History Files


European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe




Pomeranian Branches

A Germanised duchy was established in Pomerania which gradually conquered the remaining native tribes, turning them into vassals and Christianising them. 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, which was probably descended from local Slavic nobility.

Ratiborides (in Schlawe-Stolp)
AD 1107 - 1227

Ratibor, brother of the first duke of Pomerania, Wartislaw, was the founder of the Ratiborides branch, although some uncertainty remains as it seems the connection cannot be confirmed. Ratibor gained the lands of Schlawe-Stolp and governed them independently, albeit also briefly, and the Ratiborides also account for missing reignal numbering in the main list of rulers of Pomerania.

1107 - 1152

Ratibor I / Racibor

Brother of duke of Pomerania. Founder of the Ratiborides.


Wartislaw of Pomerania is killed by pagans and leaves the duchy to his young sons. His younger brother, Ratibor, steps in to manage the duchy. The youngest of the three brothers, Swantibor, is the founder of the Swantiborides.


Bogislaw I / II



Bogislaw III



Ratibor III

Half-brother or cousin.


With the death of Ratibor III, the Ratiborides are extinct and their territory is incorporated back into Pomerania.

Seal of the city of Schlawe
The first Seal of the city of Schlawe, dated to 1317

Swantiborides (in Pomerania)
AD 1107? - 1277?

The youngest of the three brothers who created the duchy of Pomerania, Swantibor was the founder of the Swantiborides, who were key figures in Pomerania. Swantibor was overthrown in a Pomeranian rebellion in 1105 or 1106 and exiled to Poland, but it seems that he was able to return after his brother became first duke of Pomerania in 1107. Records on the Swantiborides are very sketchy, and even their final fate is uncertain.

fl 1105 - ?


Brother of duke of Pomerania. Founder of the Swantiborides.


A native Pomeranian ruler is mentioned about this time but is not named. He is besieged in Kolobrzeg (Kolberg), which is held by the Swantiborides after it is conquered.

Wartislaw (II) Swantiboriz

Son? Castellan of Stettin. Died after 1196.

? - 1219


Son. Castellan of Gützkow.


Brother. Castellan of Stettin. Died after 1230/32.

fl 1176 on


Brother. Bishop of Kammin. Died after 1233.


Brother. Castellan of Kolberg (Kołobrzeg). Died after 1219.

1219 - ?


Son of Bartholomäus. Castellan of Stettin. Died after 1233.

fl 1210


Son. Died after 1259/60.

fl 1265


Grandson of Casimir. Castellan of Kolberg. Died after 1277/80.


The Swantiborides disappear from history, probably dying out with Casimir.

Principality of Rügen (Wizlaw)
AD 1162 - 1325

The largest island belonging to modern Germany, Rügen (or Ruegen) lies close to the north-eastern coast. First inhabited by the people of the Funnelbeaker culture in the late fifth millennium BC, the island was settled by Germanic Rugii in the first millennium AD, probably from Scandinavia. Slavs arrived in the seventh century, mixing with the Germanic population which remained after the Migration Period saw many Germanic groups head southwards, probably alongside the Goths. A native principality fully emerged at the same time as Pomerania to the immediate south-east was being Germanised, and in 1168 the island was conquered by the Danes.

The native principality of Rügen is usually referred to as being Slavic, although this generally ignores the remaining Germanic population. However, the first full English translation of Gesta Danorum (History of Denmark) by Saxo Grammaticus in 2015 adds a further layer of complexity to the picture. He states that the Danes referred to the island's population as Wends, suggesting a clear link to the Venedi. This rather nebulous group have been equated to northern and eastern Celts - Belgae in essence - whose presence in the region would have predated the Germans and Slavs (although again, many commentators, especially Slavic ones, insist on claiming the Wends as Slavs, seemingly ignoring the subtleties of the situation). These Celts appear to have remained in place, simply swapping a Celtic nobility for a Germanic one for a Slavic one. They have a complicated and little-seen history which covers vast tracts of northern and eastern Europe, with 'Venedi' being transformed over time and language shifts into 'Ouenedai' and 'Wend'. Another Wendish group on the western edge of Pomerania, under the leadership of Dragovit, was defeated in AD 789. These may have been related to the Wends of Rügen, but the latter group were only conquered when the island fell to the Danes.

(Additional information from Gesta Danorum: The History of the Danes, Karsten Friis-Jensen & Peter Fisher (Ed & Trans).)

fl 955


Native ruler.

fl 1066

Kruto / Krito / Cruto

Son of Grin / Grinus.

fl 1100

Grines / Grimmus

fl 1138

Ratislaus / Ratislaw / Ratze

1162 - 1170


Defeated by Danes. Reduced to a vassal prince of Rügen.


In his work, Gesta Danorum, Saxo Grammaticus describes the defeat of a group of Wends. They occupy the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of north-eastern Germany. 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 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

Valdemar takes control of Arkona and receives hostages from the leaders of the Wendish people. Then he orders the statue of a local deity named Svantevit to be destroyed. The Danes receive word from the people of Karenz - another important town on the island - that they are ready to surrender. Absalon travels to the town with thirty men, where they are met by six thousand warriors. However, the Wends prostrate themselves to the Christians and welcome the bishop. Karenz is the home to three pagan deities - Rugevit, Porevit and Porenut - which are believed to be the gods of war, lightning and thunder. Bishop Absalon destroys the temples to all three of these gods and Christianises the populace. Rügen and an area of the adjoining mainland are now Danish possessions while the native rulers are retained as vassals. They remain so until 1438.

1170 - 1217

Jaromar I


1218 - 1221



1221 - 1249

Wislaw I



The Danes are defeated in the Second Battle of Bornhöved on 22 July by a coalition forces of German states led by Count Adolf IV of Schauenburg and Holstein. They lose their mainland territory, retaining only the island of Rügen.

1249 - 1260

Jaromar II


1260 - 1302

Wislaw II


1303 - 1304

Sambor and Wislaw III, the sons of Wislaw II, rule jointly for just a year before the former dies, leaving the latter in sole control.

The island of Rugen was first occupied by the Rugii in the first century AD, and some elements of the tribe remained, giving their name to it (although this is disputed)

1303 - 1304



1303 - 1325

Wislaw III



The death of Wislaw III leaves no surviving heir to the principality, so it is absorbed into Pommern-Woolgast, still as a Danish vassal.