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Duchy of Saxony
The Duchy of Saxony was a medieval Duchy covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Lower Saxony, Northrhine-Westfalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony-Anhalt and parts of Saxony. Duke Henry the Lion occupied the area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Anglo-Saxons came from the latter parts of the Duchy of Saxony to England.
- About 200 - 400: The Saxons, until then living north of the Elbe river in Holstein, occupy the area south (today Lower Saxony), Westphalia and Eastfalia .
- 5th century: The Saxons come to England, together with the Angles.
- Early 6th century: The Saxons come to the Rhine.
- 531 Saxons and Franks destroy the Kingdom of Thuringia. Saxons inhabit the area down to the Unstrut river.
- 7th century: Election of the first dukes, but only in wartime.
- 718: The Franconian Charles Martel makes war against Saxony, because of its help for the Neustrians.
- 743: The Franconian Carloman starts a new war against Saxony, because the Saxons gave aid to Duke Odilo of Bavaria .
- 772-804: Emperor Charlemagne, grandson of Carloman, starts a 32 year war against the Saxons.
- 772: Charlemagne occupies the Eresburg castle near Paderborn, the central Saxon stronghold, and destroys the Irminsul, the main Saxon place of worship to their traditional Northern deities.
- 773 Charlemagne goes to Italy. The Saxons take the chance and reoccupy the Eresburg.
- 774/775: Charlemagne again marches against Saxony. The Franks reoccupy the Eresburg castle, and the Sigiburg castle as well. At Höxter the Franks cross the Weser river and ravage the Eastfalian part of the Duchy.
- 776: Charles again in Italy. The Saxons reoccupy Eresburg and Sigiburg.
- 777: Charlemagne establishes the Karlsburg near Paderborn. He calls for the Heerschau. Some Saxons come and convert to the christian religion.
- 779 The Saxon Duke Widukind of the House of the Bruons leads a new rising and begins a war of attrition against the Franks. Charlemagne's army marches north to the Elbe river.
- 782 Charlemagne conducts his Blutgericht ("bloody trial") at Verden on the Aller river, ordering more than 4,500 Saxon prisoners killed. Charlemagne becomes known as "Charles the Butcher" in Saxony.
- 783 Battles near Detmold and at the Hasel river. The Saxons lose both. Duke Widukind retreats to the castle Widukindsburg near Osnabrück.
- 784: Battle in the Dreingau
- 785: The Franks capture Widukind. He is christened.
- 792-795: The Saxons again rise against the Franks.
- 796-799: Charlemagne orders a new campaign against the Saxons.
- 804 The last resistance of the Saxons is broken by the Franks.
- 804 The Duchy of Saxony, consisting of Engern, Westfalia, Eastfalia and Northalbingia (today Schleswig-Holstein) becomes part of the Franconian Empire.
- 852 Liudolf, Duke in Saxony, descendant of Widukind and first of the Ottonian dynasty, founds the monastery of Gandersheim.
- 880 Brun, son of Liudolf, is killed in a battle with Vikings. His younger brother Otto becomes Duke of Saxony.
- 912 Henry, son of Otto, succeeds him as Duke.
- 919 Henry of Saxony (Henry I the Fowler) is elected King of the Germans by the assembled Saxon and Frankish princes in Fritzlar.
- 936 Henry's son, Otto I the Great, succeeds him and is crowned in Aachen as King of the Germans.
- 938 Hermann Billung becomes margrave ("Markgraf") of Saxony.
- 953 Otto I elevates Hermann Billung to Vice Duke of Saxony.
- 973 Otto I dies in Memleben; Otto II becomes Emperor. Hermann Billung dies in Quedlinburg; Bernhard I Billung becomes duke of Saxony.
- 983 Danish uprising in Hedeby. Slavonian uprising in Northalbingia. Otto III becomes Emperor.
- 1002 The death of Otto III marks the end of the Saxon emperors.
- 1011 Duke Bernhard I Billung dies; his son Bernhard II becomes duke.
- 1042 Ordulf Billung, son of Bernhard II, marries Wulfhild, the half sister of King Magnus of Denmark and Norway. Danes and Saxons fight against the Wendians .
- 1059 Ordulf Billung becomes Duke after the death of his father.
- 1072 Magnus Billung becomes Duke.
- 1106 Duke Magnus dies without a son, ending the Billung dynasty. The Billung territory becomes part of the Welf and Ascanian countries. Lothar I of Supplinburg becomes Duke of Saxony.
- 1112 Otto of Ballenstedt created Duke by King Henry V.
- 1115 Victory of Lothar I of Supplinburg in the battle of Welfesholz over King Henry V.
- 1125 Lothar I of Supplinburg elected as German King and crowned Emperor.
- 1137 Death of Lothar. The Welf Henry X the Proud, Duke of Bavaria since 1126, becomes Duke of Saxony.
- 1138 Henry X tries to become king, but without success. The Ascanian Albert the Bear becomes new Duke of Saxony.
- 1139 Death of Henry X.
- 1141 Albert the Bear resigns.
- 1142 Emperor Conrad III grants the Ducal title to the Welf Henry the Lion. Henry the Lion gradually extends his rule over northeastern Germany. After gaining also the Duchy of Bavaria, Henry's realm covers more than two thirds of Germany from the Alps to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, making him the mightiest ruler in central Europe.
- 1180 Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, strips his cousin Henry the Lion of his duchies of Saxony and Bavaria, but leaves him the small duchies of Brunswick and Lüneburg, giving Saxony to the Ascanians who were based further east, near the Elbe. The Welfs later became kings of Hanover, Great Britain and Ireland (House of Hanover).
See also: Rulers of Saxony
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