Hanover (Ger. Hannover). 1. A province in North Germany. The Elbe skirts its N.E. border, and it is bounded by the North Sea on the N., Mecklenburg and Prussian Saxony on the E., Holland on the W., and Westphalia on the S.W. The area is 14,833 square miles. The surface is level, excepting in the south, where the Hartz Mountains rise to a height of over 3,000 feet. The chief rivers are the Elbe, the Weser, and the Ems. In the north there are numerous heaths, of which that of Luneburg is the largest; this neighbourhood abounds in sheep walks, and bees are kept in large numbers. Cattle and horses are reared on the heaths and marshes, and on the best land, along the banks of the rivers. corn and other crops are raised. On the coast there are herring and other fisheries. The Hartz district, which is well timbered, abounds in iron, copper, silver, lead, and other mines. Platt Deutsch or Low German is still the language of the common people, but in the upper ranks of society its place has been taken by the High German dialect.
History. In early times Hanover formed part of the duchy of Saxony, and Brunswick and Luneburg remained in the hands of Henry the Lion after he had lost his other possessions. The modern electorate originated in 1569, when the territories of Ernst I. were divided between his two sons, the elder, Heinrich, receiving the duchy of Brunswick, the younger, Wilhelm, those of Luneburg and Celle. This Wilhelm was the ancestor of George I. of England. The state prospered during the reigns of George I. and George II., who dealt mercifully with it in matters of taxation and endeavoured to adapt the foreign policy of England to Hanoverian interests. Hanover was on the side of Maria Theresa during the war of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), but joined Prussia during the Seven Years' War (1756-63). During the wars against the French Republic a Hanoverian contingent maintained by England was included in the army of the allies. In 1803 an army under Mortier, sent by Napoleon, terrified the Hanoverians into submission. In 1807 a part, and in 1810 the remainder of the electorate was incorporated in the new kingdom of Westphalia. At the close of the War of Liberation Hanover became a kingdom (1815), and in 1819 received a new constitution, with two representative chambers. It was revoked in 1833, but restored in 1837, when Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851), succeeded his brother, William IV., female succession being precluded by Hanoverian law. This arbitrary ruler was compelled during the revolutionary movement in 1848 to grant a more liberal constitution. He was succeeded by his son, George V. (1819-78). Hanover aided Austria against Prussia in the war of 1866, and was annexed to the latter after its close. George V. and his son Ernest Augustus (b. 1845), refusing to renounce their claim to the throne, were forced to live outside the country. Part of their sequestrated income was used for secret service purposes by the German Government. The well-known "reptile fund" of Prince Bismarck for subsidising the Press was thus kept up. In 1892, however, an arrangement was arrived at with the Duke of Cumberland, by which he recovered much of his property, but bound himself not to take any step hostile to the Emperor or the Prussian State.
2. Hanover, the chief town of the province of Hanover (q.v.), is situated on the Leine, 112 miles S.S.W. of Hamburg. The old town, consisting of the central and western portions, is irregularly built, and many mediaeval houses still line its narrow streets; the modern town has been much improved during the last 50 years, and now presents a very handsome aspect. Among the ancient buildings the most interesting are the Rathhaus (1429), the "market church" (about 1356), and the Schloss Kirche, the church attached to the Schloss or old city palace, which has an altar-piece by Lucas Cranach. The interior of the Schloss itself (1632) is elaborately decorated, and it contains many objects of artistic interest. The public buildings include the magnificent theatre the royal library with 170,000 vols., the Kestner Museum with valuable collections of antiquities and engravings, and the polytechnic school, which contain a large collection of mechanical implements. Hanover is now the centre of the railway system of Northern Germany, and locomotive machinery is manufactured very extensively. The other manufactures include gold and silver wares, waxcloths sugar, chocolate, and tobacco. Brewing, distilling, printing, and bookbinding, are also important industries.