Swedish Pomerania

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Swedish Pomerania

Svenska Pommern
Schwedisch Pommern
Coat of arms of Swedish Pomerania correct colours.svg
Coat of arms (1660)
Swedish Pomerania.PNG
Swedish Pomerania (orange) within the Swedish Empire in 1658
Status Swedish Dominion
State of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806
Capital Stettin

Common languages Low German/German,
Gustav II Adolf (first)
Charles XIII (last)
Sten Svantesson Bielke (first)
Hans Henric von Essen (1755–1824) (last)
Direct rule
10 July 1630
24 October 1648
4 May 1653
21 January 1720
14 January 1814
4/7 June 1815
 Hand-over to Prussia
23 October 1815
Preceded by
Succeeded by
POL ksiestwo pomorskie COA.svg Duchy of Pomerania
Province of Pomerania (1815–1945) Flagge Furstentumer Schwarzburg.svg

Swedish Pomerania (Swedish : Svenska Pommern; German : Schwedisch-Pommern) was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. 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 Livonia and Prussia ( dominium maris baltici ).


Sweden, present in Pomerania with a garrison at Stralsund since 1628, 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 (German Vorpommern), with the islands of Rügen, Usedom, and Wolin, and a strip of Farther Pomerania (Hinterpommern). The peace treaties were negotiated while the Swedish queen Christina was a minor, and the Swedish Empire was governed by members of the high aristocracy. As a consequence, Pomerania was not annexed to Sweden like the French war gains, which would have meant abolition of serfdom, since the Pomeranian peasant laws of 1616 was practised there in its most severe form. Instead, it remained part of the Holy Roman Empire, making the Swedish rulers Reichsfürsten (imperial princes) and leaving the nobility in full charge of the rural areas and its inhabitants. While the Swedish Pomeranian nobles were subjected to reduction when the late 17th century kings regained political power, the provisions of the peace of Westphalia continued to prevent the pursuit of the uniformity policy in Pomerania until the Holy Roman empire was dissolved in 1806.

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 Peenestrom rivers in the Treaty of Stockholm. These areas were ceded to Brandenburg-Prussia and were integrated into Brandenburgian Pomerania. Also in 1720, Sweden regained the remainder of her dominion in the Treaty of Frederiksborg, which had been lost to Denmark in 1715. In 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, Swedish Pomerania was ceded to Denmark in exchange for Norway 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 Stralsund, Greifswald and, until 1720, Stettin (now Szczecin). Rügen is today Germany's largest island.

Acquisition during the Thirty Years' War

Gustav II Adolf Gustav II of Sweden.jpg
Gustav II Adolf

Pomerania became involved in the Thirty Years' War during the 1620s, and with the town of Stralsund 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 10 July 1630, the treaty was extended into an 'eternal' pact in the Treaty of Stettin (1630). 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 (Szczecin), until the peace treaty in 1648 settled rights to the province in Swedish favour. At the peace negotiations in Osnabrück, 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 Gollnow and the island of Wolin and Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) with the islands of Rügen and Usedom, 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 Trebel and the Recknitz, followed a settlement of 1591.

Constitution and administration

The former Duchy of Pomerania (center) partitioned between the Swedish Empire and Brandenburg after the Treaty of Stettin (1653). Swedish Pomerania ("West Pomerania") is indicated in blue, Brandenburgian Pomerania ("East Pomerania") is shown in orange. Pomerania 1653.PNG
The former Duchy of Pomerania (center) partitioned between the Swedish Empire and Brandenburg after the Treaty of Stettin (1653). Swedish Pomerania ("West Pomerania") is indicated in blue, Brandenburgian Pomerania ("East Pomerania") is shown in orange.

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. [1] The ducal estates (Domäne), initially distributed among Swedish nobles (two thirds) and officials, became in 1654 administered by the former Swedish queen Christina. [2] Swedish and Pomeranian nobility intermarried and became ethnically indistinguishable in the course of the 18th century. [3]

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 17 July 1663 (promulgated by the recess of 10 April 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, burgesses, 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 Stralsund, Stettin, Greifswald and Anklam were granted autonomous jurisdiction. [4]

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 Greifswald [4] (located in Wolgast from 1665 to 1680), 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 Wismar, [4] which had opened in 1653.

