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Pomerania / Pommern

The territory of Pomerania (Pommern in German) stretched along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, from the island of Rügen (now within north-eastern Germany) to the mouth of the Vistula at Gdansk (now part of Poland). To the immediate west of this region, in the ninth and tenth centuries, was the Veleti Union, a confederation of ethnic Celts which may have formed out of the remnants of the widespread Venedi. Pomerania itself was occupied for a time by the Germanic Jutes and the Rugii in the first century BC (the latter tribe supplying the name of the island), and then the Goths in the first century AD. The Goths did not remain, but instead trickled south-eastwards during the course of the late second century and early third. However, when they went, and the neighbouring Gepids, Rugii, and Scirii followed them, not everyone went with them. Elements of all the East Germanic tribes stayed behind, forming what Jordanes later called the Vidivarii.

Areas of Pomerania were largely depopulated during the Migration Period of the fourth and fifth centuries AD and remained that way into the seventh century. Then Slavic tribes who were closely related to the Polish tribes migrated into the area and became known as Pomeranians. Buffeted on either side by the Holy Roman empire in the west and early Poland in the east, a number of minor states rose and fell before a German duchy was established towards the west of the region.

(Additional information by Karl-Heinz Gabbey.)

8th - 9th cent

Slavic tribes migrate and settle in the region and become known as Pomeranians, occupying the main territory between the Oder and the Vistula. They number at least ten tribes, two of which are the Pyritzans and the Volinians. To the east of them are Baltic peoples, while to the west are the Veleti group of (Venedi) Celtic tribes that are rapidly becoming Slavicised, plus the Obrodrites. Vast woodlands separate the Pomeranians from the Poles to their south.

Stettin in Pomerania
Stettin in Pomerania was for a brief time controlled by Poland

789

The Carolingian Frankish king, Charlemagne, leads an expedition against Dragovit, king of the Veleti (Venedi) on the opposite bank of the Oder. Charlemagne defeats him and makes him a vassal in the only venture he makes into what are now Slavic lands - generally, at least. This expedition shows that some earlier groups are still recognisable.

936

The territory west of the Oder is incorporated into the March of the Billungs and the North March of the Holy Roman empire, allowing the native regions to be conquered and settled by Germans.

960s - 992

Pomerania is invaded by the Polish prince, Mieszko I, and large areas are subdued and incorporated into the newly-formed Polish state in the 960s. The period in which his son, Boleslaw I succeeds to the ducal throne is a confused one, but in 992 he is undisputed ruler of territory which includes Greater Poland, Mazovia, Kuiavia, and parts of Pomerania, forming something close to the modern Polish territory).

Map of Germany AD 962
Germany in AD 962 may have had its new emperor to govern the territories shown within the dark black line, but it was still a patchwork of competing interests and power bases, most notably in the five great stem duchies, many of which were attempting to expand their own territories outside the empire, creating the various march or border regions to the east and south (click on map to show full sized)

962

With the accession of Otto I, the power of the Germanic Roman empire is confirmed, and Otto is quite vigorous in establishing new counties and border areas within and without the empire's borders. Saxony gains Hermann Billung as its duke, charged with maintaining the duchy's eastern borders and expanding them further to the east, alongside the recently-created North March. Perhaps as a reaction to this or as the culmination of a process that is already heading that way, the duchy of Poland is formed around the same time.

1000

On 7 to 15 March the Congress Of Gniezno (the capital of Poland) is held. The German Emperor Otto III establishes an archbishopric in Gniezno (destroyed during a revolt of Pomeranians in 1005) with three new bishoprics in Krakow for Little Poland, Wroclaw for Silesia, and Kolobrzeg for Pomerania (albeit short-lived), plus the reaffirmation of the old bishopric in Poznan. The revolt effectively ends any real control Poland has in Pomerania.

1032

Poland is partitioned three ways, with Dytryk (Deitrich) probably in Pomerania.

1032 - ?

