Albert, Duke of Prussia

Albert of Prussia (German: Albrecht von Preussen; 17 May 1490 – 20 March 1568) was the 37th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, who after converting to Lutheranism, became the first ruler of the Duchy of Prussia, the secularized state that emerged from the former Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. Albert was the first European ruler to establish Lutheranism, and thus Protestantism, as the official state religion of his lands. He proved instrumental in the political spread of Protestantism in its early stage, ruling the Prussian lands for nearly six decades (1510–1568).

A member of the Brandenburg-Ansbach branch of the House of Hohenzollern, Albert became Grand Master, where his skill in political administration and leadership ultimately succeeded in reversing the decline of the Teutonic Order. But Albert, who was sympathetic to the demands of Martin Luther, rebelled against the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire by converting the Teutonic state into a Protestant and hereditary realm, the Duchy of Prussia, for which he paid homage to his uncle, Sigismund I, King of Poland. That arrangement was confirmed by the Treaty of Kraków in 1525. Albert pledged a personal oath to the King and in return was invested with the duchy for himself and his heirs.

Albert's rule in Prussia was fairly prosperous. Although he had some trouble with the peasantry, the confiscation of the lands and treasures of the Catholic Church enabled him to propitiate the nobles and provide for the expenses of the newly established Prussian court. He was active in imperial politics, joining the League of Torgau in 1526, and acted in unison with the Protestants in plotting to overthrow Emperor Charles V after the issue of the Augsburg Interim in May 1548. Albert established schools in every town and founded Königsberg University in 1544.[2] He promoted culture and arts, patronising the works of Erasmus Reinhold and Caspar Hennenberger. During the final years of his rule, Albert was forced to raise taxes instead of further confiscating now-depleted church lands, causing peasant rebellion. The intrigues of the court favourites Johann Funck and Paul Skalić also led to various religious and political disputes. Albert spent his final years virtually deprived of power and died at Tapiau on 20 March 1568. His son, Albert Frederick, succeeded him as Duke of Prussia.

Albert's dissolution of the Teutonic State caused the founding of the Duchy of Prussia, paving the way for the rise of the House of Hohenzollern.

Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Duke of Prussia
Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Bildnis des Markgrafen Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum)
Albert of Prussia, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dated 1528
Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Reign1510 – 1525
PredecessorDuke Frederick of Saxony
SuccessorWalter von Cronberg
Duke of Prussia
Reign10 April 1525 – 20 March 1568
SuccessorAlbert Frederick of Prussia
Born17 May 1490[1]
Ansbach, Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Holy Roman Empire
(now in Bavaria, Germany)
Died20 March 1568 (aged 77)
Tapiau Castle, Tapiau, Duchy of Prussia
(now: Gvardeysk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia)
SpouseDorothea of Denmark
Anna Marie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
among others...
Anna Sophia
Albert Frederick
HouseHouse of Hohenzollern
FatherFrederick I of Brandenburg-Ansbach
MotherSophia of Poland
ReligionRoman Catholicism (until 1525)
Lutheranism (from 1525)

Early life

Albert was born in Ansbach in Franconia as the third son of Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. His mother was Sophia, daughter of Casimir IV Jagiellon, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, and his wife Elisabeth of Austria. He was raised for a career in the Church and spent some time at the court of Hermann IV of Hesse, Elector of Cologne, who appointed him canon of the Cologne Cathedral.[2] Not only was he quite religious; he was also interested in mathematics and science and sometimes is claimed to have contradicted the teachings of the Church in favour of scientific theories. His career was forwarded by the Church, however, and institutions of the Catholic clerics supported his early advancement.

