Duchy of Saxony

Duchy of Saxony

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The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 "Carolingian stem duchy
Stem duchy
Stem duchies were essentially the domains of the old German tribes of the area, associated with the Frankish Kingdom, especially the East, in the Early Middle Ages. These tribes were originally the Franks, the Saxons, the Alamanni, the Burgundians, the Thuringii, and the Rugii...

" covering the greater part of Northern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen
Bremen (state)
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen .-Geography:...

, Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, and Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...

 and most of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

. Duke Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, which duchies he held until 1180....

 occupied the area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The Saxon people
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 were one of the most robust groups in the late tribal culture of the times, and eventually bequeathed their tribe's name to a variety of more and more modern geo-political territories from Old Saxony
Old Saxony
Old Saxony is the original homeland of the Saxons in the northwest corner of modern Germany and roughly corresponds today with the contemporary Lower Saxony, Westphalia and western Saxony-Anhalt....

 near the mouth of the Elbe River, up the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 successively to eventually, the Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

 and the three Germany Länder
Länder
Länder or Bundesländer may refer to:* States of Germany, the 16 federal subdivisions of Germany* States of Austria, the 9 federal subdivisions of Austria...

 (Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

, Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...

, and Free State of Saxony) which bear the name today (see map below).

History




Middle Ages


For the early history of the Saxons before incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, see: Old Saxony
Old Saxony
Old Saxony is the original homeland of the Saxons in the northwest corner of modern Germany and roughly corresponds today with the contemporary Lower Saxony, Westphalia and western Saxony-Anhalt....


  • 804: The Duchy of Saxony (established in 785 when Widukind
    Widukind
    Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

     was installed as the first Duke of Saxony), consisting of Angria
    Angria
    Angria or Angaria is a historical region in the present-day German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. The chronicler Widukind of Corvey in his Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres denoted it as the central region of the mediæval Duchy of Saxony lying along the middle...

     , Westphalia, Eastphalia
    Eastphalia
    Eastphalia is a historical region in northern Germany, encompassing the eastern part of the historic Duchy of Saxony, between the Elbe, Leine, Saale and Unstrut rivers. Today, it covers the southeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony and the western part of Saxony-Anhalt.-Etymology:The name...

     and Northalbingia (today Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

    ) becomes part of the Franconian Empire.
  • 852: Liudolf, Duke of Saxony
    Liudolf, Duke of Saxony
    Liudolf was a Saxon count, son of one count Brun and his wife Gisla von Verla ; later authors called him duke of the Eastern Saxons and count of Eastphalia...

    , descendant of Widukind and first of the Ottonian
    Ottonian
    The Ottonian dynasty was a dynasty of Germanic Kings , named after its first emperor but also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names...

     dynasty, founds Gandersheim Abbey
    Gandersheim Abbey
    Gandersheim Abbey is a former house of secular canonesses in the present town of Bad Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was founded in 852 by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, progenitor of the Liudolfing or Ottonian dynasty, whose rich endowments ensured its stability and prosperity.The "Imperial...

    .
  • 880: Bruno, son of Liudolf
    Bruno, Duke of Saxony
    Bruno, Brun, or Braun was the Duke of Saxony from 866 to his death. He was the elder son of Duke Liudolf of Saxony, progenitor of the Liudolfing dynasty and his wife Oda of Billung...

    , is killed in a battle with Viking
    Viking
    The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

    s. His younger brother Otto
    Otto I, Duke of Saxony
    Otto , called the Illustrious by later authors, was the Duke of Saxony from 880 to his death. He was the younger son of Duke Liudolf of Saxony and his wife Oda of Billung, and succeeded his brother Bruno as duke after the latter's death in battle in 880...

     becomes Duke of Saxony.
  • 912: Henry, son of Otto, succeeds him as Duke.
  • 919: Henry of Saxony is elected King of the Germans by the assembled Saxon and Frankish princes in Fritzlar
    Fritzlar
    Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

    .
  • 936: Henry's son, Otto I the Great, succeeds him and is crowned in Aachen
    Aachen
    Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

     as King of the Germans.
  • 938: Hermann Billung becomes margrave
    Margrave
    A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

     ("Markgraf") of Saxony.
  • 953: Otto I elevates Hermann Billung to viceduke of Saxony.
  • 973: Otto I dies in Memleben; Otto II
    Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
    Otto II , called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy.-Early years and co-ruler with Otto I:...

     becomes Emperor. Hermann Billung dies in Quedlinburg
    Quedlinburg
    Quedlinburg is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval court and the old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list....

