Pomeranian duchies and dukes

Pomeranian duchies and dukes

Pomerania is a geographical region in northern Poland and Germany, on the south coast of the Baltic Sea. In a wider sense, it extends to the Vistula River in the east and the Recknitz River in the west. However, the name Pomerania often refers only to the historical duchy (later province) of Pomerania, which until 1630 was ruled by members of the House of Pomerania ("Griffins, Greifen"), thus excluding the eastern regions of Pomerelia, which until 1296 were ruled by members of the Samborides (also "House of Sobieslaw or Subislaw"). Regional rulers in various parts of Pomerania were generally known as "Herzog" (German) or "książę" (Polish), which in their case can generally be translated as duke.


10th and 11th century - Dukes of the Slavic Pomeranian tribes

During the early Middle Ages, Pomerania was settled by West Slavic tribes, with Veleti, later Liutizian tribes dwelling west and Pomeranian tribes dwelling east of the Oder river. Little is known about the organisation and administration of the Pomeranians. As Polish dukes tried several times to subdue and mission parts of the Pomeranian settlement area, there are spare records of dukes in this area, but no records about the extension of their duchies or any dynastic relations.

The first written record of any local Pomeranian ruler is the 1046 mention of Zemuzil (in Polish literature also called "Siemomysł") at an imperial meeting, this document is also the oldest record calling Pomerania by this very name. Another chronicle written in 1113 by Gallus Anonymus mentions several dukes of Pomerania: Swantibor, Gniewomir, and an unnamed duke besieged in Kołobrzeg (Kolberg).

12th and 13th century

In the 12th century, Poland, the Holy Roman Empire's Duchy of Saxony and Denmark conquered Pomerania, ending the tribal era. In three military campaigns of 1116, 1119, and 1121, most of Pomerania was conquered by the Polish duke Boleslaus III.

Pomerelian duchies (1116-1294) - Samborides

Pomerelia with Gdańsk (Danzig) was put under Polish control, ruled by the Samborides dynasty until 1294.

Duchy of Pomerania (1121-1630) and Schlawe-Stolp (1121-1227) - House of Pomerania

In Pomerania proper, Polish influence vanished in the next decade. The Stolp (Słupsk) and Schlawe (Sławno) areas ("lands of" or " Länder Schlawe-Stolp" ) were ruled by Ratibor I and his descendants ("Ratiboriden" sideline of the Griffin House of Pomerania) until the Danish occupation of Schlawe and extinction of the line in 1227.

The western areas, stretching from Kolberg (Kołobrzeg) to Stettin (Szczecin) were ruled by Ratibor's brother Wartislaw I and his descendants (House of Pomerania, also called Griffins) until the 1630s. Wartislaw managed to conquer vast territories west of the Oder river, an area inhabited by Liutizian tribes weakened by past warfare, and included these territories into his "Duchy of Pomerania". This duchy was in the 12th and 13th centuries centered around the strongholds of Stettin and Demmin and co-ruled from there by Wartislaws successors. After the 1147 Wendish crusade and the 1164 Battle of Verchen, the duchy joined Henry the Lion's Duchy of Saxony, and in 1181 the dukes took their duchy as a fief from the Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa. The duchy remained in the Empire, although Denmark managed to take control of the southern Baltic including the Duchy of Pomerania from the 1180s until the 1227 Battle of Bornhöved.

From the 13th century, the duchy was set under pressure by its southern neighbor, the Margraviate of Brandenburg. In the 1236 Treaty of Kremmen and the 1250 Treaty of Landin, the duchy lost its western and southern areas (from Circipania to Uckermark) to Brandenburg and the dukes had to accept Brandenburg inheritance of the duchy.

