Hanover or Hannover, on the River Leine, is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later described as the Elector of Hanover). At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Electorate was enlarged to become a Kingdom with Hanover as its capital.
From 1868 to 1946 Hanover was the capital of the Prussian Province of Hanover and afterwards of the Hanover administrative region until that was abolished in 2005. It is now the capital of the Land of Lower Saxony. Since 2001 it has been part of the Hanover district (Region Hannover), which is a municipal body made up of the former district (Landkreis Hannover) and city of Hanover (note: although both Region and Landkreis are translated as district they are not the same).
With a population of 518,000, Hanover is a major centre of Northern Germany and the country's thirteenth largest city. Hanover hosts annual commercial trade fairs such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest marksmen's festival, and the Oktoberfest Hannover, the second largest festival of its kind in Germany. In 2000, Hanover hosted the world fair Expo 2000. The Hanover fairground, due to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover is of national importance because of its universities and medical school, its international airport and its large zoo. The city is also a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Ruhr area) and north-south (Hamburg–Munich, etc.) directions.
"Hanover" is the traditional English spelling. The German spelling (with a double n) is becoming more popular in English; recent editions of encyclopaedias prefer the German spelling, and the local government uses the German spelling on English websites. The English pronunciation, with stress on the first syllable and a reduced second syllable, is applied to both the German and English spellings, which is different from German pronunciation, with stress on the second syllable and a long second vowel. The traditional English spelling is still used in historical contexts, especially when referring to the British House of Hanover.