Pomerania ( _de. Pommern, _pl. Pomorze, _cs. Pòmòrze or Pòmòrskô, _la. Pomerania or Pomorania) is a German and Polish region on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, stretching roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the west and the Oder River delta near Szczecin to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the east. It is inhabited by Germans, Poles and Kashubians. Pomerania was strongly affected by 20th century border and population changes.


Pomerania is the area along the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea between the rivers Recknitz in the west, Vistula in the east, and Noteć and Warta in the south.

The western coastline is jagged, with lots of peninsulae (e.g., Darß-Zingst) and islands (Rügen, Usedom, Wolin and other, small isles) enclosing numerous bays ("Bodden") and lagoons (e.g., the Lagoon of Szczecin).

The eastern coastline is smooth. The lakes Łebsko, Jamno and Gardno were formerly bays but have been cut off from the sea. The easternmost coastline along the Gdańsk Bay (with Bay of Puck) and Vistula Bay has the Hel peninsula and the Vistula peninsula jut out into the Baltic.

The mainland consists of low elevation plains and hills.


Pomerania in all languages is an adaptation of Old Slavic "po", meaning "by/next to/along", and "more", meaning "sea", thus "Pomerania" is literally "seacoast", referring to its proximity to the Baltic Sea.

There is a probable first mention of Pomerania as the Latin "longum mare" ("long sea") in a monastery document or note from around 1080, the "Dagome iudex", shortened copy of an earlier document supposedly referring to the year 992. The document speaks of Oda von Haldensleben and her husband "Dagome", presumably the Polish ruler Mieszko I, and refers to territory gifted by "Dagome" to the Pope. An imperial document of 1046 makes an actual first mention of "Pomerania" in reference to "Zemuzil dux Bomeranorum" (Zemuzil, Duke of the Pomeranians). From then on, "Pomerania" appears repeatedly in the chronicles of Adam of Bremen (ca. 1070) and Gallus Anonymous (ca. 1113).


The Polish parts of Pomerania are within the West Pomeranian, Pomeranian, and Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. The German part of Pomerania is included within the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with petty areas also in Brandenburg.

Subdivisions of Pomerania

Current regions

Currently, Pomerania is divided into the regions
*Western Pomerania ("Vorpommern", Germany) stretching from the Recknitz River to the Oder-Neisse-line)
*Zachodniopomorskie (also translates Western Pomerania, Poland), stretching from the Oder-Neisse-line to the Słupia River
*Gdansk Pomerania (Poland), stretching from the Słupia River to the Vistula River.

The [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zachodniepomorskie&redirect=no Euroregion Pomerania] comprises German Western Pomerania and Uckermark, Polish Zachodniepomorskie, and Scania in Sweden.

Some confusion can come about as today there are provinces using the term Western Pomerania in both Germany and Poland ("see Western Pomerania (disambiguation)"). Also, Eastern Pomerania may refer to Gdansk Pomerania and areas in Zachodniopomorskie as well.

Historical regions

Most of Pomerania was within the former eastern territories of Germany. During and after World War II, all areas east of the Oder-Neisse line were ceded to Poland, ethnically cleansed of Germans and resettled with Poles. The former German administrative division of the area was replaced by voivodeships of different shape. Also, the traditional German naming for the Pomerenian regions was replaced by a Polish terminology.


Vorpommern, also Hither or Western Pomerania, comprised the area between the Recknitz and the Oder rivers, making up the western part of the former Province of Pomerania. While most of this region is still within Germany and continues the use of the name, the major cities of Stettin (now Szczecin)and Swinemünde (now Świnoujście) as well as the adjacted area ("Stettiner Zipfel") became part of Poland and are now part of the Zachodniopomorskie region.

Farther Pomerania

Farther or Further Pomerania, also Hinterpommern, Eastern Pomerania or Ostpommern are the terms used to describe the eastern part of the former Province of Pomerania, stretching from the Oder River to Lauenburg i. Pom., (now Lebork). All of Farther Pomerania became a part of Poland after World War II and thereafter lost its territorial integrity. The bulk of Farther Pomerania is included within the West Pomeranian Voivodeship comprising the Zachodniopomorskie region. The easternmost parts, most notably the Stolp (now Sluspsk) area today are in the Pomeranian Voivodeship comprising the Gdansk Pomerania region.