Dytryk / Deitrich

Prince of Pomerania? Died after 1033.

c.1046

No native Pomeranian rulers are recorded until Zemuzil.

fl 1046

Zemuzil / Siemomysl

Pomeranian native ruler.

fl 1113

Gniewomir

Pomeranian native ruler.

fl 1113

Swantibor

Pomeranian native ruler.

fl 1113

?

Unnamed Pomeranian native ruler. Defeated at Kolobrzeg.

1107

The third of these native rulers is mentioned but is not named. He is besieged in Kolobrzeg, which is held by the Swantiborides branch of the Pomeranian dukes after it is conquered. The establishment of the duchy of Pomerania leads to more and more conquest of native lands and a gradual end to native rule.

Duchy of Pommern / Pomerania (Greifen)
AD 1107 - 1637

A Germanised duchy was established in Pomerania which gradually conquered the remaining native tribes, turning them into vassals and Christianising them. It was expanded into Circipania and Uckermark which lay to the south-west, and competed with the margraviate of Brandenburg for territory and formal overlordship of all of Pomerania. As was typical of German feudal states, it was divided several times over the course of its five hundred years of existence.

The ruling house was the Greifen, or house of Pomerania. The latter was probably used first, as the griffin, in use as the emblem on the family shield from 1194, only came to be synonymous with the name of the ruling house in the fifteenth century. The family's origins are obscure, but they were probably descended from local Slavic nobility and became Germanised in the eleventh century. Wartislaw I was the first historical member of the dynasty, and he accepted Christianisation at the hands of the Poles who controlled areas of the territory at this time.

1107 - 1137

Wartislaw I

First duke of Pomerania. Polish vassal.

1122 - 1135

Boleslaw III of Poland gains overall control over Wartislaw, reducing him to a vassal. In 1124-1125, Otto of Bamburg is brought in by Boleslaw to Christianise the pagans, which he does, supported by the already Christianised Duke Wartislaw I. Wartislaw also conquers vast territories to the west of the Oder, defeating the weakened Liutizian tribes and incorporating them into Pomerania. These new conquests are placed under the overlordship of Albert I of Brandenburg.

1137

Wartislaw is killed by pagans and leaves the duchy to his young sons. His younger brother, Ratibor, steps in to manage the duchy. He is the founder of the Ratiborides branch which rules the lands of Schlawe-Stolp (until it goes extinct in 1227 and the territory is incorporated back into Pomerania), and the branch also accounts for some of the missing reignal numbering in the Pomerania list. The youngest of the three brothers, Swantibor, is the founder of the Swantiborides, who are key figures in Pomerania.

1137 - 1152

Ratibor I

Brother. Founder of the Ratiborides.

1152 - 1187

Bogislaw I

Son of Wartislaw I. In Pommern-Stettin.

1152 - 1181/82

Casimir I

Brother. Joint ruler from Pommern-Demmin.

1164

Despite Pomerania already being Christianised, and increasingly Germanised, bishops and dukes from the Holy Roman empire continue to mount expeditions into Pomerania. The Battle of Verchen in 1164 makes Pomerania a vassal of Henry the Lion of Saxony, while Pomerania secures Circipania around the same time.

1168

After years of pirate attacks by the Wends, King Valdemar of Denmark has been persuaded by Absalon, bishop of Roskilde and the chief royal advisor (and future archbishop of Lund), to launch a crusade against them. The Danes land on Rügen and besiege the capital city of Arkona. Once Valdemar's forces set fire to the city's walls and buildings, the residents of Arkona surrender. The subsequent surrender of the town of Karenz means that the island becomes a Danish possession.

The Danes conquer Rugen
The Danish conquest of Rügen ended more than a millennium of independence for the native people - a possible combination of Celts, Germanics, and Slavs - pulling down their gods in the process

1180 - 1185

The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, dispossesses Henry the Lion and assumes the overlordship of Pomerania himself. This is lost in 1885 to a Danish invasion which makes them overlords of Pomerania.

1181/82 - 1187

Casimir is killed in battle without having any offspring. His brother, Bogislaw, governs all of Pomerania for the remainder of his life, after which it is formally partitioned into Pommern-Demmin and Pommern-Wolgast, with Bogislaw's elder son gaining the latter.

