Post PH 2 The Rise of Prussia 1772 to 1803

The First Partition of Poland

Prussia acquired the first of many additional lands. In 1772, the First Partition of Poland, Prussia acquired the part of Poland that became the province of West Prussia. Following the establishment of two administrative districts in East Prussia in 1736, West Prussia was also divided into two administrative districts.

Uncapher, Wendy K. The Lands of the German Empire and Before. Janesville, WI: Origins, 2000.

The Second Partition of Poland 1793: Prussia acquires South Prussia

Prussia gained South Prussia as a result of the Second Partition in 1793. South Prussia remained part of Prussia for fourteen years until Napoleon’s defeat in 1807. South Prussia bordered on the Brandenburgian Neumark region in the west and the Prussian Netze District in the north. Poznań was the capital of South Prussia for only two years from (1793-1795). From 1775 to 1806  Warsaw, father east, was the capital, but it was actually administered by the General Directory (General-Direktorium) in Berlin.

The Gilly Map of South Prussia

This map of South Prussia was prepared under royal decree by renowned architect and civil  engineer,  David Gilly, after the final partition of Poland in 1795.

The Third Partition of Poland 1795 to 1807: Prussia acquires New East Prussia.

The Third Partition is of particular importance to Suwalki Province researchers as it is well-documented that in the twelve-year period of Prussian domination (1795 to 1807) that people from East Prussia populated New East Prussia, and even though it became a French (1807) and later (1815) Russian Protectorate, the people probably continued to live in what had been Prussian territory.

After the Third Partition, some lands northeast of the Vistula river were transferred to New East Prussia, and South Prussia gained the Warsaw region including Poznań, Kalisz and the Gniezno Voivodeships of Greater Poland; the lands of Sieradz and Łęczyca; the Kuyavian voivodeship of Brześć and Dobrzyń Land; and adjacent parts of the Masovian voivodeships of Płock and Rawa.

After the Third Partition, the lands of Dobrzyń and Płock northeast of the Vistula River were transferred to New East Prussia, while South Prussia gained the Warsaw region of the former Masovian Voivodeship.

In the southeast, the Pilica river marked the border with those Lesser Polish territories that in 1795 became part of Austrian New Galicia. The southwest bordered on the Prussian Silesia Province and New Silesia, a smaller province including the former Duchy of Siewierz, which was administered from South Prussia.

Following Napoleon Bonaparte‘s victory, South Prussia became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, a French client state. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it was divided between the Prussian Grand Duchy of Posen and Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire.

The General Directory records dealing with the history and genealogy of the Prussian part of Poland were taken from the Prussian archives by Napoleon Bonaparte soon after 1806 and transferred to Warsaw.

A Map of New East Prussia: Third Partition 1795 to 1807

This German map clearly shows the territory of New East Prussia. 32 Crown colonies are shown in boxes. The upper left arrow shows 18th and 19th century Prussia. The upper right arrow is now southwestern Lithuania. The lower arrow is now Poland.

Prussia gained 54,600 square miles and 2,600,000 inhabitants, the most prosperous, but smallest, amount of land. Perhaps one third was an area where there were many Germans although Germans were not a majority in more than one-tenth of the land. Prussia recruited Mecklenburgers and southwest Swabians to settle mostly during the Second and Third Partitions.

Brandt, Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia, IX-19.


About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
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