The original Prussians, mainly hunters and cattle breeders, spoke a language belonging to the Baltic group of the Indo-European language family. These early Prussians were related to the Latvians and Lithuanians and lived in tribes in the then heavily forested region between the lower Vistula and Neman rivers.
Prussia ( Old Prussian: Prūsa; German: Preußen; Lithuanian: Prūsija; Polish: Prusy; Russian: Пруссия) is a historical region in Europe on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, that ranges from the Gulf of Gdańsk in the west to the end of the Curonian Spit in the east and extends inland as far as Masuria. Tacitus 's Germania (98 ...
The Kingdom of Prussia was an absolute monarchy until the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, after which Prussia became a constitutional monarchy and Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg was appointed as Prussia's first prime minister. Following Prussia's first constitution, a two-house parliament was formed.
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Prussia's borders have changed over time. It has not always been the exact same place. Mostly, Prussia was a small part of what is today northern Poland. After a small number of Prussian people moved there to live, Germans came to live there too. In 1934, Prussia's borders were with France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Lithuania. Some parts of Prussia are in eastern Poland. Before 1918, a lot of western Poland was also in Prussia. Between 1795 and 1807, Prussia also controlled Warsawand most of central Poland. Before 1934, these regions were also in Prussia: 1. West Prussia and East Prussia, which are now in Poland and Russia 2. Pomerania 3. Silesia 4. Brandenburg 5. Lusatia 6. Province of Saxony (now Saxony-Anhalt) 7. Kingdom of Hanover 8. Schleswig-Holstein 9. Westphalia 10. parts of Hesse 11. the Rhineland 12. some small areas in the south, for example Württemberg-Hohenzollern, the home of the leaders of Prussia However, some regions were never part of Pruss...
In 1226, Polish Prince Conrad of Mazovia (Mazovia is a place in Northern Poland) asked the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania to come to Mazovia. He wanted them to fight the Prussian tribes on his borders. They fought for more than 100 years. Then they created a new state. After some time, this state controlled most of today's Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and parts of northern Poland. In 1466, the Knights were under the King of Poland and Lithuania. In 1525, the leader of the Knights became a Protestant. He made part of the Knights' land into the Duchy of Prussia, which was then part of the Kingdom of Poland. At that time, the Duchy of Prussia was only the area east of the place where the Vistula River enters the sea. In 1618, the new Duke of Prussia was the Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg. He was also Margrave of Brandenburg. Brandenburg was ruled by the Hohenzollern family. The Duchy of Prussia was important to the Hohenzollern family because it was not part of the Holy R..."Cartographica Neerlandica Background for Ortelius Map No. 56". orteliusmaps.com. Retrieved 16 April 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)"Le Miror du Monde, Seite 70". uni-mannheim.de. Retrieved 16 April 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)1660 map of Prussia 1660 Archived 2006-11-23 at the Wayback Machine
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- Kingdom of Prussia
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- Free State of Prussia in The Weimar Republic
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The black and white national colors of Prussia stem from the Teutonic Knights, who wore a white coat embroidered with a black cross. The combination of these colors with the white and red Hanseatic colors of the free cities Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck resulted in the black-white-red commercial flag of the North German Confederation, which became the flagof the German Empire in 1871. From the Protestant Reformation onward, the Prussian motto was Suum cuique ("to each, his own"; German: Jedem das Seine). Additionally, it was the motto of the Order of the Black Eagle, created by King Frederick I (see also Iron Cross). The main coat of arms of Prussia, as well as the Flag of Prussia depicted a black eagleon a white background.
Prussia began as a small territory in what was later called East Prussia, which is now divided into the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship of Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave of Russia, and the Klaipėda Region of Lithuania. The region, originally populated by Baltic Old Prussians who were Christianized and Germanized, became a preferred location for immigration by (later mainly Protestant) Germans as well as Poles and Lithuanians along border regions. Before its abolition, the territory of the Kingdom of Prussia included "Prussia proper" (West and East Prussia), Brandenburg, the Province of Saxony (including most of the present-day state of Saxony-Anhalt and parts of the state of Thuringia in Germany), Pomerania, Rhineland, Westphalia, Silesia (without Austrian Silesia), Lusatia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Hesse-Nassau, and some small detached areas in the south such as Hohenzollern, the ancestral home of the Prussian ruling family. In 1914, Prussia had an area of 354,490 km². In...
In 1226 Duke Konrad I of Masovia invited the Teutonic Knights, a German military order of crusading knights, headquartered in the Kingdom of Jerusalem at Acre, to conquer the Baltic Prussian tribes on his borders. During 60 years of struggles against the Old Prussians, the order created an independent state which came to control Prussia. After the Livonian Brothers of the Sword joined the Teutonic Order in 1237 they also controlled Livonia (now Latvia and Estonia) and western Lithuania. The Knights were subordinate only to the pope and the emperor. Their initially close relationship with the Polish Crown deteriorated completely after they conquered Polish-claimed Pomerelia and Danzig (Gdańsk), a town mainly populated by German settlers. The Knights were eventually defeated in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 by Poland and Lithuania, allied through the Union of Krewo. The Thirteen Years' War (1454-1466) began when the Prussian Confederation, a coalition of Hanseaticcities of western Pr...
On January 18, 1701, Frederick William's son, Elector Frederick III, upgraded Prussia from a duchy to a kingdom, and crowned himself King Frederick I. To avoid offending Leopold I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire where most of his lands lay, Frederick was only allowed to title himself "King in Prussia," not "King ofPrussia." However, Brandenburg was treated in practice as part of the Prussian kingdom rather than a separate state. The state of Brandenberg-Prussia became commonly known as "Prussia," although most of its territory, in Brandenburg, Pomerania, and western Germany, lay outside of Prussia proper. The Prussian state grew in splendor during the reign of Frederick I, who sponsored the arts at the expense of the treasury. He was succeeded by his son, Frederick William I (1713-1740) the austere "Soldier King," who did not care for the arts but was thrifty and practical. He is considered the creator of the vaunted Prussian bureaucracy and the standing army, which he developed i...
