Brandenburger, n.
/bran"deuhn berrg'/; Ger. /brddahn"deuhn boorddk'/, n.
1. a state in NE central Germany. 2,700,000; 10,039 sq. mi. (26,000 sq. km.). Cap.: Potsdam.
2. a city in NE Germany. 95,203

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Historical region and province of Prussia.

The earliest Germanic inhabitants were replaced by Slavic Wends, who in turn were overcome in the 12th century by Albert the Bear, margrave of Brandenburg. It became one of the seven electorates of the Holy Roman Empire in 1356. Under the elector Frederick William (1640–88), Brandenburg-Prussia grew to be a leading power. It became a province of Prussia in 1815 and remained such after the unification of Germany (1871) and until the end of World War II. After the war, the eastern portion became part of Poland and the western portion part of East Germany. After Germany's reunification in 1990, the western part became a German state. Brandenburg city, or Brandenburg an der Havel (pop., 2002 est.: 76,400), was formerly the residence of Prussia's reigning family.

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in full  Brandenburg An Der Havel,  

      city, Brandenburg Land (state), eastern Germany. The city lies on both banks of the Havel River, west of Berlin. It was founded as Branibor (Brennabor, or Brennaburg) by the West Slavic Havelli tribe and was captured by the German king Henry I the Fowler in 928. A bishopric was first established there in 948. The city was retaken by the Slavs in 983, but it was inherited from the childless Havellian king Pribislav-Henry in 1134 by the Ascanian Albert I the Bear. He rebuilt the town and gave its name to the margravate of Brandenburg in 1157.

      The bishopric was not reestablished permanently until 1161. In 1356 the margravate became the electorate of Brandenburg. The original Slavic settlement on the south bank became the Altstadt (“Old City”), while the German settlement on the north bank became the Neustadt (“New City”) and the seat of the margraves of Brandenburg. The two parts were not united under a single municipality until 1715. In 1539 the bishopric became Lutheran, and in 1598 the see was incorporated into electoral Brandenburg.

      Brandenburg's architectural monuments include a Romanesque cathedral whose foundations were laid on an island in the Havel in 1165; it was rebuilt in a Gothic style in the 14th century and extensively restored in the 1960s. Other monuments include St. Jacob's Chapel (1320) and St. Katherine's Church, dating from the same century.

      The city's major industries are based on local steelmaking and steelworking, which support the manufacture of tractors and machinery; there are also textile (jute, clothing) and leatherworking industries. Major German steel-rolling and wiredrawing mills are nearby, as is Plauen Lake, a recreational centre. As a busy river port at the eastern end of the Elbe-Havel Canal, the city is also the location of a major inland shipyard that makes fishing vessels. Pop. (1991 est.) 89,889.

▪ historical margravate, Germany
      margravate, or mark, then an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the northeastern lowlands of Germany; it was the nucleus of the dynastic power on which the kingdom of Prussia was founded. After World War I it was a province of the Land (state) of Prussia in Germany. After World War II Brandenburg west of the Oder River was constituted as a separate Land on the dissolution of Prussia. In 1952 Brandenburg's old administrative identity was lost when the East German Länder were dissolved into new Bezirke (districts), but the Land of Brandenburg was re-created in 1990 prior to the reunification of East with West Germany. See Brandenburg (Land).

