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Fürstentum Calenberg
Principality of Calenberg
State of the Holy Roman Empire
Brunswick-Lüneburg Arms.svg

Coat of arms

Caspar Merian: Schloss und Ampt Calenberg, 1654
Capital Hanover (from 1636)
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
Early modern time
 - William the Victorious
    Prince of Calenberg
 - Split off Wolfenbüttel 1494
 - Incorporated Göttingen 1495
 - Joined
    Lower Saxon Circle
 - Line extinct, fell back to
 - To Lüneburg-Celle 1635
 - Merged with
    to Hanover
 - Kingdom of Hanover 1814

Calenberg was a dynastic division of the Welf Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1494 until 1705, when it was merged with Lüneburg-Celle to form the state of Hanover.



About 1292 Duke Otto II of Brunswick-Lüneburg had a castle built on the Calenberg mountain at the Leine river near the town of Pattensen, in order to confirm his claim to power in the western Welf territory against the rivaling bishoprics of Minden and Hildesheim. A subdivision of the Brunswick Principality of Wolfenbüttel by then, the territory around Calenberg Castle was made a principality in 1432, when Duke William the Victorious and his brother Henry the Peaceful after four years of joint rule divided their heritage. While Henry became sole Prince of Wolfenbüttel, William chose Calenberg Castle as his residence and in 1463 was able to acquire the Principality of Göttingen. His territories were again merged to Wolfenbüttel, after his brother Henry had died without male heirs in 1473.

Ruins of Calenberg Castle

In 1491 William the Victorious' son and heir William IV of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel turned the government over to his sons Henry IV and Eric I; in 1494 they divided the territory among themselves. While the elder Henry IV became Prince of Wolfenbüttel, the younger Eric I received the western Calenberg territory with Göttingen. The Calenberg branch of the House of Welf however became extinct with the death of Eric's I son Eric II in 1584, whereafter the principality was again inherited by his cousin Duke Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

After Julius' grandson Duke Frederick Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel had died without heirs in 1634, the Wolfenbüttel lands were divided among the members of the Welf Lüneburg-Celle branch. The Principality of Calenberg with Göttingen would be awarded to George of Lüneburg-Celle. In 1636 George relocated his residence to the Leineschloss in Hannover. His son Christian Louis inherited Lüneburg-Celle from his uncle in 1648, and turned Calenberg over to his next younger brother, a pattern that repeated with each successive brother in this family.

In 1679 George's youngest son Ernest Augustus, also Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, became Prince of Calenberg and in 1692 received the electoral dignity by Emperor Leopold I of Habsburg for his support in the Great Turkish War. His territory became known initially as the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, while Ernest Augustus also abandoned the divisions of property under Salic law and adopted male-line primogeniture with the Emperor's permission. His eldest son George Louis, Prince of Calenberg since 1698, inherited Lüneburg-Celle from his uncle George William in 1705. The merged Calenberg and Celle contained all of the territory of Brunswick-Lüneburg except for the Principality of Wolfenbüttel. When the lectoral dignity was confirmed, it became known (popularly but unofficially) after its eponymous capital as the Electorate of Hanover, an indivisible territory passing by male-line primogeniture. Subsequently, under Elector George III in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, both the lands and titles were enlarged and became the Kingdom of Hanover.

Princes of Calenberg


House of Calenberg

  • Eric I 1494-1540, grandson, Göttingen annexed in 1495, remained part of the Calenberg lands thereafter
  • Eric II 1545-1584, son

On Eric II's death, Calenberg was acquired by the descendents of Henry IV who ruled in Wolfenbüttel:

House of Wolfenbüttel

Upon Frederick Ulrich's death, his lands were divided between the houses of Lüneburg and Dannenberg, the former gaining Calenberg and the latter Wolfenbüttel.

House of Lüneburg

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CALENBERG, or Kalenberg, the name of a district, including the town of Hanover, which was formerly part of the duchy of Brunswick. It received its name from a castle near Schulenburg, and is traversed by the rivers Weser and Leine, its area being about 1050 sq. m. The district was given to various cadets of the ruling house of Brunswick, one of these being Ernest Augustus, afterwards elector of Hanover, and the ancestor of the Hanoverian kings of Great Britain and Ireland.

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