Province East Prussia - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries

Anskjaer 1858-1863, Meyer 1885-1892, Nordisk Familjebok 1914

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Preussen
Prussia, one of the non-German provinces of the Kingdonm of Prussia, surrounded by the Baltic Sea, Russia and the Prussian provinces Posen, Brandenburg and Pomerania. 1,178 square miles and 2,744,500 inhabitants (1858) as compared to 2,636,766 inhabitants in 1855. The Baltic Sea coast is characterised by large coastal lakes separated from the sea by sand reefs, such as Kurisches Haff, Frisches Haff, and the Putziger Wiek. Prussia is crossed by the rivers Memel (Njemen), Pregel and Vistula, and by many smaller ones. Noteworthy is the extraordinary large number of lakes. Agriculture is the province's main source of revenue. Statistical data in this and other respects are found in the article on Prussia (Kingdom). Prussia is divided in 4 governmental districts, of which the two first generally are called East Prussia, the two others West Prussia.
Regierungsbezirk Königsberg 408 square miles, 938,059 inhabitants (1858), Regierungsbezirk Gumbinnen 298 square miles, 670,783 inhabitants, Regierungsbezirk Danzig 152 square miles, 453,626 square miles, Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder 320 square miles, 682,032 inhabitants.

source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Ostpreussen
The eastern half of the former province of Prussia, which formed a separate province in 1878, borders on the Baltic Sea and Russia in the North, in the East and South on the Russian Empire, in the West on West Prussia and has an area of 36,980 square km (671.3 square miles).
Geomorphology, climate : the province is part of the North German lowland, but is not a plain, but rather a combination of hill tracts and plains. FRom east to west it is traversed in the south of the province by the wide Uralic-Baltic ridge, as the East Prussian Lake Plate, which declines toward the coastal plain along a line which connects the cities Frauenburg, Allenburg and Stallupönen. Along this rim are found the Schlossberg west of Preussisch-Eylau (216 m), the Kucklinsberg near Darkehnen (164 m) and the Plicken Mountains south of Gumbinnen (118 m). In the south the lake plate declines into a plain rich in forests and wswamps and which extends far into Poland. Here the Goldberge (235 m), at the southern end Napiwoda Forest and the Damerau (208 m) are most noteworthy. On the ridge itself 3 plateaus are to be distinguished; the first south of Osterode and of the Oberland Lakes, with the Kernsdorf Höhe the highest elevation (313 m), the second between he lakes at the Upper Alle and the Masurian Lakes. which is extraordinarily rich in lakes and which has Voigtsdorfer Berg, east of the Grosser Lauternsee (221 m) as highest elevation, the third, finally, east of the Masurian Lakes forms a flat bulbed ridge on the sides to the north and south of which extended forests are found on lower plates. The most important elevations here : Pillacker Berg (219 m), the Goldaper Berge (272 m), Seesker Berg (310 m) and Woitowosberg on the border east of Goldap (283 m). In the coastal plain a few elevations rise, so Signalberg on the right bank of the Memel near Ragnit (80 m), the Galtgarben (110 m) and the Kleine Hausenberg (90 m) in the Samland. Below Tilsit the fertile Tilsit plain stretches. Barren chains of dunes rising to 50-62 m stretch along the coast. The largest bay along the Baltic Sea, the Bay of Danzig, is of lesser importance for East Prussia, as it only touches the northeastern part of the Frische Nehrung and the west coast of the Samland. Large coastal lakes are the Kurisches and Frisches Haff, separated from the Batlic Sea by dune ridges by the same name. The former is the laje into which the Memel feeds, the latter that into which the Pregel feeds, as well as a part of the Vistula. The province's main rivers are Memel (Njemen) and Pregel. The Memel, far in the northeast, parts in the Tilsit inclination into Russ and Gilge; it takes in the Szeszuppe, Jura and in the Kurisches Haff the Nemonien, Minge and Dange. The Pregel, formed by Angerapp, Pissa and Inster, near Insterburg becomes