A Timeline of Berlin-Brandenburg to 1200 AD
>> 1200s1300s1400s1500s1600s1700s1800s1900s2000 ++

098 Roman historian Tacitus finishes his Germania. The area comprising the present-day German state of Brandenburg is situated entirely within the territory of Germania recorded by Tacitus. Today, the state of Brandenburg completely surrounds, but excludes the German national capital of Berlin.

600 The first groups of Slavic people begin arriving in the area of the present-day German state of Brandenburg and soon begin displacing the original Germanic tribes.

948 During what is called the Drang nach Osten Emperor Otto I the Great establishes German control over the then-largely Slavic inhabitants of the area comprising the present-day German state of Brandenburg. The dioceses of Havelberg and Brandenburg are soon founded.

965 May 20 Nordmark, present-day Brandenburg, is founded. It is ruled by a Markgraf. According to ancient tradition, the red eagle of the Mark Brandenburg had already been adopted by Margrave Gero (d. 965).

983 Emperor Otto I the Great dies. In the great uprising of 983 the Slavs wiped out German control from the territory of present-day Brandenburg. The monasteries were burned, priests and Germans officials killed or expelled. The Slavic tribes living east of the Elbe River remained independent and pagan for the next 150 years.

1100 By the beginning of the 12th century the Ottonian German kings and emperors conquered the Slav-inhabited lands of present-day Brandenburg. Many Slavic inhabitants, such as the Sorbs in Lusatia, survived the conquests and still live there today. The Roman Catholic Church brought bishoprics which, with their walled towns, afforded protection for the townspeople from attack. With the monks and bishops, the history of the town of Brandenburg, which in time became the state of Brandenburg, began.

1134 In the wake of a German crusade against the Wends, the German magnate Duke Albrecht (Albert the Bear) is granted the Northern March by the Emperor Lothar II. For some time up until the 15th century, some part of the area that would become Brandenburg was inhabited by the Slavic Wends, who still make up a part of the area's modern population.

Albert's control of the region was nominal for several decades, but he engaged in a variety of campaigns against the Wends, as well as more diplomatic efforts which saw his control become more real by the middle of the century.

1150 Duke Albrecht (Albert the Bear) formally inherits Brandenburg from its last Wendish ruler, Pribislav. Albrecht, and his descendants the Ascanians (Askanien), then made considerable progress in Christianizing and cultivating the lands. There was never any distinction made by any of the German rulers and the Slavic and German tribes intermarried.

1157 June 11 The holdings of the Markgraf of Nordmark are renamed Mark Brandenburg. At the end of the 12th century, a city began to emerge from the two merchant settlements of Berlin and Cölln, located on both sides of the Spree River in what is now the Mitte borough. The first documentary reference to Cölln dates from 1237, while the first to Berlin dates to 1244.

1170 Duke Albrecht (Albert the Bear) of the house of Askanien (Ascanians) dies. According to some historians, he was the originator of Mark Brandenburg's red eagle rather than Margrave Gero (d. 965). Before his death, Albrecht divided his territory among his children, thereby creating the later Anhalt, Brandenburg and Meissen, later Upper-Saxony. (Source: Gustav A. Seyler, Siebmachers Grosses Wappenbuch, Nuremberg, 1916)

1200 During the 13th century German rulers begin acquiring territory east of the Oder River, later known as the Neumark (see also Altmark).

1230 The Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas’ Church) is built in the area of Berlin, Germany, known today as the Nikolaiviertel. The first documentary reference to Berlin's Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) dates from 1292. Both are treasured landmarks and have undergone numerous renovations over the years.

1237 The city of Berlin dates its official founding to 1237, the year of the first recorded mention of its sister-city Cölln. The first documentary reference to Berlin itself followed in 1244.

1258-1356 The Mark Brandenburg suffers numerous divisions and creations of side-lines.

1280 Berlin is given a new town seal depicting, for the first time, two bears.

>> 1200s1300s1400s1500s1600s1700s1800s1900s2000 ++

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