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Swedish Pomerania ( ; ) was a Dominion under the Swedish Crownmarker from the 17th to the 19th century, situated on what is now the Balticmarker coast of Germanymarker and Polandmarker. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts of Silesia and Prussia.

Sweden, present in Pomerania with a garrison at Stralsund since 1628marker, had gained effective control of the Duchy of Pomerania with the Treaty of Stettin in 1630. At the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the Treaty of Stettin in 1653, Sweden received Western Pomerania, or Vorpommern with the islands of Rügenmarker, Usedommarker, and Wolinmarker, and a strip of Eastern Pomerania, or Hinterpommern. Sweden held the Pomeranian parts of Germany as a fief from the Holy Roman Empire as Reichsfürsten (imperial princes).

In 1679, Sweden lost most of her Pomeranian possessions east of the Oder river in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and in 1720, Sweden lost her possessions south of the Peene and east of the Peenestrommarker rivers in the Treaty of Stockholm. These areas were ceded to Brandenburg-Prussia and were integrated into Brandenburgian Pomeraniamarker. In 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic Wars Swedish Pomerania was ceded to Denmark in exchange for Norwaymarker in the Treaty of Kiel, and in 1815, as a result of the Congress of Vienna, transferred to Prussia.


The largest cities in Swedish Pomerania were Stralsundmarker and Greifswaldmarker. Rügenmarker is today Germany's largest island.


Thirty Years' War

Pomerania became involved in the Thirty Years' War during the 1620s, and with the town of Stralsundmarker under siege by imperial troops, its ruler Bogislaw XIV, Duke of Stettin, concluded a treaty with King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in June 1628. On July 10, 1630, the treaty was extended into an 'eternal' pact in the Treaty of Stettin . By the end of that year the Swedes had completed the military occupation of Pomerania. After this point Gustavus Adolphus was the effective ruler of the country, and even though the rights of succession to Pomerania, held by George William, Elector of Brandenburg due to the Treaty of Grimnitz, were recognised, the Swedish king still demanded that the Margraviate of Brandenburg break with Emperor Ferdinand II. In 1634 the Estates of Pomerania assigned the interim government to an eight member directorate, which lasted until Brandenburg ordered the directorate disbanded in 1638 by right of Imperial investiture.

As a consequence Pomerania lapsed into a state of anarchy, thereby forcing the Swedes to act. From 1641 the administration was led by a council ("Concilium status") from Stettin marker, until the peace treaty in 1648 settled rights to the province in Swedish favour. At the peace negotiations in Osnabrückmarker, Brandenburg-Prussia received Farther Pomerania (Hinterpommern), the part of the former Duchy of Pomerania east of the Oder River except Stettin. A strip of land east of the Oder River containing the districts of Damm and Gollnowmarker and the island of Wolinmarker and Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) with the islands of Rügenmarker and Usedommarker, was ceded to the Swedes as a fief from Emperor Ferdinand III. The recess of Stettin in 1653 settled the border with Brandenburg in a manner favourable to Sweden. The border against Mecklenburg, along the Trebelmarker and the Recknitzmarker, followed a settlement of 1591.

Under the Swedish crown

The history of Pomerania under Swedish dominion is much a story of destitution and conflict. From 1657 to 1659 during the Northern Wars, Polish, Austrian, and Brandenburger troops ravaged the country. The territory was occupied by Denmarkmarker and Brandenburg from 1675–1679 during the Scanian War, whereby Denmark claimed Rügen and Brandenburg the rest of Pomerania. Both campaigns were in vain for the winners when Swedish Pomerania was restored to Sweden in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1679, except for Gollnow and the strip of land on the east side of the Oder, which were held by Brandenburg as a pawn in exchange for reparations, until these were paid in 1693.

The first years of the Great Northern War did not affect Pomerania. Even when Danish, Russianmarker, and Polish forces had crossed the borders in 1714, the Kingdom of Prussiamarker first appeared as a hesitant mediator before turning into an aggressor. King Charles XII of Sweden in the Battle of Stralsund led the defence of Pomerania for an entire year, November 1714 to December 1715, before fleeing to Lundmarker. The Danes seized Rügen and Western Pomerania north of the Peene River (the former Danish Principality of Rugia that later would become known as Neuvorpommern), while the Western Pomeranian areas south of the river (later termed Altvorpommern) were taken by Prussia. By the Treaty of Frederiksborg, June 3, 1720, Denmark was obliged to hand back control over the occupied territory to Sweden, but in the Treaty of Stockholm, on January 21 in the same year, Prussia had been allowed to retain its conquest, including Stettin. By this, Sweden ceded the parts east of the Oder River that had been won in 1648 as well as Western Pomerania south of the Peene and the islands of Wolin and Usedom to Brandenburg-Prussia. A feeble attempt to regain the lost territories in the Pomeranian War (1757-1762), coinciding with the Seven Years' War, failed.

Because Pomerania had been hit hard by the Thirty Years' War already and found it hard to recover due to the following years, the Swedish government in 1669 and 1689 issued decrees (Freiheitspatente) freeing anyone of taxes who built or rebuilt a house. These decrees were in force, though frequently modified, until 1824.

