Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Croatia, Transylvania, Milan and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Holy Roman Empress, she started her 40-year reign when her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in October 1740. Charles VI paved the way for her accession with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and spent his entire reign securing it, he neglected the advice of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who averred that a strong military and a rich treasury were more important than mere signatures. He left behind a weakened and impoverished state due to the War of the Polish Succession and the Russo-Turkish War. Moreover, upon his death, Prussia and France all repudiated the sanction they had recognised during his lifetime. Frederick II of Prussia promptly invaded and took the affluent Habsburg province of Silesia in the seven-year conflict known as the War of the Austrian Succession.
In defiance of the grave situation, she managed to secure the vital support of the Hungarians for the war effort. Over the course of the war, despite the loss of Silesia and a few minor territories in Italy, Maria Theresa defended her rule over most of the Habsburg empire. Maria Theresa unsuccessfully tried to reconquer Silesia during the Seven Years' War. Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had eleven daughters, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma, five sons, including two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II. Of the sixteen children, ten survived to adulthood. Though she was expected to cede power to Francis and Joseph, both of whom were her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia, Maria Theresa was the absolute sovereign who ruled with the counsel of her advisers. Maria Theresa promulgated institutional and educational reforms, with the assistance of Wenzel Anton of Kaunitz-Rietberg, Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz and Gerard van Swieten.
She promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, reorganised Austria's ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria's international standing. However, she despised the Jews and the Protestants, on certain occasions she ordered their expulsion to remote parts of the realm, she advocated for the state church and refused to allow religious pluralism. Her regime was criticized as intolerant by some contemporaries; the second and eldest surviving child of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Archduchess Maria Theresa was born on 13 May 1717 in Vienna, a year after the death of her elder brother, Archduke Leopold, was baptised on that same evening. The dowager empresses, her aunt Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg and grandmother Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, were her godmothers. Most descriptions of her baptism stress that the infant was carried ahead of her cousins, Maria Josepha and Maria Amalia, the daughters of Charles VI's elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, before the eyes of their mother, Wilhelmine Amalia.
It was clear that Maria Theresa would outrank them though their grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, had his sons sign the Mutual Pact of Succession, which gave precedence to the daughters of the elder brother. Her father was the only surviving male member of the House of Habsburg and hoped for a son who would prevent the extinction of his dynasty and succeed him. Thus, the birth of Maria Theresa was the people of Vienna. Maria Theresa replaced Maria Josepha as heir presumptive to the Habsburg realms the moment she was born. Charles sought the other European powers' approval for disinheriting his nieces, they exacted harsh terms: in the Treaty of Vienna, Great Britain demanded that Austria abolish the Ostend Company in return for its recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction. In total, Great Britain, Saxony, United Provinces, Prussia, Denmark, Sardinia and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire recognised the sanction. France, Saxony and Prussia reneged. Little more than a year after her birth, Maria Theresa was joined by a sister, Maria Anna, another one, named Maria Amalia, was born in 1724.
The portraits of the imperial family show that Maria Theresa resembled Elisabeth Christine and Maria Anna. The Prussian ambassador noted that she had large blue eyes, fair hair with a slight tinge of red, a wide mouth and a notably strong body. Unlike many other members of the House of Habsburg, neither Maria Theresa's parents nor her grandparents were related to each other. Maria Theresa was a reserved child who enjoyed singing and archery, she was barred from horse riding by her father, but she would learn the basics for the sake of her Hungarian coronation ceremony. The imperial family staged opera productions conducted by Charles VI, in which she relished participating, her education was overseen by Jesuits. Contemporaries thought her Latin to be quite good, but in all else, the Jesuits did not educate her well, her spelling and punctuation were unconventional and she lacked the formal manner and speech which had characterised her Habsburg predecessors. Maria Theresa developed a close relationship with Countess Marie Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard
The Habsburg Monarchy – Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch; the dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the head of the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg was elected Holy Roman Emperor: from 1452 until the Empire's dissolution in 1806, Charles VII of Bavaria was the only Holy Roman Emperor, not Habsburg ruler of Austria. The two entities were never coterminous, as the Habsburg Monarchy covered many lands beyond the Holy Roman Empire, most of the Empire was ruled by other dynasties.
