1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Brandenburg (province)

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BRANDENBURG, the central and one of the largest provinces of Prussia, consisting of a part of the former electorate of Brandenburg from which it derives its name. With the other territories of the elector of Brandenburg, it was merged in 1701 in the kingdom of Prussia, and when the administration of Prussia was reformed in 1815, Brandenburg became one of the provinces of Prussia. The boundaries of the new province, however, differed considerably from those of the old district. The old mark, the district on the left bank of the Elbe, was added to the province of Saxony, and in return a district to the south, taken from the kingdom of Saxony, was added to the province of Brandenburg. It has an area of 15,382 sq. m., and is divided into the two governments of Potsdam and Frankfort-on-Oder; the capital, Berlin, forming a separate jurisdiction. The province is a sandy plain interspersed with numerous fertile districts and considerable stretches of woodland, mostly pine and fir. Its barrenness was formerly much exaggerated, when it was popularly described as the “sandbox of the Holy Roman Empire.” It is generally well watered by tributaries of its two principal rivers, the Elbe and the Oder, and is besides remarkable for the number of its lakes, of which it contains between 600 and 700. The mineral products comprise lignite, limestone, gypsum, alum and potter’s earth; barley and rye are the usual cereals; fruits and vegetables are abundant; and considerable quantities of hemp, flax, hops and tobacco are raised. The breeding of sheep receives much attention, and the province exports wool in considerable quantity. Bees are largely kept, and there is an abundance of game. The rivers and lakes also furnish fish, particularly carp, of excellent quality. The climate is cold and raw in winter, excessively hot in summer, and there are frequently violent storms of wind. The manufacturing industry of the province is both varied and extensive, but is for the most part concentrated in the principal towns. The most important branches are the spinning and weaving of wool and cotton, the manufacturing of paper, and the distillation of brandy. Pop. (1895) 2,821,695; (1905) 3,529,839.