During the reign of King Frederick William II (1786-1797), Prussia annexed additional Polish territory through further Partitions of Poland. His successor, Frederick William III (1797-1840), announced the union of the Prussian Lutheran and Reformed churches into one church. Prussia took a leading part in the French Revolutionary Wars, but remained quiet for more than a decade due to the Peace of Basel of 1795, only to go once more to war with France in 1806 as negotiations with that country over the allocation of the spheres of influence in Germany failed. Prussia suffered a devastating defeat against Napoleon Bonaparte's troops in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, leading Frederick William III and his family to flee temporarily to Memel. Under the Treaties of Tilsit in 1807, the state lost about half of its area, including the areas gained from the second and third Partitions of Poland, which now fell to the Duchy of Warsaw. Beyond that, the king was obliged to make an alliance with Fr...
In 1862 King William I appointed Otto von Bismarckas Prime Minister of Prussia. Bismarck was determined to defeat both the liberals and the conservatives by creating a strong united Germany but under the domination of the Prussian ruling class and bureaucracy, not a liberal democracy. Bismarck realized that the Prussian crown could win the support of the people only if he himself took the lead in the fight for the German unification. So he guided Prussia through three wars which together brought William the position of German Emperor.
The two decades after the unification of Germanywere the peak of Prussia's fortunes, but the seeds for potential strife were built into the Prusso-German political system. The constitution of the German Empire was a slightly amended version of the North German Confederation's constitution. Officially, the German Empire was a federal state. In practice, Prussia's dominance over the empire was almost absolute. The Hohenzollern kingdom included three-fifths of its territory and two-thirds of its population. The Imperial German Army was, in practice, an enlarged Prussian army, although the other kingdoms (Bavaria, Saxony, and Württemberg) retained their own armies. The imperial crown was a hereditary office of the House of Hohenzollern, the royal house of Prussia. The prime minister of Prussia was, except for two brief periods (January-November 1873 and 1892-1894), also imperial chancellor. While all men above age 25 were eligible to vote in imperial elections, Prussia retained its rest...
Because of the German Revolution of 1918, William II abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia. Prussia was proclaimed a "Free State" (i.e. a republic, German: Freistaat) within the new Weimar Republicand in 1920 received a democratic constitution. All of Germany's territorial losses, specified in the Treaty of Versailles, were areas that had been part of Prussia: Alsace-Lorraine to France; Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium; North Schleswig to Denmark; the Memel Territory to Lithuania; the Hultschin area to Czechoslovakia. Many of the areas which Prussia had annexed in the partitions of Poland, such as the Provinces of Posen and West Prussia, as well as eastern Upper Silesia, went to the Second Polish Republic. Danzig became the Free City of Danzig under the administration of the League of Nations. Also, the Saargebiet was created mainly from formerly Prussian territories. As before the partitions of Poland, because of this lost territory, there was no longer a land connection betw...
After the appointment of Adolf Hitler as the new chancellor, the Nazis used the opportunity of the absence of Franz von Papen to appoint Hermann Göringfederal commissioner for the Prussian ministry of the interior. The Reichstag election of March 5, 1933 strengthened the position of the National Socialist Party, although they did not achieve an absolute majority. Because the Reichstag building had been set on fire a few weeks earlier, the new Reichstag was opened in the Garrison Church of Potsdam on March 21, 1933 in the presence of President Paul von Hindenburg. In a propaganda-filled meeting between Hitler and the Nazi Party, the "marriage of old Prussia with young Germany" was celebrated, to win over the Prussian monarchists, conservatives, and nationalists and induce them to vote for the Enabling Act of 1933. In the centralized state created by the Nazis in the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich" ("Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches," January 30, 1934) and the "Law on Re...Brunschwig, Henri. 1974. Enlightenment and romanticism in eighteenth-century Prussia. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226077680.Carsten, F.L. 1981. The origins of Prussia. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 9780313232206.Clark, Christopher M. 2006. Iron kingdom: the rise and downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674023857.Craig, Gordon Alexander. 1984. The end of Prussia. (The Curti lectures, 1982) Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299097301.
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At its peak, Prussia included half of modern Poland and all but southern Germany. Though itself one of Germany’s many states, Prussia at one point included: West Prussia, East Prussia, Brandenburg (including Berlin), Saxony, Pomerania, the Rhineland, Westphalia, non-Austrian Silesia, Lusatia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, and Hesse-Nassau.
Prussia—which lost part of Silesia, Posen, West Prussia, Danzig, Memel, northern Schleswig, some small areas on the Belgian frontier, and the Saar district as a result of the Treaty of Versailles or the ensuing plebiscites—became a Land under the Weimar Republic, with more-restricted powers than before and with little influence on the government of the Reich.
In ancient times, Prussia was the name of an area on the southern Baltic coast, between the rivers Vistula and Neman, to the north of Poland. It's a land of dense forests, many small lakes and marshes, and cold sandy beaches. A thousand years ago, the land was inhabited by about a dozen independent tribes, who were called 'Prussians' by outsiders.
Prussia Originally "Preussen" referred to the geographical area that had been settled by a Baltic tribe, the Pruzzen. This area later became the Duchy of Preussen (Prussia), a Polish fiefdom, which was obtained by the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1618. In 1701 the margrave of Brandenburg assumed the title of "king" for himself and his succesors.
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