East Prussia

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East Prussia (German: Ostpreußen, pronounced [ˈɔstˌpʁɔʏsən]  ( listen); Polish: Prusy Wschodnie; Lithuanian: Rytų Prūsija or Rytprūsiai; Russian: Восточная Пруссия or Vostochnaya Prussiya) is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945.[1] From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.

East Prussia enclosed the bulk of the ancestral lands of the Baltic Old Prussians. During the 13th century, the native Prussians were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights. The indigenous Balts who survived the conquest were gradually converted to Christianity. Because of Germanization and colonisation over the following centuries, Germans became the dominant ethnic group, while Poles and Lithuanians formed minorities. From the 13th century, East Prussia was part of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, which became the Duchy of Prussia in 1525.[2] The Old Prussian language had become extinct by the 17th or early 18th century.[3]

Following the death of Hohenzollern Albert of Brandenburg Prussia, Duke of Prussia (1525–1568), Joachim II, the prince-elector Kurfürst of Brandenburg, became co-inheritor of Ducal Prussia. In 1577, House of Hohenzollern co-regents took over administration from Albert's only son, Albert Friedrich. In 1618 the Duchy of Prussia again passed by inheritance and in personal union with the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg and the territory was called Brandenburg-Prussia. The territories of the House of Hohenzollern were scattered in Franconia, Brandenburg, eastern Prussia and elsewhere.

Because the duchy was outside of the core Holy Roman Empire (Prussia was under HRE administration by the Teutonic Order grandmasters), the prince-electors of Brandenburg were able to proclaim themselves kings in Prussia beginning in 1701. After the annexation of most of western Royal Prussia in the 1772 First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, East Prussia was connected by land with the rest of the Prussian state and was reorganized as the Province of East Prussia the following year. Between 1829 and 1878, the Province of East Prussia was joined with West Prussia to form the Province of Prussia.

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