Turning to a more active life, Albert accompanied Emperor Maximilian I to Italy in 1508 and after his return spent some time in the Kingdom of Hungary.[2]

Grand Master

Albrecht von Hohenzollern
As Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, painting from 1522

Duke Frederick of Saxony, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, died in December 1510. Albert was chosen as his successor early in 1511 in the hope that his relationship to his maternal uncle, Sigismund I the Old, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, would facilitate a settlement of the disputes over eastern Prussia, which had been held by the order under Polish suzerainty since the Second Peace of Thorn (1466).[2]

The new Grand Master, aware of his duties to the empire and to the papacy, refused to submit to the crown of Poland. As war over the order's existence appeared inevitable, Albert made strenuous efforts to secure allies and carried on protracted negotiations with Emperor Maximilian I. The ill-feeling, influenced by the ravages of members of the Order in Poland, culminated in a war which began in December 1519 and devastated Prussia. Albert was granted a four-year truce early in 1521.[2]

The dispute was referred to Emperor Charles V and other princes, but as no settlement was reached Albert continued his efforts to obtain help in view of a renewal of the war. For this purpose he visited the Diet of Nuremberg in 1522, where he made the acquaintance of the Reformer Andreas Osiander, by whose influence Albert was won over to Protestantism.[2]

The Grand Master then journeyed to Wittenberg, where he was advised by Martin Luther to abandon the rules of his order, to marry, and to convert Prussia into a hereditary duchy for himself. This proposal, which was understandably appealing to Albert, had already been discussed by some of his relatives; but it was necessary to proceed cautiously, and he assured Pope Adrian VI that he was anxious to reform the order and punish the knights who had adopted Lutheran doctrines. Luther for his part did not stop at the suggestion, but in order to facilitate the change made special efforts to spread his teaching among the Prussians, while Albert's brother, Margrave George of Brandenburg-Ansbach, laid the scheme before their uncle, Sigismund I the Old of Poland.[2]

Duke in Prussia

Prussian Homage
Prussian Homage: Albert and his brothers receive the Duchy of Prussia as a fief from Polish King Sigismund I the Old, 1525. Painting by Matejko, 1882.

After some delay Sigismund assented to the offer, with the provision that Prussia should be treated as a Polish fiefdom; and after this arrangement had been confirmed by a treaty concluded at Kraków, Albert pledged a personal oath to Sigismund I and was invested with the duchy for himself and his heirs on 10 February 1525.[2]

The Estates of the land then met at Königsberg and took the oath of allegiance to the new duke, who used his full powers to promote the doctrines of Luther. This transition did not, however, take place without protest. Summoned before the imperial court of justice, Albert refused to appear and was proscribed, while the order elected a new Grand Master, Walter von Cronberg, who received Prussia as a fief at the imperial Diet of Augsburg. As the German princes were experiencing the tumult of the Reformation, the German Peasants' War, and the wars against the Ottoman Turks, they did not enforce the ban on the duke, and agitation against him soon died away.[2]

In imperial politics Albert was fairly active. Joining the League of Torgau in 1526, he acted in unison with the Protestants, and was among the princes who banded and plotted together to overthrow Charles V after the issue of the Augsburg Interim in May 1548. For various reasons, however, poverty and personal inclination among others, he did not take a prominent part in the military operations of this period.[2]

Albrecht von Brandenburg-Preußen Groschen
One Groschen coin, 1534, Iustus ex fide vivit — The Just lives on Faith

The early years of Albert's rule in Prussia were fairly prosperous. Although he had some trouble with the peasantry, the lands and treasures of the church enabled him to propitiate the nobles and for a time to provide for the expenses of the court. He did something for the furtherance of learning by establishing schools in every town and by freeing serfs who adopted a scholastic life. In 1544, in spite of some opposition, he founded Königsberg University, where he appointed his friend Andreas Osiander to a professorship in 1549.[2] Albert also paid for the printing of the Astronomical "Prutenic Tables" compiled by Erasmus Reinhold and the first maps of Prussia by Caspar Hennenberger.[3]

Osiander's appointment was the beginning of the troubles which clouded the closing years of Albert's reign. Osiander's divergence from Luther's doctrine of justification by faith involved him in a violent quarrel with Philip Melanchthon, who had adherents in Königsberg, and these theological disputes soon created an uproar in the town. The duke strenuously supported Osiander, and the area of the quarrel soon broadened. There were no longer church lands available with which to conciliate the nobles, the burden of taxation was heavy, and Albert's rule became unpopular.[2]

