1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hanover (city)

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HANOVER, the capital of the Prussian province of the same name, situated in a sandy but fertile plain on the Leine, which here receives the Ihme, 38 m. N.W. from Brunswick, 78 S.E. of Bremen, and at the crossing of the main lines of railway, Berlin to Cologne and Hamburg to Frankfort-on-Main. Pop. (1885) 139,731; (1900) 235,666; (1905) 250,032. On the north and east the town is half encircled by the beautiful woods and groves of the Eilenriede and the List which form the public park. The Leine flows through the city, having the old town on its right and the quaint Calenberger quarter between its left bank and the Ihme. The old town is irregularly built, with narrow streets and old-fashioned gabled houses. In its centre lies the Markt Kirche, a red-brick edifice of the 14th century, containing interesting monuments and some fine stained-glass windows, and with a steeple 310 ft. in height (the highest in Hanover). Its interior was restored in 1855. Close by, on the market square, is the red-brick medieval town-hall (Rathaus), with an historical wine cellar beneath. It has been superseded for municipal business by a new building, and now contains the civic archives and museum. The new town, surrounding the old on the north and east, and lying between it and the woods referred to, has wide streets, handsome buildings and beautiful squares. Among the last-mentioned are the square at the railway station—the Ernst August-Platz—with an equestrian statue of King Ernest Augustus in bronze; the triangular Theater-Platz, with statues of the composer Marschner and others; and the Georgs-Platz, with a statue of Schiller. To the south of the old town, on the banks of the Ihme, lies the Waterloo-Platz, with a column of victory, 154 ft. high, having inscribed on it the names of 800 Hanoverians who fell at Waterloo. In the adjacent gardens an open rotunda encloses a marble bust of the philosopher Leibnitz, and near it is a monument to General Count von Alten, the commander of the Hanoverian troops at Waterloo. Among the other churches the most noticeable are the Neustädterkirche, with a graceful shrine containing the tomb of Leibnitz, the Kreuzkirche, built about 1300, with a curious steeple, and the Aegidienkirche among ancient edifices, and among modern ones the Christuskirche, a gift of King George V., the Lukaskirche, the Lutherkirche, and the Roman Catholic church of St Mary, with a tower 300 ft. high, containing the grave of Ludwig Windthorst, “his little excellency,” for many years leader of the Ultramontane (Centre) party in the imperial diet. Of secular buildings the most remarkable is the royal palace—Schloss—built 1636–1640, with a grand portal and handsome quadrangle. In its chapel are preserved the relics of saints which Henry the Lion brought from Palestine. The new provincial museum built in 1897–1902 contains the Cumberland Gallery and the Guelph Museum; and the Kestner Museum also contains interesting and valuable collections of works of art. The other principal public buildings are the royal archives and library, containing a library of 200,000 volumes and 3500 manuscripts; the old provincial museum, which houses a variety of collections, such as natural, historical and ethnographical, and a collection of modern paintings; the theatre (built 1845–1852), one of the largest in Germany, the archaeological museum, the railway station, and, in the west, close to Herrenhausen (see below), the magnificent Welfenschloss (Guelph-palace). The last, begun in 1859, was almost completed in 1866, but was never occupied by the Hanoverian royal family. Since 1875 it has been occupied by the technical high school, an academy with university privileges. Close to it lies the famous Herrenhausen, the summer palace of the former kings of Hanover, with fine gardens, an open-air theatre, a museum and an orangery, and approached by a grand avenue over a mile in length.

Hanover has a number of colleges and schools, and is the seat of several learned societies. It is largely frequented by foreign students, especially English, attracted by the educational facilities it offers and by the reputed purity of the German spoken. Hanover is the headquarters of the X. Prussian army corps, has a large garrison of nearly all arms and a famous military riding school. It occupies a leading position among the industrial and commercial towns of the empire, and of recent years has made rapid progress in prosperity. It is connected by railway with Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Hameln, Cologne, Altenbeken and Cassel, and the facilities of intercourse have, under the fostering care of the Prussian government, enormously developed its trade and manufactures. Almost all industries are represented; chief among them are machine-building, the manufacture of india-rubber, linen, cloth, hardware, chemicals, tobacco, pianos, furniture and groceries. The commerce consists principally in wine, hides, horses, coal, wood and cereals. There are extensive printing establishments. Hanover was the first German town that was lighted with gas. It is the birthplace of Sir William Herschel, the astronomer, of the brothers Schlegel, of Iffland and of the historian Pertz. The philosopher Leibnitz died there in 1716.

Close by, on the left bank of the Leine, lies the manufacturing town of Linden, which, though practically forming one town with Hanover, is treated under a separate heading.

The town of Hanover is first mentioned during the 12th century. It belonged to the family of Welf, then to the bishops of Hildesheim, and then, in 1369, it came again into the possession of the Welfs, now dukes of Brunswick. It joined the Hanseatic League, and was later the residence of the branch of the ducal house, which received the title of elector of Hanover and ascended the British throne in the person of George I. One or two important treaties were signed in Hanover, which from 1810 to 1813 was part of the kingdom of Westphalia, and in 1866 was annexed by Prussia, after having been the capital of the kingdom of Hanover since its foundation in 1815.

See O. Ulrich, Bilder aus Hannovers Vergangenheit (1891); Hoppe, Geschichte der Stadt Hannover (1845); Hirschfeld, Hannovers Grossindustrie und Grosshandel (Leipzig, 1891); Frensdorff, Die Stadtverfassung Hannovers in alter und neuer Zeit (Leipzig, 1883); W. Bahrdt, Geschichte der Reformation der Stadt Hannover (1891); Hartmann, Geschichte von Hannover mit besonderer Rücksichtnahme auf die Entwickelung der Residenzstadt Hannover (1886); Hannover und Umgegend, Entwickelung und Zustände seiner Industrie und Gewerbe (1874); and the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Hannover (1860, fol.).