1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 23

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 23

Four provinces had heads of state who had been appointed by Emperor Gustav II Adolf. However, they were no longer under direct imperial administration and were at least technically self-governing:

Westphalia, whose administrator was Prince Frederik of Denmark. He’d been appointed in June of 1634 as a result of the Council of Copenhagen. They were still wrangling over the title. Frederik wanted “Prince of Westphalia” but the emperor was reluctant to agree and preferred “Governor.” Gustav Adolf would probably give in eventually, though, since his misgivings were general in nature whereas the Danes — both Frederik and his father Christian IV, the king of Denmark — were quite keen on the matter.

The Province of the Upper Rhine, whose administrator was Wilhelm Ludwig of Nassau-Saarbrucken. He’d also been appointed in June of 1634 during the proceedings at Copenhagen. Wilhelm Ludwig, not of royal birth, had been happy enough to settle for the title of governor. His position as the Upper Rhine’s head of state was something of a formality, anyway, since he was spending most of his time assisting his father-in-law in Swabia. The actual management of the province was in the hands of his deputy, Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen.

The “self-governing” aspect of the remaining two provinces in this category was questionable, since their official head of state was the emperor himself. Gustav II Adolf, never loathe to use medieval precedents, had cheerfully appointed himself the duke of both Mecklenburg and Pomerania.

The provincial independence of Pomerania was pretty much a myth. For all practical purposes, Pomerania was still being ruled by direct imperial fiat. True, Pomeranians did elect members to Parliament. But all of them were vetted by the Swedish chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna. Insofar as the province had any independent politics at all, it tended to be a bastion of the reactionary wing of the Crown Loyalists.

Mecklenburg was quite different. That province had been transformed in the course of the civil war which had taken place there following the Dreeson Incident. With a handful of exceptions, the nobility had fled the province. The Committees of Correspondence were now as dominant on the ground as they were in Magdeburg and the State of Thuringia-Franconia.

Of course, they didn’t have the same influence as they did in Magdeburg and the SoTF, since Gustav Adolf was quite a bit more resistant to them than the Fourth of July Party. To make things still more complicated, Mecklenburg’s representatives in the USE House of Commons had all been elected before the civil war, and were — each and every one of them — part of the diehard reactionary faction in parliament.

The CoCs and the Fourth of July Party were contesting the validity of those elections in court. Leaving aside the changes in the province’s politics, the elections were suspect on other grounds. All of Mecklenburg’s official representatives in the House of Commons had a “von” in front of their name. They were only classified as “commoners” due to a special dispensation by the province’s supreme court — all of whose justices also had a “von” in front of their name. So, you had the peculiar contradiction of having one of the USE’s most radical provinces matched to a parliamentary delegation which was ultra-reactionary.

A couple of provinces were “self-governing” in the sense that they could elect representatives to Parliament: the Province of the Main and the Oberpfalz. But their heads of state of state were still appointees of the emperor and answered to him directly. The administrator of the Province of the Main was the Swedish general Nils Abrahamsson Brahe. The administrator of the Oberpfalz was the new prime minister’s younger brother, Ernst Wettin.

The provinces were split politically. The Province of the Main was solidly Crown Loyalist whereas the Upper Palatinate leaned toward the Fourth of July Party.

Two more provinces would have fallen into the category of “heads of state, not elected, but established by the provinces themselves” except that their rulers had betrayed the emperor when the Ostend War broke out. That, at least, was how Gustav Adolf saw the matter. Needless to say, the rulers of Saxony and Brandenburg — the Electors John George and George William — had a different view. Within a few weeks, the dispute would be settled on the battlefield — and most people figured Gustav Adolf would emerge triumphant.

What would happen then was a matter of speculation. In social and economic terms, Brandenburg was much like Pomerania: relatively backward, with poor farmland and not much in the way of industry. Berlin’s position as Germany’s premier city was still a long way in the future — and, in the new universe created by the Ring of Fire, might never happen at all. In the year 1635, the city’s population was no greater than twelve thousand people.

