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The Kingdom of Hanover ( ) was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It joined with 38 other sovereign states the German Confederationmarker.

Coat of arms

Monarch's Standard.
After the personal union with Britain ended in 1837, Hanover kept the British royal arms and standards, only introducing a new crown (after the British model).


The territory of Hanover had earlier been a principality within the Holy Roman Empire, before being elevated into an Electorate in 1708. (See prince-elector.) Hanover was formed by the union of several dynastic divisions of the Duchy of Brunswick-L√ľneburg, with the sole exception of Brunswick-Wolfenb√ľttel.

Between 1714 and 1837 it was joined in a personal union, first with the Kingdom of Great Britainmarker and the Kingdom of Ireland, and then from 1801 with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker. In 1803 the electorate was occupied by French and Prussian troops, and following the Peace of Tilsit in 1807, its territories together with territories ceded from Prussia was created into the Kingdom of Westphaliamarker ruled by Napoleon's brother J√©r√īme Bonaparte. French control lasted until October 1813 when the territory was overrun by Russian cossack troops, and the Battle of the Nationsmarker at Leipzig later the same month spelled the definitive end to the Napoleonic client state as well as the entire Confederation of the Rhinemarker, after which the House of Hanover was restored as rulers.

The prince-electors, formerly vassals within the Holy Roman Empire, were elevated to monarchs of an independent kingdom at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. This was conducted under the supervision and advice of Baron M√ľnster, head of the German Chancery in Londonmarker.

During the British Regency and the reigns of the kings George IV and later William, their younger brother Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge officiated as Viceroy of Hanover (1816‚Äď1837), representating the King usually living in England. When Adolphus' niece, Queen Victoria, daughter of his late elder brother Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, succeeded to the British throne on 20 June 1837, the 123-year personal union of the crowns of Great Britain (or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801, respectively) and Hanover (or the Electorate of Brunswick-L√ľneburg before 1814, respectively) ended. Adolphus' other elder brother became King as Ernest Augustus I of Hanover and Adolphus returned to Britain.

During the Austro-Prussian Warmarker (1866), Hanover attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederationmarker. Hanover's voting in favour of the mobilisation of Confederation troops against Prussia on 14 June 1866 prompted Prussia to declare war. The outcome of the war led to the dissolution of Hanover as an independent kingdom and it was annexed by Prussia, where it became the Province of Hanovermarker. The German-Hanoverian Party, which at times supported secession from the Reich, demanded a separate status for the province in the Reichstag. The party existed up until it was banned by the National Socialist government. After George V fled Hanover, he raised forces loyal to him in the Netherlandsmarker called the Guelphic Legion. They were eventually disbanded in 1870.

Reorganisation of religious bodies in Hanover

The Lutheran church was the state church of the Kingdom of Hanover with the king being summus episcopus (Supreme Governor of the Lutheran Church). Regional consistories supervised cult and clergy. These were in Aurichmarker, a simultaneously Lutheran and Calvinist consistory dominated by Lutherans (for East Frisia) and the Lutheran consistories in Hanovermarker (for the former Electorate of Brunswick and Lunenburg proper), in Ilfeldmarker (for the County of Hohenstein, a Hanoveran exclave in the Eastern Harzmarker mountains), in Osnabr√ľckmarker (for the former Prince-Bishopric of Osnabr√ľck), in Otterndorfmarker (existed 1535-1885 for the Land of Hadelnmarker) as well as in Stademarker (existed 1650-1903, until 1885 for the former Bremen-Verden proper without Hadeln, then including the complete Stade Region). A general superintendent chaired each consistory.

In 1848 the Lutheran parishes were democratised by the introduction of presbyteries ( , sg./pl.; lit. in ), elected by all major male parishioners and chairing each congregation in co-operation with the pastor, being before the sole chairman. This introduction of presbyteries was somewhat revolutionary in the rather hierarchically structured Lutheran church. In 1864 Carl Lichtenberg , Hanoveran minister of education, cultural and religious affairs (1862-1865), persuaded the Ständeversammlung (lit. in , the Hanoveran parliament) to pass a new law as to the constitution of the Lutheran church. The constitution provided a state synod (parishioners' parliament, ). But its first session only materialised in 1869, when after the Prussianmarker annexation of the Kingdom of Hanover (1866) the Hanoveran Lutherans desired a representative body separate from Prussian rule, though it was restricted to Lutheran matters only.

After the Prussian conquest in 1866, on 19 September 1866, the day before the official Prussian annexation took place and with the last summus episcopus, King George V of Hanover, in exile, the Kingdom's six consistories joined to form today's still existing church body (Lutheran State Church of Hanover). An all-Hanoveran consistory, the Landeskonsistorium (state consistory), was formed with representatives from the regional consistories.

While the Calvinist congregations in formerly Prussian East Frisia had a common roof organisation with the Lutherans there ("Coetus") and the Reformed Church in the former County of Bentheim, then being the state church, had fully established church bodies for Bentheim only ("Königlich-Großbrittanisch-Hannoverscher Ober-Kirchenrath", i.e. Royal British-Hanoveran Supreme Church Council), the Calvinist congregations elsewhere in Hanover were in a somewhat sorry state. Though some Calvinist congregations of Huguenot origin were organised in the Lower Saxon Confederation (Niedersächsische Konföderation). The Lutheran church being the state church of Hanover also supervised the Calvinist diaspora parishes outside East Frisia and Bentheim. In 1848 the new Hanoveran law also provided for presbyteries in these Calvinist parishes, which exactly fit the presbyterian structure of Calvinism.

