The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor. From the 13th century onwards, the Prince-Electors had the privilege of electing the Holy Roman Emperor who would receive the Papal coronation after assuming the titles of King in Germany and King of Italy. Charles V was the last to be a crowned Emperor. In practice, every emperor from 1440 onwards came from the Austrian House of Habsburg, the Electors ratified the Habsburg succession; the dignity of Elector carried great prestige and was considered to be second only to that of King or Emperor. The Electors had exclusive privileges that were not shared with the other princes of the Empire, they continued to hold their original titles alongside that of Elector; the heir apparent to a secular prince-elector was known as an electoral prince. The German element Kur- is based on the Middle High German irregular verb kiesen and is related etymologically to the English word choose.
In English, the "s"/"r" mix in the Germanic verb conjugation has been regularized to "s" throughout, while German retains the r in Kur-. There is a modern German verb küren which means'to choose' in a ceremonial sense. Fürst is German for'prince', but while the German language distinguishes between the head of a principality and the son of a monarch, English uses prince for both concepts. Fürst itself is related to English first and is thus the'foremost' person in his realm. Note that'prince' derives from Latin princeps, which carried the same meaning. Electors were reichsstände, they were, until the 18th century entitled to be addressed with the title Durchlaucht. In 1742, the electors became entitled to the superlative Durchläuchtigste, while other princes were promoted to Durchlaucht; as Imperial Estates, the electors enjoyed all the privileges of the other princes enjoying that status, including the right to enter into alliances, autonomy in relation to dynastic affairs and precedence over other subjects.
The Golden Bull had granted them the Privilegium de non appellando, which prevented their subjects from lodging an appeal to a higher Imperial court. However, while this privilege, some others, were automatically granted to Electors, they were not exclusive to them and many of the larger Imperial Estates were to be individually granted some or all those rights and privileges; the electors, like the other princes ruling States of the Empire, were members of the Imperial Diet, divided into three collegia: the Council of Electors, the Council of Princes, the Council of Cities. In addition to being members of the Council of Electors, several lay electors were therefore members of the Council of Princes as well by virtue of other territories they possessed. In many cases, the lay electors ruled numerous States of the Empire, therefore held several votes in the Council of Princes. In 1792, the King of Bohemia held three votes, the Elector of Bavaria six votes, the Elector of Brandenburg eight votes, the Elector of Hanover six votes.
Thus, of the hundred votes in the Council of Princes in 1792, twenty-three belonged to electors. The lay electors therefore exercised considerable influence, being members of the small Council of Electors and holding a significant number of votes in the Council of Princes; the assent of both bodies was required for important decisions affecting the structure of the Empire, such as the creation of new electorates or States of the Empire. In addition to voting by colleges or councils, the Imperial Diet voted on religious lines, as provided for by the Peace of Westphalia; the Archbishop of Mainz presided over the Catholic body, or corpus catholicorum, while the Elector of Saxony presided over the Protestant body, or corpus evangelicorum. The division into religious bodies was on the basis of the official religion of the state, not of its rulers, thus when the Electors of Saxony were Catholics during the eighteenth century, they continued to preside over the corpus evangelicorum, since the state of Saxony was Protestant.
The electors were summoned by the Archbishop of Mainz within one month of an Emperor's death, met within three months of being summoned. During the interregnum, imperial power was exercised by two imperial vicars; each vicar, in the words of the Golden Bull, was "the administrator of the empire itself, with the power of passing judgments, of presenting to ecclesiastical benefices, of collecting returns and revenues and investing with fiefs, of receiving oaths of fealty for and in the name of the holy empire". The Elector of Saxony was vicar in areas operating under Saxon law, while the Elector Palatine was vicar in the remainder of the Empire; the Elector of Bavaria replaced the Elector Palatine in 1623, but when the latter was granted a new electorate in 1648, there was a dispute between the two as to, vicar. In 1659, both purported to act as vicar; the two electors made a pact to act as joint vicars, but the Imperial Diet rejected the agreement. In 1711, while the Elector
The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, was a reichsfrei duchy that existed 1296–1803 and 1814–1876 in the extreme southeast region of what is now Schleswig-Holstein. Its territorial center was in the modern district of Herzogtum Lauenburg and its eponymous capital was Lauenburg upon Elbe, though in 1619 the capital moved to Ratzeburg. In addition to the core territories in the modern district of Lauenburg, at times other territories south of the river Elbe, belonged to the duchy: The tract of land along the southern Elbe bank, reaching from Marschacht to the Amt Neuhaus, territorially connecting the core of the duchy with these more southeastern Lauenburgian areas; this land was ceded to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. It is now part of the Lower Saxon Harburg; the Amt Neuhaus proper including areas on both sides of the Elbe, ceded to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. Today, this is all part of Lower Saxon Lüneburg; the exclave Land of Hadeln in the area of the Elbe estuary was disentangled from Saxe-Lauenburg in 1689 and administered as a separate territory under imperial custody, before it was ceded to Bremen-Verden in 1731.
