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Pomerania (pŏmˌərāˈnēə), region of N central Europe, extending along the Baltic Sea from a line W of Stralsund, Germany, to the Vistula River in Poland. From 1919 to 1939, Pomerania was divided among Germany, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk). The German part constituted the Prussian province of Pomerania (Ger. Pommern; 14,830 sq mi/38,410 sq km), with Stettin (Szczecin) as its capital. The Polish part formed the province of Pomerelia (Ger. Pommerellen, Pol. Pomorze; 6,335 sq mi/16,408 sq km), with Bydgoszcz as its capital. After the Potsdam Conference in 1945, all (c.2,800 sq mi/7,250 sq km) of former Prussian Pomerania W of the Oder (but excluding Stettin) was incorporated into the Soviet-occupied German state of Mecklenburg (see Mecklenburg–West Pomerania); the remaining and much larger part was transferred to Polish administration.

A part of the North European plain, Pomerania is a primarily agricultural lowland, with generally poor, often sandy or marshy soil. It is dotted with numerous lakes and forests and is drained by many rivers, including the Oder, Ina, and Rega. Cereals, sugar beets, and potatoes are the main crops; livestock raising and forestry are important occupations. Industrial products include ships, metal products, refined sugar, and paper. Along the Baltic coast are numerous seaside resorts and fishing villages.


By the 10th cent. A.D., when its recorded history began, Pomerania was inhabited by Slavic tribes. It was conquered by Boleslaus I (992–1025) of Poland but became an independent duchy early in the 11th cent. Poland regained control in the 12th cent. and introduced Christianity. The country was split into two principalities. Pomerelia, as E Pomerania came to be known, became independent in 1227, was annexed to Poland in 1294, and was taken in 1308–9 by the Teutonic Knights, who incorporated it into their domain in East Prussia. The histories of Pomerania and Pomerelia after 1308 must be traced separately.

Pomerelia, including Danzig, was formally restored by the Teutonic Knights to Poland at the Treaty of Torun of 1466. Although frequently overrun in the wars of the following three centuries, it remained an integral part of Poland until the first Polish partition (1772), when it passed to Prussia and was constituted into the province of West Prussia. In 1919 part of West Prussia was given to Poland (see Polish Corridor). After the outbreak (1939) of World War II, Germany reannexed the independent state of Danzig and the Pomeranian region of Poland. These areas were returned to Poland in 1945.

Pomerania continued as a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire until the death (1637) of Bogislav XIV, when the region was granted to the elector of Brandenburg. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) gave Hither Pomerania (Vorpommern)—i.e., the western part, with Stettin, Stralsund, and the island of Rügen—to Sweden, while Farther Pomerania (Hinterpommern)—i.e., the eastern part, with Stargard—went to the electorate of Brandenburg (after 1701, the kingdom of Prussia). In 1720, as a result of the Northern War, Sweden lost about half of its part of Pomerania (including Stettin but not Stralsund) to Prussia. In the rest of Swedish Pomerania, the kings of Sweden remained princes of the Holy Roman Empire until the dissolution of the empire in 1806.

Napoleon I overran Swedish Pomerania in the War of the Third Coalition but restored it on making peace with Sweden in 1809. In the Treaty of Kiel (1814), Sweden exchanged Pomerania with Denmark in return for Norway, but at the Congress of Vienna (1815) Denmark ceded its share of Pomerania to Prussia, receiving the duchy of Lauenburg in return. Thus, from 1815 to 1919, all Pomerania and all Pomerelia were in Prussian hands.

Pomerania had by then been thoroughly Germanized; Pomerelia, like the rest of Prussian Poland, was subjected to intense Germanization. After the transfer in 1945 of the larger part of Pomerania to Polish administration, the German-speaking population was largely expelled. The most important cities in the region—Danzig, Stralsund, Stettin, Stargard, Toruń, Chetmno, and Marienburg (Malbork)—were, for a long time, flourishing members of the Hanseatic League; by the 17th cent., however, they had lost the virtual independence they had enjoyed during the greatness of the League.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a medieval duchy located on the Baltic Sea. It was later, until 1945, a Prussian province situated chiefly within western Pomerania.



(in Polish, Pomorze), the name Polish sources use to designate the northern part of the Polish People’s Republic, extending along the Baltic Sea. Pomerania is divided into western and eastern parts.

In the late tenth century this area, mainly populated by a group of Western Slavic tribes called Pomeranians, was incorporated into the early-feudal Polish state. Under pressure from feudal lords from Denmark, Saxony, and Brandenburg, Western Pomerania became a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1181; Prince Boguslaw I received the title of duke in 1170. The territory underwent germanization, with Western Pomerania becoming known as the duchy of Pomerania (in German, Pommern). The local Slavic dynasty of princes remained in power until 1637. The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia transferred Western Pomerania and part of Eastern Pomerania to Sweden, with the remainder of the eastern territory going to the state of Brandenburg-Prussia. Brandenburg-Prussia gained control of all of Pomerania in 1679, 1720, and 1815. The region became the greater part of the Prussian province of Pomerania, which had Stettin as its administrative center.

Eastern Pomerania was conquered in 1308–09 by the Teutonic Knights but was retaken by Poland in the Thirteen Years’ War (1454–66). It was annexed by Prussia at the end of the 18th century. The Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919) returned most of Eastern Pomerania to Poland, except for Gdańsk (Danzig) and the surrounding area.

The Potsdam Conference of 1945, which restored to Poland its western territories, established the Polish-German border along the Oder and Neisse rivers.

Pomerania is administratively divided into Szczecin, Kosza-lin, and Gdańsk wojewó dztwos. The section of the former Prussian province of Pomerania west of the Oder was incorporated into the German Democratic Republic and forms the eastern part of the districts of Neubrandenburg and Rostock.


Historia Pomona, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Edited by G. Labuda. Poznan, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a region of N central Europe, extending along the S coast of the Baltic Sea from Stralsund to the Vistula River: now chiefly in Poland, with a small area in NE Germany
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005