Founded by Charlemagne in 805 as Magadoburg (probably from Old High German magado for big, mighty and burga for fortress), the town was fortified in 919 by King Henry the Fowler against the Magyars and Slavs. In 929 King Otto I granted the city to his English-born wife Edith as dower. Queen Edith loved the town and often resided there; at her death she was buried in the crypt of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Maurice, later rebuilt as the cathedral. In 937, Magdeburg was the seat of a royal assembly. Otto I repeatedly visited Magdeburg, establishing a convent here about 937 and was later buried in the cathedral. He granted the abbey the right to income from various tithes and to corvée labour from the surrounding countryside.
The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was founded in 968 at the synod of Ravenna; Adalbert of Magdeburg was consecrated as its first archbishop. The archbishopric under Adalbert included the bishoprics of Havelberg, Brandenburg, Merseburg, Meissen and Naumburg-Zeitz. The archbishops played a prominent role in the German colonisation of the Slavic lands east of the Elbe river.
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