Southern Schleswig (German: Südschleswig or Landesteil Schleswig,
Danish: Sydslesvig) is the southern half of the former Duchy of
Schleswig  in Germany on the
Jutland Peninsula. The geographical
area today covers the large area between the Eider river in the south
Flensburg Fjord in the north, where it borders Denmark.
Northern Schleswig, congruent with the former South
forms the southernmost part of Denmark. The area belonged to the Crown
Denmark until Prussia and Austria declared war on
Denmark in 1864.
Denmark wanted to give away the German speaking Holsten and set the
new border at the small river Ejderen. Prussian chancellor Otto von
Bismarck concluded that this justified a war, and even proclaimed it
as a "holy war". The German chancellor also turned to the Emperor of
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I of Austria for help. A similar war in 1848 had
gone poorly for the Prussians. With help from both the Austrians and
the Danish-born General Moltke, the Danish army was destroyed or
forced to make a disorderly retreat. And the Prussian-Danish border
was moved from the
Elbe up in
Jutland to the creek Kongeåen.
After the First World War, two referendums decided a new border.
The northern part reverted to
Denmark as Nordslesvig (North Slesvig).
But the middle and southern part, including Schleswig's only city,
Flensburg, remained in what, since the unification of Germany, had
become German hands. In Denmark, the loss of Flensborg caused a
political crisis, Påskekrisen or the Easter Crisis, as it happened
during the Easter of 1920. After the
Second World War
Second World War the area
remained as German territory and, with Holstein, formed the new state
Holstein as a part of the Federal Republic of Germany
(West Germany) in 1948.
The Schleswig lands north of the Eider river and the
Bay of Kiel
Bay of Kiel had
been a fief of the Danish Crown since the Early Middle Ages. The
Holstein region belonged to
Francia and later to the Holy
Roman Empire, but it was held as an imperial fief by the Danish kings
since the 1460 Treaty of Ribe.
Holstein Question was first brought to a head during the
Revolutions of 1848, when, from 1848 to 1851, revolting
German-speaking National liberals backed by Prussia fought for the
separation of Schleswig and
Denmark in the First
Schleswig War. Though the status quo ante bellum was restored, the
conflict lingered on, and on 1 February 1864 Prussian and Austrian
troops crossed the Eider, sparking off the Second Schleswig War, after
Denmark had to cede Schleswig and
Holstein according to the
Treaty of Vienna. After the
Austro-Prussian War of 1866, victorious
Prussia took control over all Schleswig and
Holstein but was obliged
by the Peace of Prague to hold a referendum in predominantly
Danish-speaking Northern Schleswig, which it never did.
After the German defeat in World War I, the
Schleswig Plebiscites were
decreed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, in which the present-day
German-Danish border was drawn. The border took effect on 15 June
1920, dividing Schleswig into a southern and northern part and leaving
a considerable Danish and German minority on both sides. 
Southern Schleswig is part of the German state (Bundesland) of
Schleswig-Holstein, thus its denotation as Landesteil Schleswig. It
does not, however, form an administrative entity, but instead consists
of the districts (Landkreise) of Schleswig-Flensburg, Nordfriesland,
the urban district (Kreisfreie Stadt) of
Flensburg and the northern
part of Rendsburg-Eckernförde.
Learn Danish banner in Flensburg, one of the major cities of Southern
Besides Standard German, Low Saxon dialects (Schleswigsch) are spoken,
as well as Danish (Standard Danish or South Schleswig Danish) and its
South Jutlandic variant, plus North Frisian in the west. Danish
and North Frisian are official minority languages. Many of the
inhabitants who speak only German and not Danish do not consider the
region any different from the rest of Schleswig-Holstein. This notion
is disputed by those defining themselves as Danes, South Schleswigans
or Schleswigans, particularly historians and people organised in the
institutions of the Danish minority of Southern Schleswig, such as the
South Schleswig Voter Federation. Many of the last names found in the
region are very often of Scandinavian or Danish form, with the -sen
endings like Petersen.
The major cities of
Southern Schleswig are Flensburg, Rendsburg, the
city of Schleswig, and Husum.
Lars Henningsen: Sydslesvigs danske historie, Flensborg 2013.
Lars Henningsen: Zwischen Grenzkonflikt und Grenzfrieden, Flensburg
2011 (as pdf document)
Karen Margrethe Pedersen: Dansk sprog i Sydslesvig: det danske sprogs
status inden for det danske mindretal i Sydslesvig, Institut for
grænseregionsforskning Aabenraa 2000
^ Kathrin Sinner: Schleswig-
Holstein - das nördliche Bundesland:
Räumliche Verortung als kulturelles Identitäskonstruk, page 86
^ Sønderjylland A-Å, Aabenraa 2011, page 364
^ German, Troels Fink: "Geschichte des schleswigschen Grenzlandes"
Publisher: Munksgaard, Copenhagen 1958, pages 178-192.
^ Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig: Politische Entwicklungen im
^ Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig: Nationale Entwicklung im 19.
Jahrhundert (in German)
^ vimu - Det Virtuelle Museum: Genforening (in Danish)
^ vimu - Das Virtuelle Museum: Volksabstimmung (in German)
^ Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig: Sprachen und Dialekte südlich der
Coordinates: 54°44′N 9°05′E / 54.733°N 9.083°E /