Now it is part of today's Lower Saxon Cuxhaven. Some North Elbian municipalities of the former core duchy are not part of today's district of Lauenburg, since they had been ceded to the Soviet occupation zone by the Barber Lyashchenko Agreement in November 1945. In 1203, King Valdemar II of Denmark conquered the area comprising Saxe-Lauenburg, but it reverted to Albert I, Duke of Saxony in 1227. In 1260, Albert I's sons Albert II and John I succeeded their father. In 1269, 1272 and 1282, the brothers divided their governing competences within the three territorially unconnected Saxon areas along the Elbe river, thus preparing a partition. After John I's resignation, Albert II ruled with his minor nephews Albert III, Eric I and John II, who by 1296 partitioned Saxony providing Saxe-Lauenburg for the brothers, Saxe-Wittenberg for their uncle Albert II; the last document, mentioning the brothers and their uncle Albert II as Saxon fellow dukes dates back to 1295. A deed of 20 September 1296, mentions the Vierlande, the Land of Ratzeburg, the Land of Darzing, the Land of Hadeln as the separate territory of the brothers.
By 1303, the three jointly ruling brothers had partitioned Saxe-Lauenburg into three shares, Albert III died in 1308, so that the surviving brothers established, after a territorial realignment in 1321, the Lauenburg Elder Line, with John II ruling Saxe-Bergedorf-Mölln, seated in Bergedorf and the Lauenburg Younger Line, with Eric I ruling Saxe-Ratzeburg-Lauenburg, seated in Lauenburg upon Elbe. John II, the eldest brother, wielded the electoral privilege for the Lauenburg Ascanians, rivalled by their cousin Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg. In 1314, the dispute escalated into the election of two hostile German kings, the Habsburg Frederick III, the Fair, his Wittelsbach cousin Louis IV, the Bavarian. Louis received five of the seven votes, to wit Archbishop-Elector Baldwin of Trier, the legitimate King-Elector John of Bohemia, Duke John II of Saxe-Lauenburg using his claim as the Saxon prince-elector, Archbishop-Elector Peter of Mainz, Prince-Elector Waldemar of Brandenburg. Frederick the Fair received in the same election four of the seven votes, with the deposed King-Elector Henry of Bohemia, illegitimately assuming electoral power, Archbishop-Elector Henry II of Cologne, Louis's brother Prince-Elector Rudolph I of the Electorate of the Palatinate, Duke Rudolph I of Saxe-Wittenberg, rivallingly claiming the Saxon prince-electoral power.
However, only Louis the Bavarian asserted himself as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The Golden Bull of 1356, conclusively named the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg as electors. In 1370, John II's fourth successor Eric III of Saxe-Bergedorf-Mölln pawned the Herrschaft of Bergedorf, the Vierlande, half the Saxon Wood and Geesthacht to Lübeck in return for a credit of 16,262.5 Lübeck marks. This acquisition included much of the trade route between Hamburg and Lübeck, thus providing a safe passage for freight between the cities. Eric III only retained a life tenancy; the city of Lübeck and Eric III had stipulated that, upon his death, Lübeck would be entitled to take possession of the pawned areas until his successors repaid the credit and exercised the repurchase of Mölln, altogether amounting to the enormous sum of 26,000 Lübeck Marks. In 1401, Eric III died without issue; the Lauenburg Elder Line was thus extinct in the male line and Eric III was succeeded by his second cousin Eric IV of Saxe-Ratzeburg-Lauenburg of the Younger Line.
