Old Picture Postcards of former Prussian German territories in Poland

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information on Prussia

Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Polish: Prusy; Old Prussian: Prūsa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in Brandenburg, an area that for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. The last capital of Prussia was Berlin. However, in the course of its history, Prussia has had various meanings:

  • The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of Russia, and north-eastern Poland);
  • The Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights;
  • Part of the lands of the Polish Crown called Royal Prussia;
  • A fief known as Ducal Prussia ruled by the Hohenzollern margraves and electors of Brandenburg, first under the sovereignty of Poland, then under the full sovereignty of Brandenburg;
  • The entire Hohenzollern realm, whether within or outside Germany proper;
  • An independent kingdom from 1701 until 1871, the Kingdom of Prussia, which was also the largest constituent kingdom, first of the North German Confederation, then of the united German Empire until the German Emperor's abdication in 1918;
  • The largest territorial and administrative unit within the since 1871 persisting unified Germany (the German Reich).

The name Prussia derives from that of the Old Prussians, a Baltic people related to the Lithuanians and Latvians; "Old Prussia" was later conquered by the Teutonic Knights and then slowly Germanised. The union of the Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.

Prussia attained its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century, it became a great European power under the reign of Frederick II of Prussia (1740–86). During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck pursued a policy of uniting the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany" that would exclude the Austrian Empire.

The Kingdom of Prussia dominated northern Germany politically, economically, and in terms of population, and was the core of the unified North German Confederation formed in 1867, which became part of the German Empire or Deutsches Reich in 1871.

With the end of the Hohenzollern monarchy in Germany following World War I, Prussia became part of the Weimar Republic as a free state in 1919. Prussia as a state was abolished de facto by the Nazis in 1934 and de jure by the Allies of World War II in 1947.

Since then, the term's relevance has been limited to historical, geographical, or cultural usages. Even today, a certain kind of ethic is called "Prussian virtues", for instance: perfect organisation, sacrifice, rule of law, obedience to authority, and militarism, but also reliability, tolerance, thriftiness, punctuality, modesty, and diligence. Many Prussians believed that these virtues promoted the rise of their country.




We have a large and ever-changing archive of old postcards and photographs of all former German locations in present-day Poland. These pictures are available for sale at reasonable prices to anyone, anywhere in the world. We can also offer these images as high-definition digital scans and/or reprints of photographs in our collection should that be of interest. The originals of these photographs and postcards date from 1898 through to 1945. If you are looking for images for your collection or publication just complete the form here and we will let you know what images we already have of your chosen location and also keep you notified if any more become available.




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