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Pomerania ( , , , ) is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Seamarker. Divided between Germanymarker and Polandmarker, it stretches roughly from the Recknitzmarker River near Stralsundmarker in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecinmarker, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańskmarker in the East. It is inhabited primarily by Poles, Germans and Kashubians. Pomerania was strongly affected by 20th century, post-World War I and II border and population shifts.

Pomerania belongs to the lowlands of the North European Plain. Outside the few urban centers, most notably the Szczecinmarker and Tricitymarker metropolitan areas, the poor soil is mostly used as farmland, dotted with numerous lakes, forests, and small towns. Primary agriculture consists of raising livestock, forestry, fishery and the cultivation of cereals, sugar beets, and potatoes. Since the late 19th century, tourism has become an important sector of the economy, primarily in the numerous seaside resorts along the coast. Of the limited industrial zones, the most important products are ships, metal products, refined sugar, and paper.


Pomerania is the area along the Bay of Pomeraniamarker of the Baltic Seamarker between the rivers Recknitzmarker in the west and Vistula in the east. It formerly reached as far south as the Noteć (Netze) and Warta (Warthe) rivers, but since 1250 its southern boundary has been placed further north. Most of the region is coastal lowland of the North European Plain, its southern, hilly parts belong to the Baltic Ridge, a belt of terminal moraines formed during the Pleistocene. Within this ridge, a chain of moraine-dammed lakes constitutes the Pomeranian Lake District. The soil is generally poor, often sandy or marshy.

The western coastline is jagged, with lots of peninsulae (e.g., Darßmarker-Zingstmarker) and islands (Rügenmarker, Usedommarker, Wolinmarker and other, small isles) enclosing numerous bays (Bodden) and lagoons (e.g., the Lagoon of Szczecinmarker).

The eastern coastline is smooth. The lakes Łebskomarker, Jamno and Gardnomarker were formerly bays but have been cut off from the sea. The easternmost coastline along the Gdańsk Baymarker (with Bay of Puck) and Vistula Baymarker has the Hel peninsulamarker and the Vistula peninsulamarker jut out into the Baltic.


Pomerania in all languages is derived from Old Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", and more, meaning "sea", thus "Pomerania" is literally "seacoast", referring to its proximity to the Baltic Seamarker.

Pomerania was first mentioned in an imperial document of 1046, referring to a Zemuzil dux Bomeranorum (Zemuzil, Duke of the Pomeranians). Pomerania is mentioned repeatedly in the chronicles of Adam of Bremen (ca. 1070) and Gallus Anonymous (ca. 1113).


Current administrative division of Pomerania

Pomerania is currently divided between the following main regions:

The bulk of historical Farther Pomerania is included within the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker, its easternmost parts (Slupskmarker (Stolp) area) now constitute the northwestern Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker. Farther Pomerania in turn comprised several other historical regions itself, most notably the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp, the Lauenburg and Bütow Land, the County of Naugard and the principality of the Cammin bishops. In the South, Farther Pomerania comprised historical Neumark regions, and former Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia was attached during World War II.

Parts of Pomerania and surrounding regions have constituted a euroregion since 1995. The Pomerania euroregion comprises Germany's Vorpommern and Uckermark, Poland's Zachodniopomorskiemarker, and Scania in Swedenmarker.


The term "West Pomerania" is potentially ambiguous, since it may refer to either Vorpommern (in historical and German usage), to the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker, or both (in Polish usage).

The term Eastern Pomerania may similarly carry different meanings, referring either to historical Farther Pomerania (in historical and German usage), or the Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker (in Polish usage).

West Pomerania East >
Stralsundmarker Anklammarker Szczecinmarker





Current regions Vorpommern


(West Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker)

(Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker)
German terminology

(corresponding English term)

Pomerellen, Pommerellen




in modern usage excluding Szczecin

(Western Pomerania)

(Hither/Upper Pomerania)

(Farther/Further Pomerania)


(Eastern Pomerania)
Polish terminology

(corresponding English term)
Pomorze Zachodnie, Zachodniepomorskie

in historical usage including Slupsk

(Western Pomerania)

Pomorze Szczecińskie (Szczecin Pomerania)

Pomorze Nadodrzańskie (Oder Pomerania)
Pomorze, Pomorskie

in historical usage excluding Slupsk

(Pomerelia, literally Pomerania)

Pomorze Gdanskie

(Gdansk Pomerania)

Pomorze Wschodnie

(Eastern Pomerania)
Pomorze Przednie

(Hither/Upper Pomerania)
Pomorze Tylne

(Farther/Further Pomerania)
Kashubian terminology

(corresponding English term)
Zôpadnô Pòmòrskô

(Western Pomerania)
Pòrénkòwô Pòmòrskô

(Eastern Pomerania)


 === Prehistory and Early Middle Ages ===

Settlement in Pomerania started by the end of the Vistula Glacial Stage, some 13,000 years ago. Archeological traces have been found of various cultures during the Stone and Bronze Age, Veneti and Germanic peoples during the Iron Age and, in the Middle Ages, Slavic tribes and Vikings. Starting in the 10th century, early Polish dukes on several occasions subdued parts of the region from the southeast, while the Holy Roman Empire and Denmarkmarker augmented their territory from the west and north.

