Mecklenburg

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Mecklenburg
Flagge des Landesteils Mecklenburg.svg
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Mecklenburg Arms.svg
Coat of arms
Karte-Mecklenburg.png
Mecklenburg, divided between Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, from 1866 to 1934.
Coordinates: 53°36′46″N12°25′47″E / 53.61265°N 12.42960°E / 53.61265; 12.42960 Coordinates: 53°36′46″N12°25′47″E / 53.61265°N 12.42960°E / 53.61265; 12.42960
CountryFlag of Germany.svg  Germany
Largest city Rostock

Mecklenburg (German pronunciation: [ˈmeːklənbʊʁk] ; Low German : Mękel(n)borg [ˈmɛːkəl(n)bɔrx] ) is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Schwerin, Neubrandenburg, Wismar and Güstrow.

Contents

The name Mecklenburg derives from a castle named Mikilenburg (Old Saxon for "big castle", hence its translation into New Latin and Greek as Megalopolis), located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. In Slavic languages it was known as Veligrad, which also means "big castle". It was the ancestral seat of the House of Mecklenburg; for a time the area was divided into Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz among the same dynasty.

Linguistically Mecklenburgers retain and use many features of Low German vocabulary or phonology.

The adjective for the region is Mecklenburgian (German: mecklenburgisch); inhabitants are called Mecklenburgians (German: Mecklenburger).

Geography

Mecklenburg is known for its mostly flat countryside. Much of the terrain is boggy, with ponds, marshes and fields as common features, with small forests interspersed. The terrain changes as one moves north towards the Baltic Sea.

Under the peat of Mecklenburg are sometimes found deposits of ancient lava flows. Traditionally, at least in the countryside, the stone from these flows is cut and used in the construction of homes, often in joint use with cement, brick and wood, forming a unique look to the exterior of country houses.

Mecklenburg has productive farming, but the land is most suitable for grazing for livestock.

List of urban centers in Mecklenburg

Town/
municipality
DistrictPopulation
as of December 31, 2012
Image
Rostock district-free city206,011 (12-31-2015) Warnemunder Mole.jpg
Schwerin district-free city91,264 Schwerin Castle Aerial View Island Luftbild Schweriner Schloss Insel See.jpg
Neubrandenburg Mecklenburgische Seenplatte 63,509 Caspar David Friedrich 036.jpg
Wismar Nordwestmecklenburg 42,433 Wismarer Wasserkunst.jpg
Güstrow Rostock 28,586 GustrowSchloss&Park.JPG
Neustrelitz Mecklenburgische Seenplatte 20,322 Schlosskirche (Neustrelitz) Front.jpg
Waren (Müritz) Mecklenburgische Seenplatte 21,074 Mueritzeum in Waren Mueritz.JPG
Parchim Ludwigslust-Parchim 17,174 Parchim Kaiserl Postamt.jpg
Ludwigslust Ludwigslust-Parchim 11,998 SchlossLudwigslust.jpg
Bad Doberan Rostock 11,427 Bad Doberan Munster 02 2012-05-08.jpg
Hagenow Ludwigslust-Parchim 11,324 Hagenow Stadtkirche 2007-05-28 019.jpg
Grevesmühlen Nordwestmecklenburg 10,621 Galeriehollander Grevesmuhlen.jpg
Boizenburg/Elbe Ludwigslust-Parchim 10,169 Boizenburg Graben um die Innenstadt.jpg
Teterow Rostock 8,733 Teterow Bergring Wegweiser.jpg
Malchin Mecklenburgische Seenplatte 7,657 Kalensches Tor 2 Malchin.JPG

History

Early history

Mecklenburg is the site of many prehistoric dolmen tombs. Its earliest organised inhabitants may have had Celtic origins. By no later than 100 BC the area had been populated by pre-Christian Germanic peoples.

The traditional symbol of Mecklenburg, the grinning steer's head (Low German: Ossenkopp, lit.: 'oxen's head', with osse being a synonym for steer and bull in Middle Low German), with an attached hide, and a crown above, may have originated from this period.[ citation needed ] It represents what early peoples would have worn, i.e. a steers's head as a helmet, with the hide hanging down the back to protect the neck from the sun, and overall as a way to instill fear in the enemy.

