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The Electorate of Hanover (German: Kurfürstentum Hannover or simply German: Kurhannover) was an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany and taking its name from the capital city of Hanover. It was formally known as the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (German: Kurfürstentum Braunschweig-Lüneburg). For most of its existence, the electorate was ruled in personal union with Great Britain following the Hanoverian Succession.
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg had been split in 1269 between different branches of the House of Welf. The Principality of Calenberg, ruled by a cadet branch of the family, emerged as the largest and most powerful of the Brunswick-Lüneburg states. In 1692, the Holy Roman Emperor elevated the Prince of Calenberg to the College of Electors, creating the new Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The fortunes of the Electorate were tied to those of Great Britain by the Act of Settlement 1701 and Act of Union 1707, which settled the succession to the British throne on Queen Anne's nearest Protestant relative, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, and her descendants.
The Prince-Elector of Hanover became King of Great Britain in 1714. As a consequence, a reluctant Britain was forced time and again to defend the King's German possessions. However, Hanover remained a separately ruled territory with its own governmental bodies, and the country had to sign a treaty with Great Britain whenever Hanoverian troops fought on the British side of a war. Merged into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, it was re-established as the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814, and the personal union with the British crown lasted until 1837.
Official name and other name versions
In 1692, Emperor Leopold I elevated Duke Ernest Augustus of the Brunswick-Lüneburg line of Calenberg, to the rank of prince-elector of the Empire as a reward for aid given in the Nine Years' War. There were protests against the addition of a new elector, and the elevation did not become official until the approval of the Imperial Diet in 1708. Calenberg's capital Hanover became colloquially eponymous for the electorate; however, officially it used the name Chur-Braunschweig-Lüneburg of the entire ducal dynasty.