      The ancient Semnones who occupied the region were later replaced by Slavs. German conquest began with the capture by the German king Henry I the Fowler (reigned 919–936) of Branibor (Brennabor, or Brennaburg), capital of the Slavic (Slav) Havelli. Thereafter, the Slavs drove the Germans back, but from 1106, under Lothar (Lothar II (or III)), duke of Saxony (later German emperor), and Albert I the Bear, whom he made margrave of the North March (Nordmark) in 1134, German conquest, colonization, and Christianization of the region began in earnest. The process continued over the next century under Albert's heirs, the Ascanians. The Slavs were gradually assimilated culturally, politically, and economically, and Brandenburg enjoyed prosperity in the 13th century. Berlin was one of the several new towns founded, and Brandenburg was divided into the Old March (Altmark), west of the Elbe River, Middle March (Mittelmark), between the Elbe and the Oder, and New March (Neumark), the additions of territory east of the Oder. Its ruler was recognized as an imperial elector (a prince who participated in electing the Holy Roman emperor) by the mid-12th century, and this right was confirmed by the Golden Bull of the emperor Charles IV (Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV) (1356). After the Brandenburg (senior) branch of the Ascanians became extinct in 1320, the electorate was beset by disunity. The administration of the German king Wenceslas of Luxembourg (1373–78) provided a measure of strong government, but generally in the 14th century the local nobility gained considerable power at the expense of the elector and of the formerly free peasantry.

      The revival of stronger central government in Brandenburg began with the appointment of Frederick of Hohenzollern as elector by the Holy Roman emperor Sigismund in 1415. Frederick II Iron Tooth (reigned 1440–70) curbed the rebellious nobles and the towns and was periodically disturbed by wars with the neighbouring Pomeranians, over whom his brother and successor, Albert III Achilles (reigned 1470–86), finally established suzerainty. Joachim I (Joachim I Nestor) (reigned 1499–1535) introduced the Roman law into Brandenburg; under his sons and heirs, Elector Joachim II and John (John Sigismund), Lutheranism was accepted and the lands of secularized bishoprics were taken over by the dynasty. Joachim II (reigned 1535–71) secured a foothold in Silesia, but more important was an arrangement he made in 1569 with his Hohenzollern kinsman, Albert Frederick, the duke of Prussia, by which the elector of Brandenburg obtained the joint investiture of the duchy of Prussia and was assured of the succession if the duke's family became extinct.

      The elector John Sigismund (reigned 1600–20) married Anna, daughter of Albert Frederick of Prussia, thereby further strengthening his claim to that duchy, which he inherited in 1618. John Sigismund also acquired Kleve, Mark, and Ravensberg, which became the nucleus of Hohenzollern (Hohenzollern Dynasty) power in western Germany.

      During the electorate of George William (1620–40), Brandenburg at first sought neutrality in the Thirty Years' War (1618–48) but nevertheless suffered invasions and long occupation by the Swedes. His son Frederick William, the Great Elector (1640–88), freed the electorate from them and reestablished order. Frederick William acquired eastern Pomerania, the secularized bishoprics of Halberstadt, Minden, and Kammin, and the archbishopric of Magdeburg. Through these territorial additions and his political and military activities, Frederick William became the leading Protestant prince in Germany and established Brandenburg-Prussia as an important European state with a sound fiscal basis, effective army, and bureaucracy. At his death on May 9, 1688, the state of Brandenburg, with Prussia behind it, was inferior to Austria alone among the principalities of the empire. The elector was regarded as the head of German Protestantism, his lands now covered more than 40,000 square miles (100,000 square km), and his revenue had multiplied. His army, still small but unsurpassed for its effective training, gave him the place formerly held by Sweden in the political and military combinations of the period.

