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Prussia was a
region which before 1772 consisted of what was later
known as East Prussia (Ostpreussen) with capital of
Königsberg, a duchy since 1525, a kingdom of the
Hohenzollern dynasty since 1701 and West Prussia
(Westpreussen) with the Hanseatic cities of Danzig,
Elbing, Thorn, and Culm, part of Poland referred to as
Polish Prussia before 1772.
administrative areas were:
included the Kreise of Samland (Schaken), Tapiau,
Brandenburg, Rastenburg, Braunsberg, Heilsberg,
Morungen and Neidenburg.
included the Kreise of Insterburg, Olezko and
der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Bialystok included the Kreise
of Lomza, Drohicin, Bielsk, Surasz, Bialystok,
Bobrz, Dombrowa, Wygry, Kalwary, Marianpol.
der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Plozk included the Kreise
of Wyszogrod, Lipno, Mlawa, Przasnik, Pultusk,
The concept of
Kreis was different in pre-1806 Prussia and referred to
the districts of the noble families ("Die Adeligen
Kreise") as well as the Immediatstädte and royal
Domainen-Aemter. The term "Regierung" referred
to the judicial (court) system before 1806 and to the
district administration after 1815.
there was one Province of Prussia which later was divided
into two provinces with capitals in Königsberg and Danzig. In 1900 there were the
following districts and Kreise (counties):
(district) of Königsberg with 20 Kreise (counties):
Allenstein, Braunsberg, Preussisch-Eylau,
Fischhausen, Friedland, Gerdauen, Heiligenbeil,
Heilsberg, Preussisch-Holland, Königsberg-Stadt,
Kbg-Land, Labiau, Memel, Mohrungen, Neidenburg,
Ortelsburg, Osterode, Rastenburg, Roessel, Wehlau.
Regierungsbezirk (district) of Gumbinnen with 16 Kreise (counties):
*Angerburg, Darkehmen, Goldap, Gumbinnen, Heydekrug,
Insterburg, Johannisburg, *Loetzen, Lyck, Niederung,
Treuburg, Pillkallen, Ragnit, Sensburg, Stallupoenen,
Tilsit. [This district was also called
Preussisch-Litauen (Lithuania). It was here that the
Austrian Salzburger refugees were settled in 1732
after the plague of 1708.]
Counties my grandparents lived and came from!
The majority in
1890 was Evangelical
(83.5%); the Catholics (12.8%) were concentrated in
the four Kreise of Ermland (Allenstein, Braunsberg,
Heilsberg and Roessel).
Before 1900, the highest provincial court was the Oberlandesgericht
in Königsberg. The lower courts were:
Allenstein with (10)
Allenstein, Gilgenburg, Hohenstein, Neidenburg,
Ortelsburg, Osterode, Passenheim, Soldau,
Bartenstein with (17)
Barten, Bartenstein, Bischofsburg, Bischofstein,
Domnau, Preussisch-Eylau, Friedland, Gerdauen,
Gutstadt, Heilsberg, Kreuzburg, Landsberg,
Nordenburg, Rastenburg, Roessel, Schippenbeil,
Braunsberg with (10)
Braunsberg, Heiligenbeil, Liebstadt, Mehlsack,
Mohrungen, Mühlhausen, Preussisch-Holland,
Saalfeld, Wormditt, Zinten.
Insterburg with (6)
Darkehmen, Goldap, Gumbinnen, Insterburg,
Königsberg with (8)
Amtsgerichte: Allenburg, Fischhausen,
Königsberg, Labiau, Mehlauken, Pillau, Tapiau,
Lyck with (10)
*Angerburg, Arys, Bialla, Johannisburg, *Loetzen,
Lyck, Margrabbowa, Nikolaiken, Rhein, Sensburg.
Memel with (4)
Heydekrug, Memel, Proekuls, Russ.
Tilsit with (6)
Heinrichswalde, Kaukehmen, Ragnit, Skaisgirren,
In 1772 King Friedrich II of Prussia annexed part of
Poland (without the Danzig Territory) calling it West
Prussia (Westpreussen) and united it with East Prussia
(Ostpreussen) . In 1793 King Friedrich Wilhelm II also
annexed the Danzig and Thorn Territories.Königsberg was
the capital and coronation city of the Prussian kings.
Terms like the German army have no meaning for this time
Before 1806 Germany
was one kingdom and empire with one Kaiser and one king
who resided in Wien (Vienna). He was elected by the
collegium of Kurfürsten (electors) who in 1800 were the
3 archbishops of Koeln (Cologne), Mainz and Trier and the
4 secular electors of Rheinland-Pfalz, Brandenburg,
Sachsen (Saxony), and Boehmen (Bohemia).
The electors of
Brandenburg and Sachsen had also ambitions to acquire the
title of king. Since they could not acquire this title
inside Germany they succeeded outside Germany:
Brandenburg by declaring themselves "King in
Prussia" at Königsberg in 1701. The Kaiser in Wien
was powerless to prevent this ploy.
kings were as follows:
- Kurfürst (Elector) Friedrich
III was crowned first king Friedrich
I in Königsberg in 1701, died 1712,
his son was...
Friedrich Wilhelm I,
1712-1740, intolerant, his son was...
Friedrich II the Great (Old Fritz),
1740-1786, his nephew was...
Friedrich Wilhelm II, 1786-1797,
intolerant, his son was...
Friedrich Wilhelm III, 1797-1840, his son
Friedrich Wilhelm IV, 1840-1861, his
Wilhelm I, 1861-1888, became
German Kaiser 1871, his son was...
and King Friedrich III, 1888 (99 days),
his son was...
and King Wilhelm II, 1888-1918.
final defeat in 1815 the kingdom of Prussia became known
Vereinigten Preussischen Staaten" (United Prussian
States) which now also included provinces like
Schlesien/Silesia, Brandenburg, Pommern/Pomerania and
areas as far west as the Rhine province. Berlin now
became the Prussian capital.
In 1871 Germany as
an empire with a Kaiser was re-established with Berlin as
the capital of Germany and Prussia and with the Prussian
king having the title of German Kaiser. All monarchies in
Germany were abolished in 1918 and Prussia was declared
defunct in 1945 by the Allied victors. The original (West
und Ostpreussen) Prussia was cleansed of its ethnic
German population and given to Poland and Russia. The Western powers
were silent on the ethnic cleansing of original Prussia
and Eastern Germany resulting in 12 millions of German
modern term after about 1850 for middle-sized
farmer (<500 Morgen).
land laborer paid in kind (Deputat) like grain,
store owner/tenant selling everyday supplies
which are displayed on hooks from walls and
Katner, tenant of small shack (Kate) with land.
Krugpaechter, tenant of inn (Krug) or pub or
pharmacy owned and licensed by king or noble
member of group (Nachbarschaft) leasing land from
owner of large medieval estate farm.
land laborer earning daily wage in kind
(Deputat), some cash.