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The House of Welf is the older branch of the House of Este, a dynasty whose earliest known members lived in
Lombardy in the 9th century. For this reason, it is sometimes also called Welf-Este. The first member of this
branch was Welf IV; he inherited the property of the Elder House of Welf when his maternal uncle Welf, Duke of
Carinthia, died in 1055. In 1070, Welf IV became duke of Bavaria.
Welf V married Countess Matilda of Tuscany who died childless and left him her possessions, including Tuscany,
Ferrara, Modena, Mantua, and Reggio, which played a role in the Investiture controversy. Since the Welf dynasty
sided with the Pope in this controversy, partisans of the Pope came to be known in Italy as "Guelphs"; see Guelphs
and Ghibellines.

Bavaria and Saxony

Henry the Black, duke of Bavaria from 11201126, was the first of the three dukes of the Welf dynasty carrying the
same name. His son, Henry the Proud was the son-in-law and heir of Emperor Lothair of Supplinburg and became
also Saxon duke after Lothair's death. Henry the Proud was then the favoured candidate in the imperial election
against Conrad III of the Hohenstaufen. But Henry lost the election, as the other princes feared his power and
temperament, and was dispossessed of his duchies by Conrad III.
Henry the Lion recovered his father's two duchies, Saxony in 1142, Bavaria in 1156. In 1168 he married Matilda
(11561189), the daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and sister of Richard Lionheart.
Dispossessed of his duchies after the Battle of Legnano in 1176 by Emperor Frederick I and the other princes of the
German Empire eager to claim parts of his vast territories, he was exiled to the court of his father-in-law Henry II
in Normandy in 1180, but returned to Germany three years later. Henry made his peace with the Hohenstaufen
Emperor in 1194, and returned to his much diminished lands around Brunswick. He died there in 1195.

Brunswick and Hanover

Henry's son Otto of Brunswick was elected King of the Romans and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV. He
incurred the wrath of Pope Innocent III and was excommunicated in 1215. Otto was forced to abdicate the imperial
throne by the Hohenstaufen Frederick II.[1]
Henry the Lion's grandson Otto the Child became duke of a part of Saxony in 1235, the new so-called 'Duchy of
Brunswick-Lneburg', and died there in 1252. The Welf dynasty of Brunswick-Lneburg would continue to rule in
Hanover until the defeat of George V of Hanover, Austria's ally in the Austro-Prussian War, and the annexation of
Hanover by Prussia.
In 1692 the head of the cadet Calenberg line was raised to the status of an imperial elector, and became known as
the Elector of Hanover. His son, Georg Ludwig, inherited the British throne in 1714 as a result of the Act of
Settlement 1701. Members of the Welf dynasty continued to rule Great Britain until the death of Queen Victoria in
1901; in Britain they were known as the House of Hanover.
Hanover itself was raised to a kingdom in 1814, but was annexed by Prussia following the Austro-Prussian War of
1866, in which Hanover had sided with Austria. The senior line of the dynasty ruled the much smaller Duchy of
Brunswick-Wolfenbttel. This line became extinct in 1884. Although the Duchy should have been inherited by the
Duke of Cumberland, son of the last king of Hanover, suspicions of his loyalty led the duchy's throne to remain
vacant until 1913, when Cumberland's son, Ernst August, married the daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II and was
allowed to inherit the duchy. His rule there was short-lived, however, as the monarchy came to an end following the
First World War in 1918.
The Welf dynasty continues to exist. Its current head, Ernst August, is the third and present husband of Princess
Caroline of Monaco.

When the imperial ban was placed on Henry the Lion in 1180, he lost his titles as Duke of Saxony and Duke of
Bavaria. He went into exile for several years, but was then allowed to stay on the (allodial) estates inherited from
his mother's side until the end of his life. In 1235, as part of the reconciliation between the Hohenstaufen and Welf
families, Henry's grandson, Otto the Child, transferred his estates to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and was
enfeoffed in return with the newly created Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg, which was formed from the estates
transferred to the Emperor as well as other large areas of the imperial fisc. After his death in 1252, he was
succeeded by his sons, Albert the Tall and John, who ruled the dukedom jointly. In 1269 the duchy was divided,
Albert receiving the southern part of the state around Brunswick and John the northern territories in the area of
Lneburg. The towns of Lneburg and Brunswick remained in the overall possession of the House of Welf until
1512 and 1671 respectively. In 1571 the Amt of Calvrde became an exclave of the Duchy.

The various parts of the duchy were further divided and re-united over the centuries, all of them being ruled by the
Welf or Guelph dynasty, who maintained close relations with one anothernot infrequently by marrying cousins
a practice far more common than is the case today, even among the peasantry of the Holy Roman Empire, for the
salic inheritance laws in effect, encouraged the practice of retaining control of lands and benefits. The seats of
power moved in the meantime from Brunswick and Lneburg to Celle and Wolfenbttel as the towns asserted their
History of the subordinate principalities

The subsequent history of the dukedom and its subordinate principalities was characterised by numerous divisions
and reunifications. The subordinate states that were repeatedly created, and which had the legal status of
principalities, were generally named after the residence of their rulers. The estates of the different dynastic lines
could be inherited by a side line when a particular family died out. For example, over the course of the centuries
there were the Old, Middle and New Houses (or Lines) of Brunswick, and the Old, Middle and New Houses of
Lneburg. The number of simultaneously reigning dynastic lines varied from two to five.

Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel

In 1269 the Principality of Brunswick was formed following the first division of the Duchy of Brunswick-
Lneburg. In 1432, as a result of increasing tensions with the townsfolk of Brunswick, the Brunswick Line moved
their Residence to Wolfenbttel into a water castle, which was expanded into a Schloss, whilst the town was
developed into a royal seat. The name Wolfenbttel was given to this principality. Not until 1753/1754 was the
Residence moved back to Brunswick, into the newly built Brunswick Palace. In 1814 the principality became the
Duchy of Brunswick.

