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Prussia (province)

From Academic Kids

The Province of Prussia was a province of Poland from the 15th century until 1660, consisting of Royal Prussia and Ducal Prussia.

During the Reformation endemic religious upheavals and wars occurred, and in 1525, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert of Brandenburg, a member of a cadet branch of the house of Hohenzollern, resigned his position, adopted the Lutheran faith and assumed the title of "Duke of Prussia." In a deal partially brokered by Martin Luther, Ducal Prussia became the first Protestant state. In 1618 the dukedom of Prussia passed to the senior Hohenzollern branch, the ruling Margraves of Brandenburg.

The ducal capital of Königsberg (now the Russian city of Kaliningrad) with the Albertina University established by Duke Albrecht of Prussia in 1544 became a centre of learning and printing. In 1492 a life of Dorothea of Montau, published in Marienburg/Prussia, became the first printed publication in Prussia.

The second Treaty of Thorn had left eastern Prussia as a fief of the Polish Crown. In 1660, after the Northern Wars between Sweden, Poland and Brandenburg, the Treaty of Welawa granted full sovereignty to Frederick William I, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg, as Duke of Prussia. The treaty also prescribed that when the Hohenzollern ruling expires, the land would revert to the Polish crown. (Hohenzollern rule expired in 1918, when Wilhelm II of Germany abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia but the land didn't revert to Poland until the end of WW II in 1945). In 1773, the Dukedom became known as East Prussia.

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