1803 to 1807: Lands Prussia Lost
Napoleon Bonaparte started his campaign to rule Europe and continued his conquest eastward toward Prussia. In 1806 the Napoleonic army defeated Prussia. Prussia lost areas to the west, south, and north. In 1807 Prussia was saved from Napoleon by Russia but Prussian-German domination halted when Napoleon conquered Europe. After Napoleon defeated the three partitioning powers—Austria, Prussia, and Russia, he established the Duchy (principality) of Warsaw as a protectorate of the French Empire. Prussia lost South Prussia when it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, part of the French Empire. Prussia also lost New East Prussia at the Peace of Tilsit in July 1807. All the German colonists in the Duchy of Warsaw came under Russian domination.
Hall, The Atlantic Bridge to Germany: Volume VIII, ix.
Edwards, “Starting Points for Germanic Genealogy: Basic East Prussian and West Prussian History for Genealogy,” 17.
Brandt, Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia, IX-22.
Brief Look at German/Prussian History, 1.
Polish Encyclopedia of 1923 (Geneva, Switzerland: Atar Limited, 1922-1926), 750.
Reimer, The German Research Companion, 4.
1815: The End of Napoleonic Era
During 1814-1815 Napoleon weakened. The German states began to reorganize under the leadership of Prussia. Prussia joined allies to crush Napoleon at Waterloo.
In 1815 the Congress of Vienna formed the German Confederation, restored some Prussian territories, and reduced several hundred German states to 39. In 1815 South Prussia was divided between the Prussian Grand Duchy of Posen and Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire.
The Grand Duchy of Warsaw 1815
The area in light purple became a Protectorate of the Russian Empire until 1918. It was known as Congress Poland, Congress Kingdom, aka the Kingdom of Poland, or Russian Poland.
The strange northern appendage in light purple (with Kaunas on the northeast edge) that had been New East Prussia, became part of a protectorate of the Russian Empire. This is where Germans from East Prussia had migrated into when it was New East Prussia. This area became known as Suwalki Province in 1866 and is now in Lithuania.
The light purple area below East Prussia (in purple) had been South Prussia and encompassed Posen in the West and Warsaw in the East, under French control from 1807 to 1815 and Russian control from 1815 to 1918.
In 1810 Germans constituted 6% of population of Grand Duchy of Warsaw, most in north and northwest. This area remained with these borders until Poland and Lithuania regained their status as independent nations after World War I.
East Central Europe in 1815
A clearly visible West Prussia in purple came into existence in 1772.
A clearly visible East Prussia in purple shows the western border familiar to family researchers.