After Otto the Child, grandchild of Henry the Lion, had been given the former allodial seat of his family (located in the area of present-day
eastern Lower Saxony and northern Saxony-Anhalt) by Emperor Frederick II on 21 August 1235 as an imperial enfeoffment under the name of
the Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg, the dukedom was divided in 1267/1269 by his sons.
Albert I (also called Albert the Tall) (1236-1279) was given the regions around Brunswick-Wolfenbttel, Einbeck-Grubenhagen and Gttingen-
Oberwald. He thus founded the Old House of Brunswick and laid the basis for what became, later, the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel.
His brother John (1242-1277) inherited the land around Lneburg and founded the Old House of Lneburg. The town of Brunswick remained
under joint rule.
The area of Brunswick(-Wolfenbttel) was further subdivided in the succeeding decades. For example, the lines of Grubenhagen and Gttingen
were split for a while. In a similar way, in 1432 the estates between the Deister hills and the Leine river, that had been gained in the meantime
from the Middle House of Brunswick, split away to form the Principality of Calenberg. There were further reunifications and divisions.
In the meanwhile the dukes became weary of the constant disputes with the citizens of the town of Brunswick and, in 1432, moved their
Residenz to the water castle of Wolfenbttel, which lay in a marshy depression of the river Oker about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of
Brunswick. The castle built here for the Brunswick-Lneburg dukes - together with the ducal chancery, the consistory, the courts and the
archives - became the nerve centre of a giant region, from which the Wolfenbttel-Brunswick part of the overall dukedom was ruled. For a long
time it also governed the principalities of Calenberg-Gttingen and Grubenhagen, the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt, large parts of the Prince-
Bishopric of Hildesheim, the counties of Hohnstein and Regenstein, the baronies of Klettenberg and Lohra and parts of Hoya on the Lower
Weser. The importance of this court was signified by the number of craftsmen needed. Hundreds of timber-framed buildings were built for the
court, for its citizens and for ducal facilities, initially randomly, later designed to ducal requirements and for fire protection. In the heyday of the
town's development its districts were named after various dukes: the Auguststadt in the west, the Juliusstadt in the east and the Heinrichstadt.
Following the twelfth division of the duchy in 1495, whereby the Principality of Brunswick-Calenberg-Gttingen was re-divided into its
component territories, Duke Henry the Elder was given the land of Brunswick, to which the name of the new Residenz at Wolfenbttel was
added. From then on the name of the principality became "Brunswick-Wolfenbttel".
The reigns of dukes Henry the Younger, Julius and Henry Julius followed, under whose lordship the Residenz of Wolfenbttel was expanded and
the principality gained a Germany-wide standing.
In 1500 Brunswick-Wolfenbttel became part of the Lower Saxon Circle within the Holy Roman Empire.
From 1519 to 1523 the principality went to war with the principalities of Hildesheim and Lneburg in the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud which,
despite a resounding defeat in the Battle of Soltau, eventually resulted in large territorial gains accruing to Brunswick-Wolfenbttel.
In the Thirty Years War Wolfenbttel was the strongest fortress in North Germany, but survived the war heavily damaged. The Wolfenbttel line
died out during the war.
In 1571 the castle and village of Calvrde became part of the principality thanks to Duke Julius of Brunswick.
In 1635 Duke Augustus the Younger, from the collateral line of Lneburg-Dannenberg, took over the reins of power in the principality and
founded the New House of Brunswick. Under his rule Wolfenbttel reached its cultural zenith. One of his greatest achievements was the
building of the Wolfenbttel Library, the largest in Europe in its day. In 1671 an old pipe dream of the House of Welf dukes came true when the
joint armies of the different dynastic lines were able to capture the town of Brunswick and add it to their domain.
In 1735 when the dynastic line died out another collateral line emerged: the Brunswick-Bevern line founded in 1666.
In 1753/1754 the residence of the dukes of Wolfenbttel returned to Brunswick, to the newly built Brunswick Palace.
The town thus lost the independence it had enjoyed since the 15th century. In the process, the duke followed the trend and did not interfere with
anything, including work on the new castle, begun in 1718 by Hermann Korb on the Grauer Hof which was still not finished. The effect on
Wolfenbttel was catastrophic, as can be seen from the timber-framed houses built later on. 4,000 townsfolk followed the ducal family and
Wolfenbttel's population sank from 12,000 to 7,000. Only the archives, the ecclesiastical office and the library remained as a link to earlier
times. From Brunswick there were jibes that Wolfenbttel had deteriorated into a "widows' residence" (Witwensitz).
The extensive gardens in front of the three town gates (the Herzogtor, Harztor and Augusttor) were leased to the former gardeners as an
emphyteusis. As a consequence jam factories were established which were characteristic of Wolfenbttel until the 20th century. In front of the
Herzogtor the number of gardens grew, until they eventually reached the Lechlum Wood (Lechlumer Holz). Its southern edge was graced by the
little Lustschloss of Antoinettenruh, built in 1733 instead of a garden house, a work by the master builder, Hermann Korb, who was so important
to Wolfenbttel. Wolfenbttel became a town of schools. In 1753 the teachers' training college was founded, which began in the orphanage and
later moved to the building of the present-day Harztorwall School.
Politically Brunswick-Wolfenbttel was one of Prussia's closest allies. Whilst shortly beforehand the Habsburg emperor had been the most
important focal point through political marriages, the Wolfenbttel line of the Welfs became closely linked to the Hohenzollerns through the
marriage of the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick to Elisabeth Christine.[1] The marriage was arranged by Frederick William I of Prussia and
Ferdinand Albert. They also founded the "brotherhood in arms" between the little state and the great Prussian empire. Numerous Brunswick-
Wolfenbttel officers served in high positions in the Prussian Army, most notably during the Seven Years War. The regiments of the principality
screened the allied army in West Prussia and, in particular, the allied Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg. An outstanding representative of the
military alliance between Brunswick and Prussia was the Duke of Brunswick and Lneburg, the hereditary Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick-
During Charles I's era, there were great achievements in the cultural and scientific fields: the theatre was promoted and education encouraged. In
1753 the ducal art and natural history collection - forerunner of the Natural History Museum - was founded. These substantial collections had
been amassed by the Brunswick dukes. This enterprise was supported by Abbot Jerusalem, the founder of the Collegium Carolinum. Whilst
Wolfenbttel waned, Brunswick now experienced a cultural boom.
In August 1784 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed in Brunswick on a political mission, when he accompanied the Weimarsch minister, his
duke, Charles Augustus. At a time when the political situation between Austria and Prussia had heated up once again, the small and medium-
sized German states planned the creation of a larger princely state as a counterbalancing force. Duke Charles William Ferdinand of Brunswick
was to be asked to join this league of princes (Frstenbund) which he did on 30 August.
The secret mission was disguised as a family visit at the time of the Autumn Fair. court life determined the timing of the stay in the Residenz
castle on Bohlweg.
As a result of the German Mediatisation of 25 February 1803 the principality was given the territories of the secularised imperial abbeys of
Gandersheim and Helmstedt. In 1806 Duke Charles William Ferdinand was mortally wounded as a Prussian general in the Battle of Auerstedt.
After a short interregnum Brunswick was occupied from 1807 to 1813 by the French and became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia.
After the end of Napoleonic rule the state was re-established under the name of the Duchy of Brunswick.
The role of farmers
According to Bornstedt [2] serfdom in the state was abolished with the "Recess of 17 May 1433" by Henry the Peaceful. According to Bornstedt,
Brunswick-Wolfenbttel was therefore the first principality in the Holy Roman Empire to do away with feudalism. The recess laid down that all
arbitrariness (Willkr) in the levies on stewards, or Meier, of feudal manors, particularly on the death of the farmer, were cancelled. the
Grundherr or 'lord of the manor' continued to be the owner of the Meier estate, but now the Meier could also quit. This change usually meant
that the Meier family did not move out when the contract expired or when the farmer died; i.e. that the family were not prematurely evicted as
would have been the case before. In 1563 it was decreed by Henry the Younger that every 6 years Meier and Grundherr had to negotiate the
extension of the estate lease; later this was increased to 9 years. In his Landtag farewell in 1597, "Duke" Henry Julius made the farms
With the Brunswick redemption law (Ablsungsordnung) of 20 December 1834 by the state's legal successor, the Duchy of Brunswick, the
dependence of the farmers was abolished. Farmers could now purchase the land freehold and the money required could be loaned from the ducal
lending office. At the end of the 19th century Flurbereinigung or land consolidation took place.

Principality of Calenberg - later Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg

In 1432 the estates gained by the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel between the Deister and Leine split away
as the Principality of Calenberg. To the north this new state bordered on the County of Hoya near Nienburg and
extended from there in a narrow, winding strip southwards up the River Leine through Wunstorf and Hanover
where it reached the Principality of Wolfenbttel. In 1495 it was expanded around Gttingen and in 1584 went back
to the Wolfenbttel Line. In 1634, as a result of inheritance distributions, it went to the House of Lneburg, before
becoming an independent principality again in 1635, when it was given to George, younger brother of Prince Ernest
II of Lneburg, who chose Hanover as his Residenz. New territory was added in 1665 in the vicinity of
Grubenhagen and in 1705 around the Principality of Lneburg. In 1692 Duke Ernest Augustus from the Calenberg
Line acquired the right to be a prince-elector as the Prince-Elector of Brunswick-Lneburg. Colloquially the
Electorate was also known as the Electorate of Hanover or as Kurhannover. In 1814 it was succeeded by the
Kingdom of Hanover.