This Austrian Habsburg Monarchy must not be confused with the House of Habsburg, existing since the 11th century, whose vast domains were split up in 1521 between this "junior" Austrian branch and the "senior" Spanish branch. The monarchy had no official name. Instead, various names included: Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Empire Habsburg/Austrian Hereditary Lands Austrian Monarchy Danubian Monarchy The Habsburg family originated with the Habsburg Castle in modern Switzerland, after 1279 came to rule in Austria; the Habsburg family grew to European prominence with the marriage and adoption treaty by Emperor Maximilian I at the First Congress of Vienna in 1515, the subsequent death of adopted Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in 1526. Following the death of Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in the Battle of Mohács against the Turks, his brother-in-law Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was elected the next King of Bohemia and Hungary. Names of the territory that became Austria-Hungary: Habsburg monarchy: This was an unofficial umbrella term, but frequent, name during that time.
The entity had no official name. Austrian Empire: This was the official name. Note that the German version is Kaisertum Österreich, i.e. the English translation empire refers to a territory ruled by an emperor, not just to a "widespreading domain". Austria-Hungary: This name was used in the international relations, though the official name was Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. An unofficial popular name was the Danubian Monarchy often used was the term Doppel-Monarchie meaning two states under one crowned ruler. Crownlands or crown lands: This is the name of all the individual parts of the Austrian Empire, of Austria-Hungary from 1867 on; the Kingdom of Hungary was not considered a "crownland" after the establishment of Austria-Hungary 1867, so that the "crownlands" became identical with what was called the Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council. The Hungarian parts of the Empire were called "Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen" or "Lands of Holy Stephen's Crown"; the Bohemian Lands were called "Lands of the St. Wenceslaus' Crown".
Names of some smaller territories: Austrian lands or "Archduchies of Austria" – Lands up and below the Enns: This is the historical name of the parts of the Archduchy of Austria that became the present-day Republic of Austria on 12 November 1918. Modern day Austria is a semi-federal republic of nine states that are: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland and the Capital of Vienna, a state of its own. Burgenland came to Austria in 1921 from Hungary. Salzburg became Austrian in 1816 after the Napoleonic wars. Vienna, Austria's capital became a state 1 January 1922, after being residence and capital of the Austrian Empire for the Habsburg monarchs for centuries. Upper and Lower Austria were split into "Austria above the Enns" and "Austria below the Enns". Upper Austria was enlarged after the Treaty of Teschen following the "War of the Bavarian Succession" by the so-called Innviertel part of Bavaria. Hereditary Lands or German Hereditary Lands or Austrian Hereditary Lands: In a narrower sense these were the "original" Habsburg Austrian territories, i.e. the Austrian lands and Carniola.
In a wider sense the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were included in the Hereditary lands. The term was replaced by the term "Crownlands" in the 1849 March Constitution, but it was used afterwards; the Er
Battle of Chotusitz
The Battle of Chotusitz, or Chotusice, sometimes called the Battle of Czaslau, was fought on May 17, 1742, in Bohemia between the Austrians under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine and the Prussians under Frederick the Great. The battle was a part of the War of the Austrian Succession, sometimes referred to as the First Silesian War; the armies were about equal at 28,000 to 30,000 each, with the Prussians having about 2,000 more infantry and the Austrians some 2,000 more cavalry. The Austrians were attempting to retake occupied Prague and the Prussians were trying to block them from accomplishing that; the Battle of Chotusitz was notable in that it was the only major battle started by the Austrians during this war. Prince Charles had entered Bohemia with the intention of liberating the occupied capital of Prague. Faulty intelligence misinformed him of the strength of the Prussians in the area and he was unaware that Frederick was before of him with the main Prussian force; the Prussian army had divided with Frederick leading the vanguard about 10,000 strong, marching on Kuttenberg, Kutna Hora, with the intent of preventing the Austrians from reaching Prague.
