Mecklenburg–West Pomerania [key], state (1994 pop. 1,890,000), 9,201 sq mi (23,838 sq km), NE Germany, bordering on the Baltic Sea. Schwerin is the capital. The region embraced by the state of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania is a low-lying, fertile agricultural area, with many lakes and forests. Until the end of World War II it was characterized by great estates and farms, but after 1945 the region was divided into innumerable small farms. On the Baltic coast are the cities of Rostock, Wismar, and Stralsund, long important as Hanseatic ports, and the island of Rügen. (Rügen and Stralsund were formerly in Pomerania.) The region of Mecklenburg was occupied (6th cent. a.d.) by the Wends. Later awarded as a march to the dukes of Saxony, it was subdued (12th cent.) by Henry the Lion, and the Wendish prince Pribislaw became a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1348 the princes were raised to ducal rank. In 1621 the duchy divided into Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Güstrow, but during the Thirty Years War both dukes were deposed (1628) and the entire duchy was given to Wallenstein, the imperial general, who had conquered it. However, it was retaken by Gustavus II of Sweden and restored (1631) to its former rulers. The line of Mecklenburg-Güstrow died out in 1701, and the line of Mecklenburg-Strelitz took its place. At the Congress of Vienna both divisions of Mecklenburg were raised (1815) to grand duchies. They both joined the German Confederation, sided with Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and joined the German Empire at its founding in 1871. The grand dukes were deposed in 1918. In 1934 the separate states of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz were united. As constituted in 1947 under Soviet military occupation, Mecklenburg consisted of the former states of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and of that part of the former Prussian province of Pomerania situated W of the Oder River (but not including Stettin). From 1952, when Mecklenburg's status as a state was abolished, until shortly before German reunification in 1990, the region was divided into the East German districts of Schwerin, Rostock, and Neubrandenburg. The reconstituted state has been known as in German as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
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