The Principality of Calenberg was a dynastic division of the Welf duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1494 until
1705, when Elector George I Louis, Prince of Calenberg, inherited the Principality of Lneburg to form the state of Hanover.
When Duke Eric I of Brunswick-Lneburg chose the Principality of Calenberg as his part of the inheritance in 1495, he described it as "the land
between the River Leine and the Deister". This geographical description, however, was never totally correct. In fact, the Principality extended
west of the Leine from Schulenburg as far as Neustadt am Rbenberge in the north and thus much further north than the foothills of the Deister.
To the south-west the territory stretched as far as Hamelin on the Weser, well beyond the Deister.
The city of Hanover was largely independent of Welf territorial lordship, even though it was not formally a free imperial city. Not until George
of Calenberg, who had been a successful general in the Thirty Years War, chose the city as his Residenz in 1636 could Hanover also be viewed
as part of the Principality of Calenberg.
Because of the link that had existed since 1463 between the principalities of Calenberg and Gttingen, the latter was also sometimes referred to
as Calenberg. Today the term Calenberg Land is usually only used for the region between Hanover and the Deister.
Originally the territory belonged to the Duchy of Saxony but in 1180, after the imperial ban had been imposed on the Welf prince, Henry the
Lion, he lost his ducal lands in Saxony and Bavaria. However, in 1235, Henry's grandson, Otto the Child, was promoted to the rank of prince as
a result of the reconciliation between the Houses of Hohenstaufen and Welf and was given the allodial estates of the family claimed by them in
the area between Lneburg and Brunswick as the new and independent Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg. In the region west of Hanover, the Welfs
had but few allodial possessions and so that area was disputed between the House of Welf and the bishops of Hildesheim and Minden. It was
largely ruled by comital dynasties, such as the counts of Wlpe in the northwest, the counts of Hallermund in the southwest and the counts of
Rhoden in the west and in Hanover.
In 1292 Duke Otto the Strict from the Lneburg line of the Welfs subjugated the region. Earlier, he had yielded to the Bishop of Hildesheim and
accepted the city of Hanover as his fief. However, he shook off his allegiance and founded Calenberg Castle, just 13 km west of Hildesheim, in
a countermove in order to further reduce the power of the Bishop of Hildesheim in the Hanover area.
Administratively, this area was initially still called the Vogtei of Lauenrode, after Lauenrode Castle on the outskirts of Hanover, from where, the
Welfs ruled the territory. With the extinction of the Lneburg line of the Welfs, the Lneburg War of Succession, broke out (137188) during
which Lauenrode Castle was stormed by the citizens of Hanover and destroyed. The Vogtei was then moved to Calenberg Castle.
Welf inheritance divisions
The Welf dukes did not inherit their land by primogeniture and this resulted in the late Middle Ages in numerous Welf estates and a great
fragmentation of Welf territory. In 1400 the Vogtei of Calenberg went to the Wolfenbttel line of the Welfs. In 1408 and 1409 they were able to
purchase the county of Everstein and the lordship of Homburg after the extinction of their reigning families. These were added to the Vogtei of
Calenberg. In a further Welf inheritance in 1432 - the ninth according to Gudrun Pischke - the area was divided again by the Brunswick dukes
William the Elder and Henry who had hitherto ruled jointly in Wolfenbttel. [1] While Henry was given the territory of Lneburg, William was
compensated with the newly created Principality of Calenberg. At that time, the lordship given to William had no name. It consisted of the rights
formerly owned by the Principality of Lneburg between the Deister and the River Leine, as well as the former County of Wlpe, the lordship of
Hallermunt and the dominions of Homburg and Everstein.
Because the Welf princes all carried the title of Duke of Brunswick and Lneburg and the territories they ruled were principalities within the
Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg, their dominions were named after the main castle or town. William spent most of his time at Calenberg Castle
from where he administered the territory. As a result it is probable that the name of the Principality of Calenberg emerged during this time.
Unification with Gttingen
William succeeded in 1442 and finally in 1463 in taking over the Principality of Gttingen. Although unification with Calenberg initially came
about purely by chance, it lasted nonetheless. In order to distinguish the two areas which were physically separated by the foothills of the
uplands in the Leine valley, Calenberg in the north was usually referred to as Unterwald ("Lower Forest"), whilst the Gttingen region was
called the Oberwald ("Upper Forest").
In 1473 William also inherited the Principality of Wolfenbttel from his brother who had no sons, but ceded sovereignty over Calenberg to his
sons William the Younger and Frederick III, known as "the Restless" or "Turbulentus".
After the death of William I in 1482 both sons shared the regency. In an agreement dated 1 August 1483, however, they split the rights of use
(Mutschierung). The younger son, Frederick the Restless, was awarded the rights of use over Calenberg and Gttingen, and his brother William
II was awarded the right to use Wolfenbttel. William deposed his brother Frederick in 1484/85 and declared him insane. The reasons for his
removal are debated; perhaps by his participation in many armed conflicts, Frederick was seen to pose a threat to Welf rule in Calenberg and
Gttingen. So William II succeeded - albeit only briefly - in re-uniting the entire territory of the principalities of Calenberg, Brunswick-
Gttingen and Brunswick-Wolfenbttel. After Frederick's death in 1495, William divided the state again and left the Principality of Brunswick-
Wolfenbttel to his elder son Henry.
Under Eric I, Elisabeth and Eric II
The younger son, Eric I received Calenberg and Gttingen and thus founded the Calenberg line of the House of Brunswick-Lneburg. In the
new territory so formed, the name Calenberg was increasingly used for both parts of the state. For the period under Eric I and his son, Eric II,
however, the name "Principality of Calenberg-Gttingen" was also used a lot. The principality had separate parliamentary Estates and separate
councils for each part. The chancellery for Unterwald was established in Neustadt on Rbenberge and that for Oberwald in Mnden. There were
also separate residences, lordly castles or manor houses and palaces in each town as well as separate repositories for their records.
Under Eric I, Calenberg Castle was expanded into a strong fortress. Another heavily fortified castle, which he had built, was the Erichsburg near
Dassel on which construction began in 1527. In the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud in 1519 he was initially defeated militarily in the Battle of
Soltau. Diplomatically, however, he was able to win a ruling from the Emperor Charles V that saw a large part of the Bishopric of Hildesheim
added to his domain.
Eric I was hostile to the emerging Protestant Reformation. His second wife, Elisabeth of Brandenburg, however, whom he married in 1525,
switched over to the new doctrine in 1535 and promoted it at the court, which then resided at Mnden. After Eric's death in 1540 she took over
the government for their underage son, Eric II, and implemented the Reformation in the Principality with the state superintendent Antonius
Corvinus she had appointed. Eric II, however, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1547 even though he was raised as an Evangelical by his
mother. He was not able to reverse the Reformation in the Principality however. His power in the principality was already very weak. He spent
most of his time as a mercenary leader abroad, and was financially dependent on the towns. In 1553 he had to secure the financial aid of his
towns by approving evangelical preaching. From 1574 he had Neustadt am Rbenberge developed as a fortified town and built Landestrost
Castle within its walls as a Renaissance chateau, integrated into a bastion fortress based on the Italian model.
In 1582 when the counts of Hoya died out, the larger part of the county went to Calenberg. In 1584 Calenberg also acquired the Diepholz.
Thirty Years' War
After Eric's death in 1584 Calenberg-Gttingen was again ruled by the Wolfenbttel line of the Welfs. In the Thirty Years' War the brother of
Duke Frederick Ulrich, "mad" Christian, brought the war to the state. After Danish troops under King Christian IV, who was then commander of
the Lower Saxon Circle, was defeated by the general of the Catholic League, Tilly in the Battle of Lutter, Tilly occupied the whole principality
in 1626. Only the cities of Brunswick and Hanover could not be captured.
When Duke Frederick Ulrich died childless in 1634 the Wolfenbttel line of the Middle House of Brunswick ended with him. In 1635 Duke
Augustus the Elder from the Middle House of Lneburg received the Principality of Calenberg-Gttingen. [2] After his death in 1636 his younger
brother George became its ruler. He was successful as a general on the Swedish side and he also succeeded in 1637 in recovering the country
and especially the towns for the Welfs. He initially ruled out of occupied Hildesheim, but then moved his residence to Hanover, which he also
had built as a fortress. After his death in 1641 a separate peace was hastily concluded with the emperor, which had to be paid for by the return of
the land acquired during the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud. George's sons, Christian Louis, George William, John Frederick and Ernest Augustus
then ruled the Principality of Calenberg-Gttingen in succession.
Elevation to an electorate
Main article: Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg
In 1665 the Principality of Grubenhagen, whose line had died out in 1596 and over which the lines of Lneburg and Wolfenbttel had long
fought in the Imperial Chamber Court, was also finally added to the Calenberg dynasty. George's youngest son, Ernest Augustus, who ruled
from 1679, carried on the successful policies of his father and his brothers. In 1689 the Calenbergs also inherited Saxe-Lauenburg. Ernest
Augustus switched to the side of the Emperor and introduced primogeniture, contrary to the direction of his father. In 1692 for his services to the
Emperor, Ernest Augustus was rewarded after a long struggle with the title of the ninth electorate. Officially he was now the Elector of
Brunswick-Lneburg and his government was called the "Electoral Brunswick-Lneburg Government".[3] In 1705 it was enhanced further by the
inheritance of the Principality of Lneburg, whereby all the estates of the Welfs, apart from the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel, became
united under the line also known as the House of Hanover from which the British royal throne are descended.