The main army of nearly 20,000 followed a day under Prince Leopold of Anhalt. With the two Prussians forces a day's march apart and out of supporting distance of each other Charles had an opportunity of inflicting a defeat in detail on one, or both, of the Prussian forces. A wary Charles hesitated for a day and the two Prussians forces, realizing the danger, both moved towards each other. Leopold marching through the night reached Chotusitz at 2 A. M. and established tenuous contact with Frederick. Leopold went into camp a little north of what was to be the field of battle on the plain in the valley of the Elbe near the small hamlet of Chotusitz. Charles of Lorraine, hoping to catch Leopold cut off from Frederick while the Prussians were divided, advanced north with his force in four columns, he decided to camisade. Charles' overnight advance took longer than anticipated and it was well after dawn that he approached the field with 30,000 troops. Alerted to the danger, Frederick gave Leopold instructions to deploy on Chotusitz and hold until the rest of the Prussians could come up with Frederick, bringing their forces up to 28,000.
Frederick gave orders to Leopold to deploy leaving room for Frederick's force to come in on the right and he began marching towards the field at 4 A. M. with the intent of arriving at 7 A. M.. Leopold marched from the camp to Chotusitz and positioned his troops facing south-east in the town and to the right and left with cavalry on each flank with each flank resting on difficult terrain; the left flank terrain was broken with gullies and ponds and unsuitable for the cavalry. On the right, Leopold's cavalry wing under the seventy-year-old Wilhelm Dietrich von Buddenbrock, a veteran who had fought at Oudenarde, spread his cavalry line to the right to take advantage of a rise in the ground which conceal its extent, allowing Buddenbrock to outflank the oncoming Austrian left flank cavalry. Charles advanced north from the town Czaslau but difficult ground slowed him and the army drifted to their right, aggravating their vulnerability to an attack by Buddenbrock on their left flank. By 7 A. M. the Austrians were deployed and had advanced to within cannon shot while Frederick had arrived on the field with the rest of the Prussian army.
At 8 A. M. Charles ordered a general attack. Frederick rode up the rise behind which Buddenbrock's cavalry was concealed, observed the Austrian position unlimbered some guns and began to fire against the Austrian cavalry. Under cover of this fire, Buddenbrock's cavalry advanced at a trot and at a gallop; the Prussian line, in a furious charge, outflanking the Austrian first line and drove the Austrians back on their second line. The day was hot and dry and the cavalry mêlée raised a huge cloud of dust in which the second line of Austrian cavalry now overthrew Buddenbrock sending the Prussian cavalry tumbling back broken, pursued by the Austrians and having suffered over 2,000 casualties; the Austrian cavalry was stopped and driven back by cavalry under Rothenburg and a couple of Prussian infantry regiments and this flank settled down for a time to some minor clashes and feints. The broken ground on the Prussian left prevented their cavalry there from supporting the infantry in the town of Chotusitz.
The Austrian infantry stormed the town and took it completely except for a small section that held out. Failing to clear the town, the Austrians set it on fire at about 9 A. M.. Austrian right flank cavalry advanced, encountered the same difficult ground but managed some successful charges; these were halted by Prussian cavalry which like the other flank ran out of control galloping through the Austrians, finding themselves isolated and cut off behind Austrian lines. The Austrian cavalry and infantry on the right advanced again but broke off to loot the Prussian camp and moved beyond any further use in the battle. In the center the Austrian infantry made a number of determined attacks, which were all driven back with heavy loss by the disciplined platoon fire of the Prussian infantry; the burning town made it difficult for Charles to coordinate the efforts of his right. The Prussian infantry drove the Austrians from Chotusitz. Back on the Prussian right another cavalry fight was won by the Austrian cavalry who pursued the defeated Prussian cavalry leaving the Austrian left flank exposed.
