A Napoleonic Era French Map of Spandau
Detailed manuscript map of the fortifications around Spandau and its Citadel, including French text, almost certainly indicating that it was prepared during the French occupation of the region, between 1806 and 1812.
Spandau is the westernmost of the twelve boroughs of Berlin, situated at the confluence of the Havel and Spree Rivers and extending along the western bank of Havel.
The citadel (1560–94, including the 12th-century Julius Tower) is one of the oldest well-preserved Italian-style Renaissance fortifications in northern Germany, and the 14th-century St. Nicholas Church is the oldest Gothic church in Berlin.
The first settlement of the area can be traced back to the 6th century when the eastern territories of the Elbe river were populated by several Slavic tribes. The history of Spandau begins in the 7th or 8th century, when the Slav Hevelli settled in the area and later built a fortress there. It was conquered in 928 by the German King Henry I, but returned to Slavic rule after the rebellion of 983. In 1156, the Ascanian count Albert the Bear took possession of the region and is believed to have established a fortress here, from which the name Spandau originated. It was around this fortress that the city of Spandow developed, becoming the center of the entire region.
It was first mentioned as Spandow in 1197, in a deed of Otto II, Margrave of Brandenburg – 40 years earlier than the Cölln part of medieval Berlin. Spandau was given city rights in 1232.
During the Ascanian Rule the construction of the Spandau Citadel began, which was completed between 1559 and 1594 by Joachim II of Brandenburg. In 1558 the village of Gatow became part of Spandau. During the Thirty Years' War Spandau was surrendered to the Swedes in 1634.
In 1806, after the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt, French troops under Napoleon took possession of the city and stayed there until 1807. In 1812, Napoleon returned and the Spandau Citadel was besieged in 1813 by Prussian and Russian troops.
The poet and revolutionary Gottfried Kinkel was an inmate of the Spandau town prison from 1849, until he was freed by his friend Carl Schurz on the night of November 6, 1850.