Mecklenburg(redirected from Duchy of Mecklenburg)
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a historical region on the territory of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
During the early Middle Ages the territory of Mecklenburg was inhabited by tribes of the Polabian Slavs (the Bodrichi in the west and the Lusatians in the east). In the 12th century these Slavs became part of the principality of Niklot. In a bitter struggle with the German feudal lords, the Slavs of Mecklenburg were conquered by the Saxon duke Henry the Lion and were subjected to Germanization. In approximately 1167, Mecklenburg became a vassal principality to the Saxon duke, but it retained the Slavic princely dynasty of Niklot’s descendents.
In 1348, Mecklenburg became an independent duchy (part of the “Holy Roman Empire”). In 1549 the Reformation was carried out in Mecklenburg. In 1621 the territory was divided into the duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Güstrow (which became Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1701). During the 16th and 17th centuries agrarian relations, typical of the districts in which the “second promulgation of serfdom” had spread, emerged in Mecklenburg. In 1815 both Mecklenburg duchies became grand duchies.
The monarchy in Mecklenburg was abolished as a result of the November Revolution of 1918. Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin became republics and then Länder. In 1934 the two states were merged into a single administrative territory —the Land of Mecklenburg, with its capital at Schwerin. In 1945 the territory of Mecklenburg became part of the Soviet occupation zone of Germany. In 1949, Mecklenburg became a Land as part of the GDR. In 1952 the Land was divided into the districts of Rostock, Schwerin, and Neubrandenburg.