    ; Bernhard I Billung
    Bernard I, Duke of Saxony
    Bernard I was the duke of Saxony , the second of the Billung dynasty, a son of Duke Herman and Oda. He extended his father's power considerably....

     becomes duke of Saxony.
  • 983: Danish uprising in Hedeby
    Hedeby
    Hedeby |heath]]land, and býr = yard, thus "heath yard"), mentioned by Alfred the Great as aet Haethe , in German Haddeby and Haithabu, a modern spelling of the runic Heiðabý was an important trading settlement in the Danish-northern German borderland during the Viking Age...

    . Slavonian
    Slavic peoples
    The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

     uprising in Northalbingia. Otto III
    Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
    Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

     becomes Emperor.
  • 1002: The death of Otto III marks the end of the Saxon emperors.
  • 1011: Duke Bernhard I Billung
    Bernard I, Duke of Saxony
    Bernard I was the duke of Saxony , the second of the Billung dynasty, a son of Duke Herman and Oda. He extended his father's power considerably....

     dies; his son Bernhard II
    Bernard II, Duke of Saxony
    Bernard II was the Duke of Saxony , the third of the Billung dynasty, a son of Bernard I and Hildegard. He had the rights of a count in Frisia....

     becomes duke.
  • 1042: Ordulf Billung
    Ordulf, Duke of Saxony
    Ordulf was the duke of Saxony from 1059, when he succeeded his father Bernard II, until his death. He was a member of the Billung family.-Reign:...

    , son of Bernhard II, marries Wulfhild
    Wulfhild
    Wulfhild , Old West Norse: Úlfhildr Ólafsdóttir, Swedish: Ulfhild Olofsdotter, was a Norwegian princess and a duchess of Saxony, wife of Ordulf, Duke of Saxony....

    , the half-sister of King Magnus
    Magnus I of Norway
    Magnus I , known as the Good or the Noble, was the King of Norway from 1035 to 1047 and the King of Denmark from 1042 to 1047. He was an illegitimate son of king Olaf II of Norway, but fled with his mother in 1028 when his father was dethroned. In 1035 he returned to Norway and was crowned king at...

     of Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

     and Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    . Danes and Saxons fight against the Wends
    Wends
    Wends is a historic name for West Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used...

    .
  • 1059: Ordulf Billung becomes Duke after the death of his father.
  • 1072: Magnus Billung
    Magnus, Duke of Saxony
    Magnus was the duke of Saxony from 1072 to 1106. Eldest son and successor of Ordulf and Wulfhild of Norway, he was the last member of the House of Billung.-Rebellion:...

     becomes Duke.
  • 1106: Duke Magnus dies without heir, ending the Billung dynasty. The Billung territory becomes part of the Welf and Ascanian
    Ascanian
    The House of Ascania was a dynasty of German rulers. It was also known as the House of Anhalt, after Anhalt, its longest-held possession.The Ascanians are named after Ascania Castle, which is located near and named after Aschersleben...

     countries. Lothar of Supplinburg becomes Duke of Saxony.
  • 1112: Otto of Ballenstedt created Duke by Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
    Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
    Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

    .
  • 1115: Victory of Lothar of Supplinburg in the battle of Welfesholz over King Henry V.
  • 1125: Lothar of Supplinburg elected as German King and crowned Emperor, as Lothar II.
  • 1137 Death of Lothar. The Welf Henry X the Proud
    Henry X, Duke of Bavaria
    thumb|right|Henry X in a much later engraving.Henry the Proud was the Duke of Bavaria , Duke of Saxony , and Margrave of Tuscany .-Life and reign:...

    , Duke of Bavaria since 1126, becomes Duke of Saxony, as Henry II.
  • 1138: Henry X tries to become king, but without success. The Ascanian Albert the Bear becomes new Duke of Saxony.
  • 1139: Death of Henry X.
  • 1141: Albert the Bear resigns.
  • 1142: Conrad III, King of the Romans and of Germany
    Conrad III of Germany
    Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. He was the son of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia, and Agnes, a daughter of the Salian Emperor Henry IV.-Life and reign:...

