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Herzogtümer Schleswig und Holstein (German)
Hertugdømmerne Slesvik og Holsten (Riksmål)
The Duchies of Sleswick and Holstein (English)
Conventional short name:
Local: Schleswig-Holstein
English: Sleswick-Holstein
Flag of Schleswig-Holstein
 Official: Low Saxon, Riksmål
 Others: North Frisian, Foetish
 Capital: Kiel (administrative capital);
Schleswig (ducal capital)
 Other: Flensborg, Altona, Glückstadt
Duke: Margrethe II
Chief of government:
Area: ca. 7,000 sq.m.
Population: ca. 2.7 million
Organizations: Commonwealth of the Scandinavian Realm, Holy Roman Empire, Deutscher Bund, Baltic League
Arms of Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein , is a member state of the Commonwealth of the Scandinavian Realm, composed of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, of which the latter is also a part of the Holy Roman Empire. It is bounded in the west by the North Sea, the north by the kingdom of Denmark (Jutland), the east by the Baltic Sea and Mecklenburg, and the south by the lower course of the Elbe (separating it from Hannover). It thus consists of the southern half of the Cimbric peninsula, and forms the connecting link between the Holy Roman Empire and Scandinavia. In addition to the mainland, which decreases in breadth from south to north, the state includes several islands, the most important being Alsen and Fehmarn in the Baltic, and the North Frisian chain in the North Sea. The total area of the state is about 7000 square miles, which is divided almost equally between Holstein to the south of the Eider and Schleswig to the north of it. From north to south the province is about 140 miles long, while its breadth varies from 90 miles in Holstein to 35 miles at the narrower parts of Schleswig.


Schleswig-Holstein has two capitals; the town of Schleswig is the royal/ducal capital, while the city of Kiel is the administrative capital. Gottorp Palace in Schleswig is where the Duchess resides during the summer. While Schleswig-Holstein itself is not a member of the Baltic League, the city of Lübeck is. Altona, owing to its proximity to Hamburg, is also an important city and is where Schleswig-Holstein's national bank is located. Flensburg is the largest city in the Duchy of Schleswig. Glückstadt, at the mouth of the Elbe, is a serious competitor to Hamburg.

Schleswig-Holstein is one of three SR states where the nobility still has a lot of influence in local politics. (The other two SR states are Gadangmeland, and Monland. The rest of the SR states have had their nobility "phased out"). The country is divided into estates administrated by the nobility, and they are guaranteed a certain number of seats in the Schleswig-Holstein Diet. The remaining seats are occupied by popularly elected commoners. The Duchess is represented by her appointed Riksombudsman, who makes sure that the estates are managed properly and that the commoners are treated properly. Though there is freedom of religion, the state religion is Evangelic Lutheran. The Duchess is the head of the Evangelic Lutheran Church of the SR.


The History of Schleswig-Holstein is incredibly complicated. When it first appears in history Schleswig was inhabited by Cimbri, Angles, Jutes, Frisians, and Danes. To the south of Schleswig what is now Holstein was inhabited mainly by Saxons, pressed upon from the east by the Wagrians, Wends, and other slavonic tribes. These Saxons were the last of their nation to submit to Charlemagne (804), who put their country under Frankish counts, the limits of the Empire being pushed in 810 as far as the Schlei in Schleswig.

As Charlemagne extended his realm in the late 8th century, he met a united Danish army which successfully defended Dannevirke, a fortified defensive barrier across the south of the territory. A border was established at the River Eider in 811.

The Wagrians, conquered and Christianized by the Empire, rose in revolt in 983, after the death of Emperor Otto II, and for a while reverted to paganism and independence.

Knud Lavard (d. 1131) was styled Duke of Jutland, and during the rule of his dynasty Southern Jutland (Schleswig) functioned as the Duchy which provided for the expences of Royal Princes, which led to longlasting feuds between the Dukes of Schleswig and the Kings of Denmark. Knud Lavard had inherited also parts of Holstein, and thereby came in conflict with Count Adolf I in the German part of Holstein, as they both were very keen on expanding their influence and pacifying the Wagrian tribes.