Furthermore, the Elector of Brandenburg was Gustav Adolf’s brother-in-law. The emperor was influenced enough by his wife — more precisely, was reluctant enough to upset her — that while he would certainly depose George William he wouldn’t strip his family of its political position. The Elector would be forced into what amounted to house arrest, and his fifteen-year-old son Frederick William would become the new Elector — or, more likely, the new duke. With the effective collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the title of “Elector” was now meaningless. Until Frederick William reached his majority, of course, Brandenburg would actually be ruled by a regent appointed by the emperor. That might very well wind up being Sweden’s own chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna.

In short, Brandenburg would probably wind up playing the same sort of role in the internal politics of the USE that Pomerania did and Mecklenburg used to play: a stronghold of the most conservative elements in the nation.

Saxony was quite different. Its capital city of Dresden was both older and more populous than Berlin. So was its other major city, Leipzig. Dresden was becoming an industrial center and Leipzig had long been commercially prominent — the Leipzig Trade Fair went back well into the middle ages.

The province was far more advanced culturally than Brandenburg, as well. Two of central Europe’s major universities were located there: the University of Wittenberg, which produced the great theologians Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, and the even older University of Leipzig.

Most people who paid attention to political affairs thought the situation in Saxony would become very unsettled once Gustav Adolf conquered the province. No one doubted that he would dispossess John George and his family altogether and replace them with his own imperial administration. Nor did anyone doubt that the Committees of Correspondence would be pushing hard to establish the sort of republican structure for the province that already existed in Magdeburg and the State of Thuringia-Franconia.

That left the so-called “Province of Swabia” which had been provided for less than year earlier by the Council of Copenhagen. The province was to be created once the region was “fully pacified,” with Margrave Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach already named as the administrator. But what would actually happen was anyone’s guess. The largest single chunk of the projected Province of Swabia was Württemberg, which young duke Eberhard had willed to its population on his deathbed. Lawyers working for the Fourth of July Party were arguing that Württemberg should become its own republican province. Meanwhile, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar — or “Bernhard, Grand Duke of the County of Burgundy” as he was now styling himself — still had an army nearby and made no secret of his desire to incorporate as much of Swabia as he could into the new independent realm he was busy creating. And just to throw another monkey wrench into the works, several of the cities and towns in the region were now making noises about “turning Swiss.”

So, as of July of 1635, the United States of Europe had eleven provinces, with presumably two more to be added soon — or “returned,” if you accepted Gustav Adolf’s interpretation of the status of Saxony and Brandenburg — and at least one more to be added whenever the situation in Swabia settled down.

In addition, there were the seven imperial cities: Hamburg, Luebeck, Augsburg, Frankfurt am Main, Strassburg, Ulm — and Magdeburg itself. The city was simultaneously the national capital of the USE, the capital of the province of Magdeburg, and an imperial city in its own right. As such, its mayor was Otto Gericke.

It was all very complicated — and, if this latest news was accurate, was going to get still more complicated. Not to mention unsettled and upheaved.

“Is he out of his mind?” Ed demanded.

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26 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 23

  1. lethargo says:

    @Virgil
    Wilhelm Wettin, I assume..for having (or allowing) his Crown Loyalist party to restrict the franchise and limit citizenship.

  2. georg says:

    Very marxist dialectic snippet here…

  3. Jason says:

    unfortunatly its time for Wilhelm to pay the piper for every conservative down timer who backed his candency for prime minister.

  4. Terranovan says:

    Ah yes! The infodump! David Weber must be coauthoring this book!

  5. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Well Terranovan, Eric’s been known to do the “infodump” as well. [Smile]

    What’s humorous is that people on Baen’s Bar have been wanting this sort of info about the USE.

    On the other hand, it was annoying for me, looking over the snippets Eric gave me, how long it took for me to learn just what the “plan” was.

    On the gripping hand, the infodumps did me a better feel for just how terrible (and stupid) the plan is.

  6. robert says:

    Map. Need map. Color-coded map. Where is Pomerania? I always thought it was a fruit (joke).

  7. Mike says:

    @6 – the only color map for the series is available through the Grantville Gazette website. It’s helpful, but not quite as helpful as you’d like.

    For instance – Nuremburg and Rothenburg are both colored as Imperial cities that are the color for statehood in the USE. Neither were listed in this passage. On the flipside of that, Ulm and Augsburg are not colored as if they are USE imperial cities.

