Haren was first mentioned in the Middle Ages in a registry of the Corvey Abbey. Around 1150 the settlement of Neuharen was founded, while the nearby Altharen formed around a local castle, belonging to the bishop of Munster, who bought it around 1252 from Duchess Jutta von Ravensberg. At the end of the Thirty Years War Haren was almost completely destroyed, but soon recovered and became a notable trading port at the Ems River. The inhabitants of Haren were in large part tradesmen and sailors, transporting grain and other commodities down the Ems River.
During the Napoleonic epoch in 1803 the town was given to the Duke of Arenberg as a compensation for the lands on the other side of the river. However, already in 1810 the town was directly incorporated into the French Empire. At the Congress of Vienna Haren, together with the entire Duchy of Arenberg-Meppen, was assigned to the Kingdom of Hanover, which in turn in 1866 became part of the Kingdom of Prussia and then the German Empire. Following the Franco-Prussian War a large prisoner of war camp was set up in the vicinity. The French prisoners built, among other facilities, the Haren-Rütenbrock canal, thanks to which turf started to be produced in the area. Despite all the changes, until 1913 both settlements were directly administered by the church. Only then did the German government take over the administrative area of Meppen, to which Haren belonged.
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