From the 7th through the 12th centuries, Germanic Mecklenburg was ruled by Western Slavic overlords, newly arrived from the steppes. Among them were the Obotrites and other tribes that Frankish sources referred to as "Wends". The 11th-century founder of the Mecklenburger dynasty of Dukes and later Grand Dukes, which lasted until 1918, was Nyklot of the Obotrites.

In the late 12th century, Henry the Lion, Duke of the Saxons, reconquered the region, took oaths from its local lords, and Christianized its people, in a precursor to the Northern Crusades. From the 12th to 14th centuries, large numbers of Germans and Flemings settled the area (Ostsiedlung), importing German law and improved agricultural techniques. The Wends who survived all warfare and devastation of the centuries before, including invasions of and expeditions into Saxony, Denmark and Liutizic areas as well as internal conflicts, were assimilated in the centuries thereafter. However, elements of certain names and words used in Mecklenburg speak to the lingering Slavic influence. An example would be the city of Schwerin, which was originally called Zuarin in Slavic. Another example is the town of Bresegard, the 'gard' portion of the town name deriving from the Slavic word 'grad', meaning city or town.

Since the 12th century, the territory remained stable and relatively independent of its neighbours; one of the few German territories for which this is true. During the reformation the Duke in Schwerin would convert to Protestantism and so would follow the Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1549.

Historical 7-field coat of arms, symbolizing the seven lordships of Mecklenburg: The duchy of Mecklenburg, the princedoms (former dioceses) of Schwerin and Ratzeburg, the county of Schwerin and the Herrschafts (lordships) of Rostock, Werle and Stargard. Mecklescudo.jpg
Historical 7-field coat of arms, symbolizing the seven lordships of Mecklenburg: The duchy of Mecklenburg, the princedoms (former dioceses) of Schwerin and Ratzeburg, the county of Schwerin and the Herrschafts (lordships) of Rostock, Werle and Stargard.

History, 16211933

Like many German territories, Mecklenburg was sometimes partitioned and re-partitioned among different members of the ruling dynasty. In 1621 it was divided into the two duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Güstrow. With the extinction of the Güstrow line in 1701, the Güstrow lands were redivided, part going to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and part going to the new line of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

In 1815, the two Mecklenburgian duchies were raised to Grand Duchies, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and subsequently existed separately as such in Germany under enlightened but absolute rule (constitutions being granted on the eve of World War I) until the revolution of 1918. Life in Mecklenburg could be quite harsh. Practices such as having to ask for permission from the Grand Duke to get married, or having to apply for permission to emigrate, would linger late into the history of Mecklenburg (i.e. 1918), long after such practices had been abandoned in other German areas. Even as late as the later half of the 19th century the Grand Duke personally owned half of the countryside. The last Duke abdicated in 1918, as monarchies fell throughout Europe. The Duke's ruling house reigned in Mecklenburg uninterrupted (except for two years) from its incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire until 1918. From 1918 to 1933, the duchies were free states in the Weimar Republic.

Traditionally Mecklenburg has always been one of the poorer German regions.[ citation needed ] The reasons for this may be varied, but one factor stands out: agriculturally the land is poor and can not produce at the same level as other parts of Germany.[ citation needed ] The two Mecklenburgs made attempts at being independent states after 1918, but eventually failed as their dependence on the rest of the German lands became apparent.[ citation needed ]

History since 1934

After three centuries of partition, Mecklenburg was united on 1 January 1934 by the German government. During World War II the Wehrmacht assigned Mecklenburg and Pomerania to Wehrkreis II under the command of General der Infanterie Werner Kienitz, with the headquarters at Stettin. Mecklenburg was assigned to an Area headquartered at Schwerin, which was responsible for military units in Schwerin, Rostock, Parchim, and Neustrelitz.

After World War II, the Soviet government occupying eastern Germany merged Mecklenburg with the smaller neighbouring region of Western Pomerania (German Vorpommern) to form the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Mecklenburg contributed about two-thirds of the geographical size of the new state and the majority of its population. Also, the new state became temporary or permanent home for many refugees expelled from former German territories seized by the Soviet Union and Poland after the war. The Soviets changed the name from "Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania" to "Mecklenburg" in 1947.

In 1952, the East German government ended the independent existence of Mecklenburg, creating three districts ("Bezirke") out of its territory: Rostock, Schwerin and Neubrandenburg.

