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Duchy of Oldenburg

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Location of the later Duchy of Oldenburg within the Holy Roman Empire+.
Feudal monarchy
Created on breakup
of Saxony+
Raised to duchy
Annexed by France+
Re-established as
a grand duchy+

County of Oldenburg

First French Empire

Duke of Oldenburg+
Frederick August I+
William+ (last duke before French annexation)
(restored 1813–23)

The '''Duchy of Oldenburg''' ( and the heirs of a junior line of the Greek branch are, through Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh+, likely to inherit the thrones of the United Kingdom+ and the other Commonwealth realm+s after the death or abdication of Queen Elizabeth II+.

The first known count of Oldenburg is Elimar I+ (d. 1108). Elimar's descendants appear as vassals, though sometimes rebellious ones, of the dukes of Saxony+; but they attained the dignity of princes of the empire+ when the emperor Frederick I+ dismembered the Saxon duchy in 1180. At this time, the county of Delmenhorst+ formed part of the dominions of the counts of Oldenburg, but afterwards it was on several occasions separated from them to form an appanage+ for younger branches of the family. This was the case between 1262 and 1447, between 1463 and 1547, and between 1577 and 1617.

During the early part of the 13th century the counts carried on a series of wars with independent, or semi-independent, Frisian+ princes to the north and west of the county, which resulted in a gradual expansion of the Oldenburgian territory. The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen+ and the bishop of Münster+ were also frequently at war with the counts of Oldenburg.

In 1440, Christian succeeded his father Dietrich+, called '''', as Count of Oldenburg. In 1448 Christian was elected king of Denmark+ as Christian I+, partly based on his maternal descent from previous Danish kings. Although far away from the Danish borders, Oldenburg was now a Danish exclave+. The control over the town was left to the king's brothers, who established a short reign of tyranny.

In 1450 Christian became king of Norway+ and in 1457 king of Sweden+; in 1460 he inherited the Duchy of Schleswig+ and the County of Holstein+, an event of high importance for the future history of Oldenburg. In 1454 he handed over Oldenburg to his brother Gerhard+ (about 1430–99), a wild prince, who was constantly at war with the prince-bishop of Bremen+ and other neighbors. In 1483, Gerhard was compelled to abdicate in favor of his sons, and he died while on pilgrimage+ in Spain+.

Early in the 16th century Oldenburg was again enlarged at the expense of the Frisians. Lutheranism+ was introduced into the county by Anthony I+ (1505–73, r. from 1529), who also suppressed the monasteries; however, he remained loyal to Emperor Charles V+ during the Schmalkaldic War+, and was able thus to increase his territories, obtaining Delmenhorst+ in 1547. One of Anthony's brothers, Christopher+ (about 1506–60), won some reputation as a soldier.

Anthony's grandson, Anthony Günther+ (1583–1667), who succeeded in 1603, considered himself the wisest prince who had yet ruled Oldenburg. Jever+ had been acquired before he became count, but in 1624 he added Kniphausen+ and Varel+ to his lands, with which in 1647 Delmenhorst was finally united. By his neutrality during the Thirty Years' War+ and by donating valuable horses to the warlord, the Count of Tilly+, Anthony Günther secured for his dominions an immunity from the terrible devastations to which nearly all the other states of Germany were exposed. He also obtained from the emperor the right to levy tolls+ on vessels passing along the Weser+, a lucrative grant which soon formed a material addition to his resources. In 1607 he erected a Renaissance+ castle. After the death of Anthony Günther, Oldenburg fell again under Danish authority.

In 1773 Christian VII of Denmark+ surrendered Oldenburg+ to Catherine the Great+ in exchange for her son and heir Paul+'s share in the condominial royal-ducal government of the Duchy of Holstein+ and his claims to the ducal share in the government of the Duchy of Schleswig+; Oldenburg went to Frederick August, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck+, the representative of a younger branch of the family, and in 1777 the county+ was raised to the rank of a duchy+. The duke's son William+, who succeeded his father in 1785, was a man of weak intellect, and his cousin Peter, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck+, acted as regent and eventually, in 1823, inherited the throne, holding the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck+ and Oldenburg in personal union+.

By the German Mediatisation+ of 1803, Oldenburg acquired the Oldenburg Münsterland+ and the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck. Between 1810 and 1814, Oldenburg was occupied by Napoleonic France+. Its annexation into the French Empire+, in 1810, was one of the causes for the diplomatic rift between former allies France and Russia+, a dispute that would lead to war in 1812 and eventually to Napoleon's downfall.

The oldest documentation of Jews+ living in the Duchy of Oldenburg is dated to the Middle Ages.http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11684-oldenburg The Jewish+ grand community of the Duchy was consisted of the Delmenhorst+, Jever+, Varel+, Vechta+ and Wildeshausen+ communities. Other documentations report of a Jewish+ deportation from Wildeshausen+ at around 1348, during the time of the Black death+, though they came back short after, as mentioned in other documents Jewish+ presence continued to be reported, especially in the main city of Oldenburg+ but also in the villages surrounding it, and the total Jewish+ community of the area of the Duchy in 1900 raised to 1359, but declined to 1015 in 1925. By 1933, only 279 Jews+ were left in the area, and the most of them were annihilated during the Holocaust+, though some survived and returned after the war.

In 1808, the Duchy was the last part of the west-of-the-Rein Napoleon+ conquered territories that insisted that the Jews+ will adopt fixed names upon themselves. These names, are the ones popular nowadays among Ashkenazi+ Jews+.

In 1814 the Duchy acquired the Principality of Birkenfeld+ and became a grand duchy+.

In 1871 Oldenburg joined the German Empire+, and in 1918 it became a free state+ within the Weimar Republic+.

In 1937 (with the Greater Hamburg Act+), it lost the exclave+ districts of Eutin+ near the Baltic coast+ and Birkenfeld+ in southwestern Germany to Prussia+ and gained the City of Wilhelmshaven+; however, this was a formality, as the Hitler régime had ''de facto'' abolished the federal states in 1934.

By the beginning of World War II+ in 1939, as a result of these territorial changes, Oldenburg had an area of and 580,000 inhabitants.

In 1946, after World War II, Oldenburg merged into the newly founded state of Lower Saxony+ forming, territorially unchanged, the administrative region ('''') of Oldenburg. Region and State both became a part of West Germany+ in 1949. The administrative region was abolished in 1978 and merged with neighbouring governorates ('''') into the new region of Weser-Ems+, dissolved in 2004.


Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle:
States of the Confederation of the Rhine:

Duchy of Oldenburg+ The Duchy of Oldenburg (German: Herzogtum Oldenburg) — named after its capital, the town of Oldenburg — was a state in the north-west of present-day Germany.