Pommern-Demmin
AD 1187 - 1264

This and Pommern-Wolgast were the first divisions of the duchy of Pomerania, with Pommern-Demmin bearing superiority. Pomerania had already been informally partitioned under the joint rule of the brothers, Bogislaw I and Casimir I, but this was formalised after their deaths. The territory under Casimir II included Dievenow, Rega, Tollense, and the Upper Peene.

1187 - 1219

Casimir II

Son of Bogislaw I of Pomerania.

1219 - 1264

Wartislaw III

Son.

1227

Overlordship of Pomerania is recovered by the Holy Roman empire from the Danes.

1264

After losing much of its territory, Pommern-Demmin is absorbed into Pommern-Wolgast by Barnim I upon the death of Wartislaw.

Pommern-Wolgast
AD 1187 - 1625

This and Pommern-Demmin were the first divisions of the duchy of Pomerania, with Pommern-Woolgast the junior of the two. Pomerania had already been informally partitioned under the joint rule of the brothers, Bogislaw I and Casimir I, but this was formalised after their deaths. The territory under Bogislaw II included the Lower Peene, Ihna, Oder, and Uecker.

1187 - 1222

Bogislaw II

Son of Bogislaw I of Pomerania.

1222 - 1278

Barnim I the Good

Son.

1222 - 1224

Bogislaw III

Joint ruler.

1227

Overlordship of Pomerania is recovered by the Holy Roman empire from the Danes.

1264

Barnim absorbs Pommern-Demmin on the death of his cousin, Wartislaw III, reunifying the whole of Pomerania for a short time.

1278 - 1295

Barnim II

Son of Barnim I.

1295

Pommern-Woolgast is partitioned, with Pommern-Stargard being created out of it for the youngest son of Barnim I, Otto.

1295 - 1309

Bogislaw IV

Brother.

1308

Following the conquest of the Prussians, Nadravs, and Skalvs, and the seizure of Pomerania in this year, the state ruled by the Teutonic Knights reaches from the Lower Vistula to Klaipeda (on the modern Lithuanian coast), which has been ceded to them by the Livonian Knights.

1309 - 1326

Wartislaw IV

Son.

1320

On 20 January, all of Poland (except for Silesia, Pomerania, and Mazovia) is reunited into the Polish kingdom with coronation of Wladyslaw.

1325

Pomerania gains the principality of Rügen which lies on the island of the same name off the coast.

1326 - 1368

Wartislaw V

Son. In Pommern-Stralsund only from 1368.

1326 - 1368

Bogislaw V

Brother. In Pommern-Stargard only from 1368.

1326 - 1365

Barnim IV

Brother.

1368

Pommern-Woolgast is further partitioned, with a second Pommern-Stargard being created for Bogislaw V, along with Pommern-Stralsund for Wartislaw V. Bogislaw V's son, Casimir IV gains the senior Pommern-Stargard at the same time.

1365 - 1377

Wartislaw VI

Son. In Pommern-Rügen from 1377.

1365 - 1393

Bogislaw VI

Brother.

1377 - 1394

Pommern-Woolgast is partitioned again, with Pommern-Rügen being formed. The new division also controls the senior division between 1377-1394 under Wartislaw VI. Pommern-Stolp is created for one of the sons of Bogislaw V, while Pommern-Traburg is created for another.

1390

Pommern-Wolgast absorbs the defunct Pommern-Stralsund.

1394 - 1405

Barnim VI

Son.

1405 - 1457

Wartislaw IX

Son. In Wolgast.

1405 - 1449

Barnim VII

Son of Barnim VI. In Gützkow.

1447 - 1449

Pommern-Wolgast absorbs the defunct Pommern-Stargard. Just two years later, in 1449, Pommern-Stolp is also absorbed.