    There’s also a slew of imperial cities in Swabia (and a few in Upper Palatinate – like Regensburg) that likely will be incorporated into bigger provinces. The only ones of any size or population to be significant would be Regensburg, (Bavaria/Upper Palatinate border) Heilbronn, Nordlingen and Rottweil. The rest are pretty small.

    There are a few imperial cities of note up on the northern-western border though – Dortmund is depicted as being an imperial city with its own territory. The other two – Cologne and Aachen – likely will be dealt with (if at all) in the 1635: Wars on the Rhine book.

  8. Mike says:

    Will GA let his nephew (the soon to be new Duke of Brandenburg) retain his claim to Prussia? Or will Prussia go to GA? While I doubt Poland would be thrilled about it, Kristina has a claim to Prussia via her maternal grandfather the same as Frederick William. (the new Duke) GA could opt for an interpretation of partable inheritance and divide Brandenburg-Prussia.
    If GA wants a war with Poland, that’s definitely an area to fight over: along the Baltic seabord, almost adjacent to his current territory in Latvia/Estonia, Lutheran like him.

  9. Doug Lampert says:

    Yeah, I’m curious about the plan. Limiting the franchise seems the obvious move. But how? Presumably each province can enfranchise anyone it wants to within some fairly broad limits and it’s not like the provinces controlled by the 4th of July party or CoC are going to start passing restrictions.

    So anything REALLY offensive has to involve something like a uniform minimum property qualification imposed and administered by the central government. Which is a power grab I’d oppose solidly as a conservative/reactionary at heart, giving the central government substantial authority over the franchise or the conduct of elections is DANGEROUS, and in the case of property qualifications you run into all sorts of problems with establishing the actual value and ownership of property when there are no uniform standards for such things.

  10. Summertime says:

    Is it pronounced SWAHbia or SWAYbia? And where is it? Is it famous for homes for retired naval personnel or horses with back problems?

  11. Vince says:

    This reminds me of the old saying, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” It will be interesting to see whose eggs are broken, how they are broken, and what the consequences will be for those whose eggs are broken and those who break them.

  12. robert says:

    @11
    Swabia is in southwest corner of Bavaria. And Bavaria is in the southeastern corner of present-day Germany, bordering Austria to the south, and the Czech Republic to the east. I think the w is pronounced like a v and that is everything I know except that it is also the home to Bayreuth, where they do Wagner’s Ring for people with padded butts.

  13. ronzo says:

    @10 Conservative/reactionary in the USE has very little to do with modern conservatism. Its all about the nobles attempting keeping control. That’s why pretty much all the uptimers even if they were intially in simpson’s fringe party now find themselves firmly even if grudgingly on the side of the fourth of july party. Anybody who grew up in United States under democracy and is there right mind isn’t going to side with a party that’s main concern is keep to power in the hands of the established aristocracy.
    It’s really starting to looking like the crown loyalist are arranging the deck chairs on the titanic, but are completely unaware that the balance of power has already shifted from the nobility. There’s alot of hubris on their part. I think that it might even be a little far fetched that they wouldn’t be able to temper there approach with a bit more pragmatism. But then again we have seen our fair share of the current parties and politicians riding doomed strategies all the way down to their failure, rather than adjusting for the changes around them.

  14. Mike says:

    @13 – USE Swabia encompases everything from the Lech River to the Rhine and from the current OTL southern border of Germany to about 2/3 to the Main River. It is a big area. Baden-Wurtemburg in OTL modern day Germany is smaller than USE Swabia. USE Swabia more or less encompasses everything that was in the Swabian circle of the Holy Roman Empire plus some additional territory.

    Reading between the lines it was set up as everything that wasn’t in GA’s hands at the Congress of Copenhagen but wasn’t firmly in anyone else’s hands either. General Horn is down there, but he’s not occupying as much as counter-marching against both Bernhard and Maximillian and keeping troops tied up in Southern Germanies.

  15. Summercat says:

    Any good cartographers here? I’d draw my paw at making a good map of the USE and surrounding territories, but I’m not that great at it.

  16. Sean Maxwell says:

    Imploring the Keeper Of The Blue Pencil:

    “Nassau-Saarbru[E]cken” needs an u-umlaut, just like the one Württemberg has.

    Replying to Summertime @11:

    Swabia: English-speakers pronounce it SWAY-beee-ahh. It’s from New Latin, and probably comes from the name of a Germanic tribe, the Suebi.

