Saxony (Ger. Sachsen), a kingdom of the German empire, between lat. 50° 10' and 51° 30' N, and Ion. 11° 55' and 15° 5' E, bounded N. and N. E. by Prussia, S. E. and S. by Bohemia, S. W. by Bavaria, and W. by the Thurin-gian states and Prussia; area, 5,788 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 2,556,244. Capital, Dresden. The southern part is traversed by spurs of the Fich-telgebirge and the Erzgebirge, the latter separating the country from Bohemia. The picturesque region where the spurs approach the Elbe is called Saxon Switzerland. The Lusa-tian mountains on the right bank of that river connect the Erzgebirge with the Riesengebirge. The S. W. portion of the country is known as the Voigtland. About three fifths of the surface is level or slightly undulating. The principal rivers are the Elbe and its tributaries the Elster, Mulde, and Spree. The climate is salubrious, but severe in the mountains. Grain, fruit, and flax are produced in large quantities. Of the total area, 52.4 per cent. is under tillage, 13 per cent. meadows and pastures, 30.5 per cent. forests, and only 4.1 per cent. unproductive. Cattle are raised in great numbers. Saxony has long been celebrated for its fine wool; recently the sheep have declined in number, but improved in breed.
The value of all private landed property rose from $294,000,000 in 1830 to $490,000,000 in 1858, and $807,000,-000 in 1874. Minerals abound, including coal, silver, iron, lead, tin, marble, porcelain clay, arsenic, etc. The amount of silver mined in 1870 was 64,000 lbs.; iron, 179,000 quintals; lead, 70,000 quintals. Nearly 30,000 persons are employed in mines and smelting. In 1871 there were 681 distilleries and 699 breweries, producing 40,800,000 gallons of beer. More than half the population is engaged in manufactures, producing fine linen, silk, and woollen goods, laces and embroideries, tin spoons, paints, straw goods, porcelain, musical instruments, iron and tin ware, machinery, and many other articles. The book trade and the fairs of Leipsic and the general commerce of Saxony are of great magnitude. (See Germany, and Leipsic.) Public education is as well provided for in Saxony as in Prussia. The university of Leipsic enjoys world-wide celebrity, and there are various academies in Dresden, a celebrated one for mining at Freiberg, and many gymnasiums and normal and special schools, besides the numerous common schools.
The kingdom is divided into the districts of Dresden, Leipsic, Zwickau, and Bautzen (including the main part of Upper Lusatia). - Since 1831 Saxony has been a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The constitutional and electoral laws were perfected in 1849, 1851, 1860, 1861, and 1868. The king is a Roman Catholic, but 98 per cent. of the people are Protestants, of German race. In 1871 there were 3,357 Jews, and about 50,000 Wends, of Slavic race, almost all in Lusatia. Saxony holds the third rank in the federal council of Germany, having four votes, and is represented by 23 deputies in the Reichstag. The legislature consists of an upper chamber composed of royal princes, nobles, prelates, large landed proprietors, and the burgomasters of the eight chief towns (Dresden, Leipsic, Chemnitz, Zwickau, Plauen, Glauchau, Freiberg, and Meerane); and of a second chamber with 35 representatives of towns and 45 of rural boroughs. The executive government is exercised under the king by a council of state and six heads of departments constituting the ministry. The Saxon troops form the 12th corps of the German army.
The only fortress of Saxony is the impregnable castle of König-stein, the commander of which is appointed by the emperor of Germany. (See KÖnigstein.) The public debt at the close of 1873 was about $81,000,000. The revenue and expenditures were respectively estimated for 1874-'5 at $11,000,000. - The Germanic Hermunduri are considered the original inhabitants of Saxony; they were followed by the Slavic Sorabs, who during the 9th and 10th centuries were overpowered by the Saxons. The latter founded the margraviate of Meissen (Misnia), which in the 12th century, under the house of Wet-tin, became one of the most flourishing states of Germany. A long intestine conflict was terminated in 1308 by the recognition of the margrave Frederick the Bitten as joint ruler of Meissen and Thuringia. A portion of Fran-conia was subsequently added, and in reward for services in the Hussite war, the house of Wettin in 1423 obtained the electoral dignity, which had been borne by Saxe-Wittenberg, one of the fragments of the old Saxon duchy (see Saxons), under a branch of the Ascanian family.
On the death of Frederick the Warlike, the first elector (1428), his sons divided his possessions, which, reunited for a time, were again divided by his grandsons (1485). Ernest received the western portions, including Wittenberg and Thuringia, with the electoral dignity, and Albert the eastern, embracing the main parts of the present Saxony, founding respectively the Ernestine and Albertine lines. Frederick the Wise (1486-1525) and John the Constant (1525-'32), sons of Ernest, were strong protectors of Luther. John Frederick, son of John the Constant, while defending Protestantism as one of the leaders of the Smalcald league, succumbed in the battle of Mühlfeld (1547) to an alliance between his cousin Maurice, of the Albertine line, and the emperor Charles V. Maurice succeeded to the electorate, which remained attached to his dynasty, and obtained the larger part of the Ernestine possessions, the remainder of which, subsequently enlarged by cessions, was gradually split up into the various Thuringian states. The elector John George I. (1611-'56), by his vacillating course during the thirty years' war, plunged Saxony into inextricable difficulties.
Augustus (Frederick) I. the Strong (1694-1733) became a Roman Catholic to qualify himself for the throne of Poland (as such Augustus II.). His warfare with Charles XII. caused Saxony to be invaded by the Swedes. The disreputable reign of his son Augustus (Frederick) II. of Saxony and III. of Poland (1733-'63), and the wars with Prussia, especially the seven years' war, entailed still greater disasters upon the country. A better era began under the regency of Prince Xavier (1763-8), during the minority of Frederick Augustus HI. (as elector, 1763-1806; I. as king, 1806-'27), and during the reign of the latter, who was surnamed the Just. He declined the crown of Poland and refused to join the coalition against the French revolution, but after the declaration of war against France he furnished his contingent as a member of the German empire. In 1805 he remained neutral, but in 1806 joined Prussia against France, which resulted in Saxony being conquered by Napoleon, who transformed the country into a kingdom, to which he added in 1807 the duchy of Warsaw. He was a loyal vassal of Napoleon in the wars of 1809-'13. After the battle of Leipsic he was detained by the emperor Alexander as a prisoner of war, but allowed to reside at Pres-burg during the debates of the congress of Vienna, which restored to him half of his German possessions, the other half being given to Prussia and the duchy of Warsaw to Russia. Anthony (1827-'36), a brother of Frederick Augustus, in 1831 adopted a constitutional form of government, and shortly after joined the Zollverein. The reign of King Frederick Augustus II., a nephew of Anthony (1836-'54), was disturbed by religious animosities, which in 1845 culminated in a bloody riot at Leipsic, by the revolution of 1848, and by a sanguinary struggle of the democratic party for the recognition of the national constitution of Germany (May, 1849). He died without issue, Aug. 9, 1854, and was succeeded by his brother John, the translator of Dante. As he sided with Austria in the war of 1866, the Prussians invaded his country on June 16, while his army withdrew to Bohemia and took part in the battle of Sadowa. Prussia made peace with Saxony, Oct. 21, on receiving a large indemnity and the right of garrisoning the fortress of Königstein, and Beust, as the principal instigator of the war, was obliged to leave the Saxon for the Austrian service.
In the same year Saxony joined the North German confederation; and in 1871 it was incorporated in the German empire, after taking a distinguished part in the Franco-German war under the crown prince Albert, who succeeded to the throne on the death of King John, Oct. 29, 1873. (See Albert, Friedrich August).
Saxony, a central province of Prussia, bordering on the provinces of Brandenburg, Hesse-Nassau, and Hanover, Anhalt, the kingdom of Saxony, the Thuringian states, and Brunswick; area, 9,746 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 2,103,174. It is generally flat, but it has the Hartz mountains in the west (with their highest peak, the Brocken), and the Thuringian Forest in the south. The principal rivers are the Elbe, in the east, and its tributaries the Saale, Mulde, Unstrut, Bode, and Havel. The soil is fertile and the best cultivated in Prussia. Cotton and woollen cloth, leather, linen, sugar, tobacco, and beer are manufactured. The congress of Vienna in 1815 transferred most of this province from the kingdom of Saxony to Prussia. It is divided into the districts of Magdeburg, Merseburg, and Erfurt. Capital, Magdeburg.