    , grants the ducal title to the Welf Henry the Lion
    Henry the Lion
    Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, which duchies he held until 1180....

     (as Henry III). Henry the Lion gradually extends his rule over northeastern Germany. After gaining also the Duchy of Bavaria
    Duchy of Bavaria
    The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

    , Henry's realm covers more than two thirds of Germany from the Alps
    Alps
    The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

     to the North Sea
    North Sea
    In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

     and the Baltic Sea
    Baltic Sea
    The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

    , making him the mightiest ruler in central Europe.


Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 and his allies, many of them vassals and former supporters of his paternal cousin Duke Henry III the Lion, had defeated the latter. In 1180 Frederick Barbarossa stripped Henry the Lion of his duchies of Saxony and Bavaria. In 1182 Henry the Lion and his wife Matilda Plantagenêt
Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony
Matilda of England was the eldest daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Through her marriage with Henry the Lion, she was Duchess of Saxony and later of Bavaria.-Early life:...

, the daughter of Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. As well as being Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, she was queen consort of France and of England...

 and sister of Richard Lionheart left from Stade
Stade
Stade is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany and part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region . It is the seat of the district named after it...

 to go into exile from the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 in order to stay with Henry II of England.

Frederick Barbarossa partitioned Saxony in some dozens of territories of imperial immediacy, allotting each territory to that one of his allies who had conquered them before from Henry the Lion and his remaining supporters.

While in 1168 the Saxon clan of the Ascanians, allies of Frederick Barbarossa, had failed to install their family member Siegfried, Count of Anhalt
Siegfried, Count of Anhalt
Siegfried of Anhalt was born as the third son of Sophie of Winzenburg and her husband Albert the Bear, then Count of Anhalt, of the House of Ascania. He was educated as a Roman Catholic clerk. In 1168 he was elected Archbishop of Bremen, but failed to gain control of the See...

, on the archepiscopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 of Bremen, the Ascanians prevailed twofoldly in 1180. The chief of the House of Ascania, Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg
Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg
Otto I was the second Margrave of Brandenburg, from 1170 until his death.-Life:Otto I was born into the House of Ascania as the eldest son of Albert I , who founded the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1157, and his wife Sophie von Winzenburg...

, son of Albert the Bear
Albert I of Brandenburg
Albert the Bear was the first Margrave of Brandenburg from 1157 to his death and was briefly Duke of Saxony between 1138 and 1142.-Life:...

, a maternal cousin of Henry the Lion, provided his sixth brother Bernard, Count of Anhalt
Bernhard, Count of Anhalt
Bernhard, Count of Anhalt was a German prince of the House of Ascania, Count of Anhalt and Ballenstedt, and Lord of Bernburg through his paternal inheritance...

, from then on Bernard III, Duke of Saxony, with the from then on so-called younger Duchy of Saxony (1180–1296), a radically belittled territory consisting of three unconnected territories along the river Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

, from north west to south east, (1) Hadeln around Otterndorf
Otterndorf
Otterndorf is a town on the coast of the North Sea in the region of Lower Saxony, Germany, and is part of the Samtgemeinde Land Hadeln . The town is at the mouth of the river Medem on part of the Elbe delta in the district Cuxhaven...

, (2) around Lauenburg upon Elbe
Lauenburg/Elbe
Lauenburg/Elbe is a town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated at the northern bank of the river Elbe, east of Hamburg. It is the southernmost town of Schleswig-Holstein. Lauenburg belongs to the Kreis of Herzogtum Lauenburg and had a population of 11,900 as of 2002...

 and (3) around Wittenberg upon Elbe
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

. Except of the title, Duke of Saxony, Angria and Westphalia, which this younger Duchy of Saxony granted its rulers, even after its definite dynastic partition in 1296, this territory, consisting only of territorial fringes of the old Duchy of Saxony until 1180, had little in common with the latter.

Otto and Bernard helped their second brother Siegfried
Siegfried, Count of Anhalt
Siegfried of Anhalt was born as the third son of Sophie of Winzenburg and her husband Albert the Bear, then Count of Anhalt, of the House of Ascania. He was educated as a Roman Catholic clerk. In 1168 he was elected Archbishop of Bremen, but failed to gain control of the See...

