Albert the Bear

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Albert the Bear,

c.1100–1170, first margrave of Brandenburg (1150–70). He was a loyal vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II, who, as duke of Saxony, helped him take (1123) Lower Lusatia and the eastern march of Saxony. Albert lost these lands in 1131. He was rewarded (1134) for his share in Lothair's first Italian campaign with the North March. Calling himself margrave of Brandenburg as early as 1136 or 1142, he used the North March as a base for campaigns against the Wends, a pagan Slavic people. Invested (1138) with Saxony by Conrad III, Lothair's successor, he was expelled from the dukedom by Henry the ProudHenry the Proud,
c.1108–1139, duke of Bavaria (1126–38) and of Saxony (1137–38). A member of the Guelph family, he inherited the duchy of Bavaria and enormous private wealth.
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, whom Conrad had deprived of the duchy. Albert later made peace (1142) with Henry the LionHenry the Lion,
1129–95, duke of Saxony (1142–80) and of Bavaria (1156–80); son of Henry the Proud. His father died (1139) while engaged in a war to regain his duchies, and it was not until 1142 that Henry the Lion became duke of Saxony.
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, son of Henry the Proud. He took part in the Wendish Crusade of 1147, but preferred more conciliatory methods of dealing with his pagan neighbors. As a result he inherited (1150) Brandenburg from its last Wendish prince. Albert's achievements in Christianizing and Germanizing NE Germany were important.
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Albert the Bear


(Albrecht der Bär), born circa 1100; died Nov. 18, 1170. Became first margrave of Brandenburg in 1150; member of the house of Ascanians.

Upon receiving the lien of the North March from the emperor Lothar III, Albert began his conquest of the lands of the Liutich Slavs. With this aim, he took part in the abortive Crusade of 1147 against the Slavs. In 1150, after the death of Prince Pribyslav of the Havelland, Albert seized Branibor, the chief center of the Havelland. Albert the Bear’s conquests were accompanied by extermination and forced Christianization of the local populace and colonization by settlers from Germany and the Netherlands.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.