The Electorate of Hanover (formally the Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg; German: Churfrstentum Braunschweig und Lneburg,
colloquially Kurfrstentum Hannover or simply Kurhannover) was the ninth Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. It
was a monarchy in Northern Germany, ruled by the House of Hanover, cadet branch of the House of Welf, which then ruled and earlier had
ruled a number of principalities, which had several times been partitioned among several heirs from an earlier unitary territory named
Brunswick-Lneburg after the pertaining cities of Braunschweig (Brunswick) and Lneburg (Lunenburg). The electorate comprised territories
held by the dynastic line of Calenberg. With the ascension of its prince-elector as King of Great Britain in 1714, it became ruled in personal
union with Britain and thus deeply involved into British foreign policy. However, as to the interior it remained a separately ruled territory with
its own government and bodies. In 1814, it was transformed into the Kingdom of Hanover, with the personal union with the British crown
lasting until 1837.
Official name and other name versions
In 1692, Emperor Leopold I elevated Duke Ernest Augustus of the Brunswick-Lneburg line of Calenberg, to the rank of prince-elector of the
Empire as a reward for aid given in the War of the Grand Alliance. There were protests against the addition of a new elector, and the elevation
did not become official until the approval of the Imperial Diet in 1708. Then George I Louis had already succeeded his late father and
furthermore had inherited the Principality of Lneburg, whose dynastic line was extinct, in 1705. Calenberg's capital Hanover became
colloquially eponymous for the electorate; however, officially it used the name of the entire ducal dynasty. In 1700 the territories forming the
electorate introduced like all Protestant territories of imperial immediacy the Improved Calendar, as it was called by Protestants, in order not
to mention the name of Pope Gregory XIII. So Sunday, the 18 February of Old Style was followed by Monday, the 1 March New Style.
Link with Britain
In 1714, George Louis became king of Great Britain, so that the electorate and Great Britain were ruled in personal union. The possessions of
the electors grew in Germany as well, as they de facto purchased the formerly Swedish-held duchies of Bremen and Verden in 1719. In 1728
Emperor Charles VI officially enfeoffed George II Augustus, who in 1727 had succeeded his father George Louis, with the reverted fief of Saxe-
Lauenburg, which had de facto been ruled in personal union with Hanover and its one preceding Principality of Lneburg since 1689.
In 1731 Hanover gained as well the formerly Saxe-Lauenburgian exclave of Hadeln (since 1689 in imperial custodianship), conveying it to
Bremen-Verden. It took George II Augustus until 1733 to get Charles VI to also enfeoff him with the Duchy of Bremen and the Principality of
Verden, colloquially called Duchies of Bremen-Verden. At both feoffments George II Augustus swore that he would respect the existing
privileges and constitutions of the estates in Bremen-Verden and in Hadeln, thus confirming 400-year-old traditions of estate participation in
In Hanover, the electoral capital, the Privy Council of Hanover (electoral government) installed a new ministry in charge of the Imperial Estates
ruled by the electors in personal union. It was called the Department of Bremen-Verden, Hadeln, Lauenburg and Bentheim. However, the
electors spent most of their time in England. Direct contact with the electorate was maintained through the office of the German Chancery,
situated in St James's Palace in London.
Seven Years War
Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years War
In the course of the Anglo-French and Indian War (175463) on North American colonies Britain feared a French invasion in Hanover. Thus
George II Augustus formed an alliance with his Brandenburg-Prussian cousin Frederick II, the Great combining the North American conflict
with the Brandenburg-PrussoAustrian Third Silesian or Seven Years War (175663).
In summer 1757 the French invaded Hanover and defeated George II's son William Duke of Cumberland, leading the Anglo-Hanoverian army,
at the Battle of Hastenbeck and drove him and his army into remote Bremen-Verden, where in the former monastery of Zeven he had to
capitulate on 18 September (Convention of Kloster-Zeven). But George II Augustus denied his recognition of the convention. In the following
year the British army, supported by troops from Brandenburg-Prussia, Hesse-Kassel and the ducal Principality of Brunswick and Lunenburg
(Wolfenbttel) expelled again the occupants.
Hanover remained unaffected for the rest of the war and after its end peace prevailed until the French Revolutionary Wars started. The War of
the First Coalition against France (179397) with Great Britain-Hanover and other war allies forming the coalition, didn't affect Hanoverian
territory, since the first French Republic was fighting on several fronts, even on its own territory. However, men were drafted in order to recruit
the 16,000 Hanoverian soldiers fighting in the Low Countries under British command against France. In 1795 the Holy Roman Empire declared
its neutrality, comprising Hanover; however, a peace treaty with France was under negotiation until it failed in 1799. Brandenburg-Prussia,
however, ended for its part the war with France by the Treaty of Basel (1795), stipulating Brandenburg-Prussia would ensure the Holy Roman
Empire's neutrality in all the latter's territories north the demarcation line of the river Main, including the British continental dominions of
Hanover, Bremen-Verden, and Saxe-Lauenburg. To this end also Hanover had to provide troops for the so-called demarcation army maintaining
the armed neutrality.
Napoleonic era
In the course of the War of the Second Coalition against France (17991802) Napolon Bonaparte urged Brandenburg-Prussia to occupy the
continental British dominions. In 1801 24,000 Brandenburg-Prussian soldiers invaded, surprising Hanover, which surrendered without a fight. In
April 1801 the Brandenburg-Prussian troops arrived in Bremen-Verden's capital Stade and stayed there until October of the same year. The
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland first ignored Brandenburg-Prussia's hostility, but when the latter joined the pro-French coalition of
armed neutral powers such as Denmark-Norway and Russia, Britain started to capture Brandenburg-Prussian sea vessels. After the Battle of
Copenhagen (1801) the coalition fell apart and Brandenburg-Prussia withdrew its troops.
As part of the German Mediatisation of 25 February 1803, the Electorate received the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrck in real union, whose every
second ruler had been alternately staffed by members of the House of Hanover since 1662.
After Britain this time without any ally had declared war on France (18 May 1803), French troops invaded Hanover on 26 May. According
to the Convention of Artlenburg (5 July 1803), confirming the military defeat of Hanover, the Hanoverian army was disarmed and its horses and
ammunitions were handed over to the French. The Privy Council of Hanover, with minister Friedrich Franz Dieterich von Bremer holding up the
Hanoverian stake, fled to the trans-Elbian Saxe-Lauenburg, ruled by Britain-Hanover in personal union. Soon later the French also occupied
In autumn 1805, at the beginning of the War of the Third Coalition against France (18056), the French occupational troops left Hanover in a
campaign against Austria. British, Swedish and Russian coalition forces captured Hanover. In December the Empire of the French, since 1804
Frances new form of government, ceded Hanover, which it didn't hold anymore, to Brandenburg-Prussia, which captured it early in 1806.
On 6 August 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, thereby doing away with the function of prince-electors electing its emperors. Thus
the title of Elector of Brandenburg became meaningless for the Kingdom of Prussia. After it had turned against France, it was defeated in the
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (11 November 1806), and France recaptured Hanover.
Following the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 the new Kingdom of Westphalia was founded, ruled by Napolon's brother Jrme Bonaparte, then
including territories of the former Electorate of Hesse-Cassel, the ducal Brunswick-Lneburgian principality Brunswick-Wolfenbttel, and
formerly Prussian territories. In early 1810 Hanover proper and Bremen-Verden, but not Saxe-Lauenburg, were also annexed by Westphalia. In
an attempt to assert the Continental System the French Empire annexed in late 1810 all the continental North Sea coast (up till Denmark) and
the areas along the sections of the rivers navigable for seagoing vessels, including Bremen-Verden and Saxe-Lauenburg and some adjacent
territories of Hanover proper.
However, the government of George III did not recognise the French annexation, being at war continuously with France through the entire
period, and Hanoverian ministers continued to operate out of London. The Privy Council of Hanover maintained its own separate diplomatic
service, which maintained links to countries such as Austria and Prussia, with whom the United Kingdom itself was technically at war. The
Hanoverian army was dissolved, but many of the officers and soldiers went to England, where they formed the King's German Legion. The
Legion was the only German army to fight continually during the whole Napolonic wars against the French.
French control lasted until October 1813 when the territory was overrun by Russian Cossack troops, and the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig
later the same month spelled the definitive end to the Napolonic client state of Westphalia, as well as the entire Confederation of the Rhine,
after which the rule of the House of Hanover was restored. The former electorate became the Kingdom of Hanover, confirmed at the Congress
of Vienna in 1814
The Electorate was legally bound to be indivisible: it could add to its territory, but not alienate territory or be split up among several heirs as
used to be the rule before, having led at times to a multitude of Brunswick-Lneburgian principalities. Its succession was to follow male
primogeniture. Since this was against the Salic law, then valid for the ducal family, the change needed imperial confirmation, which Emperor
Leopold I granted in 1692.
In 1692, at the upgrading to the rank of electorate, its territory comprised the Brunswick-Lneburgian principalities of Calenberg and
Grubenhagen, which the line of the former had already inherited in 1665. But until the confirmation of the electorate by the Imperial Diet in
1708 the Calenberg line further inherited the principality of Celle in 1705. Further included were the earlier acquired counties of Diepholz and
Although the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, George III's government did not consider the dissolution to be final, and he continued
to be styled "Elector of Hanover" down to 1814.
Principality of Lneburg

