city, Lower Saxony Land (state), north-central Germany. It lies at the northern foot of the Harz Mountains, south of Braunschweig. Founded in 922 to protect rich silver mines discovered in the Rammelsberg mountain, it became a favourite residence of the early Holy Roman emperors. The scene of frequent meetings of the Reichstag (legislative assembly) in the 11th and 12th centuries, it joined the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. After obtaining an imperial provostship in 1290, it was a free imperial city until annexed by Prussia in 1802. It passed to Westphalia in 1807, to Prussia in 1814, to Hanover in 1815, and, with the Hanoverian kingdom, back to Prussia in 1866. The German chancellor Adolf Hitler made it the headquarters of the Nazi agricultural organization in 1936. Undamaged during World War II, the city received many refugees from elsewhere in Germany.
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