Brandenburg

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This article is about the German state. For the town, see Brandenburg an der Havel. For other uses, see Brandenburg (disambiguation).
Brandenburg
State of Germany
Flag of Brandenburg
Flag
Coat of arms of Brandenburg
Coat of arms
Deutschland Lage von Brandenburg.svg
Coordinates: 52°21′43″N 13°0′29″E / 52.36194°N 13.00806°E / 52.36194; 13.00806Coordinates: 52°21′43″N 13°0′29″E / 52.36194°N 13.00806°E / 52.36194; 13.00806
Country Germany
Capital Potsdam
Government
 • Minister-President Dietmar Woidke (SPD)
 • Governing parties SPD / The Left
 • Bundesrat votes 4 (of 69)
Area
 • Total 29,478.63 km2 (11,381.76 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
 • Total 2,484,826
 • Density 84/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-BB
Vehicle registration formerly: BP (1945–1947), SB (1948–1953)[2]
GDP/ Nominal €62 billion (2014) [3]
GDP per capita €24,200 (2014)
NUTS Region DE4
Website brandenburg.de

Brandenburg (About this sound listen ; Low German: Brannenborg, Lower Sorbian: Bramborska) is one of the sixteen federated states of Germany. It lies in the northeast of the country covering an area of 29,478 square kilometers and has 2.45 million inhabitants. The capital and largest city is Potsdam. Brandenburg surrounds but does not include the national capital and city-state Berlin forming a metropolitan area.

Originating in the medieval Northern March, the Margraviate of Brandenburg grew to become the core of the Kingdom of Prussia, which would later become the Free State of Prussia with part being the province of Brandenburg. Brandenburg is one of the federal states that was re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former East Germany and West Germany.

History[edit]

Wappen Mark Brandenburg.png
Wappen Preußen.png

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
pre–12th century
Old Prussians
pre–13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
1224–1525
Duchy of Prussia
1525–1618
Royal (Polish) Prussia
1466–1772
Brandenburg-Prussia
1618–1701
Kingdom in Prussia
1701–1772
Kingdom of Prussia
1772–1918
Free State of Prussia
1918–1947
Klaipėda Region
(Lithuania)
1920–1939 / 1945–present
Brandenburg
(Germany)
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
(Poland)
1918/1945–present
Kaliningrad Oblast
(Russia)
1945–present

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 from 1415, it contained the future German capital Berlin. After 1618 the Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were 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 Nuremberg and Ansbach, Swabian Hohenzollern, the eastern European connections of Berlin, and the status of Brandenburg's ruler as prince-elector together were instrumental in the rise of that state.

Early Middle Ages[edit]

Main article: Northern March

Brandenburg is situated in territory known in antiquity as Magna Germania, which reached to the Vistula river. By the 7th century, Slavic peoples are 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 Huns and Avars. They relied heavily on river transport. The two principal Slavic groups in the present-day area of Brandenburg were the Hevelli in the west and the Sprevane in the east.

Beginning in the early 10th century, Henry the Fowler and his successors conquered territory up to the Oder River. Slavic settlements such as Brenna[4] (Brandenburg an der Havel), Budusin[5] (Bautzen), and Chośebuz[6] (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 March was founded as a northeastern border territory of the Holy Roman Empire. However, a great uprising of Wends drove imperial forces from the territory of present-day Brandenburg in 983. The region returned to the control of Slavic leaders.

Late Middle Ages[edit]

During the 12th century, the Ottonian German kings and emperors re-established control over the mixed Slav-inhabited lands of present-day Brandenburg, although some Slavs like the Sorbs in Lusatia adapted to Germanization while retaining their distinctiveness. The Roman Catholic Church brought 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.

Eisenhardt Castle in Bad Belzig

In 1134, in the wake of a German crusade against the Wends, the German magnate, Albert the Bear, was granted the Northern March by 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).