1454 - 1466

King Kazimierz of Poland pursues the Thirteen Year War against the Teutonic Knights. Ostensibly the reason for the war is the domination of Prussia, which Poland is determined to control. During the war, Poland takes Pomerania and Danzig, and the Knights end up as their vassals.

1457 - 1478

Wartislaw X

Son of Wartislaw IX. In Rügen.

1457 - 1474

Eric II

Brother. In Wolgast.

1474 - 1523

Bogislaw X the Great

Son.

1474

Casimir VII

Son. Domains unknown, probably in Bath or Stolp. Died 1474.

1475

Wartislaw XI

Brother. Domains unknown, probably in Bath or Stolp. Died 1475.

1523

Following the death of Bogislaw the Great, Pommern-Woolgast is partitioned again, with the former Pommern-Stargard being recreated as Pommern-Stettin.

1523 - 1531

George I

Son of Bogislaw X.

1573

Barnim IX

Brother. Details unknown. Died 1573.

1518

Casimir VIII

Brother. Details unknown. Died 1518.

1531 - 1560

Phillipp / Philip I

Son.

1560 - 1569

Johann Friedrich / John Frederick

Son. Transferred to Pommern-Stettin.

1569

Yet again, Pommern-Woolgast is partitioned, this time with John Frederick gaining Pommern-Stettin for himself following the death of its ruler, while fresh divisions are created in Pommern-Barth, for another of Philipp's sons, and Pommern-Rügenwalde.

1569 - 1592

Ernest Ludwig / Ernest Louis

Brother.

Barnim X (IX)

Brother. Details unknown.

1605

Casimir IX

Brother. Details unknown. Died 1605.

1592 - 1625

Phillipp / Philip III Julius

Son.

1625

Pommern-Woolgast is absorbed into Pommern-Barth.

Pommern-Stargard (Pommern-Stettin)
AD 1295 - 1600

Pommern-Stargard was the first division of the reunited Pommern-Wolgast, created in 1295 for the younger of Barnim's sons and located to the south of Gdansk. Ultimately, it was also one of the longest-lasting divisions. Although the ruling line failed in 1464, the division was recreated as Pommern-Stettin in 1523.

1295 - 1345

Otto I

Son of Barnim I of Pommern-Wolgast.

1320

On 20 January, all of Poland (except for Silesia, Pomerania, and Mazovia) is reunited into the Polish kingdom with coronation of Wladyslaw.

St Peter's & St Paul's Church in Stettin
The Gothic St Peter's & St Paul's Church in Stettin dates to the early fifteenth century

1345 - 1368

Barnim III

Son.

1368

Pommern-Wolgast is further partitioned, with a second Pommern-Stargard being created for Bogislaw V, along with Pommern-Stralsund for Wartislaw V. Bogislaw V's son, Casimir IV gains the senior Pommern-Stargard at the same time.

1368 - 1371

Casimir IV

Son of Bogislaw V of Pommern-Wolgast.

1372

Casimir III

Son of Barnim III. Joint ruler? Died in Brandenburg ambush, 1372.

1371 - 1413

Swantibor I (III)

Brother.

1371 - 1403

Bogislaw VII

Brother and joint ruler.

1413 - 1427

Otto II

Son of Swantibor I.

1413 - 1435

Casimir VI (V)

Brother and joint ruler.

1435 - 1451

Joachim the Younger

Son.

1449

Pommern-Stargard absorbs Pommern-Traburg.

1451 - 1464

Otto III

Son.

1454 - 1466

King Kazimierz of Poland pursues the Thirteen Year War against the Teutonic Knights. Ostensibly the reason for the war is the domination of Prussia, which Poland is determined to control. During the war, Poland takes Pomerania and Danzig, and the Knights end up as their vassals.

1464 - 1523

Pommern-Stargard reverts to Pommern-Wolgast in 1464, but in 1523, following the death of Bogislaw the Great, Pommern-Woolgast is partitioned again, with the former Pommern-Stargard being recreated as Pommern-Stettin.

1523 - 1569

Barnim XI

1569

After Barnim's death, Pommern-Wolgast is partitioned again, this time with John Frederick gaining Pommern-Stettin for himself, while fresh divisions are created in Pommern-Barth and Pommern-Rügenwalde.

