A former kingdom in north-central Europe including present-day northern Germany and northern Poland; Also called: Preussen.
N German state 1618–1945 on the Baltic coast. It was an independent kingdom until 1867, when it became, under Otto von Bismarck, the military power of the North German Confederation and part of the German Empire 1871 under the Prussian king Wilhelm I. West Prussia became part of Poland under the Treaty of Versailles, and East Prussia was largely incorporated into the USSR after 1945.
1618 Formed by the union of Brandenburg and the duchy of Prussia (established 1525).
1640–88 The country’s military power was founded by Frederick William, the “Great Elector”.
1701 Prussia became a kingdom under Frederick I.
1713–40 Frederick William I expanded the army.
1740–86 Silesia, East Frisia, and West Prussia were annexed by Frederick II the Great.
1806 Frederick William III was defeated at Jena by Napoleon Bonaparte.
1815 After the Congress of Vienna Prussia regained its lost territories and also acquired lands in the Rhineland and Saxony.
1848 The revolutions of 1848 overthrew the government but it was restored the following year.
1864 War with Denmark resulted in the acquisition of Schleswig.
1866 After the defeat of Austria, Prussia acquired Holstein and formed the North German Confederation with the territories of Hanover, Nassau, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Hesse-Cassel.
1871 After Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was proclaimed, under Bismarck’s chancellorship, for Wilhelm I.
1918 Prussia became a republic after World War I.
1932 Prussia lost its local independence in Hitler’s Germany and came under the control of the Reich.
1946 After World War II the Allies abolished Prussia altogether, dividing its territories among East and West Germany, Poland, and the USSR.