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 Dynasties. Under the Luxembourgs, the Margrave of Brandenburg gained the status of a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. In the period 1373-1415, Brandenburg was a part of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. 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[edit]

Main article: Brandenburg-Prussia

Brandenburg converted to Protestantism in 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 Prussia in 1618, the Duchy of Cleves (1614) in the Rhineland, and territories in Westphalia. The result was a sprawling, disconnected country known as Brandenburg-Prussia that 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 Potsdam. At the Treaty of Westphalia, his envoy Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal negotiated the acquisition of several important territories such as Halberstadt. Under the Treaty of Oliva Christoph Caspar von Blumenthal(son of the above) negotiated the incorporation of the Duchy of Prussia into the Hohenzollern inheritance.

Kingdom of Prussia and German Empire[edit]

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, today a World Heritage site

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 state 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, again subdivided into the government regions of Frankfurt and Potsdam. In 1881, the City of Berlin was 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 39,039 km2 (15,073 sq mi) 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 the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany when Prussia was dissolved in 1947.

East Germany[edit]

Since the foundation of East Germany in 1949 Brandenburg formed one of its component states. The State of Brandenburg was completely dissolved in 1952 by the Socialist government of East Germany, doing away with all component states. The East German government then divided Brandenburg among several Bezirke or districts. (See Administrative division of the German Democratic Republic). Most of Brandenburg lay within the Bezirke of Cottbus, Frankfurt, or Potsdam, but parts of the former province passed to the Schwerin, Neubrandenburg and Magdeburg districts (town Havelberg). East Germany relied heavily on lignite (the lowest grade of coal) as an energy source, and lignite strip mines marred areas of southeastern Brandenburg. The industrial towns surrounding Berlin were important to the East German economy, while rural Brandenburg remained mainly agricultural.

Federal Republic of Germany[edit]

Main article: German reunification

The present State of Brandenburg was re-established on 3 October 1990 upon German re-unification.[7] The newly elected Landtag of Brandenburg first met on 26 October 1990.[8] As in other former parts of East Germany, the lack of modern infrastructure and exposure to West Germany's competitive market economy brought widespread unemployment and economic difficulty. In the recent years, however, Brandenburg's infrastructure has been modernized and unemployment 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", though some suggested calling the proposed new state "Prussia". The merger was rejected in a plebiscite in 1996 – while West Berliners voted for a merger, East Berliners and Brandenburgers voted against it.

Geography[edit]

Brandenburg is bordered by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the north, Poland in the east, the Freistaat Sachsen in the south, Saxony-Anhalt in the west, and Lower Saxony in the northwest.

The Oder River forms a part of the eastern border, the Elbe River a portion of the western border. The main rivers in the state itself are the Spree and 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.

Protected areas[edit]

Brandenburg is known for its well-preserved natural environment and its ambitious natural protection policies 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.

National parks

Biosphere reserves

Nature parks

Cities[edit]

Demography[edit]

Development of population from 1875 to 2010 within current borders.


Significant foreign born populations[9]
Nationality Population (2014)
 Poland 13,034
 Russia 6,105
 Romania 3,944
 Ukraine 3,556
 Vietnam 3.302
 Turkey 2,305
 Syria 1,794



Religion[edit]

Religion in Brandenburg - 2011
religion percent
Non religious
  
79.8%
EKD Protestants
  
17.1%
Roman Catholics
  
3.1%

The majority (79.8%)[10] of Brandenburgers can be defined as non-religious, adherents of non-Christian religions or not adherents of the larger Christian denominations.

17.1% of the Brandenburgers adhere to the local Evangelical Church in Germany (mostly the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia), while 3.1% are Roman Catholic (mostly the Archdiocese of Berlin, and a minority in the Diocese of Görlitz).[10]

Politics[edit]

Subdivisions[edit]

Brandenburg is divided into 14 rural districts (Landkreise) and four urban districts (kreisfreie Städte), shown with their population in 2011:[11]

