At the 967 synod of Ravenna, Emperor Otto I obtained the consent of Pope John XIII to elevate Magdeburg to an archbishopric. The next year, against the valiant resistance by the Archbishop of Mainz and the Halberstadt bishop, Otto created the new archbishopric dedicated to Saint Maurice.
From the 12th century onwards, the Magdeburg metropolitians ruled as prince-archbishops over extended territories along the Elbe river. From 1207 onwards, Archbishop Albert had Magdeburg Cathedral rebuilt in a Gothic style that reflected his power position among the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the Protestant Reformation, large parts of the population within the prince-archbishopric turned Lutheran and from 1566 Magdeburg was ruled by an diocesan administrator. The estates were devastated in the Thirty Years' War. According to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the archiepiscopal territories were to be secularised and adjudicated to the Hohenzollern electors of Brandenburg. These provisions were implemented upon the death of the last administrator Duke Augustus of Saxe-Weissenfels in 1680.