Frederick had made his arrangements and a coordinated attack of twenty three infantry battalions was made on the open Austrian left flank. The Prussian infantry advanced at the double quick preceded by fifteen cannon. Unde
Dobromierz, Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Dobromierz is a village-sized municipality in Świdnica County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. The municipality lies 16 kilometres north-west of Świdnica, 61 kilometres south-west of the regional capital Wrocław, it has a population of 800. It is the main municipality and the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Dobromierz. First mentioned as Vrideberch in a 1307 deed, it received town privileges about 1409; the area was the site of Frederick the Great's victory at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg, fought between Austria and Prussia on June 4, 1745 during the War of the Austrian Succession. Prior to 1945 it was in Germany
Second Silesian War
The Second Silesian War was a conflict between Prussia and Austria lasting from 1744 to 1745, which confirmed Prussia's control of the region of Silesia. The war was fought in Silesia and Upper Saxony and formed one theatre of the wider War of the Austrian Succession, it was the second in a series of three Silesian Wars fought between Frederick the Great's Prussia and Maria Theresa's Austria in the mid-18th century, all three of which ended in Prussian control of Silesia. This conflict can be viewed as a continuation of the First Silesian War, which had ended only two years earlier. After the Treaty of Berlin ended hostilities between Austria and Prussia in 1742, the Habsburg Monarchy's fortunes improved in the continuing War of the Austrian Succession; as Austria expanded its alliances with the 1743 Treaty of Worms, Prussia entered a renewed alliance with Austria's enemies in the League of Frankfurt and rejoined the war, hoping to prevent a resurgent Austria from taking back Silesia. The war began with a Prussian invasion of Habsburg Bohemia in mid 1744, it ended in a Prussian victory with the 1745 Treaty of Dresden, which confirmed Prussian control of Silesia.
Continuing conflict over Silesia would draw Austria and Prussia into a Third Silesian War a decade later. The Second Silesian War repeated the defeat of the Habsburg Monarchy by a lesser German power and contributed to the Austria–Prussia rivalry that would shape German politics for more than a century. Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI died in 1740 without a male heir. During Emperor Charles VI's lifetime, this female succession was acknowledged by the imperial states, but when he died it was promptly contested by several parties; the newly crowned King Frederick II of Prussia took this Austrian succession crisis as an opportunity to press his dynasty's territorial claims in the Habsburg crown land of Silesia, invading in December 1740 and beginning the First Silesian War. After early Prussian successes, other powers were emboldened to attack the beleaguered Habsburg realm, widening the conflict into what became the War of the Austrian Succession. Prussia, Spain and others formed an alliance known as the League of Nymphenburg to support each other's efforts to seize Habsburg territory and Bavaria's bid for the imperial election.
The allies invaded on multiple fronts in the summer of 1741, soon occupying Austrian Tyrol, Upper Austria and Bohemia threatening Vienna. Faced with a potential war of partition, Austria negotiated a secret armistice with Prussia in October and redeployed its forces to face its other enemies. Prussian forces resumed offensive operations in December, invading Moravia and blocking an Austrian drive toward Prague in early 1742. Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria became Holy Roman Emperor. In July 1742 Prussia and Austria made a separate peace in the Treaty of Berlin, under which Austria conceded the majority of Silesia to Prussia in return for Prussia's neutrality in the continuing War of the Austrian Succession. In late 1742, while Prussia enjoyed the restored peace and worked to assimilate Silesia into its administration and economy, Austria fought on against Bavaria and France, reversing its losses from 1741. By the summer of 1743 Austria recovered control of Bohemia, drove the French back across the Rhine into Alsace, occupied Bavaria, exiling the Bavarian Emperor Charles Albert to Frankfurt.
Prussia's withdrawal from the War of the Austrian Succession under a separate peace embittered its erstwhile allies, the diplomatic position shifted in Austria's favor. By early 1744, both Prussia and Austria had negotiated new alliances and were preparing for renewed conflict over Silesia. In September 1743 Austria, Britain–Hanover, Savoy–Sardinia concluded a new alliance under the Treaty of Worms. Meanwhile, the Russo-Swedish War that had paralleled the First Silesian War ended in August 1743, freeing Russia to take Austria's side in the ongoing succession war; that same summer, Empress Elizabeth of Russia appointed as chancellor Alexey Bestuzhev, a proponent of a pro-British and anti-French policy that entailed friendship to Austria and enmity to Prussia. Prussia sought warmer relations with Russia and won a minor defensive agreement, but Russia posed a growing threat to Prussia's eastern frontier. King Frederick apprehended that an irresistible anti-Prussian coalition might soon develop among Britain–Hanover, Saxony and Austria.
