Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg

Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg
Flag of Saxe-Lauenburg
Coat of arms
as used 1507–1671
Saxe-Lauenburg in 1848 (map in Dutch)
Saxe-Lauenburg in 1848 (map in Dutch)
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
State of the German Confederation
State of the North German Confederation
State of the German Empire
Ratzeburg (from 1619)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Partitioned from Duchy of Saxony
• Partitioned into Saxe-Mölln-Bergedorf and Saxe-Ratzeburg


• Dissolved during
Napoleonic Wars

• Personal union:
- with Denmark
- with Prussia

• Merged into Prussia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svgDuchy of Saxony
Province of Schleswig-Holstein
Saxe-Lauenburg ca. 1400 (green), including the tracts south of the Elbe and the Amt Neuhaus, but without Hadeln out of the map downstream the Elbe.

The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (German: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg, called Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) between the 14th and 17th centuries), was a reichsfrei duchy that existed 1296–1803 and 1814–1876 in the extreme southeast region of what is now Schleswig-Holstein. Its territorial center was in the modern district of Herzogtum Lauenburg and originally its eponymous capital was Lauenburg upon Elbe, though in 1619 the capital moved to Ratzeburg.

Former territories not part of today's district of Lauenburg

In addition to the core territories in the modern district of Lauenburg, at times other territories, mostly south of the river Elbe, belonged to the duchy:

  • The tract of land along the southern Elbe bank (German: Marschvogtei), reaching from Marschacht to the Amt Neuhaus, territorially connecting the core of the duchy with these more southeastern Lauenburgian areas. This land was ceded to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. It is now part of the Lower Saxon Harburg (district).
  • The Amt Neuhaus proper, then including areas on both sides of the Elbe, which was ceded to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. Today, this is all part of Lower Saxon Lüneburg (district).
  • The exclave Land of Hadeln in the area of the Elbe estuary was disentangled from Saxe-Lauenburg in 1689 and administered as a separate territory under imperial custody, before it was ceded to Bremen-Verden in 1731. Now it is part of today's Lower Saxon Cuxhaven (district).
  • Some North Elbian municipalities of the former core duchy are not part of today's district of Lauenburg, since they had been ceded to the then Soviet occupation zone by the Barber Lyashchenko Agreement in November 1945.