Principality of Rügen (1168-1325) - House of Wizlaw

The island of Rügen and the surrounding areas between the Recknitz, Peene and Ryck rivers were the settlement area of the West Slavic Rani (or Rujani) tribe, that was subdued by a Danish and Saxon expedition in 1168. The Griffin dukes of Pomerania aided this expedition as they were Saxon vassals at this time. After the successful expedition, the local Rani dynasty (known in German as "Wizlawiden", that is the House of Wizlaw) became Princes of Rügen in a now Danish Principality of Rugia. In the 1180s, the Griffins were sent by the Holy Roman Emperor to take the principality for the empire, yet, Denmark turned out to succeed in the conflict and subdued most of the Southern Baltic instead. The border between Pomerania-Demmin and Rügen varied and was subject to ongoing conflict. In 1325, the last prince of Rügen, Wizlaw III, died without male heirs and the principality was claimed by both Mecklenburg and the Duchy of Pomerania. After the following two wars for Rügen inheritance, Rügen was integrated into the Duchy of Pomerania.

14th to 17th century - Growth and partitions of the Griffin duchy


Duchy of Pomerania

Wartislaw I was the first definite known member of the House of Pomerania, which ruled the duchy, with its extended territories, until 1637 when the ducal dynasty went extinct in the male line. They became vassals of Saxony (1164), and the Holy Roman Empire (1181). The duchy was temporarily partitioned into the petty principalities of Stettin, Wolgast, Barth, Rügenwalde, Demmin, Stolp, and Stargard.

In the 12th to 14th centuries, the Duchy of Pomerania was gradually Germanized and settled with Germans during the Ostsiedlung. Later, the western part became known as Hither Pomerania ("Vorpommern") and the eastern part Further Pomerania ("Hinterpommern"). After the death of Duke Bogislaw XIV, the duchy was partitioned into Swedish Pomerania (Vorpommern) and a Brandenburg-Prussian Province of Pomerania (Hinterpommern, in 1720 and 1815 Vorpommern, too). The rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia, later Kings of Prussia and Emperors of Germany still used the title "Duke of Pomerania" until 1918.


*1121-1135 Wartislaw I
*1135-1155 Ratibor I, ancestor of the "Ratiboriden" sideline of the House of Pomerania that ruled Schlawe

From 1155, the duchy was co-ruled by the dukes of Stettin and Demmin.

*1155-1187 Bogislaw I (Stettin) and his brother Kasimir I (Demmin, †1180)
*1187-1220 Bogislaw II (Stettin) and his brother Kasimir II (Demmin, †1219)
*1220-1278 Barnim I the Good (Stettin) and Wartislaw III (Demmin, ↑1264)

After Wartislaw III died heirless in 1264, Barnim I became sole duke of the whole duchy. After Barnim's death, the duchy was to be ruled by his sons Barnim II, Otto I and Bogislaw IV. The first years, Bogislaw, being the eldest, ruled in place of his too young brothers, too. In 1295, after Barnim's death, the duchy was partitioned in a northern duchy (Wolgast, ruled by Bogislaw), and a southern duchy (Stettin, ruled by Otto).

After 200 years of partition, the duchy was reunited for a short period when all her parts were inherited by Bogislaw X.

*1478-1523 Bogislaw X
*1523-1531 George I and Barnim XI the Pious

Partitioned in Stettin, Barth, Wolgast and Rügenwalde

*1625-1637 Bogislaw XIV

*(from 1637 western part of Pomerania inc. Stettin to Sweden: Swedish Pomerania)
*(1637-1657 Lauenburg-Bütow Land to Poland, next to Brandenburg)
*(from 1648 eastern part of Pomerania to Brandenburg-Prussia)

Duchy of Demmin

(to 1156 part of Duchy of Pomerania)


*1156-1180 Casimir I
*1180-1184 Wartislaw II
*1184-1219/20 Casimir II
*1219/20-1264 Wartislaw III

After the 1236 loss of most of Circipania (to Mecklenburg) and the Stargard area (the latter Mecklenburg-Strelitz, to Brandenburg) and Wartislaw III's death, Pomerania-Demmin was 1264 inherited and incorporated into the Duchy of Stettin