The Principality of Lneburg emerged alongside the Principality of Brunswick in 1269 when the inheritance of the
Duchy was divided. After the death of Duke George William of Brunswick-Lneburg in 1705, King George I
inherited the state of Lneburg with his wife, the Duke's daughter, Sophie Dorothea, later known as the "Princess of
Ahlden". It was united with the Principality of Calenberg, which had been elevated in 1692 into the Electorate

The Principality of Lneburg (later also referred to as Celle) was a territorial division of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg within the Holy
Roman Empire, immediately subordinate to the emperor. It existed from 1269 until 1705 and its territory lay within the modern-day state of
Lower Saxony in Germany. The Principality was named after its first capital, Lneburg (Lunenburg), which was ruled jointly by all Brunswick-
Lneburg lines until 1637.[1] From 1378, the seat of the Principality was in Celle.[2] It lost its independence in 1705 when it was annexed by the
Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg, but retained its vote in the Reichstag as BrunswickWhen the Principality of Lneburg emerged as a result of
the division of Brunswick-Lneburg in 1269, the domain of the Lneburg princes consisted of a large number of territorial rights in the region of
Lneburg, but it could not be described as a unified state because many rights were owned by other vassals of the imperial crown. Not until the
acquisition of numerous counties and rights in the 13th and 14th centuries did the rulers of Lneburg succeed in building a unified state.
Following the division of the principalities of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel and Lneburg between Bernard and Henry in 1409 the territorial
development of the state was largely complete. [3] At that time, the Principality of Lneburg included the larger part of the Lneburg Heath and
the Wendland and measured about 11,000 square kilometres-Celle.
The Principality of Lneburg was created by the division of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg, a state that had been formed in 1235 from the
allodial lands of the Welfs in Saxony and given as an imperial fief to Otto the Child, a nephew of Henry the Lion. The name of the dukedom was
drawn from the two largest towns in the territory, Lneburg and Brunswick. Following the death of Otto, his two sons split the duchy in 1267 or
1269, into subordinate principalities; Brunswick going to Albert and Lneburg to John. Together, the two principalities continued to form the
Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg which remained undivided according to imperial law, something that is clear from the fact that inter alia all the
princes of the various lines carried the title of Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg. In addition, the two capitals, Lneburg and Brunswick, remained in
the common ownership of the House of Welf until 1512 and 1671 respectively. [2]
Old House of Lneburg
When John died in 1277, the regency was held by his brother, Albert, on behalf of John's underage son, Otto the Strict, before Otto assumed
power himself in 1282. Otto asserted his rule through the prosecution of numerous feuds against the lesser nobility, which enabled him to
achieve consolidate his ducal authority within the state. He also continued the "systematic acquisition policy" (planmssige Erwerbspolitik) in
the Lneburg principality that had operated since the time of Otto the Child, "rounding off the Lneburg allodial estate" (Arrondierung des
Lneburger Allodialbesitzes) through the purchase of numerous lands and rights, including those of Bleckede and Hitzacker, the County of
Dannenberg and the County of Wlpe.[4]
Duke Otto was followed by his sons, Otto III of Lneburg and William of Lneburg. The instruction issued by their father in 1318 whereby the
principality would be divided after his death between Otto III and his brother, William II, was ignored by the brothers and in 1330 they assumed
joint control of an undivided state. The focus of their rule in the early years was a further territorial consolidation of the principality. For
example, they were able to considerably increase their estate in the region of Gifhorn through the purchase of the village of Fallersleben, the
County of Papenteich and Wettmarshagen. Another top priority was their political support for the towns, which were striving to develop
themselves economically. For instance, the merchants of Lneburg benefited considerably from work to make the River Ilmenau navigable
between Lneburg and Uelzen and from trade agreements between the Lneburg princes and the dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg. The two brothers
reigned jointly until the death of Otto III in 1352, leaving William in sole charge until his own death in 1369.
Lneburg War of Succession
Main article: Lneburg War of Succession
When William II of Lneburg died in 1369 without a son, the first house of Lneburg became extinct. According to Welf house rules and the
desire of William, Duke Magnus II Torquatus of Brunswick would have been the rightful heir. Emperor Charles IV, however, considered it an
imperial fiefdom, however, and granted the principality to Albert of Saxe-Wittenberg and his uncle Wenceslas, thus precipitating the Lneburg
War of Succession.[2][5]
The town of Lneburg supported the Wittenbergs and took the opportunity to escape from the immediate influence of the duke, destroying the
ducal castle on the Kalkberg on 1 February 1371 and forcing him to relocate his residence to Celle. An attempt on 21 October 1371, St. Ursula's
Day, to overthrow Lneburg militarily and to secure the old ducal rights, failed. [6] In the military conflict that followed, neither the Brunswicks
nor the Wittenbergs were able to enforce their claims, and only the peace of Hanover in 1373, ended the war, at least for a time. According to the
agreement reached there, the Welfs and the Wittenbergs were to rule alternately. [2]
Magnus Torquatus had already died in 1373, so the treaty between the two contending houses was further reinforced by the marriage of his two
eldest sons, Frederick and Bernard I, to the two daughters of Wenceslas and by the marriage of Magnus's widow to Albert of Saxe-Wittenberg.
The younger brother of Frederick and Bernard, Henry the Mild refused, however, to accept the agreement and continued to prosecute the war. It
was not until after the Battle of Winsen in 1388, when Wenceslas lost his life, that the Wittenbergs gave up their claims and the principality was
finally secured by the Welfs.
Lneburg Sate and Lneburg Sate War
The Lneburg War of Succession resulted in a large plenitude of power going to the estates within the principality . To secure the support of
towns and the lower nobility, both the Welfs and the Ascanians were forced to give the estates wide privileges, and enfeoff them with numerous
rights and castles.[7] The Celle dukes, Bernard and Henry had emerged victorious from the conflict to be sure, but faced huge financial problems
as a result.[7] So when they appeared before the town of Lneburg with a fresh request for funds in September 1392, they had to agree to a
significant treaty, the so-called Lneburg Sate,[8] in which the estates were granted numerous privileges and the dukes had to submit to the
authority of a council of the landowners of the estates, in return for a loan of 50,000 marks.
The years that followed were characterised by renewed tensions between the rulers and the landowners and attempts by the dukes to weaken the
standing of the Lneburg Sate.[9] In 1396 it was finally rejected. After he had secured the assistance Sweden and Mecklenburg by concluding a
treaty of friendship and security, Duke Henry, soon to be followed by his brother, Bernard, took the town of Uelzen as his residence, which
forced the town to announce its withdrawal from the Sate and to pay homage to the dukes of Lneburg. In the course of the clashes that now
arose between the dukes and the town of Lneburg, numerous battles were fought across the entire country. Through the support of the
Hanseatic towns of Hamburg and Lbeck, Lneburg achieved military superiority, so that the Celle dukes sued for peace with their opponents.
In October 1397 there was a contractual agreement between the warring parties, but the restitution of the Lneburg Sate that had been sought by