      The new elector, Frederick III (Frederick I) (Frederick I of Prussia), reaped the results of his father's policy under more favourable conditions. He assisted William of Orange to make his descent on England in 1688, allied himself with other German princes against Louis XIV of France, and afterward fought on the side of the Holy Roman Empire against both France and Turkey. Frederick's chief adviser about this time was Eberhard Danckelmann (1643–1722), whose services in continuing the reforming work of the Great Elector were very valuable; but, having made many enemies, he fell from power in 1697 and was imprisoned for several years. The most important work of Frederick III was to crown the labours of his father by securing the title of king of Prussia for himself and his descendants. Broached in 1692, this matter was brought up again in 1698, when the Holy Roman emperor Leopold I and his ministers, faced with the prospect of a fight over the succession to the Spanish throne, were eager to conciliate Brandenburg. It was at length decided that the kingly title should be taken from Prussia rather than from Brandenburg because the former country lay outside the empire, and in return Frederick promised to assist Leopold with 8,000 men. The coronation ceremony when Frederick made himself “king in Prussia” took place at Königsberg on Jan. 18, 1701. In his later years Frederick was largely preoccupied with participation in the War of the Spanish Succession and with watching his country's interests in the vicissitudes of the Great Northern War. The territorial additions to Brandenburg during this reign were few and unimportant, but the state's comparative wealth and prosperity enabled the elector to do a good deal for education and spend some money on buildings. In 1694 the University of Halle was founded; academies for arts and sciences were established; and Berlin was greatly improved.

      Frederick died on Feb. 25, 1713. The subsequent history of Brandenburg is merged in that of Prussia (q.v.).

  Land (state), eastern Germany. The current territory of Brandenburg state occupies what were the east-central and eastern portions of former East Germany, extending east-west from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Elbe region and north-south from the Mecklenburg lake district to lower Lusatia (Lausitz). Brandenburg is bounded by the German state of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania to the north, by Poland to the east, and by the states of Saxony to the south, Saxony-Anhalt to the west, and Lower Saxony to the northwest. Embedded within the middle of Brandenburg is the national capital, Berlin, a state in its own right. Brandenburg's capital is Potsdam. Area 11,381 square miles (29,476 square km). Pop. (2006 est.) 2,547,772.

      The landscape of present-day Brandenburg is very much the product of glaciation. Most of the state consists of a sandy plain that is interspersed with numerous fertile areas and stretches of pine and fir forests. Because of its sandy soils, it was formerly popularly known as the “sandbox of the Holy Roman Empire.” It is, however, traversed by tributaries of the Elbe (Elbe River) and Oder (Oder River) rivers and boasts more than 3,000 lakes. About half of the state's area is used for agriculture, and roughly another one-third of the region is covered by forests. The Lower Oder Valley National Park, established in 1995 in the northeasternmost part of Brandenburg, is part of a joint Polish-German effort to help preserve the region's distinctive flora and fauna. Ironically, the ecology of the region benefited from decades of the relative economic neglect of the area. The state lies wholly within the North European Plain (see European Plain) and has a moderate climate, determined both by maritime influences, which predominate in areas to the west, and by continental influences, which affect the east.

      Brandenburg is one of Germany's least densely populated states. It is mostly inhabited by ethnic Germans; a small indigenous Slavic group, the Sorbs (Sorb) (concentrated in the southeastern part of the state); and a relatively small immigrant population. Unlike the other eastern German states, Brandenburg experienced a positive rate of population growth from 1995 to 2000, largely as the result of the suburbanization of the economic activities and population of Berlin. Since 2000, however, the population trajectory for Brandenburg has reversed, though growth has continued in suburban areas near Berlin, which were among the very few areas within eastern Germany that grew early in the century. Potsdam, Cottbus, Brandenburg city, and Frankfurt an der Oder are Brandenburg's only significant cities, none of which is large.

      While still a dominating factor on the landscape, agriculture plays a relatively small role in terms of economic output and employment in Brandenburg. Rye, wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, rape, and fodder crops are the principal crops grown. Livestock raising and the market gardening of fruits and vegetables, especially apples, cherries, asparagus, peas, and cucumbers, are also important. Dairying, especially for the production of butter and cheese, is another significant economic activity.

      The major industrial resource in Brandenburg is lignite, which is mined in the Lusatia field, located in the southeastern part of the state and in neighbouring Saxony. Output and employment in this sector burgeoned under the autarkic economic policies of East Germany, but following unification both output and employment plummeted drastically, the latter by some nine-tenths. Still, the Lusatia field produces about one-fifth of all German lignite, which serves as a resource for producing energy, chemicals, and other products. Two positive impacts of reduced coal mining have been ongoing work to revegetate the extensive open-pit mines and greatly improved air quality, resulting from both the closing of many pollution-spewing plants and the fitting of others with filters that reduce airborne exhaust.

