Hanover (German: Hannover), on the River Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen), Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Luneburg (later described as the Electorate of Hanover). At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Electorate was enlarged to become the capital of the Kingdom of Hanover. From 1868 to 1946 Hanover was the capital of the Prussian Province of Hanover. It is now the capital of the state of Lower Saxony.
With a population of 621,600, Hanover is a major centre of northern Germany and the country's fourteenth-largest city. Hanover also 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 Oktoberfest in the world (beside Oktoberfest of Blumenau). 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, connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Rhine-Ruhr) and north-south (Hamburg–Munich) directions.
"Hanover" is the traditional English spelling. The German spelling (with a double n) is becoming more popular in English; recent editions of encyclopedias 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.