Duchy of Stettin (Szczecin)

(to 1160 part of the Duchy of Pomerania)


*1155-1187 Bogislaw I
*1187-1220 Bogislaw II
*1278-1295 Barnim II, Otto I, Bogislaw IV
*1295-1344 Otto I
*1344-1368 Barnim III
*1368-1372 Casimir III
*1372-1404 Swantibor I, Bogislaw VII
*1404-1413 Swantibor I
*1413-1428 Otto II, Casimir V
*1428-1435 Casimir V
*1435-1451 Joachim I
*1451-1464 Otto III
*1464-1474 Erik II
*1474-1523 Bogislaw X
*1523-1531 George I, Barnim IX
*1531-1569 Barnim XI
*1569-1600 Johann Friedrich
*1600-1603 Barnim X
*1603-1606 Bogislaw XIII
*1606-1618 Phillip II
*1618-1620 Frank I
*1620-1625 Bogislaw XIV

(from 1625 part of united Duchy of Pomerania)

Duchy of Wolgast

In 1295, the Duchy of Pomerania was divided roughly by the Peene and Ihna rivers, with the areas north of these rivers ruled by Bogislaw IV became Pomerania-Wolgast, whereas Otto I received Pomerania-Stettin south of these rivers.


*1295-1309 Bogislaw IV
*1309-1326 Wartislaw IV
*1326-1365 Bogislaw V, Wartislaw V and Barnim VI
*1365-1368 Bogislaw V and Wartislaw V
*1368-1376 Bogislaw VI and Wartislaw IV (?)
*1376-1393 Bogislaw VI
*1393-1394 Wartislaw VI
*1394-1405 Barnim VI
*1405-1451 Barnim VII and Wartislaw IX
*1451-1457 Wartislaw IX
*1457-1474 Erich II

*1474-1523 Bogislaw X (from 1478 all Pomerania)
*1523-1531 Barnim IX and George I, Duke of Pomerania

*1532-1560 Philip I
*1567-1569 Bogislaw XIII, Ernest Louis, John and Barnim X
*1569-1592 Ernest Louis
*1592-1625 Phillip II Julius

(from 1625 part of united Duchy of Pomerania)

Duchy of Barth

(to 1376 part of Duchy of Wolgast)


*1376-1415 Wartislaw VI
*1394-1415 Wartislaw VII
*1415-1451 Barnim VIII
*1457-1478 Wartislaw X

(1478-1531 part of Duchy of Pomerania)(1531-1569 part of Duchy of Wolgast)

*1569-1603 Bogislaw XIII

(from 1603 part of Duchy of Stettin)

Duchy of Rügenwalde (Darłowo)

(to 1569 part of Duchy of Stettin)


*1569-1603 Barnim X
*1603-1606 Bogislaw XIII
*1606-1617 George III and Bogislaw XIV
*1617-1620 Bogislaw XIV

*from 1620 part of Duchy of Stettin

Duchy of Stolp (Słupsk)

(to ca 1190 part of the duchy of Pomerania)(1190-1316 Duchy of Schlawe (part of Pomerelia))(1316-1368 part of Duchy of Wolgast)


*1368-1373 Bogislaw V
*1374-1377 Casimir IV
*1377-1395 Wartislaw VII
*1395-1402 Bogislaw VIII i Barnim V
*1402-1403 Barnim V
*1403-1418 Bogislaw VIII
*1418-1446 Bogislaw IX
*1449-1459 Casimir IV

(from 1459 part of Duchy of Wolgast)

Duchy of Stargard

(to 1377 part of Duchy of Stolp)


*1377-1402 Bogislaw VIII (Stolp) and Barnim V (Traburg)
*1402-1418 Bogislaw VIII
*1418-1446 Bogislaw IX

(from 1459 to Duchy of Wolgast)