      Brandenburg is one of Germany's poorer states. Following unification many factories closed, employment declined, and unemployment increased dramatically, to about one-sixth of the workforce, a level that changed little in the mid- and late 1990s and the first years of the new century. Brandenburg has a varied industrial base, with engineering, steelmaking, metalworking, paper production, food processing, petroleum refining, mining, and the production of energy from lignite most well represented. The Brandenburg-Berlin region, including especially Potsdam in Brandenburg, is the site of an emerging cluster of biotechnology research-and-development activities. Urban-industrial nodes in Brandenburg include Cottbus, Frankfurt an der Oder, Schwedt, Eissenhüttenstadt, Eberswalde, Oranienburg, Potsdam, Fürstenwalde, and Brandenburg city.

 The larger towns in Brandenburg serve as regional centres for service activities, while the important Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam produces both films and television programming for a wider clientele. The state also gained service-sector jobs in the transportation, wholesale, and retail sectors as the result of growth and suburbanization in the Berlin region. Brandenburg has a modest-sized tourist sector that largely serves Germans, most notably Berliners, rather than foreign visitors. In addition to the Lower Oder Valley National Park, primary natural attractions include the lovely Spreewald in the southeast and the lake country in the north. In the city of Potsdam, more than 1,200 acres (500 hectares) of beautiful parks containing gardens and 150 historic buildings—including a Prussian imperial residence, the New Palace (Neues Palais); the dramatic Sans Souci Palace; and the Cecilienhof, in which the World War II Potsdam Conference was held—have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 Brandenburg is served by many major east-west transport routes, including rail links and highways between both eastern and western Germany and eastern and western Europe. In addition, several navigable rivers and canals cross Brandenburg, again primarily with an east-west orientation, including the Elbe-Havel, Oder-Spree, and Oder-Havel (Oder–Havel Canal) canals, which link the major rivers of the region for barge traffic. (See also Havel (Havel River), Spree (Spree River), and Elbe (Elbe River) rivers.) Most of these routes have been improved and expanded since unification. In addition, Schönefeld airport, serving Berlin and located near the border between the two states, underwent expansion beginning in the late 1990s.

      Brandenburg's state government is dominated by a Landtag (state parliament) and a minister-president, who is generally a leading member of the Landtag's strongest party. Brandenburg's universities include a technical university in Cottbus and newly founded universities in Potsdam and Frankfurt an der Oder, the latter cooperating closely with a Polish university as a step toward bringing Germans and Poles closer together.

      The major cultural centre in Brandenburg is Potsdam, with its many architecturally significant buildings associated with Prussian royalty, some of which house important art collections. The city hosts the annual Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival. Other notable music festivals are held each year at the Rheinsberg Palace in the northern part of the state and at the ruins of Chorin Abbey in the northeast.

      The historic principality of Brandenburg originated as a margravate, or mark, that was an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire. Brandenburg was the nucleus of the dynastic power on which the kingdom of Prussia was founded, and it was merged administratively with that kingdom in 1701. It became a province of Prussia in 1815 and remained such after the unification of Germany (1871) and until the end of World War II. After the war that part of Brandenburg west of the Oder River was constituted as a separate state upon the dissolution of Prussia by the Allies in 1947. In 1952, however, Brandenburg's old administrative identity was lost when the East German states were dissolved into new Bezirke (districts). The state of Brandenburg was re-created primarily out of the former East German districts of Potsdam, Frankfurt, and Cottbus in the process of the unification of East and West Germany in 1990. Subsequent efforts to merge the separate administrative entities of Berlin and Brandenburg into a single state have so far been unsuccessful.

William H. Berentsen

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Universalium. 2010.

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