navigable, takes in the Alle and sends the Deime to the Kurisches Haff. In the direction of the Vistula flows the Drewenz, from the plateau near Osterode, firther to the Vistula river system belong several rivers feeding into the Narew, flowing out of the East Prussian lakes (Luk River, Pisch River, Omuleff, Neide). Into the Frisches Haff flow the Passarge and the Jarfe, into the Drausensee (Elbing) the Sorge. Among canals are noteworthy : the Grosser Friedrichsgraben and the Seckenburg Canal between Deime and Gilge, as well as the Masurische Wasserstrasse, which connects the large lakes between Johannisburg and Angerburg, the Elbng-Oberland Canal and the König Wilhelms-Kanal near Memel. The province's numerous lakes cluster in groups. The Masurian lake cluster, in the southern part of Regirungsbezirk Gumbinnen, contains the Roschsee and the Spirdingsee with numerous branches, the Löwenthinsee and the Mauersee, all four connected by the Masurische Wasserstrasse. Further there are found : the Muckersee, Niedersee, Aryssee, Lyksee, Grosse Sellmentsee, Raygrodsee, Laszmiadensee and the Szonstagsee, the smaller lake cluster near Rothebude forest station and singular lakes on the Polish border : Wysztyter See, where the Pissa begins. Another cluster of lakes near Passenheim consists smaller lakes; to its north the Dadeysee and Gross-Lauernsee, to the west of the uper Alle the Lansker See and the Grosse Plauzigsee. To the lake cluster of Liebemühl belong the Drewenzsee, Schillingssee, Geserichsee, Röthlossee and on he plate near the Elbe-Oberland Canal, the Drausensee, already in the plain, and the Nariensee east of Mohrungen; the Geserichsee and Drausensee partially belong to West Prussia. The climate is healthy, but more severe than in any other part of Germany. Average annual temperature on the ridge 6.3 degrees Celsius, close to the coast 6.7 degrees. The abverage temperature in January -4.7 degrees Celsius, Annual rainfall between 53 and 60 cm.
Population, Production. According to the census of 1885 the province had 1,959,475 inhabitants, among them 1,677,711 Protestants, 255,024 Catholics, 11,028 other Christians, 15,667 Jews. The Catholics form the majority in the four districs of the Ermland; further they are numerous in he southern districts of the RegierungsbezirkKönigsberg. Mennonites live in the Tilsit Inclination. Since 1880 he population increased by 1.3 %. Its density (53 per square km), is next to Pomerania the lowest in the Prussian state. The majority of the population are Germans, further there are Lithuanians in the Memel region, and Poles in the southern districts, and who, with the exception of the Poles in the districts of Allenstein and Rössel, for the most part are Protestant (Masurians). On the Kurische Nehrung and near Memel further there are about 400 speakers of the Curonian language.
The dominant occupations of the population are agriculture, traditional crafts, trade, shipping and shipbuilding. Among the 6 northeastern provinces of the Prussian state, latifundia are least represented in East and West Prussia; estates of 150 ha and more, in both provinces, make up 44 % of the land; peasants own 45 % of the land. 51.8 % of the province are farmland and gardens, 12.7 % meadows, 10.8 % pastorage, 17.9 % forests. The largest percentages of farmland are found in the coastal plain south of the Pregel. This area also is the most fertile stretch of the province; the clay soil often suffers from lack of drainage and from unfavourable climatic condictions. The poorest soil is found at the southern slope of the lake cluster; not less unfavourable are the soil conditions in the north of the Memel valley, from Tilsit to Memel, where large stretches only are used as pasture. Ray, oats, wheat and potatos are the main products, also peas are cultivated. Horticulture and fruit cultivation are conducted in the central districts and in the Memel valley, but only a little on the ridge and in the southern border region. Flax cultivation is of importance mainly in the Ermland. Excellent meadows are found on the Pregel near Königsberg; extended, but less in quality, are they in several districts of Regierungsbezirk Gumbinnen, especially in the Tilsit Inclination. The forests in the south of the province are important; on the ridge are the Osterode Heath, the forests on the upper Alle, Napiwoda Forest, the Romintic Heath, Rothebude Forest, and, on the southern slope of the lake plate, the Johannisburg Wilderness with Ortelsburg Heath. Pine and red spruce are the dominant coniferous treas. In the northern part of the province are Kaporn Heath on Samland and the tree forest on the Kurisches Haff, where in morassic land the alder dominates. The beech reaches in the province, at the line from Tenkitten via Rastenburg to Lake Spirding her polar border. Forests are for the larger part (56 %) state or crown property. The livestock count of 1883 counted 383,555 horses, 824,944 head of cattle, 1,413,820 sheep, 610,952 hogs and 14,022 goats.In no part of the German Empire so much care is spent on horse breeding than in East Prussia; namely in the districts between Pregel and the lake plate. It is supported by the main stud farm at Trakehnen and the Lihuanian stud farms at Trakehnen, Insterburg and Gudwallen.Cattle breeding also is of rising importance. Sheep breeding is of greatst importance in the central districts.Among wild animals deserve mentioning the deer and the elk, of which c. 100 are kept in an encirclement in the Ibenhorst Forest on Kurisches Haf. Further hares and foxes. Also the lynx, wolf and badger are found in the larger forests. Poultry keeping is of great significance. Fishing focuses on sturgeon (Pillau caviar), salmon and lampreys. Among minerals amber, an original East Prussian product which is dug up mainly in Samland and in the Kurisches Haff near Memel,and turf have to be mentioned; further there are excellent clays, chalk, a litle bog iron and a few lignite deposits of lesser importance.Mineral salt and salines are lacking. Manufacturing / processing industry is of importance only in a few locations (Königsberg, Memel, Tilsit, Insterburg), where besides shipping and shipbuilding ironworks of not negligible size are found. Further in the province are numerous sawmills (near Memel), several large paper factories, glass factories, breweries, distilleries etc. In the country linen weaving is strongly conducted. In 1885 88 seagoing ships called the province home, mainly Memel and Königsberg (port Pillau).An obstacle to further industrial and commercial development is the impenetrable Russian border. Domestic trade is supported by the navigable rivers, the roads and railroads (1265 km, mostly state railroads). The latter only in recent years have formed a network which somewhat serves the needs of the province.
Educational institutions : a university (at Königsberg), 18 gymnasia (among hem 2 progymnasia), 5 real gymnasia, 2 real progymnasia and one school for higher burghers, 8 seminaries for teachers, 4 institutes for the deaf-mute, one institute for the blind etc. The province, capital Königsberg, is divided in two governmental districts (Regierungsbezirke), Königsberg with 20 districts and Gumbinnen with 16 districts.For Hurisdiction there are one provincial court at Königsberg, 8 country courts at Allenstein, Bartenstein, Braunsberg, Insterburg, Königsberg, Lyck; Tilsit and Memel and 70 district courts.Militarily the province belongs to the area of the 1st army corps.East Prussia sends 17 deputees to the German Reichstag, 32 deputes to the Prussian chamber of deputees.
Of older geographical names still in use are Litauen, for Regierungsbezirk Gumbinnen until Goldap, Masuren for the southern part of the same Regierunsbezirk, Samland, the island between Deime, Pregel, Baltic Sea and the two Haffs, Ermeland (the districts Braunsberg, Heilsberg, Rössel and Allenstein in Regierungsbezirk Königsberg). Altpreussen (Old Prussia) describes the former Duchy in Prussia, thus East Prussia without the Ermland, but inluding the districts Rosenberg and Marienwerder (West Prussia) as far as their land is located east of the Vistula. see : Wiedemann, Die kommunale Verfassung und Verwaltung der Provinz O. (K?nigsb. 1880); Lemke, Volkstümliches in O. (Mohrungen 1884-86, 2 Bde.); Horn, Kulturbilder aus Altpreu©¬en (Leipz. 1886).
[The article gives an extensive description of the state of the Teutonic Order / Duchy in Prussia].

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek

Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926, Article : Ostpreussen (1914)
Northeasternmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia, formed in 1878 of the eastern parts of the province Prussia, bordering in the west on the province of West Prussia, in the north on the Baltic Sea and Russia, in the east and south on Russia, has an area of 37,003 square km, the Kurisches Haff and the East Prussian part of the Frisches Haff not included. In regard to physical geography, East Prussia belongs to of the Baltic Sea plate which extends from east to west, and consists of a section of the North German Lowland, crossed by many rivers, covered by many major and minor lakes, in the northeast and southwest of tracts of moor, at the coast protected by dunes. The land, as a large sterile sandy plain with erratic blocks does include a large number of small fertile tracts, especially the coastal plain around the Pregel. The highest elevations are found in the east aound the Masurian lakes in the districts Goldapp and in the south near Osterode, with an altitude of about 300 m. The largest of the lakes, arranged in groups, are the Masurian lakes : Spirding (153 square km), Mauer (105 square km), Löwentin and Rosche (each 22 aquare km). The main rivers are the Njemen or Memel (with its tributaries Jura and Szeszupa), Pregel (with Inster, Pissa, Angerapp and Alle) and the Passarge. The most importan canals are the King Wilhelm Canal between the city and river Memel (23 km, including the canalized Minge 50 km), the Seckenburg Canal between Deime and Gilge (12 km), Grosser Friedrichsgraben (18 km), Elbing-Oberländischer Kanal (see separate entry) which crosses into West Prussia, and the New Canal which connects the Mauer lake with Königsberg, 50 km.
The climate is colder than in any other province of Prussia. he average annual temperature, on the land ridge, is 6.2 degrees Celsius, at the coast 6.1 degrees Celsius. The population, in 1910, numbered 2,064,175 and has, in the last 25 years, increased by only 5.2 % (as compared to 41.8 % for all of Prussia). The population density, 56 per square km, also is the lowest in Prussia. The population is mostly German 81.4 %), but there are also Lithuanians (97,000) and Slavs, mostly Poles (4 %); 84.2 % are Protestants, 14 % Catholics and 0.6 % of Mosaic faith. On he Kurische Nehrung and near the Memel live a few hundred Latvians, who call themselves Curonians. The population mostly is occupied in agriculture and gardening (53,3 %), o a minor extent in he industry (20,4 %). Of East Prussia's area, 54 % are farmed land, 12 % natural meadow, 19 % forest and 10 % pastures. Most cultivated are rye, oats, potatos and tubers, less wheat and corn. The forests consist to 80 % of coniferous trees and they deliver valuable timber for export. Livestock keeping is eveloped, especially horse breeding in which East Prussia leads the monarchy. A large stud farm is found at Trekehnen, and there are 4 smaller ones. The animal count of 1907 counted 470,000 horses, 1,180,000 useful animals, 472,000 sheep, about one million hogs and 43,000 goats. The leading industries were distillery (297 enterprises in 1910-1911), beer production (110 breweries), textile and machine industry, timber processing industry, paper and brick production, turf processing and cart production. A specialty of the coastal population is the collection of amber. Shipyards in the province in 1912 built 33 larger vessels with 10,304 tons capacity. Ports are Königsberg, Pillau and Memel. The total length of normal width railway lines in 1909 was 2,690 km, that of narrow gauge railroads 725 km. Administraively, East Prussia is divided in 3 governmental districts (Regierungsbezirke) : Königsberg with 15, Allenstein with 10 and Gumbinnen with 14 districts. The province sends 32 depitees to the Prussian chamber of deputees, 17 to the German Reichstag. There is a provincial court in Königsberg, 8 country courts and 71 district courts. The Protestan Church is administrated by the cionsistory in Königsberg. The Catholics are under the archbishop of Ermland (Warmia), a part under the bishop of Kulm. The seat of the provincial government is Königsberg. Among educational institutions there are the University of Königsberg, the art conservatory at the same place, the lyceum with Catholicv priest seminary in Braunsberg, 17 gymnasia, 1 reformed progymnasium, 3 real gymnasia, 1 real progymnasium, 1 higher real and 6 real schools, 4 public higher schools for girls, 11 teacher seminaries (1 Catholic), an agrarian school attached to the university and 17 further agrarian schools.
Of other names for part of the country are used : Litauen (Regierungsbezirk Gumbinnen east of Goldapp), Masuren (see separate article).
Est Prussia, originally territory of the Teutonic Order, in the 15th century became a Polish fief, since 1525 as a duchy, fell to the Elector of Brandenburg in 1618 (continuing to be a Polish fief), temporarily formed part of the Swedish governorate general (1629-1635), was under Swedish suzerainty 1656, but the Great Elector received it in 1657 and in 1660 it was recognized as a sovereign land. When in 1701 Friedrich III. was elevated from Margrave to King, his kingdom was called Prussia. See : Preussen, Kingdom, and Preussen, former Swedish Government General.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


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