From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Duchy of Prussia and Electoral Brandenburg

Hartogdom Preußen un Kurbrandenborg
Flag of Prussia
StatusPersonal union (1618-1755)
State of the HRE (1755-1814)
CapitalBerlin, Königsbarg
Official languagesLow German, French
Recognised regional languagesPolish, Lithuanian
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
• Established
• Disestablished

Prussia (Low German: Preußen), or Brandenburg-Prussia (Brandenborg-Preußen), refers to the Hohenzollern-ruled territories of the Duchy of Prussia and Electoral Brandenburg after 1618. The two realms were in personal union until 1755; thereafter, Brandenburg functioned as an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire until its abolition in 1814.


While commonly referred to as Prussia, these lands were collectively referred to as Brandenburg-Prussia (Brandenborg-Preußen) between 1618 and 1814, when they were in personal union. After the Treaty of Vienna abolished the Duchy of Prussia, Brandenburg still nominally laid claim to the Duchy, continuing the usage of the dated term Brandenburg-Prussia. However, in the late 18th century, most began referring to the Hohenzollern territories of the North European Plain simply as Brandenburg.


The Protestant Franconian branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty inherited Brandenburg in 1415 and the Duchy of Prussia in 1525. In 1618, the prince-electors of Brandenburg, ruled by a senior branch of the Hohenzollern family, inherited the Duchy of Prussia, which had been ruled by a junior branch. At the time, each entity was subject to a larger empire - the Holy Roman Empire and Poland respectively.

In 1748, Prussia's Frederick II established a secret military agreement with France, sharing his goals to conquer Silesia from Austria. In 1750, the Franco-Prussian Entente began the Great Silesian War. Five years later, the Hohenzollern monarchy was defeated by a coalition led by Austria and Britain. The 1755 Treaty of Vienna removed Frederick II from his position, stipulating that the personal union between his two domains was to be unconditionally broken. The Duchy of Prussia was re-established as a fief of Poland, nominally being led by his son, Duke Augustus Ferdinand. Meanwhile, the head of the Brandenburg-Schwedt cadet branch, George William II, was made prince-elector of Brandenburg.

After 1755, many Prussians emigrated to Brandenburg, Sweden, and France, contributing to the intellectual and military culture of these realms. During the Augustine Wars, Prince Henry Charles - a longtime admirer of Augustine Spiga - discreetly sided with the French government. In the 1814 Treaty of Vienna, Brandenburg was disestablished and partitioned between Pomerania and Saxony, with its western enclaves going to Hanover and the German Confederation. After the loss of their territories, many northern Hohenzollerns settled in Berlin, Prague, and Paris, while others retreated to their ancestral and Catholic homeland of Swabia.


The fall of Prussia is featured heavily in early proto-national-republican rhetoric, with the Prussian nobility being antagonized. Prussian intellectuals in Paris, such as Henri-Georges von Auerswald, often repeated the idea that the fragile monarch must give up their divine right to rule and fully merge with the people's interests in order to form a republic free from corrupting influences. This was later used by 20th century national republican leaders in Russia and elsewhere to provide a recent historical basis for their ideology.

List of monarchs

Name Reign Branch Notes
George William 1619 1640 Brandenburg-Prussia
Frederick William 1640 1684
Charles I 1684 1704
Frederick I 1704 1721
Frederick William II 1721 1742
Frederick II 1742 1755
George William II 1755 1769 Brandenburg-Schwedt
Charles II 1769 1781
Joachim 1781 1802
Frederick William III 1802 1811
Joachim Frederick II 1811 1814

See also