East Frisia

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East Frisia or Eastern Friesland (German Ostfriesland; East Frisian Low Saxon: Oostfreesland) is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony. It connects Western Frisia (in the Netherlands) with the district of Nordfriesland ("Northern Frisia", "Northern Friesland") in Schleswig-Holstein, all of which belong to the historic and geographic Frisia. Ostfriesland consists of the three districts of Aurich, Leer, Wittmund plus the city of Emden.[1][2] There are 465,000 people living in an area of 3144.26 square kilometres.

There is a chain of islands off the coast, called the East Frisian Islands (Ostfriesische Inseln). These islands are (from west to east) Borkum, Juist, Norderney, Baltrum, Langeoog, Spiekeroog and Wangerooge.[3]

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Geography

The landscape is influenced by its proximity to the North Sea. The East Frisian Islands stretch for 90 kilometres along the coast. They offer dunes and sand beaches, though in their center they have grass and woods as well. The area between the islands and the coast is unique in the world: the tide leaves a broad stretch of mudflat with creeks that attract an extraordinary number of species, worms and crabs as well as birds or seals. For this reason, the UNESCO World Heritage Fund declared the “Wattenmeer”, which had already been a national park, a global heritage site.[4]

Away from the coastal area, much of the physical geography is "Geest" and Heathland.

History

The geographical region of East Frisia was inhabited in Paleolithic times by reindeer hunters of the Hamburg culture. Later there were Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements of various cultures leading up to the invasion of Germanic tribes belonging to the Ingvaeonic group. Those were Chauci mentioned by Tacitus and Frisians.

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