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"Barta" redirects here. For the Romanian-French Trotskyist activist, see David Korner. For other uses of "Bartians", see Bartians .

The Bartians (also Barthi, Barthoni, Bartens, or Barti) were an Old Prussian tribe who were among the last pagans of Europe before the Northern Crusades forced their conversion to Christianity. They lived in Bartia (also Bartenland or Barthonia), a territory that stretched from the middle and lower flow of Łyna river, by the Świnamarker river, and Lake Mamrymarker, up to the Galindian woods. The territory is quite precisely known from description in Chronicon terrae Prussiae, dated 1326.

The same description mentions two provinces, the Major Barta and the Minor Barta. The territory was quite densely populated, as confirmed by abundant archeological findings. Before the wars with the Teutonic Knights, the population was estimated to be at 17,000.

The Bartians, along with the other Prussians, were conquered by the Teutonic Knights, who Christianized them, brought in newcomers, and built many towns and cities. The Prussians assimilated with the newcomers and the Old Prussian language became extinct by the end of the 17th century.


Several years of conquest attempts by Polandmarker, aided by a number of crusades by the popes and by Konrad of Masovia, had been fairly successfully repelled by the Prussians. Then Konrad of Masovia called for further crusades and invited the Teutonic Knights, an Order of the Catholic Church, to settled in Kulmerlandmarker in 1226. Receiving support from the rest of Christian Europe, the military order was able to expand their territory northwest. Their strategy was to conquer a territory and built a castle — a stronghold that would serve as the basis for further expansion. Castles at that time in Europe were built around towns to give their residents protection.

The Bartians, together with the Warmians and the Natangians, were conquered by the Teutonic Knights 1238-1240. In Barta the Knights built major castles in Bartensteinmarker and Rößelmarker. In 1242, just two years after their conquest, Bartians rebelled and managed to resist until 1252. During the Great Prussian Uprising (1260-1274), that started after the Knights suffered a major loss in the Battle of Durbe, Bartians chose Diwane as their leader. The rebels managed to capture a few castles, including Bartenstein in 1264. With help from other Prussian tribes, Diwane attacked Kulmmarker, Marienburgmarker, and Christburgmarker. However, the Prussians could not win a war of attrition against the Knights, who could draw resources from the western Europe. In 1273 Diwane sieged another castle but was fatally wounded. Within a year, the uprising was over. Some of the rebels escaped to Hrodnamarker and other Lithuanianmarker territories,.

Despite heavy losses during the uprising, Barta did not become an uninhabited land and the Bartians continued to resist. Two more attempts were made, in 1286 and 1293, to fight against the Teutonic Knights. In 1286 Bartians asked help from Duke of Rügenmarker, and in 1293 from Vytenis, Grand Duke of Lithuania. The Bartians were assimilated by the Germans sometime during the 16-17th centuries.

They are most likely the Bartove mentioned in the Hypatian Codex (together with the Prussians: "Prousi i Bartove").


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