To prevent Austria from taking revenge at its convenience, when the war elsewhere was concluded, Frederick decided that Prussia must restore its French alliance, build an anti-Austrian coalition with as many other German princes as possible, strike first against Austria. So, in late 1743 and early 1744, Prussia conducted negotiations with France and other German princes to build a coalition to support the Bavarian Emperor Charles Albert. On 22 May 1744, Prussia formed an alliance with Bavaria, Hesse–Kassel and the Electoral Palatinate known as the League of Frankfurt, whose announced aim was to recover and defend the territories of Emperor Charles Albert, including Bohemia. A parallel treaty with France was concluded on 5 June, under which France committed to cooperate with Prussia in recovering control of Bohemia from Austria. Prussia would lead this effort by invading Bohemia from the north, a
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin; the kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia was a great power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia, which became a military power under Frederick William, known as "The Great Elector". Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more known as Frederick the Great, the third son of Frederick William I. Frederick the Great was instrumental in starting the Seven Years' War, holding his own against Austria, Russia and Sweden and establishing Prussia's role in the German states, as well as establishing the country as a European great power.
After the might of Prussia was revealed it was considered as a major power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles, many wars; because of its power, Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states under its rule, although whether Austria would be included in such a unified German domain was an ongoing question. After the Napoleonic Wars led to the creation of the German Confederation, the issue of more unifying the many German states caused revolution throughout the German states, with each wanting their own constitution. Attempts at creation of a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful member states and Austria; the North German Confederation, which lasted from 1867 to 1871, created a closer union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent. The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War but many of its laws were used in the German Empire.
The German Empire lasted from 1871 to 1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony, this was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. The war united all the German states against a common enemy, with the victory came an overwhelming wave of nationalism which changed the opinions of some of those, against unification. In 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. Prussia is considered the legal predecessor of the unified German Reich and as such a direct ancestor of today's Federal Republic of Germany; the formal abolition of Prussia, carried out on 25 February 1947 by the fiat of the Allied Control Council referred to an alleged tradition of the kingdom as a bearer of militarism and reaction, made way for the current setup of the German states. However, the Free State of Prussia, which followed the abolition of the Kingdom of Prussia in the aftermath of World War I, was a major democratic force in Weimar Germany until the nationalist coup of 1932 known as the Preußenschlag.
The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which has become one of the largest cultural organisations in the world. In 1415 a Hohenzollern Burgrave came from the south to the March of Brandenburg and took control of the area as elector. In 1417 the Hohenzollern was made an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. After the Polish wars, the newly established Baltic towns of the German states, including Prussia, suffered many economic setbacks. Many of the Prussian towns could not afford to attend political meetings outside of Prussia; the towns were poverty stricken, with the largest town, having to borrow money from elsewhere to pay for trade. Poverty in these towns was caused by Prussia's neighbours, who had established and developed such a monopoly on trading that these new towns could not compete; these issues led to feuds, trade competition and invasions. However, the fall of these towns gave rise to the nobility, separated the east and the west, allowed the urban middle class of Brandenburg to prosper.
It was clear in 1440 how different Brandenburg was from the other German territories, as it faced two dangers that the other German territories did not, partition from within and the threat of invasion by its neighbours. It prevented partition by enacting the Dispositio Achillea, which instilled the principle of primogeniture to both the Brandenburg and Franconian territories; the second issue was resolved through expansion. Brandenburg was surrounded on every side by neighbours whose boundaries were political. Any neighbour could consume Brandenburg at any moment; the only way to defend herself was to absorb her neighbours. Through negotiations and marriages Brandenburg but expanded her borders, absorbing neighbours and eliminating the threat of attack; the Hohenzollerns were made rulers of the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1518. In 1529 the Hohenzollerns secured the reversion of the Duchy of Pomerania after a series of conflicts, acquired its eastern part following the Peace of Westphalia. In 1618 the Hohenzollerns inherited the Duchy of Prussia, since 1511 ruled by Hohenzollern Albrecht of Brandenburg Prussia, who in 1525 converted the Teutonic Order ruled state to a Protestant Duchy by accepting fiefdom of the crown of Poland.
