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, Prussia (Germany) - 1906


Prussia, prush'a (Ger. Pretuten, prois'sen), a kingdom of Europe, the chief state of the German Empire, com prising the greater part of northern Germany. It extends (not reckoning the detached little province of Hohenzol- lern) from lat. 49° V to 55° 54' N. and from Ion. 5° 52' to 22° 54' E. The main body of the monarchy is bounded S. by German Lorraine, Bavaria, Hesse, the Thuringian states, the kingdom of Saxony, and Austria-Hungary (mainly Bohemia and Austrian Silesia) ; W. by the Netherlands, Bel gium, and Luxemburg ; N. by the North Sea, Oldenburg, Denmark, Mecklenburg, and the Baltic : and E. by Russia (mainly Poland). In addition, it borders on a number of German states, whose territories are partially or wholly en closed by the Prussian dominions, or which enclose detached fragments of Prussian territory. The greatest extension of the country is from NE. to SW., a line drawn from the town of Memel, on the Baltic, to Saarbrilcken, on the borders of Lorraine, measuring about 750 miles...

The population now (1905) is about 37,000,000. In 1816 Prussia (with an area about one-fifth less than at present) contained 10,349,000 inhabitants; in 1852 (with a slight increase of area through the annexation of Hohenzollern), 16,935,000; in 1861, 18,491,000 ; in 1867 (within the present limits, Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Nassau, Hesse-Cassel, Frankfort, and Hesse-Homburg having been annexed), 23,971,000.

Surface, Soil, Climate. — The surface of Prussia is in the main a great plain, sloping gradually towards the North Sea and the Baltic. The shores of these seas are generally very low. In some places, however, as in the scalloped island of RUgen and in the deeply-indented coast of Schleswig- Holstoin, the land risen steeply from the Baltic. Parte of the coast present high sand-dunes, and many stretches have to be protected against the sea by artificial dikes. The principal indentations along the Baltic are constituted by the Gulf of Danzig, the Pomeranian Gulf, and the Bay of Kiel. A peculiar feature of the Baltic coast-land consists in the extensive lagoons, separated from the open sea by long spits of land or by islands. There are 3 of these en closed bays, — the Kurisches Half, Frisches Haff, and Stet- tiner Han. These lagoons receive the waters of the large streams that flow through Prussia to the Baltic The principal islands of Prussia are Riigen, Usedora, WoIIin, Feh- marn, and Alsen, in the Baltic, and the North Frisian Islands in the North Sea. About one-third of the territory of Prussia is mountainous or hilly. In the SE., in Silesia, on the borders of Austria-Hungary, are the Sudetic Moun tains, of which the principal portion is the Riesengebirge (Giant Mountains), whose loftiest peak, the Sohneekoppe (5260 feet), is in Prussia. In the western half of the monarchy are the Harz Mountains (about one-half of which region belongs to Prussia), part of the Thuringian Forest, and an extensive region of mountains and plateaus on both sides of the Rhine, including the Hunsriick, Eifel, Taunus, Westerwald, etc. The detached Hohenzollern belongs mainly to the region of the Rauhe Alb. The eastern provinces belong to the basin of the Baltic, in which the chief rivers (proceeding from K. to W.) are the Memel (or Niemen), Pregel, Vistula, and Oder (with its affluent the Warthe). The western provinces belong to the basin of the North Sea and are watered by the Elbe (with its tributaries the Saale, Harel, and Spree), the Weser, Ems, Eider, and Rhine (with its affluents the Main, Labn, Mo selle, Ruhr, and Lippe). The level region which consti tutes the eastern half of the kingdom is dotted with lakes, none of which is of great size. Among the largest are the Spirdingsee, Mauersee, and Geserichsee. The various parts of Prussia present a great diversity of soil. In the N., by the side of fine farming land, there are extensive sandy tracts and large stretches of moor, heath, and marsh-land. Among these sterile tracts may be mentioned the Tucheler Heide (Tuchet Heath), W. of the Vistula, a great expanse of sand, partly overgrown with conifers, and the LUne- burger Heide (LUneburg Heath), an extensive moorland in Hanover. With the expenditure of great toil much of this naturally unproductive soil is being gradually reclaimed. The province of Brandenburg, in which the capital is situ ated, is in great part a sandy plain, much of which has been laboriously brought under cultivation. Among the fertile tracts are portions of the Vistula and Oder valleys, the district about Magdeburg (on the Elbe), the region along the foot of the RiesengeEirge (in Silesia), the Thurin- gian country, part of the Weser valley (about Hildesheim), and the mountainous regions along the Rhine and its affluents. The climate of Prussia is, on the whole, temperate and salubrious, although rather cold in the N. and in the elevated parts of the W. The mean annual temperature in the eastern part of the Baltic region is about 44* and in the valley of the Rhine about 50°. In the former territory the average winter temperature is about 23°. In the district about the junction of the Rhine and Moselle it is about 15° higher. The rainfall varies very greatly in the different parts of the country. The annual precipitation in the Han Mountains is as high as 56 inches. In the Riesengebirge and part of the Rhine region it is about 36 inches. Along the sea-coast it ranges between 20 and 30 inches. In some of the northern districts it is less than 15 inches. Agriculture. — About one-half of the surface of Prussia is classed as agricultural land ; about one-seventh is in mead ows and pastures ; nearly one-fourth is woodland. Some what more than one-half of the land under cultivation is devoted to cereal crops. The chief cereals in the order of the acreage (as well as of the production) are rye, oats, wheat, and barley. Potatoes and beets (for sugar) are raised in immense quantities. The wines of the Rhine and Moselle are famous. Fruit-culture is very extensive. The live stock in the enumeration of 1900 consisted mainly of 10,- 877,000 cattle, 2,924,000 horses, 7,001,500 sheep, 10,967,000 hogs, and 2,051,500 goats. Bee-keeping is a considerable industry. The products of the barn-yard are not sufficient for home consumption, great quantities of poultry, feathers, and eggs being imported. In some provinces of Prussia (Pomerania, Posen, West Prussia) agriculture is carried on almost exclusively on large estates.

