Schwabengau

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The Schwabengau (modernized name; originally: Suavia, Suevon, Nordosquavi) was an early medieval shire (Gau) in the Eastphalia region of the Duchy of Saxony. It is located in present-day Saxony-Anhalt.

The Schwabengau is bordered by the River Bode in the north and west and by the River Saale in the east. The southern border is somewhat south of the River Wipper. Adjacent shires are (from north, clockwise): Nordthüringgau, Serimunt, Hassegau, Helmegau, Harzgau. Towns include Aderstedt, Ballenstedt, Hadmersleben, Gröningen. It belonged to the diocese of the Bishop of Halberstadt.

The Schwabengau belonged to the Kingdom of the Thuringii which was conquered by the Frankish Empire in 532. By the year 1200, the Schwabengau had been replaced by the County of Aschersleben, the County of Anhalt, and the County of Falkenstein, all of which were ruled by the Ascanian House, which originated in Aschersleben, soon thereafter. When the Ascanians divided their territories in 1212, the former Schwabengau became the western part of the newly founded state of Anhalt. The rough outline of the Schwabengau can still be seen in the borders of Anhalt in the early 20th century.

The origin of the name of the Schwabengau is somewhat mysterious. It without doubt refers to the tribe of the Suebi;[citation needed] however it is located far away from the main territory of the Suebi, the Duchy of Swabia. There are two explanations for the name: first, since Suebi were located in the Elbe area in the 1st century according to Tacitus, some of them must have stayed there, and the Schwabengau is their last remainder; second, that people from the Duchy of Swabia colonized the area in the 6th century, after the Frankish conquest. Other nearby shires (Friesenfeld and Engelin) are also named after distant Germanic tribes.

Known counts of the Schwabengau include: