Nassau, formerly a German duchy, bounded by the Prussian provinces of the Rhine and Westphalia, by Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Homburg, and Frankfort; area, 1,808 sq. m.; pop. in 1866, 468,311. It now forms the S. W. part of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, including the beautiful valley of the Lahn, between the Taunus range in the southeast and the Westerwald in the northwest; the towns of Wiesbaden (the former capital), Diez, Dillenburg, and Herborn; the watering places Ems, Selters, and Schwalbach; and the renowned vineyards of Johannisberg, Hochheim, Rüdesheim, and Asmannshausen. - In Germanic antiquity Nassau was inhabited by various tribes of Alemanni. After their incorporation with the Frankish empire various families rose into prominence, among which was that of Laurenburg or Lurenburg. Wal-ram I. (died in 1020) was by his two sons, Walram II. and Otho, the founder of two lines, the older of which subsequently assumed the title of counts of Nassau, after a small rural settlement of that name, which is mentioned in a public record as early as A. D. 794. The younger son became by marriage with the heiress of Gelderland the founder of the Guel-drian line, and from the latter are descended the Dutch princes of Orange, hence called of Nassau-Orange. Walram IV., of the elder line, was the father of Adolphus of Nassau, who was king of Germany from 1292 to 1298. The grandsons of the latter, Adolphus II. and John I., and their successors divided their inheritances into several branches, which were eventually reunited by Louis II., who died in 1625. His sons again divided the house of Nassau into several branches, of which that of Nassau-Weilburg was the more immediate source of the German line of dukes, who acquired their new dignity by joining the confederation of the Rhine (1806). After the fall of Napoleon, the German possessions of the Nassau-Orange line were acquired by the dukes of Nassau in exchange for territory ceded by them to Prussia. They also acquired at that time the hereditary right to the succession of Luxemburg, which however they sold to Holland in 1839 for about $350,000. In the Avar of 1866, Nassau sided with Austria, was occupied by Prussian troops in July, and by the decree of Sept. 20, 1866, was annexed to Prussia. The last duke, Adolphus (born July 24, 1817), succeeded his father in 1839, and after his dispossession took up his residence in Frankfort, where he still resides (1875).
Nassau, the N. E. county of Florida, bordering on the Atlantic, separated from Georgia on the N. and N. W. by St. Mary's river, and bounded S. by the Nassau river; area, 610 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 4,247, of whom 1,970 were colored. It has a level surface and sandy soil. Amelia island, included in the county, occupies the whole of the coast. The county is traversed by the Florida railroad. The chief productions in 1870 were 24,058 bushels of Indian corn, 17,614 of sweet potatoes, 1,900 lbs. of rice, 984 of wool, and 4,198 gallons of molasses. There were 8,133 cattle, 777 sheep, and 3,447 swine. Capital, Fernandina.
Nassau, an island in the Pacific ocean, in lat. 11° 30' S., Ion. 165° 30' W., discovered by Capt. Sampson, of the American whaler whose name it bears, in 1835. It is low and apparently uninhabited, but wood and water are plentiful. It is supposed to be identical with Danger island, which an English whale ship so called reported in 1848 to be in lat. 11° 35' S., and Ion. 166° 45'W.
Nassau, a city, capital of the island of New Providence, of the Bahama group, in lat. 25° 5' N., Ion. 71° 21' W.; pop. about 9,000. The town is well laid out, has a library and museum, and its salubrious climate makes it a winter resort for invalids. In 1872 the entrances were 43 steamers of 57,910 tons, and 196 sailing vessels of 20,104 tons; clearances, 43 steamers of 57,910 tons, and 186 sailing vessels of 18.050 tons; imports, $911,582; exports, $1,-446,456, including cotton $915,297, pineapples $252,332 and sponge $91,953. A falling off of $558,567 from the imports of 1871 is due to a decrease in the number of wrecks. The increase in sports over 1871 was $456,027. Wrecking, formerly extensively followed, is now much less profitable, and more attention is paid to agriculture. The French and Spaniards destroyed Nassau in 1703. It was rebuilt in 1718, fortified in 1740, and declared a free port in 1787. It was made a bishopric of the church of England in 1861. During the American civil war Nassau was a resort for blockade runners.
[VASSAL (or Poggy I ISLANDS, two islands off the W. coast of Sumatra; pop. about 1,000. The northern island is situated between lat. 2° 32' and 2 52' S., and the southern between 2° 50' and 30 20' S.; they are separated by a narrow strait, and both are included between lon. 99° 37'and 1000 41'E. They consist of high steep hills, covered with timber of very large size, and well suited for masts and spars. Cocoanuts abound, and pepper is cultivated. The sago tree constitutes the chief article of food. The natives are divided into small tribes, each tribe living in one village.