the town of Lneburg was not forthcoming.[10]
Middle House of Lneburg
The ducal residence in Celle
The joint reign of brothers, Bernard and Henry, from 1388 to 1409 was followed by another division of the principality in which Bernard was
given Brunswick and Henry received Lneburg. After Duke Henry's death in 1416, he was followed by his two sons, William and Henry. Their
rule was characterized primarily by the financial constraints under which the country continued to suffer in the wake of the Lneburg War of
In 1428 there was a further division of the Welf estate between the 2 brothers and their uncle, Bernard, Prince of Brunswick. The brothers
William and Henry received the land between the Deister and the Leine, which was later to became the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel,
having acquired the Principality of Calenberg; and their uncle, Bernard, received the Principality of Lneburg, thus becoming the progenitor of
the Middle House of Lneburg.
After Duke Bernard died in 1434, his eldest son, Otto became the ruling prince. In 1446 he was followed by his brother, Frederick the Pious,
who abdicated, however, in 1457 in favour of his sons, Bernard and Otto, in order to enter the Franciscan abbey at Celle. After both brothers had
died in 1464 and 1471 respectively, Frederick the Pious left the abbey again in order to hold the reins of power for his 3-year old nephew, Henry
the Middle, the son of Otto of Lneburg and Anna of Nassau.[2]
When Frederick died in 1478, Anna of Nassau ruled the principality for her son until he was old enough to take power in Celle in 1486; she then
retired to her dower at Lchow Castle. Because of his role in the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud and the associated political opposition to Emperor
Charles V, Henry was forced to abdicate in 1520 in favour of his sons Otto and Ernest the Confessor. Otto relinquished his princedom in 1527
and was compensated with the Amt of Harburg. In 1539, their youngest brother, Francis, who had also shared the reins of power since 1536, also
abdicated and was given the Amt of Gifhorn, leaving Ernest the Confessor to rule alone.[
Ernest the Confessor and the Reformation
One focus of Ernest's reign was to restore the principality's massive debts. When he came to power, with the exception of the Schlossvogtei, all
the offices (mter) were pledged; consequently his efforts were aimed primarily at the redeeming them again (Wiedereinlsung). The necessary
tax increases led to serious clashes with the estates. Duke Ernest succeeded, however, in asserting himself, and to instigate the enforced
reduction of debt. A second focus of his work was the introduction of the Reformation. Ernest the Confessor was himself a student at Wittenberg
and had been in contact with Luther's teachers there. Soon after taking over the principality, he began to reform the church of the principality to
the Lutheranism. In 1527 there was a Landtag recess, at which even those nobles who had been hostile, declared their support for the new faith.
In 1530 Ernest was one of the signatories of the Augsburg Confession and brought back with him the Augsburg reformer Urbanus Rhegius, who
was largely responsible for the implementation of the Reformation in the Lneburg state over the succeeding decades.
When Duke Ernest died, his sons were still minors, and their two uncles, Otto and Francis, refused the regency. As a result, the Emperor decreed
that the Archbishop of Cologne and the Count of Schaumburg were to govern on their behalf. The eldest son, Francis Otto assumed power in
1555, but abdicated as early as 1559 in favour of his brothers, Henry and William.
Following Henry's resignation 10 years later, William officially reigned alone until his death in 1592, but due to his serious mental problems, he
only played a very limited part in political life and spent his last years in mental derangement. His rule, like his father's, was dominated by an
enforced policy of debt relief. But reconciliation with the town of Lneburg in 1562 and the associated acquisition of part of the principality's
debt and imperial taxes by the town played a major role in easing the parlous financial situation. Further important reforms included the
Lutheran Church Order, adopted in 1564, which practically completed the Reformation in Lneburg, as well as the aulic court and
administrative ordinances (the Hofgerichtsordnung and Polizeiordnung).
William left 15 children including 7 sons: Ernest, Christian, Augustus, Frederick, Magnus, George and John. In 1592 the brothers agreed to
entrust the government (with limitation) to Ernest, initially for 8 years, then for a further 10. Then in 1610 they gave him the Principality of
Lneburg and all its dependencies for him and his descendants as an indivisible whole. However, after his death in 1611, and given the difficulty
of ever new divisions, in 1612 the brothers agreed another contract, whereby they would exercise power one after another, but only one of them
would marry someone of appropriate social standing in order to continue the ducal lineage and thus maintain the unity of the Principality. They
drew lots, the lot falling on the William's second youngest son, George of Calenberg who married Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1617.[2]
New House of Lneburg
After the death of his uncle Frederick of Lneburg George's eldest son Christian Louis inherited Lneburg in 1648 and became the founder of
the new line of Lneburg. He was succeeded by his brother John in 1665, who took over the government in a coup after the death of Christian,
despite the claims of his brother George William, who was resident in Calenberg, who was older and thus should have been entitled to inherit.
George William succeeded in prevailing and taking over the reins of power in Lneburg, but had to cede Calenberg to his brother as well as the
Principality of Grubenhagen which had been added to the possessions House of Lneburg in 1617.[11]
George William, often called the "heath duke" (Heideherzog), led the princely court during its final flourish. During his reign the baroque
theatre was built that is still open today, the French Garden was laid out and palace faade designed in its current baroque form. After his death
in 1705, George of Hanover, who married his daughter Sophie Dorothea later known as the "Princess of Ahlden", inherited the state of
Lneburg, which was merged into the Electorate of Brunswick-Lneburg and finally lost its independence.
Welf side lines
In the 16th century several Welf secondary lines emerged which received their own territories:
Following his marriage to lady-in-waiting Metta von Campen in 1527, Duke Otto relinquished his participation in the government of the
principality, and was compensated with the Amt of Harburg as his own territorial lordship. Harburg remained an integral part of the principality;
the ducal chancery in Celle continued to be responsible for border and territorial issues, the noble knights the Amt of Harburg continued to
participate in the Lneburg estates assembly and enfeoffed by the duke in Celle. When Otto died in 1549, the Amt of Harburg should have
reverted back to the dukes of Celle, but Otto's son, Otto the Second, succeeded in 1560 in having a new regulation added to the severance
agreement of 1527. Harburg was defined as an hereditary possession and its territory increased by the district of Moisburg. When the Harburg
line became extinct in 1642, the territory reverted to the lordship of the ducal house in Celle.[12]
Main article: Duchy of Gifhorn
Personal disagreements between the brothers Ernest and Francis in 1539 led to the emergence of a domain at Gifhorn, the so-called Duchy of
Gifhorn. In return for renunciating his participation in the government of the principality, Francis received Gifhorn Castle as compensation
along with the mter of Fallersleben, Gifhorn and Isenhagen. Even though Francis tried to force through his full sovereignty over his domain,
important sovereign rights were retained by the ducal house in Celle. For example, Celle was still responsible for foreign policy issues and the
Gifhorn nobility remained part of the Lneburg estates. When Duke Francis died childless in 1549, the territory of Gifhorn went back to Celle.