Pomerelia or Pommerellen is a historical region in the Southeast of Pomerania. Most of this region was not included in the Province of Pomerania but in West Prussia, therefore it is in many cases not considered to be part of Pomerania. Yet, Pomerelia's medieval Samboride dukes were entitled Duke of Pomerania, and in Polish terminology "Pomorze" (Pomerania) is used for Pomerelia even preferably, while Pomerania proper is termed "Zachodniopomorskie" (Western Pomerania).

The modern Gdansk Pomerania (major) and Zachodniopomorskie (east) regions, the West Pomeranian Voivodeship (east), Pomeranian Voivodeship (bulk) and the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship (north) encompass the historical Pomerelia, but also many other regions.

Polish terminology

Polish terminology divides Pomerania into:
#"Pomorze Zachodnie" or "Zachodniopomorskie", "Pomorze Szczecińskie", or "Pomorze Nadodrzańskie" (Western Pomerania, the entire area of the former Duchy and Province of Pomerania)
#"Pomorze Wschodnie" or "Pomorze Gdańskie" (Pomerelia).The former covers roughly the territories referred to in German as "Vorpommern" and "Hinterpommern", the latter corresponds to "Pommerellen" (Pomerelia). Under Polish administration a number of several different voivodeships all using the name Pomerania have been established.

Kashubian geographic terminology with regard to Pomerania is similar to Polish, and distinguishes between "Zôpadnô Pòmòrskô" (Western Pomerania) and "Pòrénkòwô Pòmòrskô" (Eastern Pomerania).


Polish Voivodeship/
German Kreis
w km²
Polish 31 December 1999
German 2001
Territorial code
Kuyavian-Pomeranian VoivodeshipBydgoszcz¹
Pomeranian VoivodeshipGdańskG18,292.882,192,26822
West Pomeranian VoivodeshipSzczecinZ22,901.481,732,83832
(¹) - the site of the Voivod office. (²) - the site of the Voivod council
Polish Pomerania total 59,164.086,025,877
RügenBergen auf RügenRÜG 97474,400
Demmin (district)DemminDM1,92193,700
Greifswald HGW52.252,984
Stralsund HSTest. 52.260,000
German Pomerania total 8,701595,888

The biggest cities are (with population figures for 1999):;in Polish Pomerania
* Tricity metropolitan area (population (2001): 1,035,000; area 1,332,51 km²), including:
** Gdańsk (458,988) (1905: 159,685)
** Gdynia (253,521)
** Sopot (46,000)
* Szczecin (416,988) (1905: 224,078)
* Bydgoszcz (369,151)
* Toruń (206,158)
* Koszalin (112,375)
* Słupsk (102,370)
* Grudziądz (98,000)
* Stargard Szczeciński (72,000)and Świnoujście, Kołobrzeg, Sopot, Malbork, Kwidzyn, Szczecinek, Lębork, Chojnice, Iława, Ostróda, Police, Wałcz ; in German Pomerania
* Greifswald (52,984)
* Stralsund (63,000)
* Wolgast
* Barth

History of Pomerania (Timeline)

    "For a detailed history, see History of Pomerania."
    "For the history before 1121, see Pomeranians."
    "For the history of the Pomeranian duchies (1121–1630), see Pomeranian duchies and dukes."
    "For the history of Pomerania as a Swedish province (1630–1815), see Swedish Pomerania."
    "For the history of Pomerania as a Prussian province (1630–1945), see Province of Pomerania."

