains, Saxon Switzerland, and Vogtland, attract significant numbers of visitors. In addition, Saxony has well-preserved historic towns such as Görlitz, Bautzen, Freiberg, Pirna,
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
and Stolpen as well as numerous castles and palaces. New tourist destinations are developing, notably in the Lusatian Lake District. File:Dresden-nightpanorama-dri.jpg, Dresden is one of the most visited cities in Germany and Europe. File:100130 150006 Dresden Frauenkirche winter blue sky-2.jpg, The Dresden Frauenkirche. It now serves as a symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. File:Markkleeberger See Bootsanlegestelle.jpg, Neuseenland, Leipziger Neuseenland is a large lake district south of Leipzig, one of Germany's most vibrant cities. File:Basteibrücke morgens (Zuschnitt).jpg, The Bastei bridge in Saxon Switzerland File:Rakotz Bridge 26-12-2014.JPG, The Rakotz bridge at Azalea and Rhododendron Park Kromlau File:Goerlitz_stadtansicht.jpg, The historical city of Görlitz File:Meissen001.jpg, The Elbe, Elbe valley with
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
in the background File:Panorama Moritzburg (125549417).jpeg, Saxony is home to numerous castles, such as ''Schloss Moritzburg'' north of Dresden. File:Blick vom Großen Fichtelberg.jpg, Oberwiesenthal, Erzgebirge, Ore Mountains


Education

Saxony's school system belongs to the most excelling ones in Germany. It has been ranked first in the German school assessment
Bildungsmonitor
for several years. Saxony has four large universities, six ''Fachhochschulen'' (Universities of Applied Sciences) and six art schools. The Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden), founded in 1828, is one of Germany's oldest universities. With 36,066 students as of 2010, it is the largest university in Saxony and one of the ten largest universities in Germany. It is a member of TU9, a consortium of nine leading German Institutes of Technology. Leipzig University is one of the oldest universities in the world and the List of universities in Germany#Universities by years of existence, second-oldest university (by consecutive years of existence) in Germany, founded in 1409. Famous alumni include Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Leibniz, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe, Leopold von Ranke, Ranke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Wagner, Cai Yuanpei, Angela Merkel, Raila Odinga, Tycho Brahe, and nine Nobel laureates are associated with this university. With over 11,000 students, the Chemnitz University of Technology is the third largest university in Saxony. Established in 1765, the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, located in the former mining town of Freiberg, is the oldest university of mining and metallurgy in the world. Saxony is home to several Max Planck Institutes and research institutions of the Fraunhofer Society. One of the two main campuses of the German National Library is located in Leipzig.


Culture

Saxony is part of Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany as a cultural area. As such, throughout German history it played an important role in shaping German culture.


Languages

The most common patois spoken in Saxony are combined in the group of "Thuringian dialect, Thuringian and Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon dialects". Due to the inexact use of the term "Saxon dialects" in colloquial language, the Upper Saxon attribute has been added to distinguish it from Old Saxon and Low German, Low Saxon. Other German dialects spoken in Saxony are the dialects of the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), which have been affected by Upper Saxon dialects, and the dialects of the Vogtland, which are more affected by the East Franconian German, East Franconian languages. Upper Sorbian language, Upper Sorbian (a West Slavic languages, West Slavic language) is spoken in the parts of
Upper Lusatia Upper Lusatia (german: Oberlausitz ; hsb, Hornja Łužica ; dsb, Górna Łužyca; szl, Gōrnŏ Łużyca; pl, Łużyce Górne or ''Milsko''; cz, Horní Lužice) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographic ...
that are inhabited by the Sorbian minority. The Germans in Upper Lusatia speak distinct dialects of their own (Lusatian dialects).


