East Prussia


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East Prussia,

Ger. Ostpreussen, former province of Prussia, extreme NE Germany. The region of East Prussia has low rolling hills that are heavily wooded, and it is dotted by many lakes (especially in MasuriaMasuria
, Ger. Masurenland, Pol. Mazury, region, N Poland. It is a low-lying area covered by large lakes and forests and drained by many small rivers. The original population of the region was expelled by the Teutonic Knights and replaced (14th cent.
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) and drained by several rivers including the Nemen (Nieman). Its Baltic coast is deeply indented by the Vistula Lagoon (Frisches Haff) and by the Gulf of Kursh (Kurisches Haff). In the 13th cent. the Teutonic KnightsTeutonic Knights
or Teutonic Order
, German military religious order founded (1190–91) during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade. It was originally known as the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem.
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 conquered the region from the Borussi, or Prussians (a people related to the Liths), displaced the original population, and secured the territory as a fief for their order. In 1309, MalborkMalbork
, Ger. Marienburg, town (1994 est. pop. 40,100), Pomorskie prov., N Poland, on the Nogat River. It is a rail junction with sugar refineries and dairies. Originally a castle founded (1274) by the Teutonic Knights, Malbork became the seat of their grand master in
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 became the headquarters of the grand master of the Teutonic Knights.

In 1466, by the Peace of Torun, the knights ceded Pomerelia (see PomeraniaPomerania
, 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).
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; later a part of West PrussiaWest Prussia,
Ger. Westpreussen, former province of Prussia, 9,867 sq mi (25,556 sq km), NE Germany, extending S from the Baltic Sea, between Pomerania on the west and East Prussia on the east. Danzig was the capital.
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) and ErmelandErmeland
, Ermland
, or Warmia
, historic region of East Prussia, extending far inland from the Baltic Sea. It was ceded to Poland in 1466 by the Teutonic Knights, passed to Prussia in 1772, and reverted to Poland after World War II.
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 to Poland and accepted Polish suzerainty over the rest of their domain. Grand Master Albert of BrandenburgAlbert of Brandenburg,
1490–1568, grand master of the Teutonic Knights (1511–25), first duke of Prussia (1525–68); grandson of Elector Albert Achilles of Brandenburg.
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, after secularizing the Teutonic order, took the title "duke of Prussia" in 1525, remaining under Polish suzerainty. The duchy was inherited (1618) by the elector of Brandenburg. Frederick WilliamFrederick William,
known as the Great Elector,
1620–88, elector of Brandenburg (1640–88), son and successor of George William. At his accession the scattered lands of the Hohenzollern were devastated and depopulated by the Thirty Years War and occupied by
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, the Great Elector, won full sovereignty over the duchy at the Peace of OlivaOliva, Peace of
, 1660, treaty signed at Oliva (now a suburb of Gdańsk) by Poland and Sweden. John II of Poland renounced the theoretical claim of his line to the Swedish crown, which his father, Sigismund III, had in practice lost in 1599.
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 (1660), and in 1701 his son, Frederick III, had himself crowned "king in Prussia" as Frederick IFrederick I,
1657–1713, first king of Prussia (1701–13), elector of Brandenburg (1688–1713) as Frederick III. He succeeded his father, Frederick William the Great Elector, in Brandenburg.
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 at Königsberg (KaliningradKaliningrad
, formerly Königsberg,
city (1989 pop. 401,000), capital of Kaliningrad region, an exclave of W European Russia; on the Pregolya River near its mouth on the Vislinski Zalev, which empties into the Gulf of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
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).