After Osiander's death in 1552, Albert favoured a preacher named Johann Funck, who, with an adventurer named Paul Skalić, exercised great influence over him and obtained considerable wealth at public expense. The state of turmoil caused by these religious and political disputes was increased by the possibility of Albert's early death and the need, should that happen, to appoint a regent, as his only son, Albert Frederick was still a mere youth. The duke was forced to consent to a condemnation of the teaching of Osiander, and the climax came in 1566 when the Estates appealed to King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland, Albert's cousin, who sent a commission to Königsberg. Skalić saved his life by flight, but Funck was executed. The question of the regency was settled, and a form of Lutheranism was adopted and declared binding on all teachers and preachers.[2]

Paulus Scalichius (Scaligius, c.1534-1575)
Portrait of Pavao Skalić, an encyclopedist, Renaissance humanist and adventurer from Croatia, who strongly influenced the Duke in the closing years of his reign

Virtually deprived of power, the duke lived for two more years, and died at Tapiau on 20 March 1568[2] of the plague, along with his wife. Cornelis Floris de Vriendt designed his tomb within Königsberg Cathedral.[4]

Albert was a voluminous letter writer, and corresponded with many of the leading personages of the time.[2]


"Albertus" with sword from the Silberbibliothek

Although Albert has received relatively little recognition in German history, his dissolution of the Teutonic State caused the founding of the Duchy of Prussia, which would eventually become arguably the most powerful German state and instrumental in uniting the whole of Germany. Albert is therefore often seen as the father of the Prussian nation, and even as indirectly responsible for the unification of Germany. He was a skilled political administrator and leader, and effectively reversed the decline of the Teutonic Order, until he betrayed it by transforming the order's lands into his own duchy, secularizing it in the process.

Albert was the first German noble to support Luther's ideas and in 1544 founded the University of Königsberg, the Albertina, as a rival to the Roman Catholic Cracow Academy. It was the second Lutheran university in the German states, after the University of Marburg.

A relief of Albert over the Renaissance-era portal of Königsberg Castle's southern wing was created by Andreas Hess in 1551 according to plans by Christoph Römer.[5] Another relief by an unknown artist was included in the wall of the Albertina's original campus. This depiction, which showed the duke with his sword over his shoulder, was the popular "Albertus", the symbol of the university. The original was moved to Königsberg Public Library to protect it from the elements, while the sculptor Paul Kimritz created a duplicate for the wall.[5] Another version of the "Albertus" by Lothar Sauer was included at the entrance of the Königsberg State and Royal Library.[5]

In 1880 Friedrich Reusch created a sandstone bust of Albert at the Regierungsgebäude, the administrative building for Regierungsbezirk Königsberg. On 19 May 1891 Reusch premiered a famous statue of Albert at Königsberg Castle with the inscription: "Albert of Brandenburg, Last Grand Master, First Duke in Prussia".[6] Albert Wolff also designed an equestrian statue of Albert located at the new campus of the Albertina. King's Gate contains a statue of Albert.

Albert was oft-honored in the quarter Maraunenhof in northern Königsberg. Its main street was named Herzog-Albrecht-Allee in 1906. Its town square, König-Ottokar-Platz, was renamed Herzog-Albrecht-Platz in 1934 to match its church, the Herzog-Albrecht-Gedächtniskirche.[7]

Spouse and issue

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Prussia by Cornelis II Floris de Vriendt (Pushkin museum) by shakko 02
Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Prussia by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt

Albert married first, to Dorothea (1 August 1504 – 11 April 1547), daughter of King Frederick I of Denmark, in 1526. They had six children:

  • Anna Sophia (11 June 1527 – 6 February 1591), married John Albert I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow.
  • Katharina (b. and d. 24 February 1528).
  • Frederick Albert (5 December 1529 – 1 January 1530).
  • Lucia Dorothea (8 April 1531 – 1 February 1532).
  • Lucia (3 February 1537 – May 1539).
  • Albert (b. and d. March 1539).