, who since 1168 had called himself the Bishop Elect of Bremen, to gain the see of Bremen, with part of the diocesan territory being upgraded to form the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen . Thus the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen became - among many others - one of the successor states of the old Duchy of Saxony, holding only a small part of its former territory.

The deposed ducal House of Welf could maintain its allodial possessions, which did not remain part of the severely belittled younger Duchy of Saxony after the enfeoffment of the Ascanians. The Welf possessions were elevated to the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg (also Brunswick and Lunenburg) in 1235. This duchy continued to use the old Saxon coat-of-arms showing the Saxon Steed
Saxon Steed
The Saxon Steed is a favorite heraldic motif of the Saxons.-Origin and past uses:The Saxon Steed originated in the tribal Duchy of Saxony...

 in argent on gules, while the Ascanians adopted for the younger Duchy of Saxony their family colours, a barry of ten, in sable
Sable (heraldry)
In heraldry, sable is the tincture black, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures, called "colours". In engravings and line drawings, it is sometimes depicted as a region of crossed horizontal and vertical lines or else marked with sa. as an abbreviation.The name derives from the black fur of...

 and or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

, covered by a crancelin of rhombs bendwise in vert, symbolising the Saxon dukedom.

In 1269, 1272 and 1282 the co-ruling brothers John I
John I, Duke of Saxony
Duke John I of Saxony was the elder son of Duke Albert I of Saxony and his third wife Helen of Brunswick and Lunenburg, a daughter of Otto the Child...

 and Albert II
Albert II, Duke of Saxony
Albert II of Saxony was a son of Duke Albert I of Saxony and his third wife Helen of Brunswick and Lunenburg, a daughter of Otto the Child. He supported Rudolph I of Germany at his election as Roman king and became his son-in-law...

 gradually divided their governing competences within the then three territorially unconnected Saxon areas (Hadeln, Lauenburg and Wittenberg), thus preparing a partition.

After John I had resigned in 1282 in favour of his three minor sons Eric I, John II and Albert III, followed by his death three years later, the three brothers and their uncle Albert II continued the joint rule in Saxony.

In 1288 Albert II applied at King Rudolph I for the enfeoffment of his son and heir Duke Rudolph I with the Palatinate of Saxony, which ensued a long lasting dispute with the eager clan of the House of Wettin. When the County of Brehna was reverted to the Empire after the extinction of its comital family the king enfeoffed Duke Rudolph. In 1290 Albert II gained the County of Brehna and in 1295 the County of Gommern
Gommern
Gommern is a town in the Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approx. 15 km southeast of Magdeburg. On January 1, 2005, the municipalities Dannigkow, Dornburg, Karith, Ladeburg, Leitzkau, Menz, Nedlitz, Vehlitz and Wahlitz have been incorporated into Gommern. On...

 for Saxony. King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia succeeded in bringing Albert II in favour of electing Adolf of Germany as new emperor: Albert II signed an elector pact on 29 November 1291 that he would vote the same as Wenceslaus. On 27 April 1292 Albert II, with his nephews still minor, wielded the Saxon electoral vote
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

, electing Adolf of Germany.

The last document, mentioning the joint government of Albert II with his nephews as Saxon fellow dukes dates back to 1295. The definite partitioning of the Duchy of Saxony into Saxe-Lauenburg , jointly ruled by the brothers Albert III, Eric I and John II and Saxe-Wittenberg
Saxe-Wittenberg
The Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg was a medieval duchy of the Holy Roman Empire centered at Wittenberg, which emerged after the dissolution of the stem duchy of Saxony. As the precursor of the Saxon Electorate, the Ascanian Wittenberg dukes prevailed in obtaining the Saxon electoral dignity.-Ascanian...

 , ruled by Albert II took place before 20 September 1296. The Vierlande, Sadelbande (Land of Lauenburg), the Land of Ratzeburg, the Land of Darzing (today's Amt Neuhaus
Amt Neuhaus
Amt Neuhaus is a municipality in the District of Lunenburg , in Lower Saxony, Germany.- History :In the course of the eastern colonisation the area of today's Amt Neuhaus became a part of the Duchy of Saxony...

