|Province of Hanover|
|Province of Prussia|
The Province of Hanover (red), within the Kingdom of Prussia (white), within the German Empire (beige)
|38,705 km2 (14,944 sq mi)|
During the Austro-Prussian War, the Kingdom of Hanover had attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederation. After Hanover voted in favour of mobilising confederation troops against Prussia on 14 June 1866, Prussia saw this as a just cause for declaring war; the Kingdom of Hanover was soon dissolved and annexed by Prussia. The private wealth of the dethroned House of Hanover was then used by Otto von Bismarck to finance his continuing efforts against Ludwig II of Bavaria.
In 1946, the British military administration recreated the State of Hanover based on the former Kingdom of Hanover; but within the year, at the instigation of the German leadership, it was merged into the new state (Bundesland) of Lower Saxony--along with the states of Oldenburg, Brunswick, and Schaumburg-Lippe--with the city of Hanover as the capital of this new state.
Hanover was subdivided into six regions first called Landdrostei[en] (High-Bailiwick[s]), which were reorganised into Prussian standard Regierungsbezirke (governorates) on 1 April 1885.
The Regierungsbezirke were subdivided into new urban and rural counties (Stadtkreise and Landkreise), the old Amt structure being disbanded. Where the name of the county town differs from that of the county, it is shown in brackets:
The heads of the provinces, appointed by the central Prussian government, were called Oberpräsident (Upper President). The provincial executive, the Landesdirektor (provincial director), was elected by the provincial parliament (Provinziallandtag).