When Duke Henry went against a gentleman's agreement with his brother William and married Ursula of Saxe-Lauenburg in 1569, he had
forsake sharing the government of the principality and was compensated instead with the Amt of Dannenberg and the Klosteramt of
Scharnebeck. The barony of Danneberg remained part of the Principality of Lneburg, however, and important sovereign rights, such as foreign
policy or tax policy, remained with the government in Celle. In 1592, after the death of Duke William, the territory was enlarged with the mter
of Hitzacker, Lchow and Warpke, but Henry's demands for a transfer of sovereignty were not met. After the Principality of Grubenhagen had
returned to Celle in 1617, the Dannenberg line received the Amt of Wustrow as compensation. In 1671 the barony of Dannenberg went back to
the Welf line in Celle

Principality of Gttingen
The southernmost principality in the Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg stretched from Mnden in the south down the
River Weser to Holzminden. In the east it ran through Gttingen along the River Leine via Northeim to Einbeck. It
emerged in 1345 as the result of a division of the Principality of Brunswick and was united in 1495 with Calenberg.

The Principality of Gttingen was a subdivision of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg in the Holy Roman Empire with Gttingen as its capital.
It was split off from the principality of Brunswick in 1286 in the course of an estate division among members of the House of Welf. In 1495 it
was incorporated into the Principality of Calenberg, with which it stayed united until the end of the Duchy.
After the death of the first Brunswick duke Otto the Child in 1257 AD, his sons Albert I of Brunswick (the Tall) and Johann inherited their
father's territories. Duke Albrecht I first governed for his brother, a minor. Subsequently the brothers agreed to divide the territory between them
in 1267, effective 1269. The southern territories around the cities of Wolfenbttel and Gttingen went to Albert I, and were inherited by his sons
Henry the Admirable, Albert II the Fat and William in 1279. In 1286 the brothers again divided their heritage, Albert II chose Gttingen as his
residence and moved into the Welf residency, which he rebuilt into a fortress. After his brother William had died in 1292, he was also able to
acquire the subdivision around Wolfenbttel against his elder brother Henry, who only retained Grubenhagen.
After Albert the Fat's death in 1318, Gttingen passed to his eldest son Otto the Mild, who governed over both the "Principality of Gttingen"
(German: Frstentum Gttingen) and the territory of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel. These dukes joined Gttingen and surrounding towns in battles
against aristocratic knights in the surroundings of Gttingen, in the course of which the citizens of Gttingen succeeded in destroying the
fortress of Grone between 1323 to 1329 AD, as well as the fortress of Rosdorf. Since Otto the Mild died in 1344 without leaving children, his
younger brothers Magnus the Pious and Ernest divided the land between themselves. Ernest I received Gttingen, the poorest of all the Welf
principalities, which was to remain separate from Brunswick-Wolfenbttel for centuries. At this time, the territory consisted of the regions
formerly owned by the Counts of Northeim, the towns of Gttingen, Uslar, Dransfeld, Mnden, Gieselwerder at the border with Hesse and half
of Moringen. Not much is known about the rule of Duke Ernest I but it is generally assumed that he continued to fight against aristocratic
Ernest I was succeeded after his death in 1367 by his son Otto I of Gttingen (the Evil; German: der Quade) (d 1394), who initially lived in the
city's fortress and attempted to make it a permanent Welf residency. The epithet the Evil came from Otto I's incessant feuds. Breaking with the
policies of his predecessors, he frequently aligned himself with the aristocratic knights of the neighborhood in battles against the cities, whose
growing power disturbed him. Under Otto the Evil Gttingen gained a large degree of independence. After losing control of the provincial court
at the Leineberg in to Gttingen in 1375, Otto finally tried to impose his influence on Gttingen in 1387 AD, but with little success. In April
1387 Gttingen's citizens stormed and destroyed the fortress within the city walls. In retaliation, Otto destroyed villages and farms in the town's
surroundings. However, Gttingen's citizens gained a victory over the Duke's army in a battle between the villages of Rosdorf and Grone, under
their leader Moritz of Uslar, forcing Otto to acknowledge the independence of the town and its surrounding properties. 1387 thus marks an
important turning point in the history of the town. Gttingen's relative autonomy was further strengthened under Otto's successor Otto II "the
One-eyed" of Gttingen (German: Cocles/der Einugige), not least because the Welf line of Brunswick-Gttingen died out with Otto II, and the
resulting questions surrounding his succession after his abdication in 1435 destabilized the regional aristocracy.
The trend towards ever diminishing Welf influence over the town continued until the end of the 15th century, although the town officially
remained a Welf property. Nevertheless it is counted in some contemporaneous documents among the Imperial Free Cities.
The Gttingen branch of the Welf dynasty became extinct, when Duke Otto II the One-Eyed died without male heirs in 1463. His territories
were inherited by his cousin Duke William the Victorious, then Prince of Calenberg. After William had also inherited the Principality of
Wolfenbttel in 1473, he gave Gttingen to his eldest son William IV. When in 1482 William IV succeeded his father as Prince of Wolfenbttel
both territories were once again ruled in personal union, though only for a short time, as in 1491 he ceded Wolfenbttel to his eldest son Henry
IV the Evil and finally incorporated Gttingen as an integral part of the Principality of Calenberg, which he gave to his second son, Duke Eric I
"the Elder" in 1495. The town of Gttingen refused to pay homage to Eric I in 1504, and as a result, Eric I had Emperor Maximilian I of
Habsburg declare the city outlawed. The subsequent tensions economically weakened Gttingen, leading to the town finally paying its homage
to Eric I in 1512. Afterward the relationship between Eric and the town improved, because of Eric's financially dependence on Gttingen.
With Calenberg, Gttingen came into possession of the Welf dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel in 1584. In 1635 it passed to Duke George of
House of Lneburg-Celle, which ruled it thenceforth. In 1692 it was named as part of the indivisible territory of the Electoral state of Hanover.

Principality of Grubenhagen

From 1291 to 1596 Grubenhagen was an independent principality, its first ruler being Henry the Admirable, son of
Albert of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel. The state lay ran from the northern part of the Solling hills and the River Leine
near Einbeck and north of the Eichsfeld on and in the southwestern Harz. After being split in the course of the years
into smaller and smaller principalities it Grubenhagen finally returned in 1596 to Brunswick-Wolfenbttel.

The Principality of Grubenhagen was a subdivision of the Welf Duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg in the Holy Roman Empire. It is also known as
Brunswick-Grubenhagen. Grubenhagen was located around the southwestern edge of the Harz, and included the towns of Osterode am Harz,
Herzberg am Harz, Duderstadt, Einbeck and the eastern exclave of Elbingerode.
Grubenhagen was split off from the Brunswick subdivision of the duchy in 1291; its first ruler was Henry I, Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg.
Henry's sons split the small principality further in 1322 as they themselves had numerous heirs; Prince Otto of Grubenhagen, son of Duke Henry
II, in view of his small share left for Montferrat, married Queen Joan I of Naples in 1376 and became Prince of Taranto in 1383. The Principality
of Grubenhagen was finally reunited in 1526 under the rule of Duke Philip I of Brunswick-Lneburg.
When in 1596 the Grubenhagen branch became extinct, the territory was disputed by the different lines of the Brunswick-Lneburg dynasty.
Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel occupied Grubenhagen, his son Frederick Ulrich however had to cede it to Prince Christian of
Lneburg by a 1617 ruling of the Imperial Chamber Court (Reichskammergericht) at Speyer. With the Principality of Lneburg, Grubenhagen
was finally inherited by Prince Christian Louis of Calenberg in 1648. After his death in 1665 Grubenhagen ceased to exist as an independent
principality. Formally, it remained a state of the Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806.

Other branches

Other branches that did not have full sovereignty existed in the Dannenberg, Harburg, Gifhorn, Bevern, Osterode,
Herzberg, Salzderhelden and Einbeck.

Brunswick-Bevern is an extinct German dynasty. It is a branch of the Younger House of Brunswick, a branch of the House of Welf. Its first
member was Ferdinand Albert I, Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg, who received Bevern Palace as part of his inheritance in 1666. Originally non-
ruling, the Bevern line came to power in the principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel when the main line of the Younger House of Brunswick
became extinct in 1735. At that time, Brunswick-Bevern was given to Ernest Ferdinand, a younger son of the first Duke. His descendants held
the secundogeniture for three more generations.
The Brunswick-Bevern line went extinct with the death of William VIII, Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg, in 1884

While a total of about a dozen subdivisions that existed, some were only dynastic and not recognised as states of
the Empire, which at one time had over 1500 such legally recognized entities. In the List of Reichstag participants
(1792), the following four subdivisions of Brunswick-Lneburg had recognized representation:

The Principality of Lneburg.

The Principality of Calenberg-Gttingen, merged under Eric I of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel in 1495.
The Principality of Grubenhagen.
The Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel.

By 1705 only two Dukes of Brunswick-Lneburg survived, one ruling Calenberg, Lneburg and other possessions,
and the other ruling Wolfenbttel.

From Lneburg to Hanover

One of the dynastic lines was that of the princes of Lneburg, who in 1635 acquired Calenberg for George, a junior
member of the family who set up residence in the city of Hanover. His son Christian Louis and his brothers
inherited Celle in 1648 and thereafter shared it and Calenberg between themselves; a closely related branch of the
family ruled separately in Wolfenbttel.

As a latter day development, what became the Electorate of Hanover was initially called the Elector of Brunswick-
Lunenberg when the Holy Roman Emperor appointed Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenberg an Elector
in 1696 (two years before his death) in a somewhat controversial move to increase the number of Protestant
electorsthereby offending the entrenched interests of the extant prince-electors who would no longer be so few.
As with most matters in Europe during these times, this was part of the centuries-long religious unrest accompanied
by outright warfare (see Thirty Years' War) triggered by the zealous advocates on either side of the Protestant
Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

The territories of Calenberg and Lneburg-Celle were made an Electorate by the Emperor Leopold I in 1692 in
expectation of the imminent inheritance of Celle by the Duke of Calenberg, though the actual dynastic union of the
territories did not occur until 1705 under his son George I Louis, and the Electorate was not officially approved by
the Imperial Diet until 1708.