forests, Game, etc. — There are about 20,000,000 acres of woodland in Prussia, of which somewhat more than 50 per cent, belongs to private individuals, 31 per cent, to the state, and 13 per cent, to the communes. The greatest rela tive extent of forest-land is in the province of Hesse-Nassau, where it covers about 40 per cent, of the area. In Branden burg one-third of the surface is woodland, and the Rhine- land is nearly as well wooded. Silesia and Westphalia are not far behind the Rhineland. The smallest proportion of forest area is in the province of Schleswig-Holstein, where it is only about 7 per cent. Somewhat more than two- thirds of the forest area consists of conifers, (lame abounds, the quadrupeds comprising deer, hares, rabbits, wild-boars, foxes, and wild-cats, besides smaller mammals. Feathered game is varied and plentiful. In spite of the extensive coast-line and the many rivers and lakes, the fisheries of Prussia are far from supplying the needs of the inhabitants. Mineral Product*. — Prussia holds the leading place among the countries of continental Europe in the extent of its mineral resources. The value of the mineral product in 1901 was $287,000,000. The leading product is coal. The quantity mined in 1901 was 101,000,000 metric (approximately "long") tons, valued at $231,000,000. The coal regions are the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hanover, Saxony, and Silesia. Brown coal (lignite) is also found in vast deposits, especially in Saxony, Brandenburg, Silesia, the Rhineland, and Hesse-Nassau. The yield in 1901 was 37,500,000 tons, valued at $22,000,000. Prussia is a great iron-producing country. The deposits occur mainly in the regions which yield the bulk of the coal supply. The iron-ore mined in 1901 amounted to 3,832,000 tons, valued at nearly $10,000,000. Copper (mainly in Saxony) and zinc (mainly in Silesia) were mined in that year to the extent of 765,000 tons (valued at nearly $6,000,000) and 644,500 tons (about $5,000,000) respectively. Large quantities of lead are obtained in the Rhineland, Silesia, Hesse-Nassau, and Hanover. Other metallic products are silver, gold, cobalt, nickel, arsenic, manganese, and pyrite. Prussia possesses vast riches in various kinds of salts, including common salt, kainite, chloride of potassium and other potassium salts, Olauber salt, etc. The town of Stassfurt, in the province of Saxony, is noted for the great deposits of rock-salt and kainite in its vicinity. The product of salts in 1901 was valued at about $17,000,000. Amber is found along the shores of the Baltic. Prussia has a number of noted mineral springs, among which are those at Homburg, Wiesbaden, Ems, Scblangen- bad, Langenschwalbach, Soden, Aix-la-Chapelle, Warm- brunn, and Salzbrunn.

