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Civic heraldry of Germany
GRAND DUCHY OF OLDENBURG
Oldenburg and Delmenhorst were two counties in the present Niedersachsen. The Counts of Oldenburg became Kings of Denmark in 1448, Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein. The historical arms of Oldenburg are or were also part of the Royal Arms of Denmark, Norway and Greece, as the Royal Families of the latter two countries also descended from the Counts of Oldenburg (through Denmark).
Oldenburg proper and the neighbouring Delmenhorst were ruled jointly by another branch of the Oldenburg dynasty until 1667, when the branch became extinct. The counties thus came under the rule of the Danish Kings. In 1773 Oldenburg and Delmenhorst were officially combined to the Duchy of Oldenburg and were ruled by the branch of Holstein-Gottorp, later Holstein-Oldenburg.
The State of Lübeck was ruled by the bishops until the Reformation. The State was acquired by the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp after the Reformation. In 1773 the State was combined with the new Duchy of Oldenburg. In 1803 the State became a Principality, in Personal Union with Oldenburg.
As Oldenburg was occupied by Napoleon between 1810 and 1813 the Dukes of Oldenburg only ruled in Lübeck, which was not occupied.
After 1813 the old Duchy of Oldenburg was restored and acquired the County Birkenfeld (which was also promoted to Principality at the time). The Dukes were also promoted to Grand-Dukes. In 1815 the Grand-Duchy of Oldenburg comprised three parts, which were geographically separated widely apart : Oldenburg proper, near the Dutch border, Lübeck on the Baltic Sea and Birkenfeld, near Luxembourg.
The arms of the Grand-Duchy of Oldenburg are shown above.
The arms of the grand-Dukes showed all territories to which they held claims. The upper row shows the arms of Norway and the Duchy of Schleswig, the second row shows the Duchy of Holstein and the swan of Stormarn. The base shows Dithmarschen and the black lion of Kniphausen. The inescutcheon shows in the first quarter the historical arms of the counts of Oldenburg, the second the cross of the county of Delmenhorst. The third field shows the mitre and cross of the State of Lübeck. The chequered field is the arms of the county Birkenfeld. The point shows the lion of the Estate of Jever (now Friesland).
Jever was an Estate in the North of Germany. In 1575 it was acquired by the Counts of Oldenburg. In 1667 it became part of Anhalt-Zerbst and in 1793 by Russia. In 1818 the area became again part of Oldenburg.
In 1918 the former Grand-Duchy (all three parts) became a Free State (republic).
The Free State used as arms the old arms of Oldenburg quartered with the cross of Delmenhorst, see below. These arms later became the arms of the Landkreis Oldenburg.
The arms of the Freistaat Oldenburg
In 1937 Preussen acquired Lübeck and Birkenfeld. Oldenburg proper remained a free State until 1946.
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Literature : Ströhl, 1897