He married secondly to Anna Maria (1532–20 March 1568), daughter of Eric I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, in 1550. The couple had two children:


16. Frederick V, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1333–1398)
8. Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg (1371–1440)
17. Elisabeth of Meissen (1329–1375)
4. Albrecht III, Elector of Brandenburg (1414–1486)
18. Frederick, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut (1339–1393)
9. Elisabeth of Bavaria-Landshut (1383–1442)
19. Maddalena Visconti (1366–1404)
2. Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1460–1536)
20. Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (1370–1428)
10. Frederick II, Elector of Saxony (1412–1464)
21. Catherine of Brunswick ( -1442)
5. Anna of Saxony (1437–1512)
22. Ernest, Duke of Austria (1377–1424)
11. Margaret of Austria (1416–1486)
23. Cymburgis of Masovia (1394–1397)
1. Albert, Duke of Prussia (1490–1568)
24. Algirdas (1296–1377)
12. Jogaila (1362–1434)
25. Uliana of Tver (1325–1392)
6. Casimir IV Jagiellon (1427–1492)
26. Andrew of Halshany (1365–1410)
13. Sophia of Halshany (1405–1461)
27. Alexandra Drucka (1380–1426)
3. Zofia Jagiellonka (1464–1512)
28. Albert IV, Duke of Austria (1377–1404)
14. Albert II of Germany (1397–1439)
29. Johanna Sophia of Bavaria (1373–1410)
7. Elisabeth of Austria (1435–1505)
30. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor (1368–1437)
15. Elisabeth of Bohemia (1409–1442)
31. Barbara of Celje (1390–1451)


  1. ^ Albert (duke of Prussia). Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Albert" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 497.
  3. ^ "An Etymological Dictionary of Astronomy and Astrophysics - 1". Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  4. ^ Mühlpfordt, p. 73
  5. ^ a b c Mühlpfordt, p. 90
  6. ^ Mühlpfordt, p. 82
  7. ^ Mühlpfordt, p. 133


  • Albinus, Robert (1985). Lexikon der Stadt Königsberg Pr. und Umgebung (in German). Leer: Verlag Gerhard Rautenberg. p. 371. ISBN 3-7921-0320-6.
  • Mühlpfordt, Herbert Meinhard (1963). Welche Mitbürger hat Königsberg öffentlich geehrt? (in German). Würzburg: Holzner Verlag.

External links

Albert, Duke of Prussia
Cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern
Born: 16 May 1490 Died: 20 March 1568
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Duke Frederick of Saxony
Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Succeeded by
Walter von Cronberg
New creation
Duke of Prussia
Succeeded by
Albert Frederick

Year 1568 (MDLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Abraomas Kulvietis

Abraomas Kulvietis (Latin: Abraham Culvensis; Polish: Abraham Kulwieć; c. 1509 – 19 June 1545) was a Lithuanian jurist and a professor at Königsberg Albertina University, as well as a reformer of the church.

Kulvietis was born in Kulva, now in the Jonava district of Lithuania, into an old Lithuanian noble family of middle wealth. Between 1528 and 1537 he studied in many universities across Europe. At first in Cracow Academy, later, as he became aware of humanist reforms, he moved to the Catholic University of Leuven, where he studied the works of Desiderius Erasmus. He continued his education in Wittenberg, where he studied Martin Luther's teachings. In 1536 he moved to Leipzig and finally Siena, where in 1537 he was granted the title Doctor of Law.

After receiving his title, Kulvietis returned to the Great Duchy of Lithuania, giving lectures in Vilnius and working under the protection of Queen Bona Sforza and King of Poland and Grand Duke Sigismund II Augustus.

In 1540 Kulvietis founded his own school where he taught about 60 pupils In Lithuanian. He was generally unpopular among the Roman Catholic hierarchy because of his Lutheran beliefs, and when the queen was away in 1542 Kulvietis was forced to leave the country.