The entry into the Third Coalition in 1805, in which Sweden unsuccessfully fought its First War against Napoleon, subsequently led to the occupation of Swedish Pomerania by French troops from 1807 to 1810. In 1812, when French troops yet again marched into Pomerania, the Swedish Army mobilized and won against Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzigmarker in 1813, together with troops from Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Sweden also attacked Denmarkmarker and, by the Treaty of Kiel on January 14, 1814, Sweden ceded Pomerania to Denmark in exchange for Norwaymarker. The fate of Swedish Pomerania was settled during the Congress of Vienna through the treaties between Prussia and Denmark on June 4 and with Sweden on June 7, 1815. In this manoeuvre Prussia gained Swedish Pomerania in exchange for Lauenburgmarker which was ceded by Prussia to Denmark. Denmark also received 2.6 million Thalers from Prussia. 3.5 million Thalers were awarded to Sweden in war damages. "Swedish Pomerania" was incorporated into Prussia as "New Upper Pomerania" (Neuvorpommern) within the Prussian Province of Pomeraniamarker.

Constitution and administration

The nobility of Pomerania was firmly established and held extensive privileges, as opposed to the other end of the spectrum which was populated by a class of numerous serfs. Even by the end of the 18th century, the serfs made up two-thirds of the population of the countryside. The estates owned by the nobility were divided into districts and the royal domains, which covered about a quarter of the country, were divided into amts.

One fourth of the "knightly" estates (Rittergut) in Swedish Pomerania were held by Swedish nobles. The ducal estates (Domäne), initially distributed among Swedish nobles (two thirds) and officials, became in 1654 administered by the former Swedish queen Christina. Swedish and Pomeranian nobility intermarried and became ethnically indistinguishable in the course of the 18th century.

The position of Pomerania in the Swedish Realm came to depend on the talks that were opened between the Estates of Pomerania and the Government of Sweden. The talks showed few results until the Instrument of Government of July 17, 1663 (promulgated by the recess of April 10, 1669) could be presented, and only in 1664 did the Pomeranian Estates salute the Swedish Monarch as their new ruler.

The Royal Government of Pomerania (die königliche Landesregierung) was composed of the Governor-General, who always was a Swedish Privy Councillor, as chairman and five Councillors of the Royal Government, among them the President of the Appellate Court, the Chancellor and the Castle Captain of Stettin, over inspector of the Royal Amts. When circumstances demanded, the estates, nobility, burgess, and — until the 1690s — the clergy could be summoned for meetings of a local parliament called the Landtag. The nobility was represented by one deputy per district, and these deputies were in turn mandated by their respective district convents of nobles. The estate of the burgesses consisted of one deputy per politically franchised city, particularly Stralsund. The Landtag were presided over by a marshall (Erb-landmarschall). A third element of the meeting of the Estates were the five, initially ten, Landtag councillors who were appointed by the Royal Government of Pomerania following their nomination by the Estates. The Landtag councillors formed the Land Council, which mediated with the Swedish Government and oversaw the constitution.

The Estates, which had exercised great authority under the Pomeranian dukes, were unable to exert any significant influence on Sweden, even though the Constitution of 1663 had provided them with a veto in as far as Pomerania was affected. Their rights of petition were however not limited, and by the privileges of King Frederick I of Sweden in 1720 they also had an explicit right to participate in legislation and taxation.

The towns of Stralsundmarker, Stettinmarker, Greifswaldmarker and Anklammarker were granted autonomous jurisdiction.

Legal system

The legal system in Pomerania was in a state of great confusion, due to the lack of a consistent legislation or even the most basic collection of laws and instead consisting of a disparate collection of legal principles. The Swedish rule brought, if nothing else, at least the rule of law into the court system. Starting in 1655, cases could be appealed from the first instance courts to the appellate court in Greifswaldmarker (located in Wolgastmarker from 1665–80), where sentences were issued under the appellate law of 1672, a work conducted by David Mevius. Cases under canon law were directed to a consistorium in Greifswald. From the appellate court cases could be appealed to the supreme court for the Swedish dominions in Germany, the High Tribunal in Wismarmarker, which had opened in 1653.


The population of Swedish Pomerania were 82,827 subjects in 1764, (58,682 rural, 24,145 urban population, 40% of the rural population were leibeigen serfs); 89,000 in 1766, 113,000 in 1802, with about a quarter living on the island of Rügen, and had reached 118,112 in 1805 (79,087 rural, 39,025 urban population, 46,190 of the rural population were leibeigen serfs).

Integration in the eleventh hour

By royal proclamation on June 26, 1806, the Constitution of Pomerania was declared to have been suspended and abolished. The Swedish Instruments of Government of 1772, the Act of Union and Security of 1789, and the Law of 1734 were declared to have taken precedence and were to be implemented following September 1, 1808. The reason for perpetrating this royally sanctioned coup d'état was that the estates, despite a royal prohibition, had taken to the courts to appeal against royal statutes, specifically the statute of April 30, 1806 regarding the raising of a Pomeranian army. In the new order, King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden attempted to introduce a government divided into departments. Swedish church law was introduced. The country was divided into four provincial districts (Härad) and congregational districts (Socken) complying to the Swedish model of administration. The Estates of Pomerania could only be called regarding questions that specifically concerned Pomerania and Rügen. The new order of the Landtag was modelled on the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates and a meeting according to the new order also took place in August 1806, which declared its loyalty to the king and hailed him as their ruler. In the wake of this revolution, a number of social reforms were implemented and planned; the most important was the abolishment of serfdom by a royal statute on July 4, 1806.

List of Governors General


See also


External links

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