Infobox German Bundesland
Name = Brandenburg
state_coa = Brandenburg Wappen.svg
coa_link = Coat of arms of Brandenburg
capital = Potsdam
area = 29478.63
population = 2537800
pop_ref = [cite web |url=http://www.statistik-portal.de/Statistik-Portal/de_zs01_bb.asp |title= State population |work= Portal of the Federal Statistics Office Germany |accessdate=2007-04-25]
pop_date = 2007-10-31
GDP = 48
GDP_year = 2005
GDP_percent = 2.1
Website = [http://www.brandenburg.de/ brandenburg.de]
leader = Matthias Platzeck
leader_party = SPD
ruling_party1 = SPD
ruling_party2 = CDU
votes = 4
iso region = DE-BR
NUTS = DE4
Brandenburg (Audio|De-Brandenburg.ogg|listen; Lower Sorbian: "Bramborska"; Upper Sorbian: "Braniborska") is one of the sixteen states of
Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germanyand East Germany. The capital is Potsdam. Brandenburg surrounds but does not include the national capital Berlin.
Historically, Brandenburg was an independent state, the
Margraviate of Brandenburg, which grew to become the core of independent Prussia and later the German state of Prussia. About a third of historic Brandenburg was annexed by Poland following the establishment of the new Oder-Neisse borderin 1945 by the Allies. The state of Brandenburg was named after the town of Brandenburg an der Havel.
Brandenburg is bordered by
Mecklenburg-Vorpommernin the north, Polandin the east, the Free State of Saxonyin the south, Saxony-Anhaltin the west, and Lower Saxonyin the northwest.
Oder Riverforms a part of the eastern border, the Elbe River a portion of the western border. The main rivers in the state itself are the Spreeand the Havel. In the southeast, there is a wetlands region called the Spreewald; it is the northernmost part of Lusatia, where the Sorbs, a Slavic people, still live. These areas are bilingual, i.e., German and Sorbian are both used.
Brandenburg is known for its well-preserved natural environment and its ambitious nature protection policy which began in the 1990s. 15 large protected areas were designated following Germany's reunification. Each of them is provided with state-financed administration and a park ranger staff, who guide visitors and work to ensure nature conservation. Most protected areas have visitor centers.
Lower Oder Valley National Park(106 km²)
SpreewaldBiosphere Reserve (convert|474|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve (convert|1.291|km2|sqmi|2|abbr=on|disp=/)
*River Landscape Elbe-Brandenburg Biosphere Reserve (convert|533|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Barnim Nature Park (convert|750|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Dahme-Heideseen Nature Park (convert|594|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
High Fläming Nature Park(convert|827|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Märkische Schweiz Nature Park (convert|204|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft Nature Park (convert|490|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Niederlausitzer Landrücken Nature Park (convert|580|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Nuthe-Nieplitz Nature Park (convert|623|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Schlaube Valley Nature Parke (convert|225|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Uckermark Lakes Nature Park (convert|895|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Westhavelland Nature Park (convert|1.315|km2|sqmi|2|abbr=on|disp=/)
*Stechlin-Ruppiner Land Nature Park (convert|1.080|km2|sqmi|2|abbr=on|disp=/)
Brandenburg is divided into fourteen (rural) counties ("Landkreise"),
and four urban districts ("kreisfreie Städte"),
# Brandenburg an der Havel
In late medieval and early modern times, Brandenburg was one of seven electoral states of the
Holy Roman Empire, and, along with Prussia, formed the original core of the German Empire, the first unified German state. Governed by the Hohenzollern dynasty beginning in 1415, it contained the future German capital Berlin. After 1618 the Margraviate of Brandenburgand the Duchy of Prussiawere combined to form Brandenburg-Prussia, which was ruled by the same branch of the House of Hohenzollern. In 1701 the state was elevated as the Kingdom of Prussia. Franconian Nurembergand Ansbach, Swabian Hohenzollern, the eastern European connections of Berlin, and the status of Brandenburg's ruler as prince-electortogether were instrumental in the rise of that state.
Early Middle Ages
Brandenburg is situated in territory known in antiquity as
Magna Germania, which reached to the Vistula river. By the seventh century, Slavic peoplesare believed to have settled in the Brandenburg area. The Slavs expanded from the east, possibly driven from their homelands in present-day Ukraine and perhaps Belarus by the invasions of the Hunsand Avars. They relied heavily on river transport. The two principal Slavic groups in the present-day area of Brandenburg were the Hevelliin the west and the Sprevanein the east.
Beginning in the early 900s,
Henry the Fowlerand his successors conquered territory up to the Oder River. Slavic settlements such as Brenna [cite book|last=Barford|first=Paul M.|title=The Early Slavs: Culture and Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe|publisher=Cornell University Press|location=Ithaca|year=2001|pages=421|isbn=0801439779] ( Brandenburg an der Havel), Budusin [cite book|last=Institut für Sorbische Volksforschung in Bautzen|first=|title=Lětopis Instituta za serbski ludospyt|publisher=Domowina|location=Bautzen|year=1962|pages=|isbn=] ( Bautzen), and Chośebuz [cite book|last=Room|first=Adrian|title=Placenames of the World|publisher=McFarland & Company|location=Jefferson|year=2006|pages=433|isbn=0786422483] ( Cottbus) came under imperial control through the installation of margraves. Their main function was to defend and protect the eastern marches. In 948 Emperor Otto I established margraves to exert imperial control over the pagan Slavs west of the Oder River. Otto founded the Bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelberg. The Northern Marchwas founded as a northeastern border territory of the Holy Roman Empire. However, a great uprising of Wendsdrove imperial forces from the territory of present-day Brandenburg in 983. The region returned to the control of Slavic leaders.
