Prussians


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Prussians

 

a group of tribes that once inhabited the southern coast of the Baltic Sea between the lower Vistula and Neman rivers. The material culture of these tribes was similar to that of the linguistically related Letto-Lithuanians, as well as to the Slavic culture. The Prussians are first mentioned in ninth-century sources. Sources dating from the ninth to 13th centuries reveal that their primitive communal social structure was disintegrating and that social classes and a state were emerging. By the 13th century the Prussians constituted a federation of 11 lands governed by an aristocracy. They maintained trade relations with the neighboring Poles and Russians.

The development of an early feudal society and state among the Prussians was interrupted by the incursions of German feudal Catholic forces. The first attempts to Christianize the Prussians date from the late tenth and early 11th centuries. The Teutonic Knights, supported by the pope and German feudal lords, embarked on the conquest of the Prussian lands in the 1230’s. The Prussians’ long struggle against the Knights ended in the conquest of their territory in 1283. The majority of the Prussians were exterminated by the conquerors. The survivors were subjected to forcible germanization, and their territory was settled by German colonists. The name “Prussia” is derived from these tribes.

References in periodicals archive ?
Eddie points to the absence of peasant uprisings in Prussia, as opposed to France, as evidence of a more humane form of Prussian manorialism and feudalism.
The region that was the richest of all was that inhabited by the Old Prussians
Prussian forces under Generalfeldmarschal Gebhard von Blucher, allied with the British and Dutch under Wellington, defeated Napoleon once and for all at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815--for which the French would never forgive their Teutonic neighbors.
Those hybrid positions had the stated purpose of improving the lives of the Prussian citizens (consistent with Enlightenment philosophy), but their hidden, real function was maintenance of the supremacy of the ruling political elites.
Napoleon launched one last attack but his army - trapped between Wellington's British, Belgian, Dutch and German troops and their Prussian reinforcements - stood no chance.
9am: Wellington - outnumbered 68,000 to 72,000 - keeps a defensive position and waits for his Prussian allies to arrive.
Most Prussians carried Dreyses, but many of its allies fielded obsolete muzzleloaders or converted muzzleloaders such as Bavaria's Podevil-Lindner.
In this, a miserable-looking Napoleon (drawn as a tatty imperial eagle and wearing a Prussian helmet) is seen chained to a perch, like a parrot.
Reminiscent of Thomas Nipperdey's sovereign impartiality, the author strides over apologia and condemnation, the usual pitfalls of Prussian historiography.
The Prussians were totally unprepared for the new-style Napoleonic Blitzkrieg, with its self-contained, integrated army corps of infantry, cavalry, and artillery.
The deterioration of the Prussians in the years after Frederick the Great is particularly surprising, but perhaps more indicative of Frederick's personal abilities than any system he may have left behind.
With no allies, ill-prepared conscripts, supply and transportation problems, and woeful planning, it became clear within a few weeks of the war's commencement that there was little chance of France defeating the highly organized Prussians.