- List of rulers of Prussia
"King of Prussia" redirects here. For other uses, see King of Prussia (disambiguation).For the Pennsylvanian town, see King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
A list of rulers of the former German state of Prussia, originally territories on the Baltic Sea, which the Teutonic Knights had conquered from the Baltic Prussians, Poland and Lithuania, and which later became a duchy under the suzerainty of the Kingdom of Poland, an independent duchy, an independent kingdom, a kingdom within the German Empire, and then a constituent state of Germany.
The history of Prussia was, from 1618 onwards, closely tied to that of the Margraviate of Brandenburg; the ruler of Prussia was also Elector of Brandenburg from 1618 to 1806. For a list of earlier rulers of Brandenburg, see List of rulers of Brandenburg.
Dukes of Prussia, 1525-1701Main article: Duchy of Prussia
Hohenzollern Dukes of Prussia Image Name Began Ended Comments Albert I 10 April 1525 20 March 1568 Grandson of Albert III Achilles, Elector of Brandenburg of the House of Hohenzollern. Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. Having become a Lutheran, received from the King of Poland the secular title of "Duke of Prussia". Albert II Frederick 20 March 1568 18 August 1618 Son of Albert I. Albert Frederick was considered mentally unfit since 1577 - and with King Sigismund II Augustus having enfeoffed the Brandenburgian Hohenzollern to inherit Ducal Prussia in 1569 - thus power was first exercised by George Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, then by Joachim Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg (1605–1608), and thereafter by John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg.
Following the death of Albert Frederick in 1618, the rule of the Duchy of Prussia passed to his son-in-law and distant cousin the Elector John Sigismund, who belonged to the senior branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty that ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Though Margraviate and Duchy remained legally distinct, the combined lands are sometimes known as Brandenburg-Prussia.
John Sigismund 18 August 1618 23 December 1619 Elector of Brandenburg from 1608. Married Anna, Duchess of Prussia, daughter of Albert Frederick. George William 23 December 1619 1 December 1640 Son of John Sigismund and Anna. Frederick William 1 December 1640 9 May 1688 Son of George William. In 1657, Frederick William obtained from the King of Poland recognition of his complete sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia, which thereby became an independent state, though Poland retained the right of reversion should the Hohenzollern dynasty die out. The relative rights of the Duke of Prussia and the King of Poland were established in a series of treaties that were renewed on each change of ruler, down to 1698 (accession of Augustus II of Poland). Frederick 9 May 1688 18 January 1701 Son of Frederick William. In 1701 he was crowned "King in Prussia", marking the complete independence of Prussia from all Polish ties, but limiting his sovereignty to the former territory of Ducal Prussia.
Kings of Prussia 1701-1918Main article: Kingdom of Prussia
Prior to 1772, the following kings were officially known as King in Prussia, rather than of Prussia.
Hohenzollern Kings in and of Prussia Image Name Began Ended Comments Frederick I 18 January 1701 25 February 1713 Separated Prussia from Poland completely and assumed sovereign status as "King in Prussia" in 1701. Frederick William I 25 February 1713 31 May 1740 Son of Frederick I. Known as "the soldier king" (German: Der Soldatenkönig). Reformed the army and limited the state expenditure not related to the armed forces. Frederick II 31 May 1740 17 August 1786 Consequent on his annexation of Royal Prussia in the 1772 partition of Poland, Frederick the Great changed his title to "King of Prussia" rather than "King in Prussia". Frederick William II 17 August 1786 16 November 1797 Nephew of Frederick II. Augmented Prussian territory by further annexations of Polish lands. Frederick William III 16 November 1797 7 June 1840 Son of Frederick William II. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, he lost the title of Elector of Brandenburg, but was able to incorporate his territories in Brandenburg into the Kingdom of Prussia. Despite losses in the Napoleonic wars, at the Congress of Vienna Prussia's territory in Germany was greatly increased, making it the dominant power of northern Germany. Frederick William IV 7 June 1840 2 January 1861 Son of Frederick William III. During the revolutions of 1848-9, he was given the chance to become Emperor of the Germans, but turned down the offer. Wilhelm I 2 January 1861 9 March 1888 Brother of preceding. Prussia annexed further territories as a result of the Second War of Schleswig in 1864 and the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and became the dominant power in the North German Confederation. Following victory in the Franco-Prussian War, William I was proclaimed German Emperor in 1871, while retaining the title and powers of King of Prussia. Frederick III 9 March 1888 15 June 1888 Son of preceding, Also German Emperor. Died after only 99 days from throat cancer. Hence the year 1888 is also known as Year of Three Emperors. Wilhelm II 15 June 1888 9 November 1918 Son of preceding. The defeat of Germany in the First World War (1914) led William's abdication and exile and the fall of the House of Hohenzollern from power.
Post-monarchyMain article: Prime Minister of Prussia
Although the German Empire no longer existed as a monarchy, its constituent states continued to exist as republics within the Weimar Republic. Thus Prussia was known as the Free State of Prussia.
Prime Ministers of the Free State of Prussia, 1918-1945
- Paul Hirsch (SPD) 1918-1920
- Otto Braun (SPD) 1920-1921
- Adam Stegerwald (Centre) 1921
- Otto Braun (SPD) 1921-1925
- Wilhelm Marx (Centre) 1925
- Otto Braun (SPD) 1925-1932
In 1932, the German Chancellor, Franz von Papen, overthrew the Prussian government in the Preußenschlag. Subsequently, Prussia was governed by a Reichskommissar:
- Franz von Papen (no party) 1932 (German Chancellor and Reichskommissar)
- Kurt von Schleicher (no party) 1932-1933 (German Chancellor and Reichskommissar)
- Franz von Papen (no party) 1933 (German Vice-Chancellor and Reichskommissar)
After the seizure of power by the Nazis, a new Prime Minister was elected. However, this was largely a ceremonial role as the German states lost their power and became mere administrative units.
- Hermann Göring (NSDAP) 1933-1945
After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Prussia's provinces (sometimes in combination with non-Prussian territory) were reorganized into Länder. The state of Prussia was officially disbanded in 1947. The original Prussia was divided between Poland and the Soviet Union.
Pretenders to the Prussian throne
Hohenzollern Pretenders to the Prussian throne Image Name Reign Comments Wilhelm II 1918-1941 lived in exile in the Netherlands until his death Crown Prince William 1941-1951 Prince Louis Ferdinand 1951-1994 Prince George Frederick since 1994Albert · Albert Frederick · John Sigismund1 · George William1 · Frederick William1 · Frederick III (I)1 Kings in Prussia Kings of PrussiaFrederick II · Frederick William II · Frederick William III · Frederick William IV · Wilhelm I · Frederick III · Wilhelm II1Prince-Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia
For the pretenders to the Prussian throne see here.Categories:
- Kings of Prussia
- House of Hohenzollern
- Lists of rulers
- Dukes of Prussia
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