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A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Hanover

Summary

When the United States announced its independence from Great Britain in 1776, Hanover was a sovereign, independent state. Previously an Electorate, the Kingdom of Hanover was re-established in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. At the time, the King of Hanover was George III of Britain. From 1814 until 1837 the King of Hanover was the same man as the King of Britain (George III, George IV, and William I). As Hanover (and most of the German States) observed Salic Law and Great Britain did not, the passing of King William in 1837 meant that the Hanovarian crown descended through the male bloodline to Ernest Augustus I of Hanover, while the British crown went to Queen Victoria.

Despite the fact that the Kings of Hanover had recognized the U.S. within their capacity as Kings of Britain as early as 1783, the first act of mutual recognition between the Kingdom of Hanover and the United States did not occur until 1830. Between 1830 and 1861 no less than four different agreements were negotiated and signed between the two countries. All ties came to an abrupt halt when Hanover was defeated during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and subsequently merged directly into Prussia. At this point, Hanover had relations with the United States as a part of the Kingdom of Prussia.

Recognition

Mutual Recognition, 1830.

The first known act of mutual recognition between the Kingdom of Hanover and the United States occurred on January 8, 1830, when U.S. Secretary of State Martin Van Buren granted an exequatur to Theodore Meyer Esq. to serve as Consul for the Kingdom of Hanover at New York.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations.

Despite the fact that the Kings of Hanover, acting as Kings of Britain, had recognized the United States in 1783 with the signing of the peace treaty that ended the war between Britain and the United States, the U.S. never officially established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Hanover.

Treaties and Agreements

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, 1840.

On May 20, 1840, U.S. Minister to Prussia Henry Wheaton and Hanovarian Minister to Prussia Le Sieur Auguste de Berger negotiated and signed a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United States and the Kingdom of Hanover, establishing the rules and regulations of trade and commerce between the two states.

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, 1846.

The 1846 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed on June 10, 1846, by the United States and the Kingdom of Hanover settled in a more definitive manner the rules to be observed by the original Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of 1840. This treaty was terminated when Hanover was forced to merge into Prussia in 1866.

Extradition Treaty, 1855.

On January 18, 1855, U.S. Minister to Great Britain James Buchanan, and Hanovarian Minister to Britain Count Adolphus von Kielmansegge negotiated an Extradition Treaty between their two states. The treaty was signed in London and was terminated eleven years later when Hanover merged into Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Convention Abolishing Stade or Brunshausen Dues, 1861.

The United States and the Kingdom of Hanover signed the Convention Abolishing Stade or Brunshausen Dues on November 6, 1861. The treaty was negotiated and signed by U.S. Minister to Prussia Norman B. Judd and Hanovarian Minister to Prussia Lt. Col. And Extrarodinary Aid-de-Camp August Wilhelm von Reitzenstein. It abolished the toll previously levied “on cargoes of American vessels ascending the Elbe, and passing the mouth of the river called Schwinge, designated under the name of the Stade or Brunshausen dues.”

Key Diplomatic Events

The Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

In 1866 Prussia and her allies launched a war against Austria and her allied German states. The war, also commonly referred to as the Seven Weeks’ War for the rapidity with which the Prussians triumphed, enabled the Kingdom of Prussia to absorb some of the smaller states that had sided with Austria – in this case, the Kingdom of Hanover.

German Unification.

Hanover participated in German unification during the mid-nineteenth century. (See “Unification of German States” for greater detail.)

Resources

  • Charles I. Beavans, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949, (Department of State: Washington, DC, 1971), Volume 8..
  • William M. Malloy, Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols, and Agreements Between The United States of American and Other Powers, 1776-1909 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1910).
  • John Bassett Moore, A Digest of International Law (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1906).