Manufactures, Internal Communications, etc. — Prussia ranks next to England among the states of Europe in the extent of its iron- and steel-industry. The production of raw iron and steel is carried on mainly in the Rhineland, Westphalia, and Silesia. More than 5,000,000 tons of pig- iron were produced in 1901. The Rhineland and West phalia are among the most important seats of the manu facture of iron and steel in the world. The leading centre of this industry is Essen, where are located the Krupp ordnance and armor-plate works. Remscheid and Solingen are noted for their steel-wares. Berlin and other large cities have great locomotive- and car-works and machine- shops. Stettin has become one of the principal seats of the ship-building industry in the world. Prussia occupies a commanding position in the textile industry, which is car ried on most extensively in the Rhineland, Westphalia, and Silesia. Aix-la-Chapelle is noted for its woollen stuffs, and Bielefeld (in Westphalia) for its linen, while Krefeld and Elberfeld-Bannen are great centres of the silk manu facture. Berlin is especially prominent in the manufacture of clothing, furniture, electrical apparatus, ornamental metal work, and surgical and physical instruments. Among other important manufactures of the country are beet-sugar and other food products, porcelain, glass, paper, leather goods, beer, and chemicals. Berlin now vies with Leipsic as a book-publishing centre.

The Prussian government has displayed great activity in developing the internal water communications of the coun try. The length of canals and canalized water-courses nearly equals that of the navigable waterways afforded by the rivers without artificial aid. There were in 1903 nearly 22,000 miles of railway in the kingdom, of which about 20,000 miles belonged to the state, the remainder being the property of private individuals. Among the leading com mercial centres are Berlin, Konigsbcrg, Danzig, Stettin, Posen, Breslau, Magdeburg, Hanover, Altona, Frankfort- on-the-Main, Cologne, ElDerfeld-Barmen, Krefeld, and Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Fairs still play an important part in the trade of the country. The principal ports of Prussia are Stettin, Danzig, Kbnigsberg, Memel, and Altona. The bulk of the sea-trade of the country passes through Ham burg and Bremen.

Inhabitants.' — Of the total population of Prussia in 1900 (in round numbers, 34,500,000), about 30,400,000 were German-speaking. The largest non-German element is the Polish, which numbers more than 3,000,000 people, dwell ing mainly in Posen (where they are most numerous), Sile sia, East Prussia, and West Prussia. There are besides about 400,000 Slavs, comprising Mazurs (East Prussia), Kassubs (West Prussia and Pomerania), Czechs (Silesia), and Wends (Brandenburg and Silesia). There are about 100,000 Lithuanians in East Prussia. Schleswig-Holstein contains upward of 125,000 Danes. The Dutch number about 75,000, and there are considerable numbers of Fris ians and Walloons. Of the total population in 1900, 21,800,000 were Protestants, 12,100,000 Catholics, and nearly 400,000 Jews. The Catholics predominate numeri cally in the Rhineland, Hohenzollern, Posen, Silesia, West phalia, and West Prussia. The Protestant church in Prus sia, outside of the provinces annexed in I860, is under the Evangelical High Consistory at Berlin. In the new prov inces it is under the ministry of public worship. Prussia has 9 universities, as follows : Berlin, Breslau, Bonn, Greifswald, Halle, Konigsberg, (lottingen, Marburg, Kiel. Constitution.— Prussia is a constitutional monarchy, the crown being hereditary in the male line. The parliament, or diet (Landtag), is composed of 2 chambers, the house of lords (Herrenhaus) and the chamber of deputies ( Abgeord- netenhaus). The house of lords is composed of the princes of the royal family, the heads of the hereditary noble houses, a number of life peers (chosen by the king from among the rich landowners, prominent manufacturers, and other notables), representatives of universities, the burgomasters of the large cities, and others. The chamber of deputies, or lower house, consists of 433 members, chosen for a term of 5 years by indirect election, the indirect voters being divided into 3 classes, the respective categories representing varying voting powers, dependent upon the amount of direct taxes paid by the voters. By the constitution of the German Empire the king of Prussia is German Emperor. Prussia is entitled to 17 votes in the Bundesrat out of a total of 58 and has 236 deputies in the Reichstag out of a total of 397. The kingdom is divided into provinces, each under a governor (Oberprasident). The provinces are divided into government-districts and these again into circles. The capital of the country is Berlin. The highest court for the kingdom is the Imperial Supreme Court at Leipsic.