Duchy of Sławno/Schlawe

Descendants of Ratibor I (Ratiboride sideline of the Griffin House of Pomerania) ruled this duchy, that comprised the Sławno (Schlawe) and Słupsk (Stolp) area (thus also known as lands of ("Länder") "Schlawe-Stolp") until 1227. Thereafter, the area was an object of competition between the Dukes of Pomerania, Pomerelia, Rügen and Brandenburg. Upon the extinction of Ratibor's dynasty, most of the territory was inherited by the dukes of Pomerania, who thus gained yet more recognition for their being dukes of all Pomerania. For four centuries, they used the title Duke of Pomerania, and the territories they ruled became established as Pomerania to outsiders, Pomerelia being perceived as a separate duchy with its own name.


*1121-1156 Ratibor I (from 1147/8 also duke of Pomerania)

(to ca 1190 part of Duchy of Pomerania)

*1190-1223 Bogislaw
*1223-1227 Ratibor II

In 1227, Stolp came to Pomerelia, Schlawe to Pomerania. In 1238-1316 both became part of Pomerelia, ruled by an autonomously acting dynasty of castellans, the Swenzones ( _de. Swenzonen, entering history in 1257 with Swenzo the Elder). In 1316, the area became part of the Duchy of Wolgast as Duchy of Stolp.

Principality of Rugia

The island of Rügen and the adjactend mainland was conquered by Denmark in 1168, as was the Duchy of Pomerania in the 1180s, and the local ruler founded a dynasty of lords (princes, dukes, often without recognized higher title just lords) of Rügen, vassals of Danish kings. In 1325 the Principality of Rügen fell to the Duchy of Pomerania after two wars for Rügen inheritance with Mecklenburg.

Dukes (House of Wizlaw)

1168-1325 feudal fief of Denmark under local rulers:
*1162-1170 Tezlaw
*1170-1217 Jaromar I
*1218-1249 Wizlaw I
*1249-1260 Jaromar II
*1260-1302 Wizlaw II
*1303-1325 Wizlaw III

From 1325 Duchy of Wolgast-Rügen or Rügen-Barth:

Dukes (House of Pomerania)

*1325-1326 Wartislaw IV
*1326-1368 Bogislaw V, Wartislaw V, Barnim IV
*1368-1372 Wartislaw VI, Bogislaw VI
*1372-1394 Wartislaw VI
*1394-1415 Wartislaw VIII
*1415-1432/6 Swantibor II
*1432/6-1451 Barnim VIII
*1451-1457 Wartislaw IX
*1457-1478 Wartislaw X

from 1474 part of Duchy of Wolgastfrom 1478 part of Duchy of Pomerania

Duchy of Pomerelia

After 997 the first time mention is made of the area in the 'Vita St. Adalbert'

The Samborides ruling Pomerelia gradually evolved into independent dukes, who ruled the duchy until 1294. Before 1227, they were vassals of Poland and Denmark. The duchy was temporarily partitioned into the principalities of Gdańsk (Danzig), Białogarda (Belgard a.d.Leba), Świecie (Schwetz), and Lubieszewo-Tczew (Liebschau, Dirschau).

The Margraviate of Brandenburg, already in a favourable position in the Duchy of Pomerania, was to inherit Pomerelia from its last duke, Mestwin II. Yet, Mestwin later changed his mind and in 1282 made the Polish duke heir of his realm. This lead to a conflict between Brandenburg and Poland for Pomerelia inheritance, which Poland sought to win by asking the Teutonic Knights for help, who already successfully secured Poland's northern flank east of Pomerelia. Yet, the knights established a rule of their own in Pomerelia after the Teutonic takeover of Danzig in 1308 and settled reparations with Brandenburg. While some Eastern Pomerelian areas would become part of the Duchy, later Province of Pomerania, the bulk of Pomerelia would become Royal and West Prussia in later history, and thus is not always identified as a part of Pomerania.


