Kingdom of Prussia

The Kingdom of Prussia (German: Königreich Preußen, pronounced [ˈkøːnɪkʁaɪç ˈpʁɔʏsn̩] (listen)) was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918.[5] It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918.[5] Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Its capital was Berlin.[6]

Kingdom of Prussia
Königreich Preußen (German)
Flag of Prussia
State flag
Coat of arms
Borussia [de]

"Song of Prussia"

Royal anthem:
"Heil dir im Siegerkranz"
"Hail to thee in the Victor's Crown"
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Confederation in 1815
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Confederation in 1815
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Empire in 1871
The Kingdom of Prussia within the German Empire in 1871
Common languagesOfficial:
New Latin (until 1806)
Polish (only in GD of Posen 1815-1848)
Statewide majority:
Protestantism[1] (Lutheran and Calvinist; since 1817 Prussian United. State religion.)
Majority in some territories:
Catholicism Ermland, West Prussia, South Prussia, Netze District, New East Prussia, Grand Duchy of Posen, Province of Posen, Lauenburg and Bütow Land, Starostwo of Draheim, Rhine Province, Province of Westphalia, Upper Silesia, County of Glatz
Other minorities:
Judaism, Eastern Orthodoxy
 1701–1713 (first)
Frederick I
 1888–1918 (last)
Wilhelm II
 1848 (first)
A. H. von Arnim-Boitzenburg
 1918 (last)
Max von Baden
Historical era
18 January 1701
6 August 1806
 Formation of German Confederation
8 June 1815
5 December 1848
18 August 1866
18 January 1871
 Free State of Prussia proclaimed
9 November 1918
28 November 1918
1871[2]348,779 km2 (134,664 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Margraviate of Brandenburg
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Duchy of Prussia
Principality of Neuchâtel
Royal Prussia
Swedish Pomerania
Free City of Danzig
Duchy of Warsaw
Electorate of Hesse
Free City of Frankfurt
Duchy of Nassau
Kingdom of Hanover
Duchy of Holstein
Duchy of Schleswig
Lands of the Bohemian Crown
Duchies of Silesia
County of Kladsko
Free City of Danzig
Duchy of Warsaw
Canton of Neuchâtel
Free State of Prussia
Free City of Danzig
Second Polish Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic
Memel Territory
Territory of the Saar Basin
Today part of Germany




 Czech Republic



History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
965  983
Old Prussians
pre  13th century
Lutician federation
983  12th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157  1618 (1806) (HRE)
(Bohemia 1373  1415)
Teutonic Order
1224  1525
(Polish fief 1466  1525)
Elector of Brandenburg
1356  1806
Duchy of Prussia
1525  1618 (1701)
(Polish fief 1525  1657)
Malbork Voivodeship and Prince-Bishopric of Warmia within Royal (Polish) Prussia
(Poland 1454/1466  1772)
1618  1701
Kingdom of Prussia
1701  1918
Free State of Prussia (Germany)
1918  1947
Klaipėda Region
1920  1939 / 1945  present
Działdowo area
(Poland 1918-present)
Warmia, Masuria, Powiśle within Recovered Territories
(Poland 1945  present)
Berlin and Brandenburg
1947  1952 / 1990  present
Kaliningrad Oblast
1945  present

The kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Brandenburg-Prussia, predecessor of the kingdom, became a military power under Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, known as "The Great Elector".[7][8][9][10] As a kingdom, Prussia continued its rise to power, especially during the reign of Frederick II, more commonly known as Frederick the Great, who was the third son of Frederick William I.[11] Frederick the Great was instrumental in starting the Seven Years' War (1756–63), holding his own against Austria, Russia, France and Sweden and establishing Prussia's role in the German states, as well as establishing the country as a European great power.[12] After the might of Prussia was revealed, it was considered as a major power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles, and many wars.[13] Because of its power, Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states (excluding the German cantons in Switzerland) under its rule, and whether Austria would be included in such a unified German domain was an ongoing question. After the Napoleonic Wars led to the creation of the German Confederation, the issue of unifying the German states caused a number of revolutions throughout the German states, with all states wanting to have their own constitution.[5] Attempts to create a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful member states, Prussia and Austria.

Prussia was subsequently the driving force behind establishing in 1866 the North German Confederation, transformed in 1871 into the unified German Empire and considered the earliest continual legal predecessor of today's Federal Republic of Germany.[5] The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War but many of its laws were later used in the German Empire. The German Empire lasted from 1871 to 1918 with the successful unification of all the German states aside from Austria and Switzerland under Prussian hegemony,[5] due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. The war united all the German states against a common enemy, and with the victory came an overwhelming wave of nationalism which changed the opinions of some of those who had been against unification.

The formal abolition of Prussia, carried out on 25 February 1947 by the Allied Control Council, referred to a tradition of the kingdom as a bearer of militarism and reaction, and made way for the current setup of the German states. However, the Free State of Prussia (Freistaat Preußen), which followed the abolition of the Kingdom of Prussia in the aftermath of World War I, was a major democratic force in Weimar Germany until the nationalist coup of 1932 known as the Preußenschlag.[citation needed] The kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK)), which has become one of the largest cultural organisations in the world.[14]

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