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Nassau(nä`sou), former duchy, W central Germany, situated N and E of the Main and Rhine rivers. It is now mostly included in the state of HesseHesse
, Ger. Hessen, state (1994 pop. 5,800,000), 8,150 sq mi (24,604 sq km), central Germany. Wiesbaden is the capital. It is bounded by Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria in the south, Rhineland-Palatinate in the west, North Rhine–Westphalia and Lower Saxony in
..... Click the link for more information. , and partly in the state of Rhineland-PalatinateRhineland-Palatinate
, Ger. Rheinland-Pfalz, state (1994 pop. 3,926,000), 7,658 sq mi (19,834 sq km), W Germany. Mainz is the capital. The state was formed in 1946 by the merger of the Rhenish Palatinate, Rhenish Hesse, the southern portion of the former Rhine Province of
..... Click the link for more information. . WiesbadenWiesbaden
, city (1994 pop. 270,873), capital of Hesse, central Germany, on the Rhine River, at the southern foot of the Taunus Mts. The city, an industrial center and a market for Rhine wines, is one of the most famous spas of Europe.
..... Click the link for more information. was the capital; other towns included the mineral spas of Bad Homburg, Bad Schwalbach, and Schlangenbad in the beautiful Taunus hills and Bad Ems on the Lahn River.
The region takes its name from the small town of Nassau, on the Lahn E of Ems, where the original castle of the house of Nassau was built in the early 12th cent. by a count of Laurenburg. His descendants took the title count of Nassau. In 1255 the dynasty split into two main lines and divided the territory in half. In 1806, Nassau, which had received some territorial additions, joined the Confederation of the RhineConfederation of the Rhine,
league of German states formed by Emperor Napoleon I in 1806 after his defeat of the Austrians at Austerlitz. Among its members were the newly created kingdoms of Bavaria and Württenberg (see Pressburg, Treaty of), the grand duchies of Baden,
..... Click the link for more information. and was raised to a duchy.
In 1816 the territories belonging to the various branches of the Walramian line were united by Duke William (1816–39). His successor, Adolf, sided against Prussia in the Austro-Prussian WarAustro-Prussian War
or Seven Weeks War,
June 15–Aug. 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, seconded by Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and several smaller German states.
..... Click the link for more information. (1866) and as a result lost his duchy to Prussia. Nassau was then united with the former Electoral Hesse to form the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Duke Adolf of Nassau, however, succeeded in 1890 to the grand duchy of LuxembourgLuxembourg
, officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, grand duchy (2005 est. pop. 469,000), 998 sq mi (2,586 sq km), W Europe. Roughly triangular, it borders on Belgium in the west and north, Germany in the east, and France in the south.
..... Click the link for more information. , where his descendants continue to rule.
The Ottonian line of Nassau acquired (15th cent.) the lordship of Breda and settled in the Netherlands. It came into European prominence in the 16th cent. with William the SilentWilliam the Silent
or William of Orange
(William I, prince of Orange), 1533–84, Dutch statesman, principal founder of Dutch independence. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. , who inherited the principality of Orange in S France and became stadtholder of the Netherlands. His sons, Maurice of NassauMaurice of Nassau
, 1567–1625, prince of Orange (1618–25); son of William the Silent by Anne of Saxony. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland after the assassination (1584) of his father.
..... Click the link for more information. and Frederick HenryFrederick Henry,
1584–1647, prince of Orange; son of William the Silent by Louise de Coligny. He became stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands upon the death (1625) of his brother Maurice of Nassau.
..... Click the link for more information. , succeeded him as princes of Orange and as stadtholders; these titles then passed to Frederick Henry's son, William IIWilliam II,
1626–50, prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (1647–50), son and successor of Frederick Henry. He married (1641) Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I of England.
..... Click the link for more information. of Orange, and to William's son William IIIWilliam III,
1650–1702, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–1702); son of William II, prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and of Mary, oldest daughter of King Charles I of England.
..... Click the link for more information. , who also became king of England.
William III died (1702) without direct heirs, and the principality of Orange (which had become purely titular) passed to John William Friso, of the collateral branch of Nassau-Dietz. His son, Prince William IV, became (1748) hereditary stadtholder of the Netherlands, and from him all subsequent rulers of the Netherlands (except Louis Bonaparte) are descended in direct line. The Dutch line of the Nassau family is known as the house of Orange.
Nassau(nă`sô), city (1990 pop. 172,196), capital of the BahamasBahamas, the
, officially Commonwealth of the Bahamas, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 301,800), 4,403 sq mi (11,404 sq km), in the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of some 700 islands and islets and about 2,400 cays, beginning c.50 mi (80 km) off SE Florida and extending c.
..... Click the link for more information. . A port on New Providence island, it has a large and beautiful harbor and is the commercial and social center of the islands. Its warm, healthful climate and colorful atmosphere have made it a popular resort. Formerly called Charles Towne, it was renamed Nassau in 1695. In the 18th cent. it was a rendezvous for pirates, among them Blackbeard. Three forts, Nassau (1697), Charlotte (1787–94), and Fincastle (1793), were built to ward off the numerous Spanish invasions. American revolutionists in 1776 captured and held it a short time.
the capital of the Bahamas, on New Providence Island in the Atlantic Ocean. Population, including suburbs, 101,500 (1970). The climate is tropical, with an average January temperature of 21°C and an average July temperature of 28°C; the annual precipitation is 1,155 mm. The city’s port exports sponges, citrus fruits, tomatoes, sisal, and pineapples. A resort, Nassau has an international airport.