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Kaliningrad (Polish Królewiec, Lithuanian Karaliaucius, Dutch Koningsbergen, German Königsberg,the name Kaliningrad is more and more getting in use also in German) is the main city of the Kaliningrad Oblast, currently a small Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania with access to the Baltic Sea.

Founded as Königsberg, during the time of the domination of the region by German Order (Deutscher Orden) or Teutonic Knights in 1255, it was the capital city of the Ducal Prussia from 1466 to 1661, then a part of Brandenburg-Prussia. As a Prussian city it was a part of German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) and Deutsche Reich from 1871.

At the end of the Second World War, the city was annexed by the U.S.S.R.. The city was heavily bombarded by the British airforce. Some of the German population had fled the advancing Red Army and returned after the worst assault on the city had subsided. During the Cold War it was an important naval city and closed to visitors. As a result of independence for the Baltic states in the early 1990s, the territory became a Russian enclave. In the event of EU membership for Poland and Lithuania, the city will be completely surrounded by the EU. In all likelihood, this will require some special arrangements for the territory's inhabitants.

In 1690 the famous mathematician Christian Goldbach was born in Koenigsberg. As Königsberg, it was the home of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. In 1736, the mathematician Leonhard Euler used the arrangement of bridges and islands at Königsberg as the basis for a problem, the Seven Bridges of Königsberg Problem which led to the mathematical branch of topology.

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Early History -- Königsberg

The land by the Baltic Sea was inhabited by Prussians and the Königsberg territory is in Samland or Latin Sambia. Archeology shows continuous Prussian culture since at least 1800 BC, and in 98 AD the Roman writer Tacitus records the Aesti (Easterners) in the Agricola and Germania. Throughout the centuries the Aesti-Prussi are recorded and again archeology proves the Aesti-Prussians are one and the same.

Beginnings in the Middle Ages

The city of Königsberg in Prussia was founded in 1255, while Prussia was a part of the Holy Roman Empire under the administration of the Teutonic Knights.

Königsberg, situated in Samland, Prussia was named after the king Ottokar II of Bohemia, who came to the area with the Baltic or Northern Crusaders. Ottokar II, who also tried to claim Austria, was killed in battle in 1278.

Around the same time a city named Brandenburg was built west of Koenigsberg by the Brandenburg rulers, sons of Albrecht der Baer or (Albert the Bear.

In 1245 Prussia was divided into four dioceses by papal legate William of Modena[?]. The dioceses were Pomerania, Culmer Land, Ermeland (Warmia), and Samland (Sambia).

Saint Adalbert of Prague became the main patron saint of the Koenigsberg Dome.

Königsberg was the capital city of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights; later, after secularisation of the Order, it was the capital of Ducal Prussia, of the state of Brandenburg-Prussia, ruled by the Hohenzollern dynasty since 1661.

The Teutonic Knights, who secured their authority directly from the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, held the administration of Prussia beginning in the 13th century. By 1440 the merchant leaders of the Hanse cities of Prussia, clergy, and nobles founded the Prussian Confederation ( Ger. Preussischer Bund; Pol. Związek Pruski) against the Teutonic Knights, whose authority they found restrictive.

The Prussian Confederation, with leading Hanse cities Elbing, Danzig and Thorn, had to appear before the emperor Frederick III in their case against the Teutonic Knights. When the emperor refused to listen to their arguments, they instead asked the Polish king for help. When the Polish king tried to annex them, the Thirteen Years' War occurred, followed by the Second Treaty of Thorn which resulted in the incorporation of the city as a fief of the Kingdom of Poland.

The Teutonic Knights moved out of Marienburg and moved their headquarters to Königsberg.

Königsberg-Królewiec as the capital of Ducal Prussia

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Modern Königsberg

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Königsberg Becomes Kaliningrad

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Famous People from Königsberg/Kaliningrad

For more info after 1945: Kaliningrad Oblast and Yasnaya Polyana.

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