State of The Teutonic Order
of the Teutonic Order, (German: Deutschordensland), also
Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights or Ordensstaat (pronounced
[ˈɔːdn̩sˌʃtɑːt]) ("Order-State"), was formed during the Teutonic
Knights' conquest of the pagan West-Baltic Old Prussians (Latin:
Prutenii) in the 13th century in 1224 during the
The Livonian Brothers of the Sword controlling
Livonia were incorporated
into the Teutonic Order as its autonomous branch Livonian Order in 1237.
In 1346, the Duchy of Estonia was sold by king of Denmark for
19 000 Köln marks
to the Teutonic Order. The shift of sovereignty
from Denmark to the Teutonic Order took place on November 1, 1346
Following its defeat in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 the Teutonic
Order fell into decline and its Livonian branch
joined the Livonian
Confederation established in 1422-1435.
The monastic state in Prussia was secularized
in 1525 during the Protestant
Reformation and was replaced by the Duchy of Prussia in eastern Prussia.
western part of Teutonic Prussia was separated in 1454/60 into Royal
Prussia and became part of Poland. In
old texts and in Latin the term Prut
(h)enia refers to Teutonic Prussia, Royal Prussia and Ducal Prussia alike.
The pertaining contemporary adjective is Prut(h)enic.
Prussia withstood many attempts at conquest preceding
Teutonic Knights'. Bolesław I the Brave of Poland began the
series of unsuccessful conquests when he sent
Prague in 997. In 1147, Boleslaw IV of Poland attacked
Prussia with the aid of Russian troops, but
was unable to
conquer it. Numerous other attempts followed, and, under
Duke Konrad I of Masovia, were intensified,
battles and crusades in 1209, 1219, 1220, and 1222.
The West-Baltic Prussians successfully repelled most of the
campaigns and managed to strike Konrad in retaliation.
However the Prussians and Yotvingians in the south had their
territory conquered. The Yotvingians land was situated
the area of what is today Podlesia. The Prussians' attempted
to oust Polish or Masovian forces from Sudovia
or Chełmno Land, which by now was partially conquered,
devastated and almost totally depopulated.
Konrad of Masovia
had already called a crusade against Prussians in 1208, but
it was not successful. Konrad, acting
on the advice of Christian,
first bishop of Prussia, established the Dobriner Orden Order
of Dobrzyń, a small
group of 15 knights. The Order, however,
was soon defeated and, in reaction, Konrad called on the Pope
another crusade and for help from the Teutonic Knights.
As a result, several edicts called for crusades against
Prussians. The crusades, involving many of Europe's knights,
lasted for sixty years.
In 1211 Andrew II of Hungary granted the Burzenland (fiefdom)
to the Teutonic Knights.
In 1225, Andrew II expelled the
Teutonic Knights from Transylvania, and they had to transfer
to the Baltic Sea.
Early in 1224, Emperor Frederick II announced at Catania that
Prussia (with Sambia), and a number of neighboring
provinces were Reichsfreie. This decree subordinated the
directly to the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy
Roman Empire only (as opposed to being under the jurisdiction
At the end of 1224, Pope Honorius III announced
to all Christendom
his appointment of Bishop William of Modena as the Papal Legate
for Livonia, Prussia, and other
As a result of the Imperial Bull of Rimini and
the Papal Bull
of Rieti, Prussia came into the Teutonic Order's possession.
Under their governance, woodlands
were cleared and marshlands
made arable, upon which many cities and villages were founded,
(Malbork) and Königsberg (Kaliningrad).
The Teutonic State in The 13th Century
In 1234, the Teutonic Order assimilated the remaining members
the Order of Dobrzyń and, in 1237, the Livonian Brothers of
the Sword. The assimilation of the Livonian Brothers
Sword (established in Livonia in 1202) increased the Teutonic
Order's lands with the addition of the territories
as Latvia and Estonia. The Teutonic Order's control also changed
the ethnic composition of the Prussian
lands. A cropped image
of a section of the Monastic State in Prussia from "Spread of
German settlements to
the Eastward, 800-1400".
In 1243, the Papal legate,
William of Modena, divided Prussia
into four bishoprics: Culmerland, Pomesania, Warmia, and Sambia.
were ruled by the Archbishopric of Riga under the
mother city of Visby on Gotland.
The Teutonic State in The 14th Century
At the beginning of the 14th century, Pomerania, a neighboring
plunged into war with Poland and Brandenburg to the west.
Brandenburg's rulers, who ruled Pomerelia (Eastern Pomerania)
the 1250s, entered into a treaty on August 8, 1305 with Wenceslaus
III of Bohemia, promising the March of Meissen
the Bohemian crown
in exchange for Pomerelia.
Teutonic takeover of Danzig (Gdańsk), the Teutonic Knights
seized the city in November 1308. The Order had been
called by King
Władysław I of Poland. According to historical sources, many of the
inhabitants of the
city, Polish and German, were slaughtered. In
September 1309, Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg sold his claim to
the territory to the Teutonic Order for the sum of 10,000 Marks in
the Treaty of Soldin. This marked the beginning
of a series of
conflicts between Poland and the Teutonic Knights as the Order
continued incorporating territories
into its domains.