Second Northern and Scanian Wars

From 1657 to 1659 during the Second Northern War, Polish, Austrian, and Brandenburger troops ravaged the country. The territory was occupied by Denmark and Brandenburg from 1675 to 1679 during the Scanian War, whereby Denmark claimed Rügen and Brandenburg the rest of Pomerania. [5] 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. [6]

Because Pomerania had been hit hard by the Thirty Years' War already and found it hard to recover during 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. [7]

Territorial changes during the Great Northern War

The first years of the Great Northern War did not affect Pomerania. Even when Danish, Russian, and Polish forces had crossed the borders in 1714, the Kingdom of Prussia 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 Lund. The Danes seized Rügen and Western Pomerania north of the Peene River (the former Danish Principality of Rugia that later would become known as New Western Pomerania or Neuvorpommern), while the Western Pomeranian areas south of the river (later termed Old Western Pomerania or Altvorpommern) were taken by Prussia.

Danish Pomerania was since April 1716 governed by a governmental commission seated in Stralsund, consisting of five members. [8] In contrast to the Swedish administration, the commission exerted both judiciary and executive power. [9] Denmark thereby drew from the experiences in Danish-occupied Bremen-Verden (1712–1715), the setting of the Danish chancellery, and the contemporary Danish absolutism under king Frederik IV of Denmark-Norway. [8] The commission consisted of landdrost von Platen, later von Kötzschau, counsellors Heinrich Bernhard von Kämpferbeck, J. B. Hohenmühle and Peter von Thienen, and chancellor secretary August J. von John. [10] In 1720, von Kämpferbeck died and was replaced by Andreas Boye. [11]

By the Treaty of Frederiksborg, 3 June 1720, Denmark was obliged to hand back control over the occupied territory to Sweden, but in the Treaty of Stockholm, on 21 January 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.

Denmark returned her Pomeranian territories to Swedish administration on 17 January 1721. The administrative records from the Danish period were transferred to Copenhagen and are available at the Danish National Archives (rigsarkivet). [9]

Seven Years' War

A feeble Swedish attempt to regain the lost territories in the Pomeranian campaigns of the Seven Years' War (1757–1762, "Pomeranian War") failed. Swedish troops struggled to co-ordinate with their French and Russian allies, and what had begun as a Swedish invasion of Prussian Pomerania soon led to the Prussians occupying much of Swedish Pomerania and threatening Stralsund. When Russia made peace with Prussia in 1762, Sweden also dropped out of the war with a return to the status quo ante bellum. Sweden's disappointing performance in the war further hurt its international prestige.

Integration in the eleventh hour

Swedish Pomerania (centre-right) in 1812 Swedish Pomerania 1812.png
Swedish Pomerania (centre-right) in 1812

By royal proclamation on 26 June 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 1 September 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 30 April 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 hundreds ( Härad ) containing parishes ( Socken ) complying with 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 4 July 1806.

Also in 1806, Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden started constructing another major port city in Pomerania, Gustavia. Yet already in 1807, French forces occupied the site. [12]

Loss during the Napoleonic Wars

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. After the Treaty of Paris signed in 1810, the territory was returned to Sweden. In 1812, when French troops yet again marched into Pomerania, the Swedish Army mobilized and assisted against Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, together with troops from Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Sweden also attacked Denmark and, by the Treaty of Kiel on 14 January 1814, Sweden ceded Pomerania to Denmark in exchange for Norway.

The fate of Swedish Pomerania was settled during the Congress of Vienna through the treaties between Prussia and Denmark on 4 June and with Sweden on 7 June 1815. In this manoeuvre Prussia gained Swedish Pomerania in exchange for Saxe-Lauenburg, becoming Danish, with Prussia having bartered previously Hanoverian Saxe-Lauenburg only 14 years earlier in exchange for East Frisia ceded to Hanover again. [13] 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 Western Pomerania (Neuvorpommern) within the Prussian Province of Pomerania.


