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The Kingdom of Prussia at its greatest extent (in blue), at the time of the formation of the German Empire, 1871 (in tan).
Source: Wikipedia Commons
The Free State of Prussia (blue), within Germany (tan) at the time of the Weimar Republic.
Source: Wikipedia Commons

Prussia was an earlier designation for the territory that later became the provinces of East Prussia (previously Duchy of Prussia or Ducal Prussia) and West Prussia (previously Polish Prussia or Royal Prussia), and in 1701 the Kingdom of Prussia, ruled by the Hohenzollerns, having orig­inated from the Electorate of Brandenburg.  After World War I Prussia became a Free State, and after World War II it was dissolved. In 1914 Prussia consisted of the "old provinces" (acquired before 1866) of East Prussia, West Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Branden­burg, Saxony, Westphalia, and the Rhine Province, and of the "new provinces" (acquired in 1866) of Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, and Hessen-Nassau. In 1850 the principalities of Hohenzollern were add­ed. In 1854 the principality of Neuenburg and Valengin (today the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel) was given up. The rulers were Friedrich I until 1713, Friedrich Wilhelm I until 1740, Friedrich II (the Great) until 1786, Friedrich Wilhelm II until 1797, Friedrich Wilhelm III until 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm IV until 1861, Wilhelm I until 1888, Friedrich III 1888, and Wilhelm II until 1918.

In Pomerania, Posen, and Silesia there were no great numbers of Mennonites. Within the other parts of the state the various groups of Mennonites long developed in regional independence of each other, also in relation to the state. Friedrich Wilhelm I took a very different attitude toward the Mennonites in East Prussia than to the Men­nonites in Krefeld. Friedrich II granted spe­cific privileges to the settlements in the Netzebruch in 1765 and to the Mennonites in the East in 1780. In 1830 Friedrich Wilhelm III, after careful preparation, issued a law particularly designed for the Mennonites in the West. But the Order of Cab­inet of 1827 concerning the oath was valid for the entire state; likewise the elimination of exemption from military service of 1867, the permission grant­ed the old Mennonite families to do noncombatant military service, and in 1874 the law concerning the rights of the Mennonite churches to incorporate.

Additional Information

The 1925 German census gives the following statistics (total population) for the Mennonites in Prussia:

District Königsberg 251
District Gumbinnen 491
District Allenstein 40
District West Prussia 3,120
Total Province of East Prussia 3,902
Berlin City 599
District Potsdam 144
District Frankfurt/Oder 74
Total Province of Brandenburg 218
District Stetten 40
District Köslin 50
District Stralsund 9
Total Province of Pomerania 99
Province of Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia 24
District Breslau 128
District Liegnitz 11
Total Province of Lower Silesia 139
Province of Upper Silesia 10
District Magdeburg 105
District Merseburg 62
District Erfurt 9
Total Province of Saxony 176
Total Province of Schleswig-Holstein 227
District Hanover 75
District Hildescheim 29
District Lüneburg 49
District Stade 24
District Osnabrück 34
District Aurich 231
Total Province of Hanover 422
District Münster 131
District Minden 16
District Arnsberg 159
Total Province of Westphalia 306
District Kassel 46
District Wiesbaden 89
Total Province of Hessen-Nassau 135
District Koblenz 66
District Düsseldorf 1,121
District Cologne 76
District Trier 33
District Aachan 5
Total Rhine Province 1,301
Hohenzollern 21
Grand Total 7599
Cities - Mennonite Population
Berlin 599
Königsberg 78
Stettin 15
Breslau 74
Magdeburg 38
Halle/Saale 14
Erfurt 6
Kiel 29
Altona 87
Hanover 66
Münster 7
Dortmund 31
Bochum 15
Gelsenkirchen 12
Kassel 20
Frankfurt/Main 35
Wiesbaden 47
Essen 43
Düsseldorf 59
Duisburg 21
Barmen 8
Elberfeld 19
Krefeld 791
Mühlheim/Ruhr 8
Hamborn 11
München/Gladbach 2
Oberhausen 32
Cologne 58
Aachen 2
Total 2,227

Author(s) Ernst Crous
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Crous, Ernst. "Prussia." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 1 Aug 2021.

APA style

Crous, Ernst. (1959). Prussia. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 August 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 224-225. All rights reserved.

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