Old Prussians

Old Prussians, Baltic Prussians or simply Prussians (Old Prussian: prūsai; German: Pruzzen or Prußen; Latin: Pruteni; Latvian: prūši; Lithuanian: prūsai; Polish: Prusowie; Kashubian: Prësowié) were an indigenous tribe among the Baltic peoples that inhabited the region of Prussia, at the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea between the Vistula Lagoon to the west and the Curonian Lagoon to the east. The Old Prussians, who spoke an Indo-European language now known as Old Prussian and worshipped pre-Christian deities, lent their name, despite very few commonalities, to the later, predominantly Low German-speaking inhabitants of the region.[1][2][3]

Prussians
Prūsai
The Old Prussians in the context of the Baltic tribes, ca. 1200 AD. The boundaries are approximations.

The duchy of the Polans under Mieszko I, which was the predecessor of the Kingdom of Poland, first attempted to conquer and baptize the Baltic tribes during the 10th century, but repeatedly encountered strong resistance. Not until the 13th century were the Old Prussians subjugated and their lands conquered by the Teutonic Order. The remaining Old Prussians were assimilated during the following two centuries. The old Prussian language, largely undocumented, was effectively extinct by the 17th century.[4][5][6][7]

The original territory of the Old Prussians prior to the first clashes with the Polans consisted of central and southern West and East Prussia, equivalent to parts of the modern areas of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia and the southern Klaipėda Region in Lithuania. The territory was also inhabited by Scalovians, a tribe related to the Prussians, Curonians and Eastern Balts.[3]


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