Anhalt, a duchy of Germany, and a constituent state of the German empire, formed, in 1863, by the amalgamation of the two duchies Anhalt-Dessau-Cöthen and Anhalt-Bernburg, and comprising all the various Anhalt territories which were sundered apart in 1603. The country now known as Anhalt consists of two larger portions - Eastern and Western Anhalt, separated by the interposition of a part of Prussian Saxony - and of five enclaves surrounded by Prussian territory, viz. Alsleben, Mühlingen, Dornburg, Gödnitz and Tilkerode-Abberode. The eastern and larger portion of the duchy is enclosed by the Prussian government district of Potsdam (in the Prussian province of Brandenburg), and Magdeburg and Merseburg (belonging to the Prussian province of Saxony). The western or smaller portion (the so-called Upper Duchy or Ballenstedt) is also enclosed by the two latter districts and, for a distance of 5 m. on the west, by the duchy of Brunswick. The western portion of the territory is undulating and in the extreme south-west, where it forms part of the Harz range, mountainous, the Ramberg peak attaining a height of 1900 ft. From the Harz the country gently shelves down to the Saale; and between this river and the Elbe there lies a fine tract of fertile country.
The portion of the duchy lying east of the Elbe is mostly a flat sandy plain, with extensive pine forests, though interspersed, at intervals, by bog-land and rich pastures. The Elbe is the chief river, and intersecting the eastern portion of the duchy, from east to west, receives at Rosslau the waters of the Mulde. The navigable Saale takes a northerly direction through the western portion of the eastern part of the territory and receives, on the right, the Fuhne and, on the left, the Wipper and the Bode. The climate is on the whole mild, though somewhat inclement in the higher regions to the south-west. The area of the duchy is 906 sq. m., and the population in 1905 amounted to 328,007, a ratio of about 351 to the square mile. The country is divided into the districts of Dessau, Cöthen, Zerbst, Bernburg and Ballenstedt, of which that of Bernburg is the most, and that of Ballenstedt the least, populated. Of the towns, four, viz. Dessau, Bernburg, Cöthen and Zerbst, have populations exceeding 20,000. The inhabitants of the duchy, who mainly belong to the upper Saxon race, are, with the exception of about 12,000 Roman Catholics and 1700 Jews, members of the Evangelical (Union) Church. The supreme ecclesiastical authority is the consistory in Dessau; while a synod of 39 members, elected for six years, assembles at periods to deliberate on internal matters touching the organization of the church.
The Roman Catholics are under the bishop of Paderborn. There are within the duchy four grammar schools (gymnasia), five semi-classical and modern schools, a teachers' seminary and four high-grade girls' schools. Of the whole surface, land under tillage amounts to about 60, meadowland to 7 and forest to 25%. The chief crops are corn (especially wheat), fruit, vegetables, potatoes, beet, tobacco, flax, linseed and hops. The land is well cultivated, and the husbandry on the royal domains and the large estates especially so. The pastures on the banks of the Elbe yield cattle of excellent quality. The forests are well stocked with game, such as deer and wild boar, and the open country is well supplied with partridges. The rivers yield abundant fish, salmon (in the Elbe), sturgeon and lampreys. The country is rich in lignite, and salt works are abundant. Of the manufactures of Anhalt, the chief are its sugar factories, distilleries, breweries and chemical works. Commerce is brisk, especially in raw products - corn, cattle, timber or wool. Coal (lignite), guano, oil and bricks are also articles of export. The trade of the country is furthered by its excellent roads, its navigable rivers and its railways (165 m.), which are worked in connexion with the Prussian system.
There is a chamber of commerce in Dessau.