In the same year, Eric IV, supported by his sons Eric and John, forcefully captured the pawned areas without making any repayment, before Lübeck could take possession of them. Lübeck acquiesced for the time being. In 1420, Eric V attacked Prince-Elector Frederick I of Brandenburg and Lübeck allied with Hamburg in support of Brandenburg. Armies of both cities opened a second front and conquered Bergedorf, Riepenburg castle and the Esslingen river toll station; this forced Eric V to agree with Hamburg's burgomaster Hein Hoyer and Burgomaster Jordan Pleskow of Lübeck to the Treaty of Perleberg on 23 August 1420, which stipulated that all the pawned areas, which Eric IV, Eric V and John IV had violently taken in 1401, were to be irrevocably ceded to the cities of Hamburg an
Aken is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The town is located at the left bank of the Elbe river. Aken located at the Middle Elbe is approx. 8 km west of Dessau-Rosslau in extended lowlands within the Biosphere Reserve Middle Elbe. Approx. 15 km west of Aken the Saale river enters the Middle Elbe. Heidehof, Kleinzerbst, Kühren, Mennewitz and Susigke The castle Gloworp was first mentioned in the 12th century; the town itself was first documented in 1219. In 1270 Aken received its town charter as Civitas; the name Aken is based on the Latin name Aqua. This was a foundation from lower rhenish settlers from Aachen, spelled Aken in the Dutch language. Erwitte since June 17, 1991 Anor since April 24, 1993 historical town hall two medieval churches: St. Nicholas and St. Mary "Stone Kemenate" from the 13th century with arches town wall from the Middle Ages with 3 remaining towers passenger navigation on the river Elbe Biosphere Reserve Middle Elbe Friedrich Wilhelm Steinbrecht, lieutenant in Lützow Free Corps 2001: Otto Benecke, head of museum of local history 2015: Hansjochen Müller, mayor from 1990 - 2015 August Ludwig Hülsen, German philosopher of the early romance Theodor von Sickel, German-Austrian historian Diana Vellguth, entertainer Christian Reike, performer Emilie Winkelmann, architect Karl Witte, bishop in Hamburg Karl Bischoff and university teacher Bernd Dießner, German athlete Friedrich Ernst Arnold Werner Nolopp, conductor, composer Official homepage detailed history of town
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Otterndorf is a town on the coast of the North Sea in the federal state of Lower Saxony, is part of the collective municipality of Land Hadeln. The town, located in the administrative district of Cuxhaven, is at the mouth of the river Medem, part of the Elbe delta; the old town centre features a number of half-timbered houses. Otterndorf belongs to the Land of Hadeln, first an exclave of the younger Duchy of Saxony and after its de facto dynastic partition in 1296 of the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, established de jure in 1260; the first written evidence of the town of Otterndorf dates from the year 1261 in a document written by Godefridus, a Priest. In 1400, Otterndorf was granted city rights by Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. In 1728 Emperor Charles VI enfeoffed the George II Augustus and his House of Hanover in personal union with the reverted fief of Saxe-Lauenburg. By a redeployment of Hanoverian territories in 1731 the Hanoverian Duchies of Bremen and Verden were conveyed the administration of the neighboured Land of Hadeln.
The Kingdom of Hanover incorporated the Land of Hadeln in a real union and its territory, including Otterndorf, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823. One of Otterndorf’s prominent buildings is in the oldest part of the town and is called the Crane House; this building dates from 1735 although its present façade dates from the year of 1760. Once owned by the Radiek family the building was the focal point of this successful family business; the family traded in wine and other spices. The crane effigy atop the house, the building's namesake was placed there by Elizabeth Radiek in memory of her late husband; the Crane House today is the location of a museum dedicated the country life of Hadeln, as well as a local history archive. Another old building in the town is the Latin school; this unusual building dates from 1614. For many years this school provided the only education for the children of the Hadeln farmers and Otterndorf citizens who could not afford to send their children to schools that charged tuition.
The building once boasted a bell which hung from a roof timber on the front but has been lost over the years. The school's headmaster from 1778 until 1792 was the German poet and translator Johann Heinrich Voss. In many of the brick gables of the old buildings of the town, there has been incorporated into the brickwork the patterned shape of a witches broom; the superstitious residents of the town believed the “thunder broom” would ward off evil spirits and forces. Other prominent buildings in the town include: The Yellow Baroque House, which until 1768 was the home of the Courthouse Director; the City Hall restored, displays oil paintings by Karl Otto Matthaei, Carl Long and Karl Hein. A British cargo ship by the name of SS Kaffraria owned by Bailey & Leetham of Hull ran aground at Otterndorf on 7 January 1891; the ship had a cargo of general export goods such as kitchen utensils, children’s toys, bundles of wool, hand tools and all kinds of domestic appliances. This precious cargo was swiftly removed by the local residents by both legal and illegal methods.
