51 Facts About Prussia


Prussia was a German state on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea.

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The Kingdom of Prussia was thus abolished in favour of a republic—the Free State of Prussia, a state of Germany from 1918 until 1933.

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Prussia entered the ranks of the great powers shortly after becoming a kingdom.

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At the Congress of Vienna, which redrew the map of Europe following Napoleon's defeat, Prussia acquired rich new territories, including the coal-rich Ruhr.

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Former eastern territories of Germany that made up a significant part of Prussia lost the majority of their German population after 1945 as the Polish People's Republic and the Soviet Union both absorbed these territories and had most of its German inhabitants expelled by 1950.

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Prussia, deemed a bearer of militarism and reaction by the Allies, was officially abolished by an Allied declaration in 1947.

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The international status of the former eastern territories of the Kingdom of Prussia was disputed until the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in 1990, but its return to Germany remains a topic among far right politicians, the Federation of Expellees and various political revisionists.

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Teutonic Prussia became known as the "bread basket of Western Europe" .

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Expansion of Prussia based on its connection with the Hanseatic League cut both Poland and Lithuania off from the coast of the Baltic Sea and trade abroad.

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From this time the Duchy of Prussia was in personal union with the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

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The resulting state, known as Brandenburg-Prussia, consisted of geographically disconnected territories in Prussia, Brandenburg, and the Rhineland lands of Cleves and Mark.

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Frederick William I went to Warsaw in 1641 to render homage to King Wladyslaw IV Vasa of Poland for the Duchy of Prussia, which was still held in fief from the Polish crown.

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Prussia was succeeded to the throne by his daughter, Maria Theresa.

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Silesia, full of rich soils and prosperous manufacturing towns, became a vital region to Prussia, greatly increasing the nation's area, population, and wealth.

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In 1744, the County of East Frisia fell to Prussia following the extinction of its ruling Cirksena dynasty.

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Prussia became a safe haven in much the same way that the United States welcomed immigrants seeking freedom in the 19th century.

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Prussia built the world's best army, and usually won his many wars.

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Prussia introduced a general civil code, abolished torture and established the principle that the Crown would not interfere in matters of justice.

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Prussia promoted an advanced secondary education, the forerunner of today's German gymnasium system, which prepares the brightest pupils for university studies.

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Prussia took a leading part in the French Revolutionary Wars, but remained quiet for more than a decade because of 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.

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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.

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In exchange, Prussia withdrew from areas of central Poland to allow the creation of Congress Poland under Russian sovereignty.

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Prussia benefited greatly from the creation in 1834 of the German Customs Union, which included most German states but excluded Austria.

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Prussia retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him.

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Prussia successfully guided Prussia through three wars, which unified Germany and brought William the position of German Emperor.

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The German Confederation was dissolved, and Prussia impelled the 21 states north of the Main River into forming the North German Confederation.

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Prussia was the dominant state in the new confederation, as the kingdom comprised almost four-fifths of the new state's territory and population.

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Prussia had 17 of 43 votes, and could easily control proceedings through alliances with the other states.

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Prussia included three-fifths of the German territory and two-thirds of its population.

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The prime minister of Prussia was, except for two brief periods, imperial chancellor.

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Prussia declared Germany a "satisfied" power, using his talents to preserve peace, for example at the Congress of Berlin.

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Prussia had mixed success in some of his domestic policies.

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Prussia's anti-Catholic Kulturkampf inside Prussia was a failure.

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Prussia ended his support for the anticlerical Liberals and worked instead with the Catholic Centre Party.

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Prussia tried to destroy the socialist movement, with limited success.

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Prussia nationalised its railways in the 1880s in an effort both to lower rates on freight service and to equalise those rates among shippers.

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Many of the areas Prussia 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.

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East Prussia became an exclave, only reachable by ship or by a railway through the Polish corridor.

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From 1919 to 1932, Prussia was governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats, Catholic Centre and German Democrats; from 1921 to 1925, coalition governments included the German People's Party.

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Prussia implemented several trend-setting reforms together with his minister of the interior, Carl Severing, which were models for the later Federal Republic of Germany .

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Prussia was extended on 1 April 1937, for instance, by the incorporation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lubeck.

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However, most of this territory was not reintegrated back into Prussia but assigned to separate Gaue of Danzig-West Prussia and Wartheland during much of the duration of the war.

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Until after the Thirty Years' War, the various territories of Brandenburg-Prussia remained politically independent from each other, connected only by the common feudal superior.

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Frederick William I's excise tax, which from 1667 replaced the property tax raised in Brandenburg for Brandenburg-Prussia's standing army with the Estates' consent, was raised by the elector without consultation with the Estates.

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Frederick William's testament would have divided Brandenburg-Prussia among his sons, but his firstborn son Frederick III, with the emperor's backing, succeeded in becoming the sole ruler based on the Treaty of Gera of 1599, which forbade a division of Hohenzollern territories.

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Prussia retained full executive authority and ministers were responsible only to him.

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Unlike its authoritarian pre-1918 predecessor, Prussia from 1918 to 1932 was a promising democracy within Germany.

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Duchy of Prussia was the first state to officially adopt Lutheranism in 1525.

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In 1613, John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg and Grand Duke of Prussia declared himself for the Calvinist creed and transferred the Berlin Cathedral from the Lutheran to the Calvinist church.

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Prussia received significant Huguenot population after the issuing of the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France and the following dragonnades.

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Prussia contained a relatively large Jewish community, which was mostly concentrated in large urban areas.

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