Catholics formed an overall minority in Hanover, but regionally majorities in the former prince-bishoprics. By the annexations in 1803 and 1814 Hanover had become a state of three Christian denominations. In 1824 Hanover and the Holy See thus agreed upon to integrate the diaspora parishes in prevailingly Protestant areas, until then supervised by the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions, into the existing dioceses of the former prince-bishoprics, whose diocesan territories were thus extended into the diaspora areas.

Jews lived all over Hanover in diaspora, in some areas they were not allowed to reside before 1806. By the Westphalianmarker and French annexations in 1807 and 1810 all male inhabitants in later restituted Hanover became Westphalian or French citizens of equal rights, though on 17 March 1808 Napol√©on Bonaparte restricted the rights of Jews in the French-annexed territory by his so-called d√©cret inf√Ęme. The Jewish congregations became subject to the French or Westphalian Jewish Consistory, respectively. When Hanover resumed independence and sovereignty in 1813 its government deprived the Jews their legal equality. Arguing it was the French or Westphalian state and not Hanover, which had emancipated the Jews, the government took the decisions of the German Confederationmarker on the rights of the Jews, in Johann Smidt's manipulated formulation, as the legal grounds.

In 1842 Hanover finally granted equal rights to Jews and promoted to build up Jewish congregations, where this did not already happen earlier, and a superstructure of four regional land-rabbinates. In many diaspora areas Jews regarded this a progress and a burden alike, because of the implied financial burden for rabbins and religion teacher, synagogues or school. The local authorities now requested, that the Jewish congregations establish synagogues and Jewish education for the pupils. The land-rabbins, chairing the land-rabbinates, simultaneously fulfilled religious and state functions, like supervising Jewish elementary schools and the teaching of Jewish religion in all schools. The Kingdom of Hanover was thus one of the few states within the German Confederationmarker, where rabbins held a similar semi-state authoritative position as to Jews as did, e.g., Lutheran clergy towards Lutherans.

Kings of Hanover

In 1813, George III was restored to his Hanoverian territories, and in October of 1814 they were erected into the independent Kingdom of Hanover at the Congress of Vienna. The personal union with the United Kingdom ended in 1837 on the accession of Queen Victoria because the succession laws (Salic Law) in Hanover prevented a female inheriting the title if there was any surviving male heir (in the United Kingdom, a male takes precedence over only his own sisters). In the Austro-Prussian Warmarker of 1866, Hanover was annexed by Prussiamarker and became the later's Province of Hanovermarker.

Kings of Hanover
Image Name Date Notes
George III 1814-1820 George III was mentally unfit during these years, and power was exercised by the Prince George of Wales (later numbered IV) according to the British Regency. In Hanover Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge officated as Viceroy since 1816.
George IV 1820‚Äď1830 Son of preceding. Regent 1811-1820, represented in Hanover by Viceroy Adolphus.
William. 1830-1837 Brother of preceding. Last monarch to rule both Hanover and the United Kingdom, represented in Hanover by Viceroy Adolphus.
Ernest Augustus 1837‚Äď1851 Brother of preceding. His accession separated the crowns of Hanover and the United Kingdom, as the latter passed to Queen Victoria.
George V 1851‚Äď1866 Son of preceding. Lost his territories to Prussiamarker in the Austro-Prussian warmarker.

Territory and administrative subdivisions

The Congress of Vienna instituted a territorial exchange between Hanover and the Kingdom of Prussiamarker, in which Hanover increased its area substantially, gaining the Bishopric of Hildesheim, East Frisia, the Lower County of Lingenmarker and the northern part of the Prince-Bishopric of M√ľnster. It gained territories, partially ruled earlier in personal union, such as the Duchies of Bremen-Verden and partially ruled by others, to wit the County of Bentheim. It lost those parts of Saxe-Lauenburg to the northeast of the Elbe, which was assigned in personal union to Denmarkmarker, except of the Amt Neuhausmarker. Further small exclaves in the east were lost.

Hanover thus comprised a number of territories, which had been Imperial Estates within the Holy Roman Empire. Their respective governments, now called provincial governments, were organised according to partially very old traditions, including different levels of estate participation in rule. In 1823 the kingdom was reorganised into high-bailiwicks ( , sg.[pl.]), each led by a high-bailiff ( , sg.[pl.]) according to unitary standards, thus doing away with the inherited provincial peculiarities.

The high-bailiwicks were subdivided into bailiwicks ( , sg./pl), presided by a bailiff (Amtmann/Amtleute, sg./pl.).This translation follows Jakob Heinrich Kaltschmidt, A new and complete Dictionary of the English and German Languages with two Sketches of Grammar/Neues vollständiges Wörterbuch der englischen und deutschen Sprache nebst einem kurzen Abrisse der englischen und der deutschen Sprachlehre, 6th, rev. and enriched ed., Leipsic: Otto Holtze, 1875, p. 283. No ISBN The high-bailiwicks, named after their capitals, were the following:

The Hanoveran subdivisions into high-bailiwicks and bailiwicks remained unchanged until 1 April 1885, when they were replaced by Prussian-style governorates (Regierungsbezirk[e]) and districts (Kreis[e]).

See also


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