During German reunification in 1990, the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was revived, and is now one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Coat of arms of the duchies of Mecklenburg

Coat of arms used by both duchies, mid 19th century. Coat of Arms of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg - Strelitz.svg
Coat of arms used by both duchies, mid 19th century.

The House of Mecklenburg was founded by Niklot, prince of the Obotrites, Chizzini and Circipani on the Baltic Sea, who died in 1160. His Christian progeny was recognized as prince of the Holy Roman Empire 1170 and Duke of Mecklenburg 8 July 1348. On 27 February 1658 the ducal house divided in two branches: Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The flag of both Mecklenburg duchies is traditionally made of the colours blue, yellow and red. The sequence however changed more than once in the past 300 years. In 1813 the duchies used yellow-red-blue. 23 December 1863 for Schwerin and 4 January 1864 for Strelitz blue-yellow-red was ordered. [1] Mecklenburg-Schwerin however used white instead of yellow for flags on sea by law of 24 March 1855. [2]

Siebmachers Wappenbuch gives therefore (?) blue-white-red for Schwerin and blue-yellow-red for Strelitz. [3] According to this source, the grand ducal house of Schwerin used a flag of 3.75 to 5.625 M with the middle arms on a white quadrant (1.75 M) in the middle.

The middle arms show the shield of Mecklenburg as arranged in the 17th century. The county of Schwerin in the middle and in the quartering Mecklenburg (bull's head with hide), Rostock (griffin), principality of Schwerin (griffin surmounting green rectangle), Ratzeburg (cross surmounted by crown), Stargard (arm with hand holding ring) and Wenden (bull's head). The shield is supported by a bull and a griffin and surmounted by a royal crown.

The dukes of Strelitz used according to Siebmachers the blue-yellow-red flag with just the (oval) shield of Mecklenburg in the yellow band.

Ströhl in 1897 and Bulgaria, [4] show another arrangement: The grand-duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin flows a flag (4:5) with the arms of the figures from the shield of arms.

The former Schwerin standard with the white quadrant is now ascribed to the grand dukes of Strelitz. Ströhl mentions a flag for the grand ducal house by law of 23 December 1863 with the middle arms in the yellow band. And he mentions a special sea flag, the same but with a white middle band. 'Berühmte Fahnen' shows furthermore a standard for grand duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, princess of Hannover (1882–1963), showing her shield and that of Mecklenburg joined by the order of the Wendic Crown in a white oval. On sea the yellow band in her flag was of course white. The princes (dukes) of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had according to this source their own standard, showing the griffin of Rostock.

Economy

Agriculture

A flat landscape, Mecklenburg is known for its farmlands - which produces quinoa, wheat, barley and maize – and its husbandry. Notably, the region is known for its cattle and Mecklenburger horse bred. Recently, with the upheavals and environmental disruptions created by globalisation, German peasants have been concerned about the introduction of potentially invasive species such as the Greater rhea and the Asian hornet. [5]

Tourism

Mecklenburg faces a huge increase in tourism since German reunification in 1990, particularly with its beaches and seaside resorts at the Baltic Sea ("German Riviera", Warnemünde, Boltenhagen, Heiligendamm, Kühlungsborn, Rerik and others), the Mecklenburg Lakeland (Mecklenburgische Seenplatte) and the Mecklenburg Switzerland (Mecklenburgische Schweiz) with their pristine nature, the old Hanseatic towns of Rostock, Greifswald, Stralsund and Wismar (the latter two being World Heritage) well known for their medieval Brick Gothic buildings, and the former royal residences of Schwerin, Güstrow, Ludwigslust and Neustrelitz.

Notable Mecklenburgers

See also

Related Research Articles

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State in Germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, also known by its anglicized name Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, is a state in the north-east of Germany. Of the country's sixteen states, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ranks 14th in population, 6th in area, and 16th in population density. Schwerin is the state capital and Rostock is the largest city. Other major cities include Neubrandenburg, Stralsund, Greifswald, Wismar and Güstrow.

Obotrites

The Obotrites or Obodrites, also spelled Abodrites, were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany. For decades, they were allies of Charlemagne in his wars against the Germanic Saxons and the Slavic Veleti. The Obotrites under Prince Thrasco defeated the Saxons in the Battle of Bornhöved (798). The still heathen Saxons were dispersed by the emperor, and the part of their former land in Holstein north of Elbe was awarded to the Obotrites in 804, as a reward for their victory. This however was soon reverted through an invasion of the Danes. The Obotrite regnal style was abolished in 1167, when Pribislav was restored to power by Duke Henry the Lion, as Prince of Mecklenburg, thereby founding the German House of Mecklenburg.

Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a duchy in northern Germany, consisting of the eastern fifth of the historic Mecklenburg region, roughly corresponding with the present-day Mecklenburg-Strelitz district, and the western exclave of the former bishopric of Ratzeburg in modern Schleswig-Holstein. At the time of its establishment, the duchy bordered on the territory of Swedish Pomerania in the north and of Brandenburg in the south.

Schwerin Capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Schwerin is the capital and second-largest city of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as of the region of Mecklenburg, after Rostock. It has around 96,000 inhabitants, and is thus the least populous of all German state capitals.

Güstrow Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Güstrow is a town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is capital of the Rostock district; Rostock itself is a district-free city and regiopolis.

Neustrelitz town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Neustrelitz is a town in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is situated on the shore of the Zierker See in the Mecklenburg Lake District. From 1738 until 1918 it was the capital of the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. From 1994 until 2011 it was the capital of the district of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy in northern Germany created in 1701, when Frederick William and Adolphus Frederick II divided the Duchy of Mecklenburg between Schwerin and Strelitz. Ruled by the successors of the Nikloting House of Mecklenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin remained a state of the Holy Roman Empire along the Baltic Sea littoral between Holstein-Glückstadt and Duchy of Pomerania.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg was a Lutheran church in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, serving the citizens living in Mecklenburg. The seat of the Landesbischof was the state capital Schwerin, with Schwerin Cathedral as the principal church. It is the most important Protestant denomination in this area.

House of Mecklenburg

The House of Mecklenburg, also known as Nikloting, is a North German dynasty of Slavic origin that ruled until 1918 in the Mecklenburg region, being among the longest-ruling families of Europe. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909–2004), former Queen of the Netherlands (1948–1980), was an agnatic member of this house.

Mecklenburgisch-Vorpommersch dialect

Mecklenburgisch-Vorpommersch is a Low German dialect spoken in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It belongs to the East Low German group.

Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

The Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a territory in Northern Germany held by the House of Mecklenburg residing at Schwerin. It was a sovereign member state of the German Confederation and became a federated state of the North German Confederation and finally of the German Empire in 1871.

The name Mecklenburg derives from a castle in northern Germany named "Mikilenburg", located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. Mecklenburg may refer to:

Coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Coat of arms of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

This article is about the coat of arms of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Magnus II, Duke of Mecklenburg German noble

Magnus II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Güstrow was duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1477 until his death.

Mecklenburg Castle Castle in Dorf Mecklenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Mecklenburg Castle was a medieval castle and a residential capital of the Nakonid and Nikloting dynasties of the Obotrites. It was located just south of the modern village Dorf Mecklenburg, seven kilometres south of the Bay of Wismar in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The only remnants of the ruined castle are parts of an earthen wall. Some scholars have associated Mecklenburg with the medieval trading emporium Reric.

Postage stamps and postal history of Mecklenburg

By the Hamburg Agreement on March 8, 1701, Mecklenburg was separated into two duchies with limited autonomy, which formed a collective state–as of 1815, the Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Since 1755, they had the same constitution and were under the control of the same parliament. In 1815, both parts became Grand Duchies by the Congress of Vienna.

Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Friedrich-Franz Railway

The Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Friedrich-Franz Railway was the state railway company in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. After its second nationalisation in 1890 up to the merger of the Länderbahnen into the Deutsche Reichsbahn in 1920 it was under the direction of the Grand Duchy's Executive Railway Board in Schwerin.

The Mecklenburg Railway Company was founded in 1845 to build a railway line from Hagenow to Rostock and to Güstrow, now in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It was nationalised in 1873 and combined with the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Friedrich-Franz Railway.

During its history, the state of Mecklenburg has been repeatedly partitioned into various successor states. Modern historians distinguish three main Partitions of Mecklenburg:

References

  1. (Ströhl, Deutsche Wappenrolle, Stuttgart, 1897, p. 89)
  2. (Ströhl, 86)
  3. Siebmachers Wappenbuch (Nurenberg, 1878)
  4. Berühmte Fahnen Deutscher Geschichte (Dresden, 1922)
  5. "Asian Hornet Invading Europe, German Specimen Shows Species is Spreading North". 6 February 2020.

Literature

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