Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The Schleswig Holstein question. Part 2
In the 12th century Schleswig became a dukedom, and it remained a fief associated (but not without dispute) with Denmark until 1864. Holstein developed somewhat more independently; it was ruled for centuries as a duchy by the kings of Denmark, but, at the same time, remained a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. After 1815 Holstein was incorporated in the newly formed German Federation.
During the 1840s, issues relating to the rights of Schleswig's and Holstein's respective German- and Danish-speaking minorities, to the succession rights of the Danish royal family, and to Denmark's interests in the two duchies resulted in the duchies' becoming a bone of contention between Denmark and Prussia and then among Denmark, Prussia, and Austria. At this time the population of Schleswig was Danish in its northern portion, German in the south, and mixed in the northern towns and centre. The population of Holstein was almost entirely German.