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Following is a timeline of Anhalt for a quick historical overview.
This link will tell what happened in Germany at a certain time period.
A good source for local history timelines can be found in village chronicles. These are taking historical developments of specific areas into account, and let the researcher have a glimpse of ancestors' lives from various points of view. Ortschroniken can usually be retrieved through a mayor's office or historical societies. A Google search may assist with availability.