    Schwaben: German-speakers pronounce it Shhh-VAHH-ben. Notice the English “bee” and “ah” sounds don’t appear in the German version at all, and ‘W’ is pronounced like ‘V’ as in Victor. The biggest present-day city in the region is Stuttgart.

    The Swabian dialect is one of the “Allemannic” dialects (from which the French get their word for Germany, “Allemagne”) and is related to Swiss German.

  17. Sean Maxwell says:

    @17 Darn. A typo. I meant to say, the “bee” and “ay” sounds don’t appear.

  18. Mike S says:

    Having been stationed in Stuttgart for three years and having a number of Germans work for me through the CLG program there, Schwaben is definitely NOT part of Bavaria. It is a geographic term covering most of the western Black Forestin the corner of Germany bounded by Switzerland on the south and France on the west. The primary political entities were the Duchies of Wuerttemburg (in German, the ue subs for the uemlat) and Baden, both of which became kingdoms under Napoleon’s Confederation of the Rhine. The Schwabs are considered a dour and unfriendly group among the Germans as opposed to Bavarians that are seen as unambitious, gregarious party animals. The joke is that it takes a Schwab ten years of knowing you before using the familiar “du”. The typically greeting in Schwabia is “Grus Gott”, sort of “Greetings in God”, but said somewhat abrubtly and sometimes huffily. The most famous Schwab to most Americans is Erwin Rommel. Also, where the Bavarians are firmly Catholic, there are Lutheran and Calvinist pockets in Schwabia. The German Airborne training center and kaserne are also in Schwabia. Scwabia was also a major recruiting area for the “landsknechts” in their heyday. Baden, by the way is currently famous for its spas and gambling, while Stuttgart has one of the most famous “houses of ill-repute” dating back to the medieval times, the “House of Three Colors”. Schwabia was well known to American Soldiers as it and Bavaria was home to VII Corps and it is still home to the US European Command at Patch Barracks just south of Stuttgart. There was also a French armored “division” stationed there in the bad old days of the “Evil Empire”.

  19. Mike S says:

    Stuttgart as has the second largest beer festival in Germany in October, the Cannstadter Fest. In the wine season, it has one of the largest wine fests. Strangly, I don’t remeber Fasching (the German Catholic version of Carnival or Mardi Gras) being a big thing in Stuttgart.

  20. alejo says:

    Ah, yes, Schwäbisch. It’s a beautiful dialect, actually. Has a bit of a lilt to it. It’s really hard for speakers of standard German to understand it. someone from Hamburg could not carry on a conversation with someone from Stuttgart if both spoke their own dialects and this is even if the Hamburger (no jokes, please! :p ) isn’t speaking Platt. The folk of the area apparently have a reputation for frugality. I once knew a little old lady from nieder-sachsen (Bremen, area) and she said a Schwab could “make a nickel scream.” My German teacher in high school spent a lot of time in the area and was quite taken with the dialect. She taught us some of it. Probably against regs but, oh well. For the curious, here are a few samples of Swabian dialect or Schwäbisch as they call it:

    “I woisch nett!” (pron. ee voish net)
    Hoch-Deutsch which is the standard german variant renders this:
    “Ich weiss nicht.” Pron. Ih vice niht. Means I don’t know.

    They’ll say isch instead of ist (means is), mädle (pron. maydla) instead of mädchen(pron. mayd-hen) for girl and nett wohr instead of nicht wahr for not so? Schlaffen for sleep is durmele.

    Tschüss!

    Note: Pronunciations are the closest I could think of for English. The ch sound after an e or an i in german doesn’t exist in english anymore and, no, it’s not the hawking sound you hear in other instances. That one is the ch after a o and u. If you are truly curious, google some german courses or youtube vids where people teach it. It’s like the k in the word key but lengthed so it’s a soft hiss instead of a click.