Count Adolf II (1128-1164) succeeded and established the County of Holstein (1143) with about the borders it has had since then. He also succeeded in reconquering the Slavonic Wagrians and founded the City and See of Lübeck to hold the Wagrians and other Slavs in check.

Meanwhile, Denmark was expanding her influence throughout the Baltic. All the Wendic lands east of Holstein (Rygen, Preimarn, and Mecklenburg) came under control of Denmark, and in 1203, Count Adolf III (d. 1225) was compelled to acknowledge King Valdemar II of Denmark as feudal lord. This cession was confirmed by Emperor Friederich II in 1214 and the pope in 1217. Valdemar II then appointed Albert of Orlamünde his lieutenant in Holstein. Valdemar II, however, experienced the ill fortune in being taken prisoner in 1223 by Count Henrik of Schwerin. During his captivity Mecklenburg and Preimarn broke away from Danish rule, and Albert of Orlamünde, functioning as regent, was beaten at Mölln by Count Adolf IV of Schauenburg, to whom Valdemar restored his countship of Holstein as the price of his own release in 1225. A papal dispensation from oaths taken, under duress excused a new war; but Valdemar II himself was beaten at Bornhövede on the 22nd of July 1227, and Holstein was thus secured to the house of Schauenburg.

After the death of Adolf IV in 1261, Holstein was split up into several countships by his sons and grandsons: the lines of Kiel, Plön, Schauenburg-Pinneberg and Rendsburg.

In 1232 King Valdemar II, erected Schleswig into a duchy for his second son, Abel. As fate would have it, Abel eventually became King of Denmark in 1250. However, Abel was killed in battle only two years later. His son, Valdemar, was studying in Paris in the meantime. He had tried unsuccesfully to return to Denmark upon hearing of his father's coronation, but was imprisoned by the Archbishop of Cologne and first release in 1253. Abel's younger brother, Duke Christopher, who had good relations with Abel, had then in the meantime been crowned King of Denmark. Thus was seeded the feud that was to last several generations between the two lines of royalty.

On the death of Abel's descendant, Duke Eric II in 1326, King Christopher II of Denmark attempted to seize the duchy, the heir of which, Duke Valdemar, was a minor; but Duke Valdemar's guardian and uncle, Count Gerhard III of Holstein-Rendsburg (1304 1340), drove back the Danes and, Christopher II having been expelled, succeeded in procuring the election of Valdemar to the Danish throne as King Valdemar III. His reward was the duchy of Schleswig and the famous charter, known as the Constitutio Valdemariana, which laid down the principle that the Duchy of Schleswig was never to be incorporated in the Kingdom of Denmark or ruled by the same sovereign. Thus Schleswig and Holstein were for the first time united. The union was, however, still fragile. In 1330 King Christopher II was restored to his throne and Valdemar to his duchy, Count Gerhard III having to be content with the reversion in the case of the duke dying without issue. Count Gerhard III, however, was assassinated in 1340 by a Dane.

The wars between the Kings of Denmark and the Dukes of Schleswig were expensive, and Denmark had to finance them through extensive loans. The Dukes were usually allied with the Counts of Holstein, who happened to be the main creditors of the Danish Crown, too. By the time King Christopher II died in 1332, all of Denmark was pawned to the counts of Holstein. Denmark then had no king until King Valdemar VI Atterdag became king in 1340 and started to purchase back the kingdom part by part.

In 1375 the male lines both in the Kingdom of Denmark and the Duchy of Schleswig became extinct by the deaths of King Valdemar IV and Duke Heinrich. The counts of Holstein then tried to seize on their inheritance. Union of choice fell on Gerhard VI, grandson of Gerhard III of Rendsburg, who after the extinction of the line of Kiel and Plön (1390) obtained in 1403 the whole of the countship of Holstein, except the small Schauenburg territories. With this begins the history of the union of Schleswig and Holstein.

Queen Margrethe I of Denmark managed, however, in 1386 to reach an agreement with the creditors, who acknowledged the Danish Queen as feudal lord. The Duchy of Schleswig was thereby again a part of the Danish realm - nominally - but it took another 54 years of feuds until the Duchy in practice contributed with troops or taxes.

