Hanover

Hanover (hănˈōvər) [key], Ger. Hannover, former independent kingdom and former province of Germany; Lower Saxony, NW Germany. Very irregular in outline, Hanover stretched from the Dutch border and the North Sea in the northwest to the Harz Mts. in the southeast. The name Hanover originally applied only to the city, becoming the name of a state in 1815. Most of the territory was included in the duchy of Brunswick, which the house of the Guelphs retained after 1180. In the repeated subdivisions of Brunswick among the various branches of the family, the branch of Brunswick-Lüneburg (and its offshoots, the duchies of Lüneburg, Celle, and Lüneburg-Calenberg) emerged as the most powerful. The dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg played an important part in the Thirty Years War (1618–48) on the Protestant side, and in 1692 Duke Ernest Augustus of Calenberg was raised to the rank of elector. His lands became known as the electorate of Hanover. The marriage of Ernest Augustus to Sophia, granddaughter of James I of England, brought (1714) the English throne to his son, Elector George Louis (George I of England). Personal union of Great Britain and Hanover continued under the house of Hanover (see separate article). Napoleon I gave the electorate to Prussia in 1805, but in 1807 he assigned part of Hanover to the kingdom of Westphalia under his brother Jérôme Bonaparte, the remainder being divided in 1810 between France and Westphalia. In 1813, Great Britain regained possession, and in 1815 the Congress of Vienna raised Hanover to a kingdom, with membership in the German Confederation. At the accession (1837) of Queen Victoria in England, Hanover was separated from the British crown because of the Salic law of succession. Ernest Augustus, son of George III, became king of Hanover and began his reign by rescinding the liberal Hanoverian constitution of 1833, thus evoking the well-known protest of the seven professors at Göttingen; the Revolution of 1848 forced him to grant a liberal constitution. His son, George V, succeeded him in 1851. George V refused to support Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and, as a consequence, lost his kingdom, which was made a Prussian (from 1871 a German) province. After World War II the province was incorporated into Lower Saxony.

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