High Middle Ages to Early Modern Age

In the High Middle Ages, the area became Christian and was ruled by local dukes of the House of Pomerania (Griffins) and the Samborides, at various times vassals of Denmark, the Holy Roman Empire and Poland. From the late 12th century, the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Denmark, Brandenburg, Poland and the Teutonic Knights struggled for control in Samboride Pomerelia. The Teutonic Knights succeeded in integrating Pomerelia into their monastic statemarker in the early 14th century. Meanwhile the Ostsiedlung started to turn Pomerania into a German-settled area, the remaining Wends, who became known as Slovincians and Kashubians, continued to settle within the rural East. In 1325 the line of the princes of Rugia (Rügen) died out, and the principality was inherited by the Griffins. In 1466, with the Teutonic Order's defeat, Pomerelia became subject to the Polish Crown as a part of Royal Prussia. While the Duchy of Pomerania adopted the Protestant reformation in 1534, Kashubia remained with the Roman Catholic Church. The Thirty Years' and subsequent wars severely ravaged and depopulated most of Pomerania. With the extinction of the Griffin house during the same period, the Duchy of Pomerania was divided between the Swedish Empire and Brandenburg-Prussia in 1648.

Modern Age

Prussia gained the southern parts of Swedish Pomeraniamarker in 1720, Pomerelia in 1772, and the remainder of Swedish Pomerania in 1815, when Frenchmarker occupation during the Napoleonic Wars was lifted. The former Brandenburg-Prussian Pomeraniamarker and the former Swedish parts were reorganized into the Prussian Province of Pomeraniamarker, while Pomerelia was made part of the Province of West Prussia. With Prussia, both provinces joined the newly constituted German Empiremarker in 1871. Following the empire's defeat in World War I, Pomerelia was transformed into the Polish Corridor and the Free City of Danzigmarker. Germanymarker's Province of Pomeraniamarker was expanded in 1938 to include northern parts of the former Province of Posen–West Prussia, and in 1939 the annexed Polish Corridor became part of the wartime Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. The Nazis deported the Pomeranian Jews to a reservation near Lublin and, in Pomerelia, mass murdered Jews, Poles and Kashubians following Nazi Germany's untermensch ideology.

After Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, the German–Polish border was shifted west to the Oder–Neisse line and all of Pomerania was under Soviet military control. The German population of the areas east of the line was expelled, and the area was resettled primarily with Poles (some themselves expellees from former eastern Poland) and some Ukrainians (resettled under Operation Wisła) and Jews. Most of Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) remained in Germany and today forms the eastern part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker, while the Polish part of the region is divided between West Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker and Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker, with their capitals in Szczecin (Stettin) and Gdańskmarker (Danzig), respectively. During the 1980s, the Solidarnosc and Die Wende movements had overthrown the Communist regimes implemented during the post-war era, since, Pomerania is democratically governed.


Western Pomerania is inhabited by German Pomeranians. In the eastern parts, Poles are the dominating ethnic group since World War II. Kashubians, descendants of the medieval Slavic Pomeranians, are numerous in rural Pomerelia.

Polish Voivodeship/

German Landschaft
Capital Registration



Polish 31 December 1999
German 2001

Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker

(northernmost parts)
Bydgoszczmarker (Voivod office)
Toruńmarker (Voivod council)
C 17,969.72 2,100,771 04
Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker Gdańskmarker G 18,292.88 2,192,268 22
West Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker Szczecinmarker Z 22,901.48 1,732,838 32
Polish Pomerania and Kuyavia total 59,164.08 6,025,877
Nordvorpommernmarker Grimmenmarker NVP 2,168 117,722
Ostvorpommernmarker Anklammarker OVP 1,910 113,623
Rügenmarker Bergen auf Rügenmarker RÜG 974 74,400
Uecker-Randowmarker Pasewalkmarker UER 1,624 83,459
Demmin marker Demminmarker DM 1,921 93,700
Greifswaldmarker HGW 52.2 52,984
Stralsundmarker HST 39.0 57,613
German Pomerania total 8,701 595,888

Cities and towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants

(with population figures for 1999):

Languages and dialects

Section of a detailed map from Meyers Kleiner Hand-Atlas published by Julius Meyer in Leipzig, Germany and Wien, Austria in 1892.