1569 - 1600

Johann Friedrich / John Frederick

Formerly of Pommern-Wolgast.

1600

With John Frederick's death, Pommern-Stettin goes to Pommern-Rügenwalde.

Pommern-Stargard
AD 1368 - 1447

Pommern-Stargard was the second division of Pommern-Wolgast, created in 1368 in the area south-east of Gdansk along with Pommern-Stralsund.

1368 - 1374

Bogislaw V

Formerly of Pommern-Wolgast.

1374 - 1377

Casimir V

1377

Pommern-Stargard is partitioned, with Pommern-Stolp and Pommern-Traburg being created from portions of its territory.

1377 - 1417

Bogislaw VIII

Son of Bogislaw V of Pommern-Wolgast.

1417 - 1447

Bogislaw IX

Son.

1447

Pommern-Stargard is absorbed back into Pommern-Wolgast.

Pommern-Stralsund
AD 1368 - 1390

Pommern-Stralsund was created out of the second division of Pommern-Wolgast in the west of the duchy in 1368, along with the intermediate Pommern-Stargard. The division lasted only for the lifetime of its one ruler, Wartislaw V, before being reabsorbed.

1368 - 1390

Wartislaw V

Formerly of Pommern-Wolgast.

1390

Pommern-Stralsund is absorbed back into Pommern-Wolgast.

Pommern-Stolp
AD 1377 - 1449

Pommern-Stolp was created as a division of Pommern-Stargard on the eastern border of the duchy for another of the sons of Bogislaw V, along with Pommern-Traburg.

1377 - 1392

Wartislaw VII

Son of Bogislaw V of Pommern-Wolgast.

1389

Having promised to find a ruling king for the Scandinavian nations under her control, Queen Regnant Margaret of Denmark proclaims her great-nephew, Bogislaw of Pommern-Stolp, king of Norway with her ruling alongside him as specifically agreed for Norway. He receives the more acceptable Scandinavian name of Eric as he takes up his new position, although he is still a minor, so Margaret returns to the role of regent.

1392 - 1449

Bogislaw / Eric I

Son. Became King Eric of Denmark, Norway & Sweden.

1397

In order to fully unite the three kingdoms under her control and promote her aim of securing peace and prosperity for Scandinavia, Queen Margaret convenes the Congress of the Realm at Kalmar in June 1397. Eric is crowned king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under the terms of the Union of Kalmar. Margaret remains regent for the rest of her lifetime so that even when Eric reaches his majority, she remains in control.

1439 - 1449

Eric is removed from the throne by the nobles of Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1439 and returns to Pommern-Stolp where he governs until his death. Following that, Pommern-Stolp is absorbed back into Pommern-Wolgast.

Pommern-Traburg
AD 1377 - 1403

Pommern-Traburg was created as a division of Pommern-Stargard, along with Pommern-Stolp. The division lasted only for the lifetime of its one ruler, Barnim V, before being reabsorbed.

1377 - 1403

Barnim V

Son of Bogislaw V of Pommern-Wolgast.

1449

Pommern-Traburg is absorbed into the senior (and sole surviving) Pommern-Stargard.

Pommern-Rügen
AD 1377 - 1454

Pommern-Woolgast was partitioned again in 1377, with Pommern-Rügen being formed on the island of that name off the coast for Wartislaw VI (the former principality of Rügen had survived there until 1325). Wartislaw also controlled the senior division during his lifetime, but it reverted to its own line of rulers after his death in 1394.

1377 - 1394

Wartislaw VI

Formerly of Pommern-Wolgast.

1394

Following the death of Wartislaw VI, Pommern-Rügen's partition from Pommern-Wolgast is formalised.

1394 - 1414

Wartislaw VIII

Son.

1414 - 1440

Swantibor II

In Rügen.

1414 - 1454

Barnim VIII

Son of Wartislaw VIII. In Triebsees.

1454

Pommern-Rügen reverts to Pommern-Woolgast.