During the 12th century the
OttonianGerman kings and emperors re-established control over the mixed Slav-inhabited lands of present-day Brandenburg, although some Slavs like the Sorbsin Lusatiaadapted to Germanizationwhile retaining their distinctiveness. The Roman Catholic Churchbrought bishoprics which, with their walled towns, afforded protection from attacks for the townspeople. With the monks and bishops, the history of the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which was the first center of the state of Brandenburg, began. In 1134, in the wake of a German crusade against the Wends, the German magnate Albert the Bearwas granted the Northern Marchby the Emperor Lothar III. He formally inherited the town of Brandenburg and the lands of the Hevelli from their last Wendish ruler, Pribislav, in 1150. After crushing a force of Sprevane who occupied the town of Brandenburg in the 1150s, Albert proclaimed himself ruler of the new Margraviate of Brandenburg. Albert, and his descendants the Ascanians, then made considerable progress in conquering, colonizing, Christianizing, and cultivating lands as far east as the Oder. Within this region, Slavic and German residents intermarried. During the 13th century the Ascanians began acquiring territory east of the Oder, later known as the Neumark(see also Altmark).
Late Middle Ages
In 1320 the Brandenburg Ascanian line came to an end, and from 1323 up until 1415 Brandenburg was under the control of the
Wittelsbachs of Bavaria, followed by the Luxembourg dynasty. Under the Luxembourgs, the Margrave of Brandenburggained the status of a prince-electorof the Holy Roman Empire. In 1415, the Electorate of Brandenburg was granted by Emperor Sigismund to the House of Hohenzollern, which would rule until the end of World War I. The Hohenzollerns established their capital in Berlin, by then the economic center of Brandenburg.
16th and 17th centuries
Brandenburg converted to
Protestantismin 1539 in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, and generally did quite well in the 16th century, with the expansion of trade along the Elbe, Havel, and Spree Rivers. The Hohenzollerns expanded their territory by acquiring the Duchy of Prussiain 1618, the Duchy of Cleves(1614) in the Rhineland, and territories in Westphalia. The result was a sprawling, disconnected country known as Brandenburg-Prussiathat was in poor shape to defend itself during the Thirty Years' War.
Beginning near the end of that devastating conflict, however, Brandenburg enjoyed a string of talented rulers who expanded their territory and power in Europe. The first of these was Frederick William, the so-called "Great Elector", who worked tirelessly to rebuild and consolidate the nation. He moved the royal residence to
Kingdom of Prussia and united Germany
When Frederick William died in 1688, he was followed by his son Frederick, third of that name in Brandenburg. As the lands that had been acquired in Prussia were outside the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick assumed (as Frederick I) the title of "
King in Prussia" (1701). Although his self-promotion from margrave to king relied on his title to the Duchy of Prussia, Brandenburg was still the most important portion of the kingdom. However, this combined kingdom is known as the Kingdom of Prussia.
Brandenburg remained the core of the Kingdom of Prussia, and it was the site of the kingdom's capitals, Berlin and Potsdam. When Prussia was subdivided into provinces in 1815, the territory of the Margraviate of Brandenburg became the
Province of Brandenburg. In 1881, the City of Berlinwas separated from the Province of Brandenburg. However, industrial towns ringing Berlin lay within Brandenburg, and the growth of the region's industrial economy brought an increase in the population of the province. The Province of Brandenburg had an area of convert|39039|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on and a population of 2.6 million (1925). After World War II, the Neumark, the part of Brandenburg east of the Oder-Neisse Line, was transferred to Poland; and its native German population expelled. The remainder of the province became a state in East Germany when Prussia was dissolved in 1947. The State of Brandenburg was completely dissolved in 1952 by the Socialist government of East Germany.
East Germany and reunified Germany
In 1952, the East German government divided Brandenburg among several "Bezirke" or districts. (See
Administrative division of the German Democratic Republic). Most of Brandenburg lay within the Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder), or Cottbus districts, but parts of the former province passed to the Schwerin, Neubrandenburg and Magdeburg districts (town Havelberg). East Germany relied heavily on ligniteas an energy source, and lignite strip mines marred areas of eastern Brandenburg. The industrial towns surrounding Berlin were important to the East German economy, while western Brandenburg remained mainly agricultural.
The present State of Brandenburg was re-established on
October 3[ [http://www.verfassungen.de/de/ddr/ddr90-laeeinf.htm Ländereinführungsgesetz (1990) ] ] 1990. As in other former parts of East Germany, the lack of modern infrastructure and exposure to West Germany's competitive market economy brought widespread joblessness and economic difficulty. In the recent years, however, Brandenburg's infrastructure has been modernized and joblessness has slowly declined. In 1995 the governments of Berlin and Brandenburg proposed to merge the states in order to form a new state with the name of "Berlin-Brandenburg". The merger was rejected in a plebiscitein 1996: While West Berliners voted for a merger, East Berliners and Brandenburgers voted against it.
List of minister presidents of Brandenburg
:"For earlier rulers, see
List of rulers of Brandenburg"
September, 2004 State Election
Elections in Germany"
coat of arms of Brandenburgis a red eagle on white.
Brandenburg is served by the same three airports that serve
Berlin. They are Tegel International Airport, Tempelhof International Airport, and Schönefeld International Airport. Schönefeld Airport will eventually become Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport, while Tempelhof and Tegel will close after BBI is established.
* [http://www.brandenburg.de/ Official website] de icon
* [http://www.brandenburg-tourism.com/ Brandenburg Tourist Board]
* [http://www.geschichtsmanufaktur-potsdam.de/ Historical Landscape Brandenburg] de icon
* [http://indigoarchitects.net/Live/Germany-Brandenburg-Brandenburg-Tryp_Potsdam_Michendorf-2102991-2.html Map for Tryp Potsdam Michendorf]
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