1807-1813 1870-1919

Under Prussian Administration, 1813-1870

A few months after the liberation (Jan. 2nd 1814) the Russian troops withdrew. The VIENNA CONGRESS allocated Danzig to Prussia; the return of Prussian rule was widely welcomed in the city, for the experience of the preceding century had shown that independence was very costly; Danzig's economic interests required effective protection of the kind Prussia was able to provide, And Prussian rule 1793-1807 had been benevolent.
The return of Prussian rule meant the implementation of a number of reforms introduced in Prussia in the preceding years, most notably FREEDOM OF TRADE (thus the elimination of the guilds which had determined the city's economic life for the previous centuries), MANDATORY MILITARY DUTY (Danzigers no longer exempted) and COMMUNAL SELF-ADMINISTRATION, the latter a matter Danzig could easily adjust to, as she had done so for centuries.
Already in 1814 a number of suburbs were incorporated into Danzig. The city was chosen as seat for the new Prussian PROVINCE WEST PRUSSIA (1815-1824; then the provinzes of West and East Prussia were united, with seat in Koenigsberg). In 1831 OLIVA monastery was closed down. Formally, West Prussia with Danzig was Prussian, but not part of the German Confederation. During the revolution of 1848, the city council applied for the city, with all of West Prussia, to be accepted into the latter. Yet few signs of revolutionary sentiment in the city were suppressed; law and order were, at no stage of the German Revolution, in jeopardy. In 1852, Danzig was connected to the railway network. In 1857, the Danish SOUND LEVY was abolished, an event of eminent importance to Danzig trade; England had applied Free Trade policy since 1846, a relief for Danzig trade as the high protective tariffs on grain (Corn Laws) thereby were scrapped.
The city of Danzig grew in size and population : 1850 60,000, 1860 83,000, 1870 89,000 inhabitants - although not as rapidly as the centers of industrialization or as seaports profiting from the industrialization.
In the grain trade, traditionally dominated by Danzig, the city found increasing competition from the new Russian port of ODESSA, which attracted the grain production of much of the hinterland which hitherto exported through Danzig, and from increasing exports from the USA. During the GERMAN- DANISH WAR of 1864, Danzig's port briefly was blocked by the Danish fleet.
The connection to the railway network in 1852 did not bring the economic upsurge hoped for; the railway lines had provided part of Danzig's traditional hinterland with easy access to the ports of Stettin and Hamburg, and thus syphoned away potential Danzig trade. The BROMBERG CANAL, completed 1774, likewise was beneficial for Danzig's competitors Stettin and Hamburg, as it connected the Vistula and Oder river basins.
The city's most famous son was philosopher ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER (1788-1860), a pessimist and sceptic who did not share the romantic patriotism of many of his contemporary countrymen.

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Biography of Arthur Schopenhauer, from A List of Philosophers; from age of the sage
DOCUMENTS Coat of Arms, from International Civic Heraldry
World Statesmen : Danzig, by Ben Cahoon; has lists of the French governors and of the Danzig Presidents of the Senate
REFERENCE Erich Keyser, Danzigs Geschichte, (Danzig 1928) Reprint Hamburg : Danziger Verlagsgesellschaft Paul Rosenberg, undated (History of Danzig), 300 pp.
Hans Georg Siegler, Danzig - Chronik eines Jahrtausends (Danzig - Chronicle of a Millennium; a timeline), Düsseldorf : Droste 1990, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 12th 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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