He was invited by Albert, Duke of Prussia together with other Lithuanian Lutherans, and together with them helped in the creation of the Königsberg Albertina University, and later he was the first professor of classic Hebrew and Greek. He was also the first translator of Lithuanian Evangelical songs.

In 1545, Kulvietis was allowed to visit his dying mother in Lithuania. Perhaps he was already ill with tuberculosis when he left the Duchy of Prussia, but is rumored to have been poisoned there by enemies and he died at his parents' home in Kulva.

Kulvietis's 24 line Lithuanian language hymnal "Malonus dėkavojimas Ponui Dievui" was printed in Martynas Mažvydas's collection Gesmes Chriksczoniskas, Gedomas Baszniczosu Per Aduenta ir Kaledas ik Gramniczu.

Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia

Albert Frederick (German: Albrecht Friedrich; Polish: Albrecht Fryderyk; 7 May 1553 – 28 August 1618) was the Duke of Prussia, from 1568 until his death. He was a son of Albert of Prussia and Anna Marie of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He was the second and last Prussian duke of the Ansbach branch of the Hohenzollern family.

Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, BWV 72

Alles nur nach Gottes Willen (Everything according to God's will alone), BWV 72, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig in 1726 for the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it on 27 January 1726. Bach used the opening chorus for the Gloria of his Missa in G minor, BWV 235.

Anthony Lorinthia Geriasarch

Anthony Lorinthia von Geriasarch (1493–1582) was a Prussian general who served under the courts of the Polish king Sigismund I the Old from 1514 until the establishment of the Polish fief of Duchy of Prussia in 1525. When the Duchy was established, he joined the army of Albert, Duke of Prussia until his death on 1582.

As a member of the army of Albert, he was converted to Protestantism in 1531.

Dorothea of Denmark

Dorothea of Denmark may refer to:

Dorothea of Brandenburg (1430–1495), wife of Christopher III of Denmark and later Christian I of Denmark

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Prussia (1504-1547), daughter of Frederick I of Denmark and first wife Anna of Brandenburg, and wife of Albert, Duke of Prussia

Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg (1511–1571), wife of Christian III of Denmark

Dorothea of Denmark, Electress Palatine (1520–1580), daughter of Christian II of Denmark, and wife of Frederick II, Elector Palatine

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Mecklenburg (1528–1575), daughter of Frederick I of Denmark and second wife Sophie of Pomerania, and wife of Christopher, Duke of Mecklenburg-Gadebusch

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1546–1617), daughter of Christian III of Denmark, and wife of William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Prussia

Dorothea of Denmark (1 August 1504 – 11 April 1547), was a Duchess of Prussia by marriage to Duke Albert, Duke of Prussia. She was the daughter of King Frederick I of Denmark and Anna of Brandenburg.

Duchy of Prussia

The Duchy of Prussia (German: Herzogtum Preußen, Polish: Księstwo Pruskie) or Ducal Prussia (German: Herzogliches Preußen, Polish: Prusy Książęce) was a duchy in the region of Prussia established as a result of secularization of the State of the Teutonic Order during the Protestant Reformation in 1525.

It was the first Protestant state when Albert, Duke of Prussia formally adopted Lutheranism as early as 1525. It was inhabited by a dominant German-speaking population, as well as Polish and Lithuanian minorities. In old texts and in Latin, the term Prut(h)enia refers alike to Ducal Prussia, its western neighbor Royal Prussia, and their common predecessor, Teutonic Prussia. The adjectival form of the name was "Prut(h)enic".In 1525 during the Protestant Reformation, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert, secularized the order's Prussian territory, becoming Albert, Duke of Prussia. The Lutheran church established in his duchy was the first Protestant state church to be founded. His duchy, which had its capital in Königsberg (Polish: Królewiec, Lithuanian: Karaliaučius; modern Kaliningrad), was established as fief of the Crown of Poland. It was inherited by the Hohenzollern prince-electors of Brandenburg in 1618; this personal union is referred to as Brandenburg-Prussia. Frederick William, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg, achieved full sovereignty over the territory in the 1657 Treaty of Wehlau, which was confirmed in the 1660 Treaty of Oliva. The Duchy of Prussia was elevated to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.