), and the Land of Hadeln are mentioned as the separate territory of the brothers. Albert II received Saxe-Wittenberg around the eponymous city and Belzig
Belzig
Bad Belzig, also known as Belzig, is a historic town in Brandenburg, Germany located about southwest of Berlin. It is the capital of the Potsdam-Mittelmark district.-Geography:...

. Albert II thus became the founder of the Ascanian
Ascanian
The House of Ascania was a dynasty of German rulers. It was also known as the House of Anhalt, after Anhalt, its longest-held possession.The Ascanians are named after Ascania Castle, which is located near and named after Aschersleben...

 line of Saxe-Wittenberg.

Members of the Welf cadet branch House of Hanover
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 later became prince-elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

s of Brunswick-Lüneburg (as of 1692/1708), kings of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

, Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 (both 1714), the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 (1801) and Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

 (1814).

Territories seceded from Saxony following its break-up in 1180


A number of seceded territories even gained imperial immediacy, while others only changed their liege lord
Liege Lord
Liege Lord was an American speed/power metal band, active in the 1980s and considered to be a pioneer of the genre. It was formed by Matt Vinci, Anthony Truglio and Frank Cortese....

 on the occasion. The following list includes states that existed shortly after 1180 in the territory of the former stem duchy in addition to the two legal successors of the stem duchy, the Ascanian Duchy of Saxony centered around Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

 and the Duchy of Westphalia
Duchy of Westphalia
The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the greater region of Westphalia, located in the east of modern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Originally, Westphalia formed with Angria and Eastphalia one of the three main regions of Saxony...

 held by the archbishops of Cologne.
  • County of Bentheim
  • County of Blankenburg
    County of Blankenburg
    The County of Blankenburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire. Its capital was Blankenburg, it was located in and near the Harz mountains.-County of Blankenburg:...

    , until 1180 a Saxon fief, then a fief of the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt
  • Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen
  • County of Bruchhausen
  • County of Brunswick
    County of Brunswick
    The County of Brunswick was a county in the medieval Duchy of Saxony. It existed from about the 9th century until 1235, when it was raised to a duchy, the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg....

    , later the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1235), the Welf allodial possessions
  • Abbacy of Corvey
  • County of Delmenhorst
  • County of Diepholz
  • County of Everstein
  • Abbacy of Gandersheim
  • Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt
  • Prince-Bishopric of Hildesheim
  • County of Hohenstein, seated in Hohenstein
    Hohenstein, Thuringia
    Hohenstein is a municipality in the district of Nordhausen, in Thuringia, Germany....

  • County of Holstein
    Holstein
    Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

  • County of Hoya
  • Lordship of Lippe
    Principality of Lippe
    Lippe was a historical state in Germany. It was located between the Weser River and the southeast part of the Teutoburg forest.-History:...

    , an allodial possession within the Duchy of Saxony until 1180, gaining disputed imperial immediacy
  • Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck
  • Prince-Archbishopric of Magdeburg
    Archbishopric of Magdeburg
    The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was a Roman Catholic archdiocese and Prince-Bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire centered on the city of Magdeburg on the Elbe River....

  • County of Mansfeld
  • County of Mark
  • Prince-Bishopric of Minden
  • Prince-Bishopric of Münster
  • County of Oldenburg
    Oldenburg (state)
    Oldenburg — named after its capital, the town of Oldenburg — was a state in the north of present-day Germany. Oldenburg survived from 1180 until 1918 as a county, duchy and grand duchy, and from 1918 until 1946 as a free state. It was located near the mouth of the River Weser...

  • Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
    Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
    The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück was a prince-bishopric centred on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück. The diocese was erected in 772 and is the oldest see founded by Charlemagne, in order to Christianize the conquered stem-duchy of Saxony....

  • Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn
  • Abbacy of Quedlinburg
  • Prince-Bishopric of Ratzeburg
  • County of Ravensberg
  • Prince-Bishopric of Schwerin
  • County of Tecklenburg
  • Prince-Bishopric of Verden
  • County of Waldeck
  • County of Wernigerode
    County of Wernigerode
    The County of Wernigerode was a county of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Harzgau region of the former Duchy of Saxony, at the northern foot of the Harz mountain range...

  • Duchy of Westphalia and Angria
    Duchy of Westphalia
    The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the greater region of Westphalia, located in the east of modern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Originally, Westphalia formed with Angria and Eastphalia one of the three main regions of Saxony...