Teutonic Knights

Teutonic Knights

Overview
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (Official names: ), commonly the Teutonic Order (Today: German Order = Der Deutsche Orden, also Deutschherren- or Deutschritterorden), is a German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 medieval military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order. It was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since they also served as a crusading military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

 in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (Official names: ), commonly the Teutonic Order (Today: German Order = Der Deutsche Orden, also Deutschherren- or Deutschritterorden), is a German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 medieval military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order. It was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since they also served as a crusading military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

 in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The military membership was always small, with volunteers and mercenaries augmenting the force as needed. After the Reformation
Reformation
- Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

, the Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Order became Protestant; this branch still consists of knights, but the modern Roman Catholic order consists of Roman Catholic priests, nuns, and associates.

Origins


Formed at the end of the 12th century in Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, the medieval Order played an important role in Outremer
Outremer
Outremer, French for "overseas", was a general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

, controlling the port tolls of Acre. After Christian forces were defeated in the Middle East, the Order moved to Transylvania
Burzenland
The Burzenland is a historic and ethnographic area in southeastern Transylvania, Romania with a mixed population...

 in 1211 to help defend Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 against the Kipchaks. The Knights were expelled in 1225, after allegedly attempting to place themselves under Papal
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 instead of Hungarian sovereignty.

In 1230, following the Golden Bull of Rimini
Golden Bull of Rimini
The Golden Bull of Rimini was a Golden Bull issued by Emperor Frederick II, at his court in Rimini in March 1226 to confirm the Teutonic Knights' possessions in Prussia...

, Grand Master Hermann von Salza
Hermann von Salza
Hermann von Salza was the fourth Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1210 to 1239...

 and Duke Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia , from the Polish Piast dynasty, was the sixth Duke of Masovia from 1194 until his death and High Duke of Poland from 1229 to 1232.-Life:...

 launched the Prussian Crusade
Prussian Crusade
The Prussian Crusade was a series of 13th-century campaigns of Roman Catholic crusaders, primarily led by the Teutonic Knights, to Christianize the pagan Old Prussians. Invited after earlier unsuccessful expeditions against the Prussians by Polish princes, the Teutonic Knights began campaigning...

, a joint invasion of Prussia
Prussia (region)
Prussia is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania...

 intended to Christianize the Baltic Old Prussians
Old Prussians
The Old Prussians or Baltic Prussians were an ethnic group, autochthonous Baltic tribes that inhabited Prussia, the lands of the southeastern Baltic Sea in the area around the Vistula and Curonian Lagoons...

. The Order then created the independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
The State of the Teutonic Order, , also Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights or Ordensstaat , was formed in 1224 during the Northern Crusades, the Teutonic Knights' conquest of the pagan West-Baltic Old Prussians in the 13th century....

 in the conquered territory, and subsequently conquered Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

. The Kings of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 accused the Order of holding lands rightfully theirs.

The Order lost its main purpose in Europe with the Christianisation of Lithuania. The Order became involved in campaigns against its Christian neighbours, the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, and the Novgorod