The Teutonic Order's possession of Danzig was disputed by the
kings Władysław I and Casimir the Great -- claims that led to a series
of bloody wars and, eventually,
legal battles in the papal court in 1320
and 1333. Finally, in 1343, peace was concluded at Kalisz, where the
Order agreed that Poland should rule Pomerelia as a fief and
Polish kings, therefore, retained the right to the title
Duke of Pomerania.
The Teutonic State in The 15th Century
In 1404 the Teutonic Order bought the Brandenburg Neumark. In 1410,
with the death of Rupert, King of the Germans, war broke out between
the Teutonic Knights and a Polish-Lithuanian alliance
Ruthenian and Tatar auxiliary forces. Poland and Lithuania triumphed
following a victory at the Battle
of Grunwald (Tannenberg). The Order
assigned Heinrich von Plauen to defend Pomerania, who moved rapidly
the defence of Castle Marienburg in Prussia. Heinrich von
Plauen was elected vice-grand master and led the Teutonic
through the Siege of Marienburg in 1410. Eventually von Plauen was
promoted to Grand Master and, in 1411,
concluded the First Treaty of
Thorn with King Władysław II Jagiełło.
In March 1440, gentry (mainly from Culmerland) and the
of Danzig, Elbing (Elbląg), Thorn (Toruń) and other Prussian cities founded
Confederation to free themselves from the overlordship of the
Teutonic Knights. Due to the heavy losses and costs after
Lithuanian-Teutonic War, the Teutonic Order collected taxes at steep rates.
Furthermore, the cities
were not allowed due representation by the Teutonic
Order. In February of 1454, the Prussian Confederation asked King
of Poland to support their revolt and incorporate Prussia into Poland. King
Casimir IV agreed and the
War of the Cities or Thirteen Years' War broke out.
The Second Peace of Thorn in October of 1466 ended the war and provided
the Teutonic Order's cession of its rights over the western half of its
territories to the Polish crown, which
became the province of Royal Prussia
and the remaining part of the Order's land became a fief of Poland.
The Teutonic State in The 16th Century
During the Protestant Reformation, endemic religious upheavals and wars
In 1525, during the aftermath of the Polish-Teutonic War (1519-1521), Sigismund
II Augustus, King of
Poland, and his nephew, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic
Knights, Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach, a member of a cadet
branch of the House
of Hohenzollern, agreed upon that the latter resigned his position, adopted the
and assumed the title of "Duke of Prussia". Therefore it was referred
to as Ducal Prussia (German: Preußen
herzoglichen Anteils or Herzogliches Preußen,
Polish: Prusy Książęce), remaining a Polish fief.
This in a deal partially brokered
by Martin Luther, the Roman Catholic Teutonic State of Prussia was transformed into
the Duchy of Prussia (German: Herzogtum Preußen), being the first Protestant state.
Sigismund's consent was bound
to Albert's submission to Poland, which is known as
the 'Prussian Homage'.
The Habsburg-led Holy Roman Empire continued its hold on a claim to Prussia and
furnished grand masters, merely
titular administrators of Prussia. In 1618, the
Duchy of Prussia passed to the senior Hohenzollern branch, the ruling
and prince-electors of Brandenburg, who ruled Brandenburg, being a fief of the
Holy Roman Empire, and
Ducal Prussia, being a Polish fief, in personal union.
This being the case, a cross-border real union was legally impossible.
Brandenburg and Ducal Prussia were more and more ruled as one, and colloquially
referred to as Brandenburg-Prussia.
Frederick William the Great
Elector, duke of Prussia and prince-elector of Brandenburg,
was after acquiring Royal Prussia in order to territorially
connect his two fiefs. So
he took the opportunity when Charles X Gustav of Sweden, in his attempt to conquer
(cf. Swedish Deluge), promised to cede to Frederick William the Prince-Bishopric
of Ermland and four further Polish voivodeships,
if Frederick William would support
Charles Gustav's effort. The deal was on spec, since he would definitely have to
military support, while the reward was only under the condition of a victory.
John II Casimir of Poland didn't take the Swedish-Prussian
alliance lying down.
He submitted a counter-offer and Frederick William accepted. On July 29, 1657
they signed the
Treaty of Wehlau in Wehlau (Polish: Welawa; now Znamensk). In
return for Frederick William's renunciation of the Swedish-Prussian
John Casimir recognised Frederick William's full sovereignty over the Duchy of
Prussia. After almost 200
years of Polish suzerainty Prussia regained full
sovereignty, which was a necessary prerequisite for upgrading Ducal
become the sovereign Kingdom of Prussia, not to be confused with Polish Royal
Prussia, in 1701. The government
of de facto collectively ruled Brandenburg-
Prussia, seated in Brandenburg's capital Berlin, mostly appeared under the
ranking titles of Prussian government. However, the Kingdom of Prussia being a
sovereign state, and Brandenburg,
being a fief within the Holy Roman Empire were
only amalgamated legally after the latter's dissolution in 1806.