The ship sank during the evening of 8 January. The wreck became a threat to shipping and was removed in 1984; the stern of the ship with the rudder and screw can be seen today at Otterndorf. The church of the town of Otterndorf is called St Severi, it is believed that there has been a church on this site since the 11th century but the first document evidence of a church comes from 1261 when a place of worship is mentioned by the priest Godefridus. The church bell tower dates from 1807. Inside the church there is a richly decorated altar in the Baroque style which dates from 1649. There is a pulpit which incorporates a gallery, both are decorated and date from 1644; the present church organ was built by Christoph Dietrich Gloger in 1740 and was restored in 1976. The church has a sermon chair, decorated with biblical figures and was constructed in 1661 by Juergen Heydtmann; the font is made from solid bronze and dates from the middle of the 14th century. Hanging from the ceiling in the church is the rapier or Degen of a knight by the name of Macke.
The legend of this relic comes from the time of witch burnings in the town of Otterndorf. The knight was in the service of a middle prince away from Hadeln, but the knight had learnt that his mother back in Otterndorf had been accused of witchcraft, found guilty, so was to be burnt at the stake at the east gate of the town; the knight, who knew his mother was no witch, hurried back to seek a pardon from the Duke of Lauenburg, with whom he was in good favor. The duke, who appreciated the merits of the knight, granted a written pardon for his mother; the knight rode to Otterndorf, but arrived too late to save his mother. Full of pain and heartache, the knight in his despair thrust the rapier into his chest and killed himself; the citizens of the town, realizing the mistake they had made, hung the blood soaked sword in the church, the town never burnt a witch again. Otterndorf today is a popular tourist resort. There are several bathing lakes near the beach, numerous holiday apartments and a youth hostel in and around Otterndorf.
The town is a centre of tourism in the so-called Cuxland. Helmuth Friedrichs, SS leader, member of the Reichstag Thorsten Schriever, German football judge André Hahn, German footballer Johann Heinrich Voss and philologist 1950 Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, German politician, district administrator of Landkreis Hadeln and first Minister President of Lower Saxony Sheringham, England Official website
House of Este
The House of Este is a European princely dynasty. The elder, German branch of the House of Este, known as the Younger House of Welf, included dukes of Bavaria and Brunswick-Lüneburg and produced Britain's Hanoverian monarchs, as well as one Emperor of Russia and one Holy Roman Emperor; the younger, Italian branch of the House of Este included rulers of Ferrara, of Modena and Reggio. According to Edward Gibbon, the family originated from the Roman Attii family, which migrated from Rome to Este to defend Italy against the Ostrogoths. However, there is little evidence to support this hypothesis; the names of the early members of the family indicate. The first known member of the house was Margrave Adalbert of Mainz, known only as the father of Oberto I, Count palatine of Italy, who died around 975. Oberto's grandson, Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan built a castle at Este, near Padua, named himself after the location, he had three sons from two marriages, two of whom became the ancestors of the two branches of the family: Welf IV, the eldest, was the son of Kunigunde, the last of the Elder Welfs.
He inherited the property of his maternal uncle, Duke of Carinthia, became duke of Bavaria in 1070, is the ancestor of the elder branch, the House of Welf. Hugh, issue of Azzo's second marriage to Garsend of Maine, inherited the French County of Maine, a legacy of his mother's dowry, but sold it one year and died without heirs. Fulco I, Margrave of Milan, the third son, is the ancestor of the younger Italian line of Este; the two surviving branches, with Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria on the German side, concluded an agreement in 1154 which allocated the family's Italian possessions to the younger line, the Fulc-Este, who in the course of time acquired Ferrara and Reggio. Este itself was taken over in 1275 by Padua, in 1405 by Venice; the elder branch of the House of Este, the House of Welf rendered as "Guelf" or "Guelph" in English, produced dukes of Bavaria, dukes of Saxony, a German King, the dukes of Brunswick and Lüneburg when the two branches of the family recombined in 1705.
The senior branch of the House of Welf continued to be ruled by the princes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, as undisputed until the death of the ruling duke of Brunswick Prince William VIII, in 1884. Prior to his death, his brother Karl II from Geneva Switzerland, as exiled de jure ruler of the house, had declared the Prussian annexation of the crown and the earlier Hanoverian usurpation illegal acts of usurpation inside of the German House. At his death, his grandson continued internationally recognized appeals. Hanover formed the Guelph Party to continue political appeals against the Prussian and German annexations of the crown. After the peace ending the Napoleonic wars reshaped Europe, ushering in the Modern era, the Electorate of Hanover was dissolved by treaty, its lands were enlarged and the state was promoted to a kingdom. The new kingdom existed from 1815 to 1866, but upon the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, it passed to her uncle, Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, thus ceased to be in personal union with the British Crown.