The history of the region is rich and varied, probably due to its having been fragmented into several independent duchies through the centuries.
*2000 BC: Baltic peoples
*1200 BC: Germanic peoples (e.g. the Rugians) until the Migration Period
*6th century AD: Germanic Goth and Getae, Gutones, Vidivarier, Aesti, are recorded by Jordanes at Gothiscandza
*Slavic peoples, such as the Volinians, Liuticians start to arrive
*918: western parts March of the Billungs (Duchy of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire)
*10th12th century: several warlords try to conquer Pomerania
*Harald I of Denmark and later kings
*Mieszko I of Poland since 970, succeeded in 979 between Oder and Vistula
*1005: Pomerania regains independence
*1040: war between the Duke of Poland Casimir I the Restorer and a Zemuzil, Duke of Pomerania
*1046: negotiations between the dukes in Meißen, Pomerania remains independent but has to pay a yearly tribute to Poland
*1116–1121: Bolesław III Wrymouth conquers Pomerania, first known dukes of the Griffins (West) and Samborides (East)
*1135-1138: Griffin duchy regains independece
*Denmark (1168/1186–1227)
**1168: Danish expedition lead by Roskilde archbishop Absalon takes Duchy of Rügen
**1170s and early 1180s: various encounters between Pomeranians and Danes. Danes raid Circipania and Wolin
**1186 All Pomerania under Danish control
**1227 Denmark's navy entirely defeated in Bornhöved battle, Danish unable to keep Pomerania thereafter
*various small duchies; see Griffins (until 1637), Samborides, Pomeranian duchies and dukes
*Holy Roman Empire
**1150: Brandenburg Albert the Bear
**1164: Henry the Lion in the Battle of Verchen defeats the Griffin dukes who join Henry's Duchy of Saxony
**1181: Bogislaw I of the Griffins, son of Wartislaw I, swears allegiance to Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa [ [http://www.genemaas.net/Pommern.htm Pommern History ] ] after he had dissolved Henry the Lion's duchy
**1308: The monastic state of the Teutonic Knights purchases the Margraviate of Brandenburg's disputed claim to Pomerelia (Gdańsk-Pomerania) after conquering the territory [The dispute between the Teutonic Knights and the Polish kings was settled in negotiations in the Treaty of Kalisz (1343). This easternmost part of Pomerania remained under the rule of the Teutonic Knights as a fief of the Polish Crown. Polish kings held the title of "Duke of Pomerania" within the Holy Roman Empire's fief of entire Pomerania.]
**1466: Second Peace of Thorn: the Teutonic Order cedes Pomerelia to the King of Poland as part of what is later called Royal Prussia
**1648: Peace of Westphalia, Hither Pomerania becomes Swedish Pomerania
**several wars between Brandenburg-Prussia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden [In 1654 Farther Pomerania was conquered by Brandenburg-Prussia from the Swedes. In 1720 Hither Pomerania became also a part of the then Kingdom of Prussia. With the Partitions of Poland 1772–1795 Pomerelia was incorporated into Prussia as the Province of West Prussia.]
*German Confederation, German Empire
**1815: all of Pomerania within the Kingdom of Prussia [In the Prussian provinces of Pomerania and West Prussia. The Kingdom of Prussia was a member state of the German Confederation (1815–1866), the North German Confederation (1867–1871), and the German Empire (since 1871).]
*After World War I
**1919: Treaty of Versailles, most of West Prussia (including Pomerelia or Gdańsk-Pomerania) becomes part of the Second Polish Republic
**1939: Nazi Germany annexes the territories lost in 1919
**1945: Soviet capture, Oder-Neisse line becomes new border between Poland and Germany, the historical duchy / province of Pomerania ceases to exist
**1945/46: Pomeranian population from "Farther" and Eastern "Hither Pomerania", except for Polish and Kashubs, is expelled to post-war Germany, as well as the German population of all other "German territories under Polish and Soviet control". The area is resettled and rebuilt by Polish who were expelled from Polish settlement areas annexed by the Soviets. "Hither Pomerania" without the Stettin/Szczeczin area and Wollin/Wolin was fused with Mecklenburg to form the (East-) German state of "Mecklenburg-Vorpommern", the former "Farther Pomeranian" area is roughly represented by Polish "West Pomerania"

See also

* Lauenburg and Bütow Land
* Kashubian-Pomeranian Association
* Pomeranian duchies and dukes
* Evacuation of German civilians during the end of World War II
* German exodus from Eastern Europe
* Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II
* Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland after World War II
* Expulsion of Germans after World War II
* Pomeranian State Museum


Further reading

Publications in English

* Byrnes, James F., "Speaking Frankly", New York, 1947.
* Keesing's Research Report, "Germany and Eastern Europe since 1945", New York, 1973, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 72-7729. ISBN 0-684-13190-0
* de Zayas, Alfred M, "Nemesis at Potsdam", Routledge, (1st edition 1977), Revised edition 1979, ISBN 0-7100-0458-3
* Boehlke, LeRoy, "Pomerania - Its People and Its History", Pommerscher Verein Freistadt, Germantown, WI, U.S.A., 1983.
* von Krockow, Christian, "Hour of the Women", UK edition 1992, Faber & Faber, ISBN 0-571-14320-2
* Herrick, Linda, & Wendy Uncapher, "Pomerania - Atlantic Bridge to Germany", Origins, Janesville, WI, U.S.A., 2005.