Georg Pencz

Georg Pencz (c. 1500 – 11 October 1550) was a German engraver, painter and printmaker.Pencz was probably born in Westheim near Bad Windsheim/Franconia. He travelled to Nuremberg in 1523 and joined Albrecht Dürer’s atelier. Like Dürer, he visited Italy and was profoundly influenced by Venetian art; it is believed he worked with Marcantonio Raimondi. In 1525, he was imprisoned with the brothers Barthel Beham and Hans Sebald Beham, the so-called "godless painters", for spreading the radical views of Thomas Müntzer by asserting disbelief in baptism, Christ and transubstantiation. The three were pardoned shortly afterwards and became part of the group known as the "Little Masters" because of their tiny, intricate and influential prints.

In Nuremberg, influenced by works he had seen in Italy, Pencz painted a number of trompe l'oeil ceilings in the houses of patrician families; one, for which a drawing survives, showed workmen raising building materials on a hoist, against an open sky, to create the illusion that the room was still under construction.Around 1539, Pencz briefly returned to Italy, visiting Rome for the first time, returning to Nuremberg in 1540, where he became the city painter and earned his greatest success as a portraitist. As an engraver, he ranks among the best of the German “Little Masters”. Notable prints include Six Triumphs of Petrarch and Life of Christ (26 plates). The best of his paintings are portraits, such as Portrait of a Young Man , Portrait of Marshal Schirmer and Portrait of Erhard Schwetzer and his wife.

In 1550, he was named court painter by Albert, Duke of Prussia, but died in Leipzig before arriving at the court.

Karl Faber

Karl Peter Andreas Faber (12 August 1773 – 19 January 1853) was a Prussian archivist and historian.

A native of Königsberg, East Prussia, Faber became chief archivist of the Prussian State Archive in 1808 after attending the University of Königsberg. Faber and Ernst Hennig were the first of Königsberg's archivists to approach the subject in a scientific manner. Faber made public letters from Martin Luther to Albert, Duke of Prussia in 1811. Works by Faber include his Taschenbuch für Königsberg in 1829 and Die Haupt- und Residenzstadt Königsberg in 1841. He also briefly produced a newspaper, Königsberger Abendzeitung, in 1831 and received an honorary doctorate from the philosophy faculty in 1837. Faber died in his native city.

Komsomolskoye Microdistrict

Komsomolskoye (Russian: Комсомо́льское) is a residential area in Moskovsky District of the city of Kaliningrad, Russia. It was formerly known by its German language names Schönfliess and Schönfließ as first a suburban village and then a quarter of Königsberg, Germany, located southeast of the city center.

Schönfliess was located southeast of Speichersdorf, southwest of Jerusalem, and west of Seligenfeld. Medieval Schönfliess contained a hospital, which was purchased by Kneiphof in 1521. Albert, Duke of Prussia, then granted the farming village to Kneiphof on 10 May 1528. The village's farmers worked the estate of Rosenau.Schönfliess was incorporated into the city of Königsberg in 1939. Königsberg was transferred to Soviet control in 1945 after World War II. Königsberg was subsequently renamed Kaliningrad and Schönfliess first became Komsomolsky gorodok (Комсомольский городок) and then, in 1949, Komsomolskoye.

Königsberg Cathedral

Königsberg Cathedral (Russian: Кафедральный собор г. Калининграда; German: Königsberger Dom) is a Brick Gothic-style monument in Kaliningrad, Russia, located on Kneiphof island in the Pregel (Pregolya) river. It is the most significant preserved building of the former City of Königsberg, which was largely destroyed in World War II.