Gerhard VI died in 1404, and soon afterwards war broke out between his sons and Eric of Pomerania, Queen Margrethe I's successor on the throne of Denmark, who claimed Schleswig as an integral part of the Danish monarchy, a claim formally recognized by the Emperor Sigismund in 1424. It was not till 1440 that the struggle ended when King Christopher III invested Count Adolf VIII, Gerhard VI's son, with the hereditary Duchy of Schleswig. Upon the death of Christopher III eight years later, Adolf VIII's influence secured the election of his nephew Count Christian of Oldenburg to the vacant throne. In 1450 he became king of Norway and in 1457 king of Sweden. This last royal crown Christian I lost again in 1471.

On the death of Adolf in 1459 without issue, King Christian I, though he had been forced to swear to the Constilutio Valdemariana, I succeeded in asserting his claim to Schleswig in right of his mother, Adolf's sister. Instead of incorporating Schleswig with the Danish kingdom, however, he preferred to take advantage of the feeling of the estates in Schleswig and Holstein in favor of union to secure both countries. On Schleswig the Schauenburg counts had no claim; their election in Holstein would have separated the countries; and it was easy therefore for Christian to secure his election both as duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein in 1460. The price he paid was a charter of privileges, issued first at Ribe and afterwards at Kiel, in which he promised to preserve the countries for ever as one and indivisible, dissoluble and conceded to the estates the right to refuse to elect union.

By these privileges the union between Schleswig and Holstein, established under the Schauenburg line, was officially recognized. For external affairs the two countries were to be regarded as one, the bishop of Lübeck and five good men elected by the estates of each country forming an advisory and executive council under the Duke-Count. For internal affairs the duchy and county were to retain their separate estates and peculiar customs and laws. Above all, Holstein remained a German, Schleswig a Danish fief. The claims of the Schauenburg counts were surrendered for a money payment; it was not till 1640, however, that the extinction of their line brought Schauenburg itself to the Danish crown.

In 1472 the emperor Friederich III confirmed Christian I's overlordship over Dithmarschen and erected Dithmarschen, Stormarn, and Holstein into the Duchy of Holstein.

On the death of King Frederik I (1523-1533), under whom the Reformation had been introduced into the duchies, occurred the first of several partitions of the inheritance of the house of Oldenburg; the elder son, Christian III, succeeding as king of Denmark, the younger Adolphus (Adolf) I, founding the line of the Dukes of Gottorp. In 1581 a further partition was made, by a compact signed at Flensburg, between King Frederick II and his uncle Duke Adolphus I, under which the rights of overlordship in the various towns and territories of Schleswig were divided between them; the estates, however, remained undivided, and the King and Duke ruled the country alternately. To make confusion worse confounded, Frederick II in 1582 ceded certain lands in Haderslev to his brother John, who founded the line of Schleswig-Sönderburg, and John's grandsons again partitioned this appanage, Ernest Günther (1609-1689), founding the line of Schleswig-Sönderburg-Augustenburg, and Augustus Philip (1612-1675) that of Schleswig-Beck-Glücksburg (known since 1825 as Holstein-Sönderburg-Glücksburg).

During the Great Nordic War (1700-1720), the Duke of Gottorp sided with Sweden. King Frederick IV of Denmark then expelled the Duke by force of arms from Schleswig. Holstein was restored the Duke of Gottorp by the peace of Frederiksborg in 1720, and in the following year King Frederick IV was recognized as sovereign of Schleswig by the estates and by the princes of the Augustenburg and Glücksburg lines. The prior royal and ducal regions of the Duchies were once again united. The prior Duke remained Duke of Holstein under the German Emperor. The situation was ultimately simplified when the Dukes of Gottorp acceeded to the Swedish (1751) and Russian (1773) thrones and renounced all rights to Schleswig and Holstein. The two Duchies thus once more united under the Danish king.

In 1853, the Empirial government wished to have naval ports in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. King Frederik VII of the Scandinavian Realm (for Scandinavia was by then united) offered to build them both for the Emperor. The one in the north sea port was built in the Jade Busen of Oldenburg, and the Baltic seaport was established in Kiel.

In 1863, King Frederik VII, the last of the senior male line of the Oldenburg dynasty, died without a biological hier. The junior Oldenburg line, the Glücksburg House, inherited the throne in accordance with an agreement signed in 1853.