  21. wombatcombat says:

    Some very interesting provincial administrators (heads of state etc.). Take the The Province of the Upper Rhine for instance, don’ttttt ka lototototot about Wilhelm Ludwig of Nassau-Saarbrucken other tmarriageageageagege to a daughter of Margrave Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach, Anna Amalia. Nassau-Saarbrücken was held in personal union with Nassau-Weilburg until 1629. His deputy, Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen however is another matter. He’s Dutch and his father was a cousin of Fredrick Henry, so how he got to his present position would be a interesting story.

    he was a religiously tolerant governor of the Dutch possessions in Brazil from 1636 to 1644, the Dutch began losing control over the colony after he left. He was commander-in-chief of the Dutch States Army 1664, during Second Anglo-Dutch War and it’s first Field-Marshal in 1668. His position in the Upper Rhine might be owed to his successfulll governorship of Cleves, Mark, Ravensberg and Minden on behalf of the elector of Brandenburg 1648-1664.

  22. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    Re Mike #19: There is in fact a province within Bavaria (around Augsburg) called Schwaben. While you covered the history since Napoleon prety well, Swabia as a regional name was originally applied in very early medival times to the whole south-eastern part of the German speaking lands. At various points it included Alsace as well as parts of Switzerland and stretched eastward to the Lech river and Augsburg (the part that is now in Bavaria) and north almost to the Main river. By 16xx the politics had mixed all the boundaries up, and would have done so even more as OTL moved into the 19th century. So ‘Schwaben’ as a geographic or political concept in 1635 is going to be a lot bigger than ‘the area inhabited by people who speak the Swabian dialect of German’ in 2010.

    It’s an area with interesting politics for the series, as it was the locus of the great Peasant’s Revolt in the early 1500’s, and the Imperial Knight’s revolt a little later, and has a lot of towns that can claim to be Imperial Cities. Basically a few dynasties worth of Emperors (Hohenstaufen, Habsburg) came from the region, which effectively allowed their regular vassals and territories to jump up in status to being ‘Imperial’ whenever they thought they could get away with it. Eric has added the headache of Berhnard’s activities, though a good solid war might just be the thing to cut through the traditional claims and counterclaims.

    But probably not in this volume — setting things right east of the Elbe sounds like a big enough job for one book!

    PS Alejo, thanks for the samples of the German languages’ most beautiful dialect. :-)

  23. DougL says:

    @14 Sure their conservatives are interested in very different things than I am. It doesn’t matter on something as fundamantal as giving the central government control of the franchise. That’s something you do ONLY if you want to CHANGE things to a new system, not restore the old ways (reactionary) or preserve what currently works (conservative).

    They want to preserve the power of the local nobles, which means they want a WEAK central government. The central government is the ENEMY of local perogative and home rule. Giving the central government control of the franchise is VERY BAD from their PoV. Astonishing bad.

    They want to preserve local traditions. That means NOT putting through sweeping changes at the national level that cover a traditional local perogative.

    They want the peasants kept in their place. That means NOT giving a central government with GA in charge lots of power which he’ll predictably try to use to crush the nobles using the peasants as his allies. Remember that GA can pretty well take control of the upper house at will if he really wants to by trumping up treason charges and using his army. It might cost him the next war, but he can do it, and it might not cost him the next war. Empowering the central government is bad.

    Basic conservative values say to NEVER give the central government any more power than it already has except in the most dire of emergencies. Similarly for any good reactionary; adding to central power is a fundamentally progressive thing, it helps people change things on a rapid and large scale without first demonstrating that they work well anywhere in the real world. It doesn’t matter that I’d disagree with those nobles on every other issue of any importance, on empowering the central government there should be agreement that it’s really bad. It’s only plausible that they’d even CONSIDER giving the central government that sort of power because they’re a frightened aristocratic oligarchy, and aristocratic oligarchs can be capable of being astonishingly stupid and self destructive as a group.

  24. Sean Maxwell says:

    @ALL: Just to make sure that the typos stay under control: Swabia is in the southWEST of Germany, and borders on France and Switzerland. Bavaria is in the southEAST, and borders on Bohemia and Austria. I’m neglecting the smaller nations. Swabia and Bavaria share a border, which pleased neither side in real history.

    Ed Schoenfeld@23, alejo@21: I mentioned the Swabian dialect in order to point out that the locals’ threat to become Swiss is not an idle threat. They have much more in common with the Swiss than they do with the other (Hessian, Saxon, Bavarian [gag!], etc.) German tribes. For certain, a 17-century Stuttgarter can understand a Zuricher better than he can understand a Berliner.

