- historical region of N Germany, on the Baltic
- former kingdom in N Europe (1701-1871) & the dominant state of the German Empire (1871-1919): formally dissolved in 1947
A historical region of north-central Europe including present-day northern Germany and Poland. Its ancient, Baltic-speaking inhabitants were conquered by the Teutonic Knights in the 1200s. West Prussia was ceded to Poland in 1466, and East Prussia became a Polish fief that passed to Brandenburg in 1618. Proclaimed a kingdom in 1701, Prussia became a military power under Frederick II (reigned 1740-1786). Prussia was instrumental in the unification of Germany, and in 1871 its king was declared Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany.