East Prussia was located on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea and was bordered by Poland and Lithuania. In the mid-2nd century, it was colonized by the Goths, who were a Scandinavian tribe. They moved south to the Black Sea, pillaged Asia Minor and the Balkans, and fought against the Roman Empire. This territory derived its name from the Baltic tribe of the Prussen, who settled this region until the Teutonic Knights colonized it in 1200, during their eastward expansion to the Baltic. Polish and Lithuanian rulers eventually took control of this area, prized for its rich agricultural soil and its mineral resources.
Koenigsberg, which is the capital of East Prussia, was founded in 1255, by the Teutonic Knights. Since 1457, Koenigsberg was the seat of the Order's Hochmeister, or grand master, and the Prussian Kings were crowned in this ancient city. Koenigsberg became the intellectual center of the east. At the university in Koenigsberg, great intellectuals such as Copernicus, who made the revolutionary discovery that the earth revolves around the sun, studied the sciences and humanities. Furthermore, the great philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose theories shaped modern morals, was also a famous son of Koenigsberg.
After the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles gave the new republic of Poland access to the sea by creating the "Polish Corridor" that separated the East Prussian province, which still remained united with part of West Prussia. However, East Prussia was once again incorporated into Germany in the late 1930s. After the Second World War, East Prussia became a part of Poland, while Koenigsberg and the surrounding coastal area came under the control of the Soviet Union.
East Prussia was known for its major exports - timber and grain. The northern valleys produce potatoes, oats and rye. Although dotted with many small lakes, over half of East Prussia consists of cultivated agricultural lands.
- ^ Swyrich, Archive materials