* ca. 1060–1106 Swietobor I (Świętobór I)
*1109,1113-1121 Swantopolk I (Świętopełk I)
*1121-1155 part of Poland
*1155-1178 Sobieslaw I (Subislaw I)
*1178-1207 Sambor I
*1207–1217 Mestwin I (Mściwój I), "the Peaceful"

1220-1271 divided into duchies of:
*Gdańsk (Danzig)
*Białogarda (Belgard)
*Lubieszewo (Liebschau)
*Świecie (Schwetz) (see below)

*1271–1294 Mestwin II (Mściwój II)

Further history:
*1294-1296 Part of Poland (Great Poland)
*1296-1299 Part of Kujavia
*1299-1308 Part of Poland
*1308-1466 Part of the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights
*1454-1466 13-years war between Poland and Teutonic Order
*1466-1772 Part of Royal Prussia within the Polish Kingdom as Pomeranian voivodship (województwo pomorskie)
*1772-1919 West Prussia (Westpreussen, part of Kingdom of Prussia and German Empire)
*1808 August 10 - 1820 August 14 François Joseph Lefebvre was created Duc de Danzig by Napoleon Bonaparte after taking The fortress of Danzig (1807 May 25)

Duchy of Białogarda (Belgard a.d.Leba)


*1207 Subislaw II
*1215/1229-1257 Ratibor

*from 1257 part of Duchy of Pomerelia

Duchy of Gdańsk (Danzig)

*to 1215 part of Duchy of Pomerelia


*1215-1266 Swantopolk II (Świętopełk II) "the Great"
*1266-1271 Wratislaw II

*from 1271 part of the Duchy of Pomerelia

Duchy of Lubiszewo (Liebschau)

The dukes initially resided at a burgh located in the later village of Lubiszewo (Liebschau). After the town of Dirschau (Tczew) was founded nearby in the course of the Ostsiedlung, the dukes shiftet their residence to the town.


*1178-1200/1207 Grzymislaw II
*1215/1228-1266/1278 Sambor II

*from 1266/1278 part of the Duchy of Pomerelia

Duchy of Świecie (Schwetz)

*to 1178 part of Pomerelia


*1178-1200/1207 Grzymislaw II
*1215/1223-1229/1230 Wartislaw I of Schwetz
*1229-1255/1266 Swantopolk II (Świętopełk II) "the Great"
*1255/12661271 Mestwin II

*from 1271 part of united Duchy of Pomerelia

Further reading

*Gerard Labuda (ed.), "Historia Pomorza", vol. 1-4, Poznan-Torun 1969-2003
*Edmund Kopicki, "Tabele dynastyczne", "Wykazy panujacych", in: "Katalog podstawowych monet i banknotow Polski oraz ziem z historycznie z Polska zwiazanych", vol. IX, part I
*Zugmunt Boras, "Ksiazeta Pomorza Zachdniego", Poznan 1969, 1978, 1996
*Casimir Kozlowski, George Podralski, "Poczet Ksiazat Pomorza Zachdniego", KAW, Szczecin 1985
*L. Badkowski, W.Samp. "Poczet ksiazat Pomorza Gdanskiego", Gdansk 1974
*B. Sliwinski, "Poczet ksiazaat gdanskich", Gdansk 1997
*Wojciech Myslenicki, "Pomorscy sprzymierzenscy Jagiellonczylow", Wyd. Poznanskie, Poznan 1979
*J. Spors, "Podzially administracyjne Pomorza Gdanskiego i Slawiensko-Slupksiego od XII do poczatkow XIV w", Slupsk 1983
*K. Slaski, "Podzially terytorialne Pomorza w XII-XII w.", Poznan 1960
*Edward Rymar, Krewni i powinowaci ksiazat pomorskich w zrodłach sredniowiecznych (XII-początek XVI w.), Materially Zachodniopomorskie, vol. XXXI

External links

* [http://kaszuby.bytow.pl/radde/BogislawX.html Bogislaw X]
* [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/roman_empire_1138_1254.jpgMap of Pomerania and Pomerelia] as part of the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Empire 1138-1254.

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