Administrative Divisions in Brandenburg
District Population
Wappen Landkreis Barnim.png Barnim 176,953
Wappen Landkreis Dahme-Spreewald.svg Dahme-Spreewald 161,556
Wappen des Landkreises Elbe-Elster.svg Elbe-Elster 110,291
Wappen des Landkreises Havelland.svg Havelland 155,226
Wappen Landkreis Maerkisch-Oderland.svg Märkisch-Oderland 189,673
Wappen Landkreis Oberhavel.png Oberhavel 203,508
Wappen Landkreis Oberspreewald-Lausitz.png Oberspreewald-Lausitz 120,023
Wappen Landkreis Oder-Spree.svg Oder-Spree 182,798
Wappen des Landkreises Ostprignitz-Ruppin.svg Ostprignitz-Ruppin 102,108
Wappen Landkreis Potsdam-Mittelmark.png Potsdam-Mittelmark 205,678
Wappen Landkreis Prignitz.png Prignitz 80,872
Wappen Landkreis Spree-Neisse.png Spree-Neiße 124,662
Wappen des Landkreises Teltow-Fläming.svg Teltow-Fläming 161,546
Wappen Landkreis Uckermark.png Uckermark 128,174
Wappen Brandenburg an der Havel.png Stadt Brandenburg an der Havel 71,534
Wappen Cottbus.svg Stadt Cottbus 102,129
Wappen Frankfurt (Oder).png Stadt. Frankfurt (Oder) 60,002
Coat of arms of Potsdam.svg Stadt Potsdam 158,902

Government[edit]

The parliament building (Landtag) in the capital Potsdam
Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President

The most recent election took place on 14 September 2014. The coalition government formed by the Social Democrats and the Left Party led by Dietmar Woidke (SPD) was re-elected. The next ordinary state election is scheduled for 2019.


e • d Election results for the Landtag of Brandenburg on 14 September 2014[12]
Party Vote % (change) Seats (change) Seat %
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 31.9% -1.1% 30 -1 34.1%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 23.0% +3.2% 21 +2 23.9%
The Left Party (Linke) 18.6% -8.6% 17 -9 19.3%
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 12.2% +12.2% 11 +11 12.5%
Alliance '90/The Greens (Die Grünen) 6.2% +0.5% 6 +1 6.8%
Free Voters (BVB) 2.7% +1.0% 3 +3 3.4%
National Democratic Party (NPD) 2.2% -0.4% 0 - -
Pirate Party (Piraten) 1.5% +1.5% 0 - -
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 1.5% -5.7% 0 -7 -
Others 0.4% -0.0% 0 - -
Total 88

Culture[edit]

Music[edit]

The Brandenburg concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach (original title: Six Concerts à plusieurs instruments)[13] are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt,[14] in 1721 (though probably composed earlier). They are widely regarded as among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era and are among the composer's best known works.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bevölkerung im Land Brandenburg nach amtsfreien Gemeinden, Ämtern und Gemeinden 31. Dezember 2015 (Fortgeschriebene amtliche Einwohnerzahlen auf Grundlage des Zensus 2011)". Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). 2016. 
  2. ^ BP = Brandenburg Province, SB = Soviet Zone, Brandenburg. With the abolition of states in East Germany in 1952 vehicle registration followed the new Bezirk subdivisions. Since 1991 distinct prefixes are specified for each district.
  3. ^ Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg. "Bruttoinlandsprodukt – in jeweiligen Preisen – in Deutschland 1991 bis 2014 nach Bundesländern (WZ 2008) – Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnungen der Länder VGR dL". 
  4. ^ Barford, Paul M. (2001). The Early Slavs: Culture and Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. p. 421. ISBN 0-8014-3977-9. 
  5. ^ Institut für Sorbische Volksforschung in Bautzen (1962). Lětopis Instituta za serbski ludospyt. Bautzen: Domowina. 
  6. ^ Room, Adrian (2006). Placenames of the World. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. p. 433. ISBN 0-7864-2248-3. 
  7. ^ "Ländereinführungsgesetz (1990)". 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2] 31 Dec. 2014 German Statistical Office. Zensus 2014: Bevölkerung am 31. Dezember 2014
  10. ^ a b Die kleine Brandenburg–Statistik 2011. Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg. Archived 24 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Amt für Statistik Berlin Brandenburg - Statistiken". www.statistik-berlin-brandenburg.de. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  12. ^ "Ergebnistabelle Land". Der Landeswahlleiter für Brandenburg. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Johann Sebastian Bach's Werke, vol.19: Kammermusik, dritter band, Bach-Gesellschaft, Leipzig; ed. Wilhelm Rust, 1871
  14. ^ MacDonogh, Giles. Frederick the Great: A Life in Deed and Letters. St. Martin's Griffin. New York. 2001. ISBN 0-312-27266-9

External links[edit]