The population of Swedish Pomerania was 82,827 subjects in 1764, (58,682 rural, 24,145 urban population, 40% of the rural population were leibeigen serfs); [14] 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). [14]

List of Governors General

Source: [15]

Danish governors general (1715–1721)
French governors general (1807–1813)

Notable people

Johann Joachim Spalding, 1800 Anton Graff Johann Joachim Spalding 1800.jpg
Johann Joachim Spalding, 1800
portrait of Caspar David Friedrich, c.1810 Gerhard von Kugelgen portrait of Friedrich.jpg
portrait of Caspar David Friedrich, c.1810
Philipp Otto Runge Philipp Otto Runge 005.jpg
Philipp Otto Runge
Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin.jpg
Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin
Lord Macleod Lordmacleod.jpg
Lord Macleod

See also

Related Research Articles

Pomerania Historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe

Pomerania is an historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Poland and Germany. The western part of Pomerania belongs to the German states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg, while the eastern part belongs to the West Pomeranian and Pomeranian voivodeships of Poland. Its historical border in the west is the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian border valley, which now constitutes the border between the Mecklenburgian and Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, while it is bounded by the Vistula River in the east. The easternmost sub-regions of Pomerania are alternatively known as Pomerelia and Kashubia, which are inhabited by ethnic Kashubians.

Stralsund City in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Stralsund, Swedish: Strålsund) is a Hanseatic city in the Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is located at the southern coast of the Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea separating the island of Rügen from the mainland.

History of Pomerania

The history of Pomerania starts shortly before 1000 AD with ongoing conquests by newly arrived Polans rulers. Before that the area was recorded nearly 2000 years ago as Germania, and in modern-day times Pomerania is split between Germany and Poland. The name Pomerania comes from the Slavic po more, which means Land at the Sea.

Farther Pomerania

Farther Pomerania, Further Pomerania, or Eastern Pomerania, is the part of Pomerania which comprised the eastern part of the Duchy and later Province of Pomerania. It stretched roughly from the Oder River in the West to Pomerelia in the East. Since 1945, Farther Pomerania has been part of Poland; the bulk of former Farther Pomerania is within the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, while its easternmost parts are within the Pomeranian Voivodeship. The Polish term Pomorze Zachodnie, in modern Polish usage, is a synonym to the West Pomeranian Voivodship; in Polish historical usage it applied to all areas west of Pomerelia.

Province of Pomerania (1815–1945)

The Province of Pomerania was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Pomerania was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815, an expansion of the older Brandenburg-Prussia province of Pomerania, and then became part of the German Empire in 1871. From 1918, Pomerania was a province of the Free State of Prussia until it was dissolved in 1945 following World War II, and its territory divided between Poland and Allied-occupied Germany.

Principality of Rügen

The Principality of Rügen was a Danish principality consisting of the island of Rügen and the adjacent mainland from 1168 until 1325. It was governed by a local dynasty of princes of the Wizlawiden dynasty. For at least part of this period, Rügen was subject to the Holy Roman Empire.

Treaty of Stettin (1630)

The Treaty of Stettin or Alliance of Stettin was the legal framework for the occupation of the Duchy of Pomerania by the Swedish Empire during the Thirty Years' War. Concluded on 25 August (O.S.) or 4 September 1630 (N.S.), it was predated to 10 July (O.S.) or 20 July 1630 (N.S.), the date of the Swedish Landing. Sweden assumed military control, and used the Pomeranian bridgehead for campaigns into Central and Southern Germany. After the death of the last Pomeranian duke in 1637, forces of the Holy Roman Empire invaded Pomerania to enforce Brandenburg's claims on succession, but they were defeated by Sweden in the ensuing battles. Some of the Pomeranian nobility had changed sides and supported Brandenburg. By the end of the war, the treaty was superseded by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the subsequent Treaty of Stettin (1653), when Pomerania was partitioned into a western, Swedish part, and an eastern, Brandenburgian part.

Lands of Schlawe and Stolp

The Lands of Schlawe and Stolp or Land of Słupsk-Sławno are a historical region in Pomerania, centered on the towns of Sławno (Schlawe) and Słupsk (Stolp) in Farther Pomerania, in present-day Poland.

Pomerania during the Late Middle Ages

Pomerania during the Late Middle Ages covers the history of Pomerania in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Pomerania during the Early Modern Age

Pomerania during the Early Modern Age covers the history of Pomerania in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Province of Pomerania (1653–1815)

The Province of Pomerania was a province of Brandenburg-Prussia, the later Kingdom of Prussia. After the Thirty Years' War, the province consisted of Farther Pomerania. Subsequently, the Lauenburg and Bütow Land, Draheim, and Swedish Pomerania south of the Peene river were joined into the province. The province was succeeded by the Province of Pomerania set up in 1815.

