Landkreis Emsland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany named after the river Ems. It is bounded by the districts of Leer, Cloppenburg and Osnabrück, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia , the district of Bentheim and the Netherlands .
For a long time the region of the Emsland was extremely sparsely populated, due to the fens on both sides of the river. Small villages were established in medieval times along the river and on the Hümmling. In the 13th century the bishops of Münster gained control over the region; the Emsland remained property of the bishop until 1803, when the clerical states were dissolved. It came under rule of Prussia and Arenberg, but after the Napoleonic Wars the Congress of Vienna decided to hand the territory over to the Kingdom of Hanover. The Duchy of Arenberg continued to exist as a fief of the Hanoverian kings. When Hanover was annexed by Prussia , the dukes were deposed soon after .
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