HARBURG, a seaport town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Hanover, on the left bank of the southern arm of the Elbe, 6 m. by rail S. of Hamburg. Pop. (1885), 26,320; (1905) the area of the town having been increased since 1895 55,676. It is pleasantly situated at the foot of a lofty range of hills, which here dip down to the liver, at the junction of the main lines of railway from Bremen and Hanover to Hamburg, which are carried to the latter city over two grand bridges crossing the southern and the northern arms of the Elbe. It possesses a Roman Catholic and two Protestant churches, a palace, which from 1524 to 1642 was the residence of the Harburg line of the house of Brunswick, a high-grade modern school, a commercial school and a theatre. The leading industries are the crushing of palm-kernels and linseed and the manufacture of india-rubber, phosphates, starch, nitrate and jute. Machines are manufactured here; beer is brewed, and shipbuilding is carried on. The port is accessible to vessels drawing 18 ft. of water, and, despite its proximity to Hamburg, its trade has of late years shown a remarkable development. It is the chief mart in the empire for resin and palm-oil. The Prussian government proposes establishing here a free port, on the lines of the Freihafen in Hamburg.
Harburg belonged originally to the bishopric of Bremen, and received municipal rights in 1297. In 1376 it was united to the principality of Liineburg, along with which it fell in 1705 to Hanover, and in 1806 to Prussia. In 1813 and 1814 it suffered considerably from the French, who then held Hamburg, and who built a bridge between the two towns, which remained standing till 1816.
See Ludewig, Geschichte des Schlosses und der Stadt Harburg (Harburg, 1845); and Hoffmeyer, Harburg und die nachste Umgegend (1885).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)