History of Pomerania (1806–1933)

History of Pomerania (1806–1933) covers the history of Pomerania from the early 19th century until the rise of Nazi Germany.

The Duchy of Pomerania was partitioned several times to satisfy the claims of the male members of the ruling House of Pomerania dynasty. The partitions were named after the ducal residences: Pomerania-Barth, -Demmin, -Rügenwalde, -Stettin, -Stolp, and -Wolgast. None of the partitions had a hereditary character, the members of the House of Pomerania inherited the duchy in common. The duchy thus continued to exist as a whole despite its division. The only exception was made during a war with the Margraviate of Brandenburg, when in 1338 Barnim III of Pomerania-Stettin was granted his partition as a fief directly from the Holy Roman Emperor, while Pomerania-Wolgast remained under formal Brandenburgian overlordship. However, already in 1348, German king and later emperor Charles IV again granted the Duchy of Pomerania as a whole and the Principality of Rügen as a fief to the dukes of both Pomerania-Stettin and Pomerania-Wolgast, nullifying Brandenburg's claims by granting Imperial immediacy.

Philipp Julius, Duke of Pomerania

Philipp Julius was duke of Pomerania in the Teilherzogtum Pomerania-Wolgast from 1592 to 1625.

Capitulation of Franzburg

The Capitulation of Franzburg was a treaty providing for the capitulation of the Duchy of Pomerania to the forces of the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War. It was signed on 10 November (O.S.) or 20 November (N.S.) 1627 by Bogislaw XIV, Duke of Pomerania and Hans Georg von Arnim, commander in chief of an occupation force belonging to the army of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, led by Albrecht von Wallenstein. While the terms of the capitulation were unfavourable for the Duchy of Pomerania already, occupation became even more burdensome when the occupation force did not adhere to the restrictions outlined in Franzburg. Stralsund resisted with Danish, Swedish and Scottish support, another Danish intervention failed. Imperial occupation lasted until Swedish forces invaded in 1630, and subsequently cleared all of the Duchy of Pomerania of imperial forces until 1631.

Siege of Stralsund (1678)

The Siege of Stralsund was an armed engagement between the Electorate of Brandenburg and the Swedish Empire from 20 September to 15 October 1678, during the Scanian War. After two days of bombardment on 10 and 11 October, the severely devastated Swedish fortress of Stralsund surrendered to the Brandenburgers. The remainder of Swedish Pomerania was taken by the end of the year, yet most of the province including Stralsund was returned to Sweden by the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the Peace of Lund, both concluded in 1679.

Siege of Stralsund (1807)

The Siege of Stralsund lasted from 24 July to 24 August 1807 and saw troops from the First French Empire twice attempt to capture the port city from Lieutenant General Hans Henric von Essen's 15,000-man Swedish garrison. Early in the year, Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier blockaded the city for two months before he was called elsewhere. In his absence, the Swedes drove back the inferior blockading force. After Mortier returned and pushed Essen's troops back in turn, the two sides quickly concluded an armistice. The truce was later repudiated by King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, whereupon Marshal Guillaume Marie Anne Brune led 40,000 French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch soldiers against the fortress. Fearfully outnumbered, the Swedes abandoned the Baltic Sea port of Stralsund to the Franco-Allies in this action during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. As a consequence, Sweden also lost the nearby island of Rügen.

Stralsund (region)

The Region of Stralsund belonged to the Prussian Province of Pomerania and existed from 1818 to 1932.

Western Pomerania

Western Pomerania, also called Hither Pomerania, is the western extremity of the historic region of the Duchy, later Province of Pomerania, nowadays divided between the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Poland.

The Wars of the Rügen Succession were two early 14th century conflicts fought primarily between Mecklenburg and Pomerania for control of the Danish Principality of Rügen on the southern Baltic Sea coast.



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  16. "Ruge, Arnold"  . New International Encyclopedia . 1905.


Coordinates: 54°05′N13°23′E / 54.083°N 13.383°E / 54.083; 13.383