Publications in Polish

* Gerard Labuda (ed.), "Historia Pomorza, vol. I (to 1466)", parts 1–2, Poznań 1969
* Gerard Labuda (ed.), "Historia Pomorza, vol. II (1466–1815)", parts 1–2, Poznań 1976
* Gerard Labuda (ed.), "Historia Pomorza, vol. III (1815–1850)", parts 1–3, Poznań
* Gerard Labuda (ed.), "Historia Pomorza, vol. IV (1850–1918)", part 1, Toruń 2003
* Marian Biskup (ed.), "Śląsk i Pomorze w historii stosunków polsko-niemieckich w średniowieczu. XII Konferencja Wspólnej Komisji Podręcznikowej PRL-RFN Historyków 5–10 VI 1979 Olsztyn", Instytut Zachdni, Poznań 1987
* Antoni Czubiński, Zbigniew Kulak (ed.), "Śląsk i Pomorze w stosunkach polsko-niemieckich od XVI do XVII w. XIV Konferencja Wspólnej Komisji Podręcznikowej PRL-RFN Historyków, 9–14 VI 1981 r. Zamość", Instytut Zachodni, Poznań 1987
* Szkice do dziejów Pomorza, vol. 1-3, Warszawa 1958–61
* B. Wachowiak, Rozwój gospodarczo-społeczny Pomorza Zachodniego od połowy XV do początku XVII wieku, Studia i Materiały do dziejów Wielkopolski i Pomorza, 1958, z. 1
* J. Wiśniewski, Początki układu kapitalistycznego na Pomorzu Zachodnim w XVIII wieku, Studia i Materiały do dziejów Wielkopolski i Pomorza, 1958, z. 1
* A. Wielopolski, Gospodarka Pomorza Zachodniego w latach 1800–1918, Szczecin 1959
* W. Odyniec, Dzieje Prus Królewskich (1454–1772). Zarys monograficzny, Warszawa 1972
* Dzieje Pomorza Nadwiślańskiego od VII wieku do 1945 roku, Gdańsk 1978
* Zygmunt Boras, "Książęta Pomorza Zachodniego", Poznań 1969, 1978, 1996
* Zygmunt Boras, "Stosunki polsko-pomorskie w XVI w", Poznań 1965
* Zygmunt Boras, "Związki Śląska i Pomorza Zachdoniego z Polską w XVI wieku", Poznań 1981
* Kazimierz Kozłowski, Jerzy Podralski, "Poczet Książąt Pomorza Zachodniego", KAW, Szczecin 1985
* Lech Bądkowski, W. Samp. "Poczet książąt Pomorza Gdańskiego", Gdańsk 1974
* B. Śliwiński, "Poczet książąt gdańskich", Gdańsk 1997
* Wojciech Myślenicki, "Pomorscy sprzymierzenscy Jagiellończyków", Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Poznań 1979
* Józef Spors, "Podziały administracyjne Pomorza Gdańskiego i Sławieńsko-Słupskiego od XII do początków XIV w", Słupsk 1983
* Kazimierz Ślaski, "Podziały terytorialne Pomorza w XII-XII w.", Poznań 1960
* Benon Miśkiewicz, "Z dziejów wojennych Pomorza Zachodniego. Cedynia 972-Siekierki 1945", Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Poznań 1972

Publications in German

* M. Wehrmann, Geschichte von Pommern, vol. 1–2, Gotha 1919–21
* M. Spahn, Verfassungs- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Herzogtums Pommern von 1476 bis 1625, Leipzig 1896
* B. Schumacher, Geschichte Ost- und Westpreussens, Würzburg 1959

External links

Internet directories

*dmoz|Regional/Europe/Poland/Voivodships/Zachodniopomorskie/|Western Pomerania
*dmoz|Regional/Europe/Poland/Voivodships/Kujawsko-pomorskie/|Kuyavia and Pomerania
*dmoz|Regional/Europe/Germany/States/Mecklenburg-Western_Pomerania/|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Culture and history

* [http://www.zamek.szczecin.pl/ Pomeranian dukes castle in Szczecin (Polish, German, English)]
* [http://www.archiv-vegelahn.de/pommern.html Pomeranian (German)]
* [http://www.lexikus.de/index.php?PHPSESSID=fdmldjf2hu80lbmk50u3cjcga4&page=thema&thema=9 Collection of historical eBooks about Pomerania (German)]

Maps of Pomerania

* [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Provinz_Pommern_1905.pngMap of Pomerania as in 1905, in German Wikipedia]
* [http://www.frombork.art.pl/Frombork-foto/Sd687_i.jpgWoiewództwa Pomorskie i Małborskie oraz Pomerania Elektorska, G.B.A.Rizzi-Zannoni 1772]
* [http://feefhs.org/maps/GERE/ge-pomer.html FEEFHS Map Room: German Empire - East (1882) - Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia]
* [http://www.hoeckmann.de/germany/pomerania.htm Pomerania in 1789]

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