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A brief history of Poland in the last 200 year




In the 11th and 12th centuries, Mark Brandenburg (which means "Brandenburg borderland") was a German state at the borderland of the Polish duchies. In the 13th century it acquired the land on the eastern bank of the Oder river, so-called Neumark, i.e. "new borderland". During the next centuries, when the princes of Brandenburg began to control further provinces, they became Kings of Prussia (1701) and played an important role in the partitioning of Poland.


In 1815, according to the new administrative division of the Prussian monarchy, the northernmost fragments of the Province of Brandenburg (together with areas previously acquired by it from Poland prior to the Partitions), were incorporated into Pomerania (see the map of Pomerania). The enclave of Swiebodzin (Schwiebus), marked in red on the map below, (which belonged to Silesia before 1815) was incorporated into Brandenburg which also acquired a large part of the Kingdom of Saxony (shown in green). In the 19th century, Brandenburg was a Lutheran and mostly German-speaking province. There was a Lusatian (Wend)-speaking minority in the southern region of Cottbus, (Lusatian: Chosebuz). A small Polish-speaking minority also existed in eastern Brandenburg. WWI brought no change to the status of this province except that it again became a "borderland" province as most of the former Province of Posen was returned to Poland.


After WWII, the part of Brandenburg east of the Oder was incorporated into Poland. Most of the German inhabitants escaped in 1945 as the Red Army conquered the land. This area was settled by Polish refugees from the East. The greater part of Brandenburg still remains German and is one of the states within the current Federal Republic of Germany.


The map shows the territory of the eastern part of Brandenburg at the beginning of the 20th century. The colored regions are explained above. The pink line is the present border between Poland and Germany. Polish and German names of cities are provided.



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