In the German part of Pomerania, Standard German and the East Low German Pomeranian dialects Vorpommersch and Mittelpommersch are spoken, though Standard German dominates. Polish is the dominating language in the Polish part, Kashubian dialects are also spoken by the Kashubians in Pomerelia.

Ostpommersch, the East Low German dialect of Farther Pomerania and western Pomerelia, Low Prussian, the East Low German dialect of eastern Pomerelia, and Standard German were dominating in Pomerania east of the Oder-Neisse line before most of its speakers were expelled after World War II. Slovincian was spoken at the Farther Pomeranian-Pomerelian frontier, but is now extinct.

Kashubian or Low German Pomeranian dialects are also spoken by the descendants of emigrees, most notably in the Americas.


The Pomeranian State Museummarker in Greifswaldmarker, dedicated to the history of Pomerania, has a variety of archeological findings and artefacts from the different periods covered in this article. At least 50 museums in Poland cover history of Pomerania, the most important of them The National Museum in Gdańskmarker, Central Pomerania Museum in Słupskmarker, Darłowomarker Museum, Koszalinmarker Museum, National Museum in Szczecinmarker.

See also


  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, Pomerania [1]
  2. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, Pomerania [2]: "Pomerania is the medieval Latin form of German Pommern, itself a loanword in German from Slavic. The Polish word for Pomerania is Pomorze, composed of the preposition po, “along, by,” and morze, “sea.” The Slavic word for sea, more, which becomes morze in Polish, comes from the Indo-European noun *mori–, “sea,” the source of Latin mare, “sea,” and the mer- of English mermaid."
  3. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.23,24, ISBN 3886802728
  4. e.g. here (Sheperd Atlas), or in old Enc Britannica
  5. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-07
  6. From the First Humans to the Mesolithic Hunters in the Northern German Lowlands, Current Results and Trends - THOMAS TERBERGER. From: Across the western Baltic, edited by: Keld Møller Hansen & Kristoffer Buck Pedersen, 2006, ISBN 87-983097-5-7, Sydsjællands Museums Publikationer Vol. 1 [3]
  7. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, pp.18ff, ISBN 8390618486
  8. Horst Wernicke, Greifswald, Geschichte der Stadt, Helms, 2000, pp.16ff, ISBN 3931185567
  9. Johannes Hoops, Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Walter de Gruyter, p.422, ISBN 3110177331
  10. A. W. R. Whittle, Europe in the Neolithic: The Creation of New Worlds, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p.198, ISBN 0521449200
  11. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.22,23, ISBN 3886802728
  12. Joachim Herrmann, Die Slawen in Deutschland, Akademie-Verlag Berlin, 1985, pp.pp.237ff,244ff
  13. Joachim Herrmann, Die Slawen in Deutschland, Akademie-Verlag Berlin, 1985, pp.261,345ff
  14. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, p.32, ISBN 839061848:pagan reaction of 1005
  15. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.25, ISBN 3886802728: pagan uprising that also ended the Polish suzerainity in 1005
  16. A. P. Vlasto, Entry of Slavs Christendom, CUP Archive, 1970, p.129, ISBN 0521074592: abandoned 1004 - 1005 in face of violent opposition
  17. Nora Berend, Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' C. 900-1200, Cambridge University Press, 2007, p.293, ISBN 0521876168, 9780521876162
  18. David Warner, Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg, Manchester University Press, 2001, p.358, ISBN 0719049261, 9780719049262
  19. Michael Borgolte, Benjamin Scheller, Polen und Deutschland vor 1000 Jahren: Die Berliner Tagung über den "Akt von Gnesen", Akademie Verlag, 2002, p.282, ISBN 3050037490, 9783050037493
  20. James Thayer Addison, Medieval Missionary: A Study of the Conversion of Northern Europe Ad 500 to 1300, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, pp.57ff, ISBN 0766175677
  21. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, pp.35ff, ISBN 839061848
  22. Gerhard Krause, Horst Robert Balz, Gerhard Müller, Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Walter de Gruyter, 1997, pp.40ff, ISBN 3110154358
  23. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.34ff,87,103, ISBN 3886802728
  24. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, p.43, ISBN 839061848
  25. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, pp.77ff, ISBN 839061848
  26. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.45ff, ISBN 3886802728
  27. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.115,116, ISBN 3886802728
  28. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.186, ISBN 3886802728
