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The Duchy of Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Lunenburg, is a small constitutional monarchy on the northern border of the Holy Roman Empire. It is bordered by Denmark to the north and Brandenburg, Brunswick and Verden to the south. The capital is Lüneburg and the population is around 353,000.
The Head of State is Duke Ernest IV.
The official language is German.
The Duchy has no official currency but Danish Krona (DKK) is used by the government due to the currency's stability and the fact Hamburg is nearby. Cologne Marks (KOM) are used commonly by much of the population as a secondary currency, though this will probably begin to move over to Imperial Marks in due course.
Long important for its salt industry Lüneburg was divided from the larger Duchy of Brunswick soon after the Luxembourg-Brabant War (1279-1283) which had split the ruling Guelph dynasty. Relatively wealthy compared to its neighbours it had long been an important Imperial territory in resisting the southern expansion of Denmark. Its position was regularly boosted by marriage of several of its young duchesses to the Austrian, Luxembourg and Bavarian ruling families. It was never, however, rewarded with its long held desire of becoming an electorate or being raised to the level of principality.
The pro-Austrian stance of the duchy was altered dramatically after Duke Ernest I converted to Lutheranism and allied with Denmark in the Schmalkaldic League. A firm protestant supporter he fiercely advocated the establishment of the Schmalkaldic Empire in 1548 and again, this time successfully, in 1558, and bankrolled Lüneburg's own division of the SE army during the Fifty Years War. When the German economy collapsed as the war dragged on it lost its front-rank position and would eventually be occupied by Denmark and Svealandic troops defending Hamburg from the Imperial advance.
Although its independence and territory was confirmed by the Copenhagen Treaty in 1668 it never again had the resources or authority to act independently. Instead it has quietly supported Kalmar and Imperial troops in various wars. Its last act of true independent action occurred during the Iberian Revolution in 1832 when the Lüneburg army, isolated from the main Kalmar armies, succeeded in defending its territory from an Hispanic division, only to be swept away three months later when Del Olmo's main forces drove through on their march to Pomerania.
Since then it has settled into quiet and unremarkable industry. The government has often had to defend itself against accusations that it is merely a Danish vassal, and its rivals in the Imperial Diet often deride it as 'a suburb of Hamburg'. Despite public statements to the contrary the government is widely expected to apply to join the Kalmar Union within the next 5 years.
Lüneburg's current head of state is Duke Ernest IV. Although much power has been transferred to the Reichstag, the duke has the power to dissolve the current government and demand new elections if so wished. The Chancellor is Sigmar Wulff.
Lüneburg was the first German state to introduce women's suffrage and is moving to grant women full and complete equality under the law, meaning the old industry guilds can no longer exclude women, and female members of the ducal family may now inherit the Duchy.