This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in German. (August 2012) Click [show] for important translation instructions.
View a machine-translated version of the German article.
Google's machine translation is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia.
Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article.
The bulk of the Duchy's inhabitants were Saxons, but to the north and west there were also numerous descendants of the ancient Frisians. The differences between the two people were mostly perceptible, but Low German was universally spoken, except in Saterland, where the Saterland Frisian language had maintained itself. The population was somewhat unequally distributed — some parts of the marsh lands contained over 300 people per square mile, while in the geest the number occasionally sank as low as 40. About 70% of the inhabitants lived in rural areas. The harbor of Wilhelmshaven, on the shore of Jade Bight, was built by the Kingdom of Prussia on land ceded by the Jade Treaty.
Oldenburg did not entirely escape from the Revolutions of 1848 that swept across Europe, but no serious disturbances took place therein. In 1849 Augustus granted a constitution of a very liberal character to his subjects. Hitherto his country had been ruled in the spirit of enlightened despotism which had been strengthened by the absence of a privileged class of nobles, the comparative independence of the peasantry, and the importance of the towns; thus a certain amount of friction was inevitable. In 1852 some modifications were introduced into the constitution, yet it remained one of the most progressive in the German Confederation. Important alterations were made in the administrative system in 1855 and again in 1868, and government oversight on church affairs was ordered by a law of 1863. In 1863, Peter II, who had ruled since the death of his father Augustus in 1853, seemed inclined to press a claim to the vacant duchy of Schleswig and duchy of Holstein, but ultimately in 1867 he abandoned this in favor of the Kingdom of Prussia and received some slight compensation. In 1866 he had sided with this power against the Austrian Empire and had joined the North German Confederation, and in 1871 the grand duchy became a state of the German Empire.