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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Schleswig-Holstein

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SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, shlāz'vĭg-hōl'stīn, Germany, a maritime province of Prussia, between Denmark on the north; the Baltic, Lübeck and Mecklenburg on the east; Mecklenburg and the territory of Hamburg on the south; Hanover southwest and the North Sea on the west. It covers an area of 7,340 square miles. Schleswig is separated from Holstein by the Eider and the Schleswig-Holstein Canal. The province includes several islands in the Baltic and North seas and belongs to the great North German plain. Heligoland belongs to the province. The hilly district on the eastern coast contains the most productive land in the province; the central part is nearly barren, the western coast is protected by many dikes, and is fertile. The Baltic Coast, about 300 miles long, is hilly and contains numerous fjords which make excellent harbors. The North Sea Coast is low and flat. The Elbe forms the boundary on the south for 65 miles. The Eider is the principal river. Other rivers are the Trave and Stor. There are numerous lakes in the northeast, chief of which are Witten-See and Gotteslogs-See. The chief occupations of the inhabitants are agriculture and stock-raising. The majority of the occupants of Schleswig are Danish; of Holstein, German. The industrial works include sugar refineries, breweries and distilleries. The principal ports are Altona, Heligoland, Kiel, Flensburg, Neumühlen, Sonderburg, Wyck and Tonning, and the capital, Schleswig. The province became a united duchy in 1386. By the Treaty of Prague, North Schleswig was to choose between Denmark and Prussia, but the privilege has been ignored. Its history is a record of continuous strife between Danes and Germans, closing in favor of the latter. The united government of Holstein and Schleswig was first recognized by Margaret of Denmark in 1386, and the basis of this union was the Succession Act, and the practical contradiction between their feudal duty and their own inseparable connection gave rise to the celebrated “Schleswig-Holstein question,” causing interminable separations and fusions. By the protocol of 1850 England, France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Denmark settled, as far as diplomacy could, the much-discussed and difficult question of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in favor of Denmark. The unity of Denmark, Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg was secured by a uniform law of succession, and as far as was practicable their internal affairs were placed under a common administration. The protocol was succeeded by the treaty of 1852, which historians call “its logical consequence.” This treaty assigned the succession to the kingdom of Denmark and the duchies to Prince Christian of Glücksburg, and declared the integrity of the whole Danish monarchy to be permanent; but the rights of the German Confederation with regard to Holstein and Schleswig were “reserved.” The declaration was made in accordance with the views of France, Russia and England; the reservation was inserted in the interest of the German powers. It was under this protocol and its succeeding treaty that Denmark expected the aid of England when, in 1864, Austria joined with Prussia to overthrow the treaty and seize Schleswig-Holstein. England called a conference of the signatory powers and attempted by peaceful means to put an end to the war. To quote a modern historian in ‘The Historians' History of the World,’ “English diplomacy had made every effort imaginable to save the London Protocol and the integrity of the Danish State; but the sole price at which Napoleon III conjointly with England would venture on the strife, the conquest of the left bank of the Rhine, seemed too high, and so it satisfied itself with inviting the subscribers of the protocol to a conference in London. The latter met for no other purpose than the rupture of the protocol, from which the German powers also detached themselves, and to confirm the overthrow of the Danish State, which at the close of the diplomatic tournament saw itself thrown on its own resources. The first notable encounter between British and German warships after the opening of the World War occurred off Heligoland on 28 Aug. 1914, when a small fleet of British battleships, cruisers and torpedo boats sank two German cruisers and two destroyers. In another engagement, off Heligoland Bight, on 24 Jan. 1915, five British cruisers, seven light cruisers and a destroyer flotilla fought four German armored cruisers, four smaller cruisers and two flotillas of torpedo boats for about four hours. The principal result was the sinking of the German cruiser Bluecher, when only 123 of its complement of 850 officers and men were saved. Pop. of province and Heligoland, 1,621,004. See Denmark.