A JOURNEY TO EAST PRUSSIA ...
(a short summary in English language)
Welcome to this website about former East and West Prussia and the land of the Memula River. This area
was once step by step conquered by the Order of the Teutonic Knights. The order was founded 1190 near Haifa in what is now Israel and had the mission to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Between 1210 and
1239 the Order expanded his influence eastwards into Romania and finally to north-eastern Europe towards the Baltic Sea.
However this area was already occupied by a local tribe who called themselves
“Prussians”. They were a Baltic tribe (means neither Germanic nor Slavonian) which roughly lived in (what is now) northern Poland and Lithuania.
The Prussians were no Christians at the time the Teutonic Order
arrived and had often attacked the territory of the Polish King whose state bordered further to the south. Due to these constant attacks and hence the inability to get access to the trading zones at the Baltic Sea,
the Poles called the Teutonic Knights for help. 1231 the first knights crossed the Vistula River near Kulm/Chelmno and started to drive back the Prussians.
Their official task was to spread the Christian
belief in north-eastern Europe. However with the permission and under the shield of the Roman-Catholic Pope in Rome the knights from Germany (who in fact were a bunch of mercenaries from all over Europe) overran the
Prussian territory step by step, built castles to defend their new possessions and founded villages and cities around their military settlements.
Always torn between Poland, Lithuania and Germany, this area
changed its owner several times between the centuries. Finally most of this area belonged to Germany until the two world wars. As result of the Versailles Treaty after WW I, West Prussia had to be surrendered to the
newly born Polish state in 1920. After Germany lost WW II in 1945, also the southern half of East Prussia was lost to Poland, the northern half with Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) was lost to the Soviet Union. The
German population was driven out or emmigrated in the following years.
Please also note:
Due to many requests from mostly Polish but also other visitors, I am working on the English translation. Du to the
limited space I will not translate the full text, but will start to add English comments to the photos. So you will better know what you see! Please give me some time to do this.
In the meantime enjoy the
beautiful pictures of wonderful northern Poland, parts of Lithuania and Russia. Pictures tell more than a thousand words ...
Your webmaster of www.ordensland.de