The House of Este gave Great Britain and the United Kingdom the "Hanoverian monarchs". All generations of the Italian branch are descendants of Fulco d'Este. From 1171 on, his descendants were titled Margraves of Este. Obizzo I, the first margrave, battled against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, his nephew Azzo d'Este VI became podestà of Verona. As the dowry of his niece the Marchesella, Ferrara passed to Azzo VI d'Este In 1146, with the last of the Adelardi. In 1242 Azzo VII Novello was nominated podestà for his lifetime; the lordship of Ferrara was made hereditary by Obizzo II, proclaimed Lord of Ferrara in 1264, Lord of Modena in 1288, Lord of Reggio in 1289. Ferrara was a papal fief and the Este family were given the position of hereditary papal vicars in 1332. Ferrara became a significant center of culture under Niccolò d'Este III, who received several popes with great magnificence Eugene IV, he held a Council in Ferrara in 1438 known as the Council of Florence. His successors were his illegitimate sons Leonello and Borso, elevated to Duke of Modena and Reggio by Emperor Frederick III in 1452, receiving these duchies as imperial fiefs.
In 1471, he received the duchy of Ferrara as papal fief from Pope Paul II, for which occasion splendid frescoes were executed at Palazzo Schifanoia. Borso was succeeded by a half-brother, one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th and early 16th century Italy. Ferrara grew into a cultural center renowned for music. Ercole's daughter Beatrice married Ludovico Duke of Milan. Ercole I's successor was his son Alfonso I, third husband of Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, sister to Cesare Borgia. Alfonso I was a patron of Ariosto; the son of Alfonso and Lucrezia Borgia, Ercole d'Este II, married Renée of France, daughte
Lauenburg, or Lauenburg an der Elbe, is a town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated on the northern bank of the river Elbe, east of Hamburg, it belongs to the Kreis of Herzogtum Lauenburg. Lauenburg had a recorded population on 31 December 2013 of 11,253; the town was founded in 1182 by Bernard of the ancestor of the Dukes of Lauenburg. It took its name from that of the castle of Lowenborch, deriving from Lave, the Polabian-language name of the Elbe. Saxe-Lauenburg was a duchy until 1 July 1876, when it was incorporated into the Royal Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein. Lauenburg served as the ducal capital until 1616. In 1619 the capital was moved to Ratzeburg; the area of the duchy was identical with that of today's district. In medieval times Lauenburg was a waypoint on the Old Salt Route, while today it is the southern terminus of the Elbe-Lübeck Canal. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Lauenburg was ceded by Prussia to Denmark in exchange for the region of Pomerania.
Between 1945 and 1982 Lauenburg served as West German inner German border crossing for cars travelling along Bundesstraße 5 between the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany (till 1949, thereafter the East German Democratic Republic, or West Berlin and the British zone of occupation and thereafter the West German Federal Republic of Germany. The traffic was subject to the Interzonal traffic regulations, that between West Germany and West Berlin followed the special regulations of the Transit Agreement. Lauenburg is a notable old town with a number of historic buildings from the 17th century and earlier. In the past these houses were the homes of sailors. Today, the area appeals to artists as well as tourists. Furthermore, the Maria-Magdalenen Church, built in the 13th century is another attraction of the old town of Lauenburg; the old town is nestled at the bottom of about 50 meter high bluffs. The picturesque narrow streets up the hill lead to the so-called "upper town" where Lauenburg Castle is located.
The old Lauenburg Castle used to be the residence of the Dukes of Lauenburg and the political centre of the Dukedom. Over the century most parts were replaced by modern buildings. Though, the old castle tower remains till today. Nowadays, the castles serves as municipal administration. A walk up to the castle is worth the effort though. One cannot only see the beautiful river Elbe and the old town of Lauenburg, but the flat marshland of Lower-Saxony on the southern shore of the Elbe, which used to belong to the duchy until it was ceded to the neighbouring Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as about 25 km southwest of Lauenburg. Another historic sight of Lauenburg is the "Palmschleuse", a historic river lock built in 1398 and renewed in the 17th century, it is the oldest such lock in Europe. Bernard II, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, ruler Eric I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg-Ratzeburg, ruler Eric II, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg-Ratzeburg, ruler Eric IV, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, ruler Eric V, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, ruler Karl Ludwig Harding, astronomer John V, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, reconstructed Lauenburg Castle Jürgen Plagemann, won Olympic silver in 1964 Lauenburg is twinned with: Boizenburg Dudelange Lębork Manom Official website Altstadt-Lauenburg