Dedicated to Virgin Mary and St Adalbert, it was built as the see of the Prince-Bishops of Samland in the 14th century. Upon the establishment of the secular Duchy of Prussia, it became the Lutheran Albertina University church in 1544. The cathedral burnt down after two RAF night raids in late August 1944; reconstruction started after the Perestroika movement in 1992.


The Masurians or Mazurs (Polish: Mazurzy, Ukrainian: Мазури, German: Masuren, Masurian: Mazurÿ) are a small 5,000-15,000 strong Lechitic sub-ethnic group traditionally present in what is now the present-day Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland. In 2011 Polish census, 1376 individuals declared themselves to be Masurian either as a first or secondary identification. Before World War II and its post-war expulsions, Masurians used to be a more numerous ethnic group found in the southern parts of East Prussia for centuries following the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Today, most of Masurians live in what is now Germany and elsewhere.

They are descended from Masovians (Polish: Mazowszanie; German: Masowier), who were Polish settlers from Mazovia. These settlers moved to the Duchy of Prussia during and after the Protestant Reformation. They spoke the Masurian dialect. Since the middle 19th century, High German was increasingly used among Masurians as opposed to Low German used by most of East Prussia's German population. Many Masurians were often bilingual in German and Polish languages. In the 19th century, the Masuria region of East Prussia was named after the Masurians.

Like most of the East Prussian population, they favored Protestantism and adopted Lutheranism in 1525 when Albert, Duke of Prussia secularized the duchy and converted. Roman Catholic Warmiaks and Masovians were not affected as they inhabited parts that formally belonged to the Kingdom of Poland.

After World War II, many Masurians were classified as Germans and therefore mostly expelled along with them or emigrated after 1956 from what was now Poland to post-war Germany. Although most of them left for the West, some also ended up in East Germany. Conclusion of the war and ensuing resettlements saw an ethnic conflict between leaving Masurians and incoming Kurpie mainly on religious (Protestant-Catholic) grounds.

Melanchthon Circle

The Melanchthon Circle was a 16th-century Lutheran intellectual network centred on the University of Wittenberg in Germany, and its leading theologian Philip Melanchthon. It was identified as significant for its interests in natural philosophy by Lynn Thorndike, in a chapter "The Circle of Melanchthon" in his multi-volume History of Magic and Experimental Science. Among this circle were found many of the most important early proponents of the heliocentric model of Copernicus. They included Caspar Peucer who became Melanchthon's son-in-law, Erasmus Reinhold, and Georg Joachim Rheticus. Patronage came from Albert, Duke of Prussia.

Second Peace of Thorn (1466)

The Peace of Thorn of 1466 (German: Zweiter Friede von Thorn; Polish: drugi pokój toruński) was a peace treaty signed in the Hanseatic city of Thorn (Toruń) on 19 October 1466 between the Polish king Casimir IV Jagiellon on one side, and the Teutonic Knights on the other.

The treaty concluded the Thirteen Years' War which had begun in February 1454 with the revolt of the Prussian Confederation, led by the cities of Danzig (Gdańsk), Elbing (Elbląg), Kulm (Chełmno) and Thorn, and the Prussian gentry against the rule of the Teutonic Knights in the Monastic State.

Both sides agreed to seek confirmation from Pope Paul II and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, but the Polish side stressed (and the Teutonic side agreed) that this confirmation would not be needed for validation of the treaty. In the treaty, the Teutonic Order ceded the territories of Pomerelia (Eastern Pomerania) with Danzig, Kulmerland with Kulm and Thorn, the mouth of the Vistula with Elbing and Marienburg (Malbork), and the Bishopric of Warmia (Ermland) with Allenstein (Olsztyn). The Order also acknowledged the rights of the Polish Crown for Prussia's western half, subsequently known as Polish or Royal Prussia. Eastern Prussia, later called Duchy of Prussia remained with the Teutonic Order until 1525, as a Polish fief.