It was ruled in a personal union with Brandenburg
Saxony the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, its largest city is Leipzig. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres, the sixth most populous, with 4 million people; the history of the state of Saxony spans more than a millennium. It has been a medieval duchy, an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom, twice a republic; the area of the modern state of Saxony should not be confused with Old Saxony, the area inhabited by Saxons. Old Saxony corresponds to the modern German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia. Saxony is divided into 10 districts: 1. Bautzen 2. Erzgebirgskreis 3. Görlitz 4. Leipzig 5. Meißen 6. Mittelsachsen 7. Nordsachsen 8. Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge 9. Vogtlandkreis 10. Zwickau In addition, three cities have the status of an urban district: Chemnitz Dresden Leipzig Between 1990 and 2008, Saxony was divided into the three regions of Chemnitz and Leipzig.
After a reform in 2008, these regions - with some alterations of their respective areas - were called Direktionsbezirke. In 2012, the authorities of these regions were merged into one central authority, the Landesdirektion Sachsen; the Erzgebirgskreis district includes the Ore Mountains, the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge district includes Saxon Switzerland and the Eastern Ore Mountains. There are numerous rivers in Saxony; the Elbe is the most dominant one. Oder and Neiße define the border between Poland. Other rivers include the Weiße Elster; the largest cities in Saxony according to the 31 December 2015 estimate are listed below. To this can be added that Leipzig forms a metropolitan-like region with Halle, known as Ballungsraum Leipzig/Halle; the latter city is located just across the border of Saxony-Anhalt. Leipzig shares, for an S-train system and an airport with Halle. Saxony has, after the most vibrant economy of the states of the former East Germany, its economy grew by 1.9% in 2010. Nonetheless, unemployment remains above the German average.
The eastern part of Germany, excluding Berlin, qualifies as an "Objective 1" development-region within the European Union, was eligible to receive investment subsidies up to 30% until 2013. FutureSAX, a business plan competition and entrepreneurial support organisation, has been in operation since 2002. Microchip-makers near Dresden have given the region the nickname "Silicon Saxony"; the publishing and porcelain industries of the region are well known, although their contributions to the regional economy are no longer significant. Today, the automobile industry, machinery production, services contribute to the economic development of the region. Saxony is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Germany - the cities of Leipzig and Dresden and their surroundings. New tourist destinations are developing, notably in the lake district of Lausitz. Saxony reported an average unemployment of 6.2% in 2017. By comparison, the average in the former GDR was 6.8% and 5.5% for Germany overall. The unemployment rate stood at 5.5% in October 2018.
The Leipzig area, which until was among the regions with the highest unemployment rate, could benefit from investments by Porsche and BMW. With the VW Phaeton factory in Dresden, many parts suppliers, the automobile industry has again become one of the pillars of Saxon industry, as it was in the early 20th century. Zwickau is another major Volkswagen location. Freiberg, a former mining town, has emerged as a foremost location for solar technology. Dresden and some other regions of Saxony play a leading role in some areas of international biotechnology, such as electronic bioengineering. While these high-technology sectors do not yet offer a large number of jobs, they have stopped or reversed the brain drain, occurring until the early 2000s in many parts of Saxony. Regional universities have strengthened their positions by partnering with local industries. Unlike smaller towns and Leipzig in the past experienced significant population growth; the population of Saxony began declining around the middle of the 20th century, a process which accelerated after German reunification in 1990.
The second decade of the 21st century has seen demographic decline stabilize through immigration. In recent years the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, some towns in their hinterlands, have had population increases; the following table illustrates the population of Saxony since 1905: The average number of children per woman in Saxony was 1.49 in 2010, the highest of all German states. In 2016, the value reached 1.59. Within Saxony, the highest is the Bautzen district with 1.77, while Leipzig is the lowest with 1.49. Dresden's birth rate of 1.58 is the highest of all German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants. Births from January–September 2016 = 28,714 Births from January–September 2017 = 28,129 Deaths from January–September 2016 = 39,386 Deaths from January–September 2017 = 41,284 Natural growth from January–September 2016 = -10,672 Natural growth from January–September 2017 = -13,155 Saxony has a long history as a duchy, an electorate of the Holy