History. — The nucleus of the Prussian kingdom is Bran denburg. (See Brandenburg.) The country takes its name from the Prussians (Borussians), a people akin to the Lithuanians, who have been long extinct. In the thir teenth century the heathen Prussians, whose home was on the Baltic Sea, in the region oomprised in the modern provinces of East and West Prussia, were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights, who spread Christianity with fire and sword. They Germanized the subjugated coun try and built cities. They were joined by the Knights Swordbearers, and the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea as far N. as the Gulf of Finland was subjected by its Germanic invaders. In 1488 the Teutonic Knights were forced to surrender West Prussia to Poland, East Prussia remaining in their hands as a Polish fief. About half a century later the Knights Swordbearers cut loose from the Teutonic Knights. In 1525 the grand-master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert of Brandenburg, converted their state into a Protestant hereditary realm, the duchy of Prussia, for which he did homage to the king of Poland. In 1618 the duchy of Prussia was united with the electorate of Brandenburg. It continued to be outside of the bounds of the German Empire. In 1657 Frederick William, the " Great Elector" of Brandenburg, secured from Poland a renunciation of its suzerainty over Prussia. Under this prince Brandenburg rose to the position of a considerable military power. His successor, Frederick III., assumed, in 1701, the title of King of Prussia, styling himself Fred erick I. When Frederick the Great ascended the throne, in 1740, the Prussian dominions had an area of about 46,- 000 sq. m. (about equal to that of the state of New York), with about 2,250,000 inhabitants. They embraced Bran denburg, East Prussia, the greater part of Pomerania, part of the present province of Saxony, the duchy of Cleves, the co. of Mark, the co. of Ravensburg (Westphalia), etc. Frederick the Great wrested the greater part of Silesia from Austria in 1742. He took part in the first partition of Poland in 1772, and thus acquired West Prus sia (without Danzig and Thorn), and other territories. In his reign, which terminated in 1 786, the area of Prussia was increased by two-thirds, and its population rose to nearly 5,500,000. The dismemberment of the kingdom of Poland, in 1793 and 1795, vastly increased the area of Prussia. The Polish capital, Warsaw, became for a short time a Prussian city. By the treaty of Tilsit, which terminated the disas trous war with Napoleon waged in 1806-07, Prussia was deprived of all her possessions W. of the Elbe and of the greater part of Prussian Poland ; but in 1815, after the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna restored to her most of the old possessions which had been wrested from her by the French (not reckoning the later Polish acquisitions), and granted to her new lands in many parts of Germany, in cluding half of Saxony. The kingdom had now an area of 107,000 sq. m. and a population of about 10,000,000. In 1866, after the successful war against Austria, Prussia was enlarged by the annexation of the kingdom of Han over, the electorate of Hesse-Cassel, the duchy of Nassau, Frankfort, Hesse-Homburg, Schleswig-IIolstein, and Lauen- burg. In that year Prussia organized the North German Confederation. On Jan. 18, 1871, William I. of Prussia was proclaimed at Versailles "Deutscher Kaiser," or Ger man emperor. See Germany.

Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906

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