The treaty stated that Royal Prussia became the exclusive property of the Polish king and Polish kingdom. Later some disagreements arose concerning certain prerogatives that Royal Prussia and the cities held, like Danzig's privileges. The region possessed certain privileges such as the minting of its own coins, its own Diet meetings (see the Prussian estates), its own military, and its own administrative usage of the German language. A conflict over the right to name and approve Bishops in Warmia, resulted in the War of the Priests (1467–79). Eventually, Royal Prussia became integrated into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, but retained some distinctive features until the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century.

In 1525, the Order was ousted from East Prussian territory by its own Grand Master when Albert, Duke of Prussia adopted Lutheranism and assumed the title of duke as hereditary ruler under the overlordship of Poland in the Prussian Homage. The area became known as the Duchy of Prussia.

Stanislovas Kęsgaila

Stanislovas Kęsgaila Jonaitis (Polish: Stanisław Janowicz Kieżgajło; died 1527) was a Lithuanian nobleman, son of Jonas Kęsgaila from the Kęsgailos family. Stanislovas Kęsgaila was the Elder of Samogitia (1486–1522), Grand Hetman of Lithuania (1501–1502), castellan of Trakai (1499–1522) and Vilnius (1522–1526).In 1494, he signed a peace agreement with the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The treaty was reinforced with engagement of Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander Jagiellon and Helena, daughter of Ivan III. As the groom was away in Lithuania, his role was performed by Kęsgaila.At the start of the Russo-Lithuanian war of 1500–1503, Lithuanians suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Vedrosha. Great Hetman (army commander) Konstanty Ostrogski was captured and was replaced by Semyon Olshanski who had gained military experience during the Polish–Ottoman War (1485–1503). But Olshanski was quickly replaced by Kęsgaila who had no prior military experience. Such appointment is difficult to explain, but possibly it was a result of diplomatic negotiations that ended in a military alliance with the Livonian Order. Kęsgaila brought Lithuanian army to help the besieged Mstislavl and Smolensk, but in both cases the Russians retreated without a fight. He was replaced as Great Hetman by Stanisław Kiszka who distinguished himself in organizing Smolenk's defense.In 1505, he was expelled from the Lithuanian Council of Lords by Alexander Jagiellon for participation in the Union of Mielnik of 1501. In 1516, during a border conflict, Kęsgaila commanded Samogitian forces, defeated the Teutonic Order, and captured Katyčiai. However, Albert, Duke of Prussia, recaptured the village a few months later.

Stanislovas Rapolionis

Stanislovas Svetkus Rapolionis (Latin: Stanislaus Rapagel(l)anus, Stanislaus Lituanus, Polish: Stanisław Rafajłowicz; c. 1485 or 1500 – May 13, 1545) was a Lutheran activist and Protestant reformer from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With patronage of Albert, Duke of Prussia, he obtained the doctorate of theology from the Protestant University of Wittenberg where he studied under Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. After graduation, he became the first professor of theology at the newly established University of Königsberg, also known as Albertina. As professor he began working on several Protestant publications and translations, including a Bible translation into Polish. It is believed that he also started the first translation of the Bible into Lithuanian. Together with Abraomas Kulvietis, Rapolionis was one of the very first authors to write in the Lithuanian language. While Rapolionis and Kulvietis died early leaving their work unfinished, they laid the foundations for future Lithuanian writers and translators.

Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit, BWV 111

Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit (What my God wants, may it always happen), BWV 111, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach for use in a Lutheran service. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig in 1725 for the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it on 21 January 1725, as part of his chorale cantata cycle. It is based on the hymn by Albert, Duke of Prussia, published in 1554, on the topic of the Christian's acceptance of God's will.

Wilhelm von Brandenburg

Wilhelm von Brandenburg (30 June 1498 – 4 February 1563) was the Archbishop of Riga from 1539 to 1561.

A member of the House of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was the son of Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, the brother of Albert, Duke of Prussia, and the grandson of Albert III Achilles, Elector of Brandenburg and Casimir IV Jagiellon.

After William's administration as Prince-bishop ended during the Livonian War, Riga became a Free City (1561–1581).

Duchy of Prussia (1525–1701)
Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918)

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.