The great and noble land of Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years by the four powerful conquerors: Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, and Salazar Slytherin. They divided the land into four counties so that each could rule over one, and in the centre of Hogwarts they founded the capital city of Hogsmeade, that there might be some neutral place for them to convene.
Many years passed. The four counties had dukes set up over to them, who grew in might and stature. The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, arrogant and wealthy, were Dukes of Slytherin; the House of Lovegood, reputed to be as mad and clever as foxes, were Dukes of Ravenclaw; the proud hardworking House of Abbott ruled Hufflepuff, and last were the House of Weasley, who ruled the largest county of Gryffindor, but bore so many children that their coffers were quite depleted.
And then was the House of Malfoy. Ruthless they were, and famed for their beauty. Originally an average lord whose lands lay within the county of Slytherin, the tenth Earl Malfoy (a certain Nicholas Malfoy) crowned himself King of All Hogwarts and placed the Sorting Hat upon his head to seal his claim. Thus the Royal House of Malfoy ruled Hogwarts for many years, with the Sorting Hat being passed from father to son.
But then came Cygnus III Black, Duke of Slytherin. He overthrew and killed King Abraxas VIII, demoting the latter’s son back to the status of mere Earl Malfoy, and set himself up as King – only to be overthrown in turn by one Tom Riddle.
Ah, Tom Riddle. An anomaly indeed. His mother might have been a pureblood, daughter of the poverty-stricken aristocratic House of Gaunt, but his father was a mere middle-class merchant of the undistinguished Riddle family. From these humble beginnings grew Tom Riddle. His desire to ensconce himself amongst his betters was such that he invented himself a title – that of Lord Voldemort – and raised an army which crushed the one raised by King Cygnus Black. Voldemort the Usurper crowned himself Dark Lord of Hogwarts (though it is said the Sorting Hat denounced him) and proceeded to rule the land.
Abraxas Malfoy, the fourteenth Earl Malfoy, had had wit enough to foresee Lord Voldemort’s triumph, and had allied himself with him; in this way the Royal House of Malfoy was restored to some of their former glory, being richly rewarded for their loyalty. From thence comes their reputation for cunning and ambition. But they have never forgotten that once they were kings, and ever do they seek to wear the Sorting Hat once more.
When King Cygnus was defeated, his original title of Duke of Slytherin passed to his last living male relative, a nephew named Sirius Black. The nephew died without spouse or heirs, and the title reverted to his female cousin Princess Bellatrix, King Cygnus’ daughter. She is known for her caprices; she denied the title, and allowed its passage to her younger sister Princess Narcissa, who now holds the title Duchess of Slytherin in her own right – the first female to do so since its creation. Her husband, by right of his wife, is entitled to be addressed as Duke of Slytherin also.
Her husband is not without title himself. He is Lucius Malfoy, fifteenth Earl Malfoy, son of Lord Voldemort’s greatest ally. Thusly are the House of Black and the House of Malfoy united, both with royal blood in their veins, and ever have they continued the struggle of their ancestors: Lucius Malfoy has sworn that he will one day wear the Sorting Hat as his ancestors wore it, and that his lady wife will be Queen of Hogwarts the way her father was King.
But the Dark Lord himself was not all-powerful. There came to be a malcontent, Albus Dumbledore by name, born in the county of Gryffindor in the village of Godric’s Hollow; he dedicated his life to destroying the Dark Lord, and finally accomplished this feat in a duel. The Sorting Hat recognised him as its master. Though he demurred thrice, he was finally crowned King Albus of the barely-aristocratic House of Dumbledore, and it is he who rules now. He insists upon being referred to as His Serene Highness, instead of the greater address of His Royal Highness, to indicate his modesty.
But King Albus did not win by himself. A great help to him was the young Harry Potter, second Viscount Potter, also hailing from Godric’s Hollow. Since the King has no heirs, he has proclaimed that Lord Potter will succeed him.
Rebellions stirred by the House of Malfoy over the centuries since they lost the Sorting Hat have not been uncommon. They are closely watched by the King, and a Royal Decree bars the dukedom of Slytherin from maintaining its own private army, as the other dukedoms too.
Such is the current state of Hogwarts…
Geography of Hogwarts
Hogsmeade, in the very centre of Hogwarts, is neutral; it was constructed in the shape of a square, and a different dukedom spreads out from its city walls in each of the four directions.
The county of Slytherin holds the west of Hogwarts. Its capital city is Wiltshire, with the Duke and Duchess holding court there at Malfoy Manor. Being a scion of formerly royal houses, their son Draco Malfoy is allowed the title of Prince. Slytherin, though small, is an extremely wealthy dukedom.
The county of Gryffindor rules the east. The current duke is Arthur Weasley, who has seven children with his duchess Lady Molly Prewitt, daughter of the fifth Earl of Gideon. The capital city of Gryffindor is Ottery St. Catchpole; the House of Weasley’s family seat is known (rather uncouthly) as the Burrow.
The county of Ravenclaw is at the north of Hogwarts. The duke, Xenophilius Lovegood, has no offspring save his daughter Lady Luna, as he has refused to remarry since the duchess Pandora (surname unknown) died many years ago. They occupy Lovegood House in the capital city of Quibbler.
The county of Hufflepuff lies to the east. Similar to the lack of a Duchess of Ravenclaw, there is no Duchess of Hufflepuff, as Giffard Abbott is unmarried. It is likely that his niece Hannah Abbott will inherit the title. She is married to Neville Longbottom, eighth Earl of St Mungo, and is therefore titled Countess of St Mungo. They all reside in the Leaky Cauldron, which is in the capital city of Diagonalley.
-Extract taken from Hogwarts: A History, 2586th edition, by Professor Bathilda Bagshot