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Saxony is today called The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈzaksən]; Upper Sorbian: Swobodny stat Sakska) and is a federal state of Germany, located in the eastern part of present-day Germany. It is the tenth-largest German state in area (18,413 km²) and the sixth largest in population (4.3 million), of Germany's sixteen states. It's capital is Dresden.


The Roman Emperor Karl de Gross summoned the Saxons to a great assembly at Paderborn in 777, where many accepted baptism. Possibly the most famous of the Saxons early leaders was Witukund, who, deeply commited to the old pagan ways, now led a rebellion but was ultimately defeated, with over 4,500 of his men being beheaded by the Emperor's command. All of Saxony was now Christianised 'at the point of the sword', with the Emperor dividing it into counties and appointing both Saxons and Franks as Counts. He also arranged for the defence of the Saxon-Slav frontier, for which purpose a force of Austrasians and Saxons was raised.[1] Other equally famous Dukes of Saxony and Holy Roman Emperors were the three Ottos (r.936 to 1002).[2] Saxony had monarchs continuously until the forced abdication of its last King, as well as the German Emperor, at the end of 1918.


Over the 1500 years, and more, Saxony has considerably changed its territorial frontiers. In the heart of German-speaking Europe, in the early Middle Ages, Saxony referred to the region occupied by today's states of Lower Saxony and northern North Rhine-Westphalia. Saxony became one of the new easternmost German regions after the border-changes of 1945, which were under Communist rule until 1989. The legacy of the state under the Communists' German Democratic Republic still largely defines present-day Saxony.


The term Saxon does not always correlate with Saxony: a Saxon is not necessarily an inhabitant of Saxony (e.g. Saxon people, Anglo-Saxons or Transylvanian Saxons).


  1. Heer, Friedrich, Charlemagne, London, 1975, p.127-8.
  2. Leyser, K.L., Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250, London, 1982. ISBN 0-907628-08-7