The resulting state was known under many different names (Brunswick-Lneburg, Calenberg, Calenberg-Celle; its
ruler was often known as the "Elector of Hanover". Coincidentally, in 1701 the Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg
found himself in the line of succession for the British crown, later confirmed in 1707 by the Act of Union, which he
subsequently inherited, thereby creating a personal union of the two crowns on 20 October 1714.

After a little over a decade, the matter of the disputed electorate was settled upon the heir, and the new Duke of
Brunswick-Lneburg (acceded as duke on 23 January 1698), George I Louis was able to style himself the Elector
of Brunswick and Lneburg from 1708. It was not just happenstance but similar religious driven politics that
brought about the circumstance that he was also put into the line of succession for the British crown by the
Settlement Act of 1701 which was written to ensure a Protestant succession to the thrones of Scotland and
England at a time when anti-Catholic sentiment ran high in much of Northern Europe and much of Great Britain. In
the event, George I succeeded his second cousin Queen Anne of Great Britain the last reigning member of the
House of Stuart, and subsequently formed a personal union from 1 August 1714 between the British crown and the
duchy of Brunswick-Lneburg (electorate of Hanover) which would last until well after the end of the Napoleonic
wars more than a century laterincluding even through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the rise of a
new successor kingdom. In that manner, the "Electorate of Hanover" (the core duchy) was enlarged with the
addition of other lands and became the kingdom of Hanover in 1814 at the peace conferences (Congress of Vienna)
settling the future shape of Europe in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars.

History of the relationship to the British crown

The first Hanoverian King of Great Britain, George I of Great Britain, was the reigning Duke of Brunswick-
Lneburg, and was finally made an official and recognized prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire in 1708. His
possessions were enlarged in 1706 when the hereditary lands of the Calenberg branch of the Dukes of Brunswick-
Lneburg merged with the lands of the Lneburg-Celle branch to form the state of Hanover. Subsequently, George I
was referred to as Elector of Hanover.

In 1700 and 1701, when the English Parliament had addressed the question of an orderly succession, with a
particular religious bias toward a Protestant ruler, from the childless ruling Queen Anne (House of Stuart), it passed
by the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 to Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I. Sophia
predeceased Queen Anne by a few weeks, but her son and heir, George I, succeeded as King of Great Britain when
Anne, his second cousin, died in August 1714. Great Britain and Hanover remained united in personal union until
the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

George I was followed by his son George II and great-grandson George III. The last mentioned retained the
position of elector even after the Holy Roman Empire was abolished by its last emperor in 1806. George III
contested the validity of the dissolution of the Empire and maintained separate consular offices and staff for the
Electorate of Hanover until the peace conferences at the war's end. After the fall of Napoleon, George III regained
his lands plus lands from Prussia as King of Hanover, whilst giving up some other smaller scattered territories.

After the Congress of Vienna

After the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Calenberg-Celle and its possessions were added to by the
Congress of Vienna ending the Napoleonic war being born anew under the name of Kingdom of Hanover
(including Brunswick-Lneburg). During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Kingdom of Hanover was
ruled as personal union by the British crown from its creation under George III of the United Kingdom, the last
elector of Hanover until the death of William IV in 1837. At that point, the crown of Hanover went to William's
younger brother, Ernest, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale under the Salic laws requiring the next male heir to
inherit, whereas the British throne was inherited by an elder brother's only daughter, Queen Victoria.

Subsequently, the kingdom was lost in 1866 by his son George V of Hanover during the Austro-Prussian War when
it was annexed by Prussia, and became the Prussian province of Hanover.

Duchy of Brunswick

The Wolfenbttel Line retained its independence, except from 1807 to 1813, when it and Hanover were merged
into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia. The Congress of Vienna of 1815 turned it into an independent state
under the name Duchy of Brunswick. The Duchy remained independent and joined first the North German
Confederation and in 1871 then the German Empire.

When the main line of descent became extinct in 1885, the German Emperor withheld the rightful heir, the Crown
Prince of Hanover, from taking control, instead installing a regent. Decades later, the families were reconciled by
the marriage of the Crown Prince's son to the Emperor's only daughter, and the Emperor allowed his son-in-law to
assume rule (his father having renounced his own right).

The title "Duke of Brunswick and Lneburg" (German: Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lneburg) was held, from 1235 on, by various members
of the Welf family who ruled several small territories in northwest Germany. These holdings did not have all of the formal characteristics of a
state, being neither compact nor indivisible. When several sons of a Duke competed for power, the lands were often divided between them;
when a branch of the family lost power or became extinct, the lands were reallocated among surviving members of the family; different dukes
might also exchange territories. The unifying element of all these territories was that they were ruled by male-line descendants of Duke Otto I.
After several early divisions, Brunswick-Lneburg was unified under Duke Magnus II (d. 1373). Following his death, his three sons jointly
ruled the Duchy. After the murder of their brother Frederick of Brunswick-Lneburg, brothers Bernard and Henry redivided the land, Henry
receiving the territory of Wolfenbttel.
Formal sovereignty confirmed
The territory of Wolfenbttel was recognized as a sovereign state by the congress in 1815. It had been a portion of the medieval Duchy of
Brunswick-Lneburg. From 1705 onward, all other portions of Brunswick-Lneburg except Wolfenbttel had been held by the Prince of
Calenberg and Celle, i.e. the Elector of Hanover, but the Wolfenbttel line retained its independence from Hanover.
The Wolfenbttel principality had for the period from 1807 to 1813 been held as part of the Kingdom of Westphalia. The Congress of Vienna of
1815 turned it into an independent country under the name Duchy of Brunswick.
Charles II (18151830)
The underage Duke Charles, the eldest son of Duke Frederick William (who had been killed in action), was put under the guardianship of
George IV, the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom and Hanover.
First, the young duke had a dispute over the date of his majority. Then, in 1827, Charles declared some of the laws made during his minority
invalid, which caused conflicts. After the German Confederation intervened, Charles was forced to accept those laws. His administration was
considered corrupt and misguided.
In the aftermath of the July Revolution in 1830, Charles finally had to abdicate. The palace in Brunswick was completely destroyed.
William VIII (18301884)
When Charles' brother William VIII arrived in Brunswick on 10 September, he was received joyfully by the people. William originally
considered himself only his brother's regent, but after a year declared himself ruling duke. Charles made several desperate attempts,
unsuccessfully, to depose his brother.
William left most government business to his ministers, and spent most of his time outside of his state at his possessions in Oels.
While William joined the Prussian-led North German Confederation in 1866, his relationship to Prussia was strained, since Prussia refused to
recognize Ernest Augustus II of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland, his nearest male-line relative, as his heir.
While the Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1866, the Duchy of Brunswick remained sovereign and independent. It joined first
the North German Confederation and in 1871 the German Empire.
In the 1870s, it became obvious that the then senior branch of the ruling House of Welf would go extinct. By house law, the House of Hanover
would have ascended the ducal throne. However, the Hanoverians still refused to accept the Prussian annexation of their kingdom. As a result,
there was strong Prussian pressure against having George V of Hanover or his son, the Duke of Cumberland, succeed to Brunswick without
severe conditions, including swearing allegiance to the German constitution and renouncing all claim to Hanover.
By a law of 1879, the Duchy of Brunswick established a temporary council of regency to take over at the Duke's death, and if necessary appoint
a regent if the Duke of Cumberland were unable to succeed. With the 1884 death of Duke William, the Wolfenbttel line came to an end. The
Duke of Cumberland proclaimed himself Duke of Brunswick at Duke William's death. However, since he still claimed to be the rightful King of
Hanover, the Federal Council ruled that the Duke of Cumberland would violate the peace of the German Empire if he succeeded to Brunswick.
Lengthy negotiations ensued, but were never resolved.
Regency (18841913)
Two regents were appointed: first, Prince Albert of Prussia until his death in 1906, and then Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg.
Ernest Augustus III (19131918)
This situation lasted until 1913. The Duke of Cumberland's eldest son having died in 1912, the elderly Duke renounced Brunswick in favor of
his youngest son, Ernest Augustus, who married Emperor Wilhelm II's daughter, swore allegiance to the German Empire and renounced all
claims to Hanover. Accordingly, he was allowed to ascend the throne of the duchy on November 1913.
In the midst of the German revolution in 1918, the Duke had to abdicate and the Free State of Brunswick was founded as a member state of the
Weimar Republic.