East Prussia, as the original Prussia came to be called, from 1701 to 1945 shared the history of PrussiaPrussia
, Ger. Preussen, former state, the largest and most important of the German states. Berlin was the capital. The chief member of the German Empire (1871–1918) and a state of the Weimar Republic (1919–33), Prussia occupied more than half of all Germany
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. It remained the stronghold of the Prussian landowning and military aristocracy—the Junkers—whose immense estates took up a large part of the province. From 1919 to 1939 it was separated from the rest of Germany by the Polish CorridorPolish Corridor,
strip of German territory awarded to newly independent Poland by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The strip, 20 to 70 mi (32–112 km) wide, gave Poland access to the Baltic Sea.
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 and the Free City of Danzig (GdańskGdańsk
, formerly Danzig
, city (1993 est. pop. 466,700), capital of Pomorskie prov., N Poland, on a branch of the Vistula and on the Gulf of Gdańsk. One of the chief Polish ports on the Baltic Sea, it is a leading industrial and communications center.
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). Königsberg was the capital. East Prussia bordered on Poland and Lithuania in the south and east and stretched to Memel and the Baltic Sea in the north and northeast.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, East Prussia was overrun by Soviet troops and about 600,000 of its inhabitants were killed. Most Germans who had not left by the end of the war were expelled by the Polish and Soviet governments shortly after its end. At the Potsdam Conference (1945), East Prussia was divided by two transfers; the transfers were made permanent by treaties between West Germany and Poland and the USSR that were signed and ratified between 1970 and 1972. The northern part was assigned at Potsdam to the USSR; it includes the cities of Kaliningrad, Sovetsk (Tilsit), Chernyakhovsk (Insterburg), Gusev (Gumbinnen), and Baltiysk (Pilau). The rest was incorporated into Poland as Olsztyn province; this part includes the cities of Olsztyn (Allenstein), Malbork (Marienburg), and Elbląg (Elbing).

Bibliography

See M. Egremont, Forgotten Land: Journeys among the Ghosts of East Prussia (2011).

East Prussia

a former province of NE Germany on the Baltic Sea: separated in 1919 from the rest of Germany by the Polish Corridor and Danzig: in 1945 Poland received the south part, the Soviet Union the north
References in periodicals archive ?
In the first frigid months of 1945, nearly 750,000 Germans fled East Prussia ahead of the advancing Red Army.
Every serious work includes a discussion of the early failures of the Russian army in East Prussia and its early successes in Galicia, but few deal as expertly with the continuing slugfest in Poland that occupied both Russia and the Central Powers for the remainder of the fall and winter of 1914-1915.
Valkyrie Located in the Masurian Woods, East Prussia, this map was inspired by The Wolf's Lair The Fuhrer's Eastern-front headquarters during Operation Barbarossa the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
Sabina Kowalewski originally inherited most of the books from her father Arnold Kowalewski, who was a philosophy professor at University of Konigsberg in East Prussia.
In 1871 a united German state was proclaimed and the Old Prussian lands remained part of the country, as the region of East Prussia, until the end of World War Two.
The vessel was pressed into service in March 1945, when a massive seaborne operation was conducted to evacuate civilian and military personnel from East Prussia ahead of the advancing Soviet armies.
Widespread recognition came late; for much of his life, this refugee--who was born in what was then Konigsberg, East Prussia, and had to flee his newly adopted home city of Florence when Italy introduced anti-Semitic legislation in 1938--was benignly ignored.
Mueller-Stahl, born in Tilsit and brought up in East Prussia, recalls images of the sites he roamed as a child; the summers spent at the homes of his grandparents and in the manors of family members belonging to the nobility.
The ATA is committed to the selective breeding standards established in Trakehnen, East Prussia, in 1732, “...to encourage the development of a riding horse of beauty and harmony, great endurance, mental and physical balance, and possessing an excellent character."
Before World War I it was known as East Prussia. On 27 June 1877, she and her mother had just left the rectory of the Shrine of Our Lady of Gietrzwald, a church that originated in the fourteenth century.
Ilse Stritzke, with help from her son Bernard Stritzke, recounts her childhood in Palmnicken, East Prussia, a small coastal village on the Baltic Sea that was part of Germany during World War II.

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