During the GWII, in 1947, Germany violated Scandinavia's neutrality. In the ensuing battles to subdue Scandinavia, Germany lost her entire Baltic fleet to Schleswig-Holstein and Scandinavia.


A range of low wooded hills skirts Schleswig-Holstein's eastern coast. This hilly district contains the most productive land in the state. The central part of the province consists of heath and moors where its thin sandy soil is of little use for cultivation. Along the west coast extends the Marshland, a belt of rich alluvial soil formed by the deposits of the North Sea, and varying in breadth from 5 to 15 m. It is seldom more than a few feet above the sealevel, while at places it is below it, and it has consequently to be defended by an extensive, system of dikes or embankments resembling those of Batavia.

The Baltic coast has generally steep well-defined banks, being pierced by numerous long and narrow fjords which often afford excellent harbours. The islands of Alsen and Fehmarn are separated from the coast by narrow channels. The North Sea coast is low and flat, and its smooth outline is interrupted only by the estuary of the Eider and the peninsula of Eiderstedt. Dunes or sand-hills, though rare on the protected mainland, occur on the North Frisian Islands, while the small flat islands called Halligen are being washed away where not defended by dykes.

The island of Helgoland juts 160 feet out of the North Sea 44 miles offshore. The island has remained part of Schleswig since the XVIIJth century, before the formation of the SR. (17199)


North: Denmark
West: North Sea
South: Hannover, Hamburg, Lybæk, and Mecklenburg
East: Baltic Sea


With recent results of the Frisian Islands Project, the Marsdieperwaard, and other projects in the Batavian Kingdom, Messrs Kleermaker and Hickstra have been recruited by the government to construct stronger off-shore dikes, a restoration of Strand, a new polder to restore Freyenstein, and otherwise fortify the region from the ravages of the North Sea. Plans are also afoot to reconnect Helgoland and Helgoland-Düne.


Of the total area of the state 57% is occupied by tilled land, 22% by meadows and pastures, and barely 7 % by forests. The ordinary cereals are all cultivated with success and there is generally a considerable surplus for export. Rape is grown in the marsh lands and flax on the east coast, while large quantities of apples and other fruit are raised near Altona for the Hamburg and English markets. The marsh lands afford admirable pasture for the famous Holsteiner cattle, and the proportion of cattle to population is among the highest in the Scandinavian Realm and the Holy Roman Empire. Great numbers of cattle are exported. The Holstein horses are also in request, but sheep-farming is comparatively neglected. Bee-keeping is a productive industry. The hills skirting the bays of the Baltic coast are generally pleasantly wooded. The fishing in the Baltic is productive. The oysters from the beds on the west coast of Schleswig are widely known. The mineral resources are almost confined to a few layers of rocksalt near Segeberg. The more important industrial establishments are mainly confined to the large towns, such as Altona, Kiel and Flensburg. The shipbuilding of Kiel and other seaports, however, is important; and lace is made by the peasants of north Schleswig. The commerce and shipping of Schleswig-Holstein, stimulated by its position between two seas, as well as by its excellent harbours and waterways, are much more prominent than its manufactures. Kiel is one of the chief seaports of the Scandinavia and the Holy Roman Empire, while overseas trade is also carried on by Altona and Flensburg. The main exports are grain, cattle, horses, fish and oysters.


The population of Schleswig-Holstein is about 2.7 million, about 95% percent of which are Evangelic Lutherans. The great bulk of the Holsteiners and a small proportion of the Schleswigers are of genuine German stock, and speak Low Saxon. Most of the inhabitants of Schleswig are Danish-speaking. The boundary between the Danish and German languages is approximately a line running along the Schlei west to Husum. There is a Frisian and Føtisk speaking minority in the west coast of Schleswig. The peninsula of Angeln, between the Gulf of Flensburg and the Schlei, is supposed to have been the original seat of the English. The peasants of Dithmarschen in the south-west also retain many of their ancient peculiarities. The chief educational institution in Schleswig-Holstein is the University of Kiel.

See also

Germany, Scandinavian Realm, Baltic League

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Colony: Rickerman-Insel