Motherland of the Reformation

Saxony is often seen as the ''motherland of the Reformation''. It was predominantly Lutheran Protestant from the Reformation until the late 20th century. The Electoral Saxony, a predecessor of today's Saxony, was the original birthplace of the Reformation. The Electors of Saxony, elector was Lutheran starting in 1525. The Lutheran church was organized through the late 1510s and the early 1520s. It was State religion, officially established in 1527 by John, Elector of Saxony, John the Steadfast. Although some of the sites associated with Martin Luther also lie in the current state of Saxony-Anhalt (including Wittenberg, Eisleben and Mansfeld), today's Saxony is usually viewed as the formal successor to what used to be Luther's country back in the 16th century (i.e. the Electoral Saxony). Martin Luther personally oversaw the Lutheran church in Saxony and shaped it consistently with Theology of Martin Luther, his own views and ideas. The 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were heavily dominated by Lutheran orthodoxy. In addition, the Reformed faith made inroads with the so-called Crypto-Calvinism, crypto Calvinists, but was strongly persecuted in an overwhelmingly Lutheran state. In the 17th century, Pietism became an important influence. In the 18th century, the Moravian Church was set up on Count von Zinzendorf's property at Herrnhut. From 1525, the rulers were traditionally Lutheran and widely acknowledged as defender of the faith, defenders of the Protestant faith, although – beginning with Augustus II the Strong, who was required to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1697 in order to become King of Poland – its monarchs were exclusively Roman Catholic. That meant Augustus and the subsequent Electors of Saxony, who were Roman Catholic, ruled over a state with an almost entirely Protestant population. In 1925, 90.3% of the Saxon population was Protestant, 3.6% was Roman Catholic, 0.4% was Jewish and 5.7% was placed in other religious categories. After World War II, Saxony was incorporated into East Germany which pursued a policy of state atheism. After 45 years of Communist rule, the majority of the population has become unaffiliated. Nonetheless, even during this time Saxony remained an important place of religious dialogue and it was at
Meissen Meissen (in German orthography German orthography is the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. ...

Meissen
where the agreement on mutual recognition between the German Evangelical Church and the Church of England was signed in 1988.


Sports

In 2020, there were 4,447 registered sports clubs of various disciplines with over 600,000 members in Saxony. The most popular sport in Saxony is association football, football. With RB Leipzig there is one Saxon team playing in the Bundesliga as well as the European UEFA Champions League, Champions League. Leipzig is notable for a longstanding football tradition, a Leipzig team having been the first national football champion in German history. Another popular sport is handball with several Bundesliga teams from Saxony. On a local level sports such as table tennis, cycling, mountaineering and volleyball are popular.


Rock climbing

Saxony prides itself to have been one of the first places in the world where modern recreational rock climbing was developed. Falkenstein (Saxon Switzerland), Falkenstein rock in the area of Bad Schandau is considered to be the place were the German rock climbing tradition started in 1864.


Winter sports

The Ore Mountains in southern Saxony are traditionally a region of winter sports. The ski ressort of Oberwiesenthal is the highest town of Germany, at an altitude of 900 m, though the surrounding mountains do not reach the same height as in the alpine areas of Southern Germany. Thus, climate change is posing a certain threat to the development of winter sports business. There are a number of training facilities for the German Winter Olympics' team in the region.


Art

The two major cultural centers of Saxony are
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
and
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
. The two cities have each a unique character which is reflecting the role they played throughout Saxon and German history, Dresden being a political center while Leipzig has been a major trading city. Thus, Dresden is well known for the art collections of the former Saxon kings (Dresden State Art Collections with the Green Vault and Zwinger (Dresden), Zwinger as the most well-known parts). Leipzig on the other hand never had a royal court, so its culture is borne largely by its citizens. The city is famous for its relationship with classical music and names like Johann Sebastian Bach, Mendelssohn or Wagner are linked to it. Over the past decades the city became famous for its modern art scene, most notably the Neue Leipziger Schule (New Leipzig School) with artists such as Neo Rauch.


Porcelain

Saxony was the first place in Europe to develop and produce white porcelain, a luxury good until then imported only from China. The Meissen Porcelain manufactory has been producing porcelain since 1710. It is one of the world's leading porcelain manufacturers and one of the oldest and most internationally known German luxury brands.Florian Langenscheidt, Bernd Venohr (Hrsg.): ''Lexikon der deutschen Weltmarktführer. Die Königsklasse deutscher Unternehmen in Wort und Bild''. Deutsche Standards Editionen, Köln 2010, .


Cuisine

Saxon cuisine encompasses regional cooking traditions of Saxony. In general the cuisine is very hearty and features many peculiarities of Mid-Germany such as a great variety of sauces which accompany the main dish and the fashion to serve potato dumplings (Klöße/Knödel) as a side dish instead of potatoes, pasta or rice. Also much freshwater fish is used in Saxon cuisine. The area around Dresden is home to the easternmost wine region in Germany (see: Saxony (wine region)).


Anthem

Saxony (as other German states) has its own anthem, dating back to the monarchy of the 19th century. 'Gott segne Sachsenland' (God save Saxony) is based on the melody of God save the queen.


See also

* Saxony (wine region) * States of Germany


References


Bibliography

*


External links


Official governmental portal
* {{Authority control Saxony, States of the Weimar Republic NUTS 1 statistical regions of the European Union States and territories established in 1990 States of Germany