City (pop., 2002 est.: city, 516,415; metro. area, 996,586), capital of Lower Saxony state, northwestern Germany. Located on the Leine River, it is first mentioned in documents in AD 1100. It joined the Hanseatic League in 1386. From 1495 it belonged to the Welf dynasty (later the house of Hanover). It was the capital of the kingdom of Hanover (1815–66) and then was annexed by Prussia. Hannover became the capital of Lower Saxony in 1946. It suffered destruction in World War II but was rebuilt, and it is now an educational, financial, and commercial centre with highly diversified industries.