    @ALL: I can’t say anything about the speech of Magdeburgers, since “Amideutsch” has no defined vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation rules. All the German that appears in the 163x prose to date is (either good or bad) 20th-century “Schriftdeutsch” (Standard German). This is not a problem, since the English is 20th-century American, even when spoken by 17th-century Brits. The same applies to all the dialogue in French, Italian, etc., etc. I’m ignoring rare examples of slang.

    alejo@21: The word “durmele” is a noun (from the -le ending), but I’ve never heard of it. It’s probably kin to “durmelich” (dizzy), and I suspect they’re both derived from the French “dormir” (to sleep). Many other words in common use in Baden-Württemberg are from French (due to the “flexible” nature of the French-German border).

    Mike S@20, @19: The cities of Swabia were mostly Lutheran, with small pockets of Calvinism and Catholicism. In recent years, Baden-Württemberg is being homogenized with the rest of Germany. So much so, that the Swabian dialect is going extinct.

    Mike S@20: Fasching was most often celebrated in the villages, not the cities, which leads me to suspect that the villagers were either Catholic, and celebrating Mardi Gras, or retained their local customs long after their religious rites had changed.

    Mike S@19: A few other famous Swabians come to mind:
    Albert Einstein
    Roland Emmerich (director of _INDEPENDENCE_DAY_)
    Johannes Kepler (mentioned many times in 163x prose)
    Claus von Stauffenberg (played by Tom Cruise in _VALKYIE_)
    Gottlieb Daimler and Robert Bosch are not personally well-known to Americans, but their products (cars, electronics) certainly are.

    Mike S@19: Swabians pronounce “Gruess Gott” quickly, like Americans pronounce “criss-cross” without pausing between syllables. So if you’re an American, and say “criss-gut” really fast, you’ve got the pronunciation of “Gruess Gott” pretty close. Swabians are very reserved when dealing with strangers, probably due to the “flexible” nature of the border. I would be, too, with conquering armies marching alternately east and west through my town.

  25. Nico de Lange says:

    This is a very delayed reaction to the discussion on Schwabian history OTL & the Schwabian dialect.

    Okay, what we do know is that, unlike Thuringen & Bayern, Schwaben did NOT derive its name or even based its existence on one of the Germanic tribes that migrated into central Europe during the first half of the first millennium. In other words, whilst there was a Thuringian tribe & a Bavarian tribe, there never were a Swabian tribe. The Swabians, it is generally agreed by historians & historical anthropologists, are descended from the Alemannians – along with the Alsacians, Lotharians (Lorraine), most German- & French-speaking Swiss, the Dutch & the Flemings. Incidentally, Germany’s designation in French is also derived from the Alemannians.

    Schwaben as a distinct socio-political entity came into being well into the Middle Ages, but to this day there is no clear consensus on exactly how, when & why – or where the name itself comes from.

    As for the dialect, Swabian is not actually a High German dialect, nor does it belong to the Platdeutsch dialect group. Instead, it belongs to the Alemannic dialect continuum – along with Alsacian, Schweisserdeutsch, Lotharian, the Upper Rhenish dialects, Flemish & Dutch.

    Remember that the Lower Franconian (Dutch, Brabantian, Gelders, extinct Picardic, extant Picardic Flemish, Luxembourgish, Limburgian, Flemish, Sealandic Flemish & the Afrikaans dialects), Platdeutsch, High German & Alemannic dialects ALL constitute not separate languages as such, but rather form a Southern Germanic language continuum – as one move from the far Southeast to the Southwest & northward to central & northern Germany & into the Low Countries, the dialects change only slightly; HOWEVER, because they are spoken over such a vast region, the dialects in the extremities of the region differ significantly from one another.

    The reason for the common modern-day assumption that those dialect groups constitute different languages altogether, is that it were the regions at the fringes of the language continuum that became the major polities of the Southern Germanic language region – the Netherlands, Austria, Brandenburg (later Prussia), Saxony & Lower Saxony comes to mind. OR, the outlying regions became important for strategic reasons – here we can think of Alsace-Lorraine, Swabia, Switzerland or Flanders. Also, some of the more centrally-located regions became economic powerhouses, especially in the Rhine & Elbe drainage basins/valleys. Whatever the reasons for their importance, the fact remains that those regions became better known than most of the Southern Germanic-speaking regions, & the great divergence between their particular dialects led to the assumption that they spoke completely different languages.

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