  29. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.205–212, ISBN 3886802728
  30. Richard du Moulin Eckart, Geschichte der deutschen Universitäten, Georg Olms Verlag, 1976, pp.111,112, ISBN 3487060787
  31. Gerhard Krause, Horst Robert Balz, Gerhard Müller, Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Walter de Gruyter, 1997, pp.43ff, ISBN 3110154358
  32. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.263,332,341–343,352–354, ISBN 3886802728
  33. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.341-343, ISBN 3886802728
  34. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.363,364, ISBN 3886802728
  35. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.366, ISBN 3886802728
  36. Lucie Adelsberger, Arthur Joseph Slavin, Susan H. Ray, Deborah E. Lipstadt, Auschwitz: A Doctor's Story, Northeastern University Press, 1995, ISBN 1555532330, p.138: February 12/13, 1940
  37. Isaiah Trunk, Jacob Robinson, Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation, U of Nebraska Press, 1996, ISBN 080329428X, p.133: February 14, 1940; unheated wagons, elderly and sick suffered most, inhumane treatment
  38. Leni Yahil, Ina Friedman, Haya Galai, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945, Oxford University Press US, 1991, ISBN 0195045238, p.138: February 12/13, 1940, 1,300 Jews of all sexes and ages, extreme cruelty, no food allowed to be taken along, cold, some died during deportation, cold and snow during resettlement, 230 dead by March 12, Lublin reservation chosen in winter, 30,000 Germans resettled before to make room [4]
  39. Martin Gilbert, Eilert Herms, Alexandra Riebe, Geistliche als Retter - auch eine Lehre aus dem Holocaust: Auch eine Lehre aus dem Holocaust, Mohr Siebeck, 2003, ISBN 3161482298, pp.14 (English) and 15 (German): February 15, 1940, 1000 Jews deported
  40. Jean-Claude Favez, John Fletcher, Beryl Fletcher, The Red Cross and the Holocaust, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 052141587X, p.33: February 12/13, 1,100 Jews deported, 300 died en route [5]
  41. Yad Vashem Studies, Yad ṿa-shem, rashut ha-zikaron la-Shoʼah ṿela-gevurah, Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 1996 Notizen: v.12, p.69: 1,200 deported, 250 died during deportation
  42. Nathan Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, Rutgers University Press, 2001, ISBN 0813529093, p.130: February 11/12 from Stettin, soon thereafter from Schneidemühl, total of 1,260 Jews deported, among the deportees were intermarried non-Jewish women who had refused to divorce, eager Nazi Gauleiter Schwede-Coburg was the first to have his Gau "judenfrei", Eichmann's "RSHA" (Reich Security Main Office) ensured this was an isolated local incident to worried Eppstein of the Central Organization of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland)
  43. John Mendelsohn, Legalizing the Holocaust, the Later Phase, 1939-1943, Garland Pub., 1982, ISBN 0824048768, p.131: Stettin Jews' houses were sealed, belongings liquidated, funds to be held in blocked accounts
  44. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, ISBN 3886802728, p.506: Only very few [of the Pomeranian Jews] survived the Nazi era. p.510: Nearly all Jews from Stettin and all the province, about a thousand
  45. Alicia Nitecki, Jack Terry, Jakub's World: A Boy's Story of Loss and Survival in the Holocaust, SUNY Press, 2005, ISBN 0791464075, pp.13ff: Stettin Jews to Belzyce in Lublin area, reservation purpose decline of Jews, terror command of Kurt Engels, shocking insights in life circumstances
  46. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.512-515, ISBN 3886802728
  47. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, pp.373ff, ISBN 839061848
  48. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, pp.381ff, ISBN 839061848
  49. Tomasz Kamusella in Prauser and Reeds (eds), The Expulsion of the German communities from Eastern Europe, p.28, EUI HEC 2004/1 [6]
  50. Philipp Ther, Ana Siljak, Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948, 2001, p.114, ISBN 0742510948, 9780742510944
  51. Gregor Thum, Die fremde Stadt. Breslau nach 1945", 2006, pp.363, ISBN 3570550176, 9783570550175
  52. Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.515, ISBN 3886802728
  53. Dierk Hoffmann, Michael Schwartz, Geglückte Integration?, p142
  54. Karl Cordell, Andrzej Antoszewski, Poland and the European Union, 2000, p.168, ISBN 0415238854
  55. Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, p.406, ISBN 839061848
  56. Selwyn Ilan Troen, Benjamin Pinkus, Merkaz le-moreshet Ben-Guryon, Organizing Rescue: National Jewish Solidarity in the Modern Period, pp.283-284, 1992, ISBN 0714634131, 9780714634135

External links

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Culture and history

Maps of Pomerania

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