8.4.11

The Kingdom Queen Victoria Lost Due to a Minor Technicality

Friday, 14 April 1865
Gottingen, Kingdom of Hanover


Gottingen in the Kingdom of Hanover
Since pre-historic times, those in power sought alliances with others in power through marriage. Kings used daughters and younger sons as bargaining chips to seal deals with foreign kings. The children were told they had to marry royalty from their own class, but politics was the real motive.

This seemed like a good idea, except soon any peasant could brag they were more English or French or whatever than the ruling king. A bigger problem was what happens when the nearest relative to the passing monarch is from another country altogether?

That is what happened in 1714 when Queen Anne died without a child or siblings. Her nearest relative was her second cousin, George, the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Electorate of Hanover. Seven years earlier, British and Scottish parliaments had passed the Act of Union stating that they would share the same monarch, but keep separate parliaments. This allowed the same situation with Hanover. George now had the choice of staying in Hanover or moving to the much larger and more powerful United Kingdom. I need not tell you which one he chose.

Hanover at the time was a part of the Holy Roman Empire that dates back to 962. By 1714, the empire had dissolved into a collection of Duchies and Principalities that just pretended to be part of an empire. It all came to an official end in 1806 after Napoleon conquered these states one by one.

Central Europe between 1814 and 1866
Hanover is in pink near the top
(click to enlarge)
  Napoleon finally bit off more than he could chew with the English, and lost his empire. All the principalities now became independent kingdoms in 1814. However, Hanover is a kingdom with a absentee king. The Hanover kings almost never visited Hanover, preferring London.

Perhaps to make it up, George the II founded the University of Gottingen in 1734. That is how one of Germany’s greatest university was started by an English king.

Ernest Augustus I
Kingdom of Hanover's
first stay at home king
Now Hanover has it’s very own king it doesn’t have to share with anyone. When Queen Victoria came to power in Britain in 1837, she lost power in Hanover where law said no woman could rule. So her uncle, Ernest Augustus became King of Hanover.

George V
current king of Hanover
Currently Germany only exists as an idea. Right now it is a collection of little kingdoms--well, a lot of little ones and two big ones. Austria and Prussia are vying for mastery of the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire and that will come to a head next year. The War of 1866 (or the Seven Week War) will decide Prussia gets Germany and Austria can have eastern Europe. Soon Hanover will find itself part of the German Empire.

So I am here to record the Kingdom of Hanover, while there still is one, and to record the University of Gottingen.

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