Pommern-Rügenwalde
AD 1569 - 1603

In 1569, Pommern-Woolgast was partitioned, with Pommern-Rügenwalde being created as a fresh division on the eastern coast of the suchy, north-west of Stolp. The division lasted only for the lifetime of its one ruler, Barnim XII, before being absorbed into Pommern-Barth.

1569 - 1603

Barnim XII

1600 - 1603

With John Frederick's death, Pommern-Rügenwalde gains Pommern-Stettin. However, Barnim XII himself dies just three years later, and his holdings pass to Pommern-Barth.

Pommern-Barth
AD 1569 - 1637

In 1569, Pommern-Woolgast was partitioned, with Pommern-Barth being created as a fresh division for Bogislaw XIII.

1569 - 1606

Bogislaw XIII

Son of Phillipp I of Pommern-Woolgast.

1603

With the death of Barnim XII, Pommern-Barth gains Pommern-Rügenwalde.

1606 - 1618

Philipp / Philip II

Son.

1618 - 1620

Franz / Francis

Brother.

1620 - 1637

Bogislaw XIV

Brother and last duke. Also duke of Stettin. Killed.

1625 - 1637

Pommern-Barth absorbs Pommern-Woolgast, meaning all of West Pomerania now falls under the control of Bogislaw XIV. Unfortunately, despite his best attempts, Bogislaw is unable to avoid becoming involved in the Thirty Years' War, and Pomerania is occupied by Imperial and Swedish troops who oppose one another. In 1634, Bogislaw suffers a stroke and abdicates, leaving no clear successor, as he has no children of his own.

St Mary's Church in Stralsund
St Mary's Church in Stralsund was built mainly in the fourteenth century

1637 - 1648

Bogislaw XIV is killed in the Thirty Years' War in 1637 and Pomerania is taken by Sweden, ending the duchy.

1648 - 1807

The near-constant warfare and rapid change brought about by the Reformation and its Papal response, the Counter Reformation, is finally ended by the Peace of Westphalia, as is the Thirty Years' War. As part of the treaty's terms, Pomerania is carved up, with Further-Pomerania going to Brandenburg-Prussia while Nearer-Pomerania remains in Swedish hands. The reward for Sweden is gaining a seat in the imperial diet of the Holy Roman empire.

1807 - 1809

The kingdom of Prussia loses Further Pomerania to Napoleonic France, which also occupies Nearer-Pomerania, removing it from Swedish control.

1809 - 1815

France's brief occupation of Pomerania ends when Sweden recaptures the region, holding it until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

1815 - 1918

As part of the Congress of Vienna, Pomerania is handed over to Prussia, which expands rapidly thanks to its post-war gains.

In 1918 the German empire collapses as the kaiser is forced to abdicate and the First World War victors divide the spoils. Western Pomerania is joined with Mecklenburg to form the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the new republic of Germany. Eastern Pomerania (Hinterpommern), the territory that lies towards the east of the River Oder and which includes the Pomeranian seat of government - the city of Stettin - remains an internationally-recognised German territory with a German population.

1945 - 1970

Following the end of the Second World War, the surviving German population of Hinterpommern - as with that of East Prussia (Ostpreussen) and Silesia (Schlesien) - that has not already fled in advance of the arrival of the Soviet armies is terrorised, murdered, or removed with some level of brutality which amounts to ethnic cleansing. Hinterpommern and Silesia fall under Polish control - the former as the West Pomerania region of Poland. The city of Königsberg and East Prussia in general fall under direct Soviet control, pending treaties with an established post-war German government.

These German eastern territories, including Hinterpommern, do not officially become Polish territory until Chancellor Willi Brand's Social Democratic government of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) recognises the loss in 1970 (locate Willi Brand's 1970 Warsaw speech to the Polish people for details). The Soviet-dominated East German government which is not recognised by the former western Allies - Britain, France, and the United States - has already recognised Poland's hegemony of Pommern (under duress in 1949) when the Soviet Union had established the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), better known as the former East Germany.