Teutonic Order
Decline, 1409-1525

Royal Prussia, 1454-1569

In 1440 the cities and nobles of Prussia formed the Prussian Federation. In 1454 a conflict between the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and the Prussian Federation escalated into the Prussian War, also referred to as the Thirteen Years' War. The Prussian Federation placed herself under the protection of King Casimir of Poland. In the Second Peace of Thorn (Torun), the Teutonic Order recognized the sovereignty of the Polish king over Royal Prussia, i.e. Pommerellen (Eastern Pomerania), Warmia (in German : the Ermland), the Land of Culm and the cities of Danzig (Gdansk), Elbing (Elblag) and Thorn (Torun).
Royal Prussia first was administrated by a Gubernator (governor). In 1467 the office was abolished, and Royal Prussia was administrated by the Estates. From 1467 to 1479 the see of Warmia was contested in the Warmia Stift Feud (in German : Pfaffenkrieg, literally : Priests' War), fought over the issue of who appoints the bishop. The Cathedral Chapter of Warmia, allied with the Teutonic Order and the King of Hungary, fought the King of Poland.
Royal Prussia consisted of an ethnic kaleidoscope. To the west of the Vistula river, the majority of the countryside was inhabited by the Kashubians, a western Slavic people. Interspersed were villages and towns with a German-speaking population. In the cities of Danzig, Thorn, Elbing and in Warmia, the German-speaking element dominated; here a Prussian-speaking ethnic group was at home; the Prussian language, now extinct, belonged to the Baltic branch of the Indoeuropean languages, as do Lithuanian and Latvian. The most famous Prussian is astronomer Nicholas Copernicus.
While the Reformation spread quickly in East Prussia, which in the process was transformed from the State of the Teutonic Order to the Duchy in Prussia (1525), in Royal Prussia a revolt by the craftsmen of Danzig temporarily introduced the reformation (1524), but in 1526 King Sigismund, with an army of 8,000 men, forced the restitution of the old situation. Bishop of Warmia Stanislas Hosius attended the Council of Trent; he became a protagonist of the Counterreformation. Danzig introduced the Lutheran reformation in 1557; the remainder of Royal Prussia remained Catholic - except for the Mennonites, who first are recorded in 1543 in the lowlands of the Vistula river, which they cultivated by damming in the river.
In 1569 the privileges of Royal Prussia were abolished, the country integrated into the Kingdom of Poland. The Estates of Royal Prussia continued to meet.

Jürgen Weigle, , in German
DOCUMENTS List of the Bishops of Warmia, from Wikipedia

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on April 3rd 2004, last revised on November 11th 2004

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