Albert the Bear, c.1100–1170, first margrave of Brandenburg (1150–70). He was a loyal vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II, who, as duke of Saxony, helped him take (1123) Lower Lusatia and the eastern march of Saxony. Albert lost these lands in 1131. He was rewarded (1134) for his share in Lothair's first Italian campaign with the North March. Calling himself margrave of Brandenburg as early as 1136 or 1142, he used the North March as a base for campaigns against the Wends, a pagan Slavic people. Invested (1138) with Saxony by Conrad III, Lothair's successor, he was expelled from the dukedom by Henry the Proud, whom Conrad had deprived of the duchy. Albert later made peace (1142) with Henry the Lion, son of Henry the Proud. He took part in the Wendish Crusade of 1147, but preferred more conciliatory methods of dealing with his pagan neighbors. As a result he inherited (1150) Brandenburg from its last Wendish prince. Albert's achievements in Christianizing and Germanizing NE Germany were important.
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