West Prussia, 1772-1815

A.) West Prussia in 1772

In 1772, PRUSSIA annexed Polish territory in the FIRST POLISH PARTITION (without Danzig and Thorn); this territory was administratively reorganized into the PROVINCE OF WEST PRUSSIA and the NETZE DISTRICT. The area had a predominantly Slavic (Polish, Kaschubian) population of Catholic faith, but there was a German-speaking minority.

B.) 1772-1813

The Prussian administration implemented a number of policies to improve the region's economy. The BROMBERG CANAL was opened in 1774, connecting the Oder and Vistula river basins; it also was to facilitate the drainage of huge swamp areas, which were settled with mainly German farmers. The Prussian administration also took a number of measures to redirect trade which passed through the city of Danzig, still nominally Polish, to the (newly) Prussian port of Elbing.
The Prussian administration used German names for many of the places, thus Bromberg for Bydgoscz etc.
The SECOND (1793) and THIRD POLISH PARTITION (1795) further extended Prussia's share in Polish territory. In 1807 Prussia had to cede her gains in the second and third Polish partition, as well as the Netze District; out of these territories, the GRAND DUCHY OF WARSAW was formed. In 1813 the area was liberated. At the VIENNA CONGRESS Russia demanded all of Poland; in the end, Prussia retained West Prussia and reclaimed the province of Posen. While Posen received special status as a Grand Duchy, West Prussia, including the Netze District, was treated as integral part of the Prussian Kingdom.

Article Bromberger Kanal, from Schifffahrtslexikon in German
DOCUMENTS Verordnung vom 28. Oktober 1772 : Verbot fremder Kalender in West-Preussen, posted by ARI, in German
REFERENCE Enno Meyer, Grundzüge der Geschichte Polens (Main Features of Polish History), Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft 1977
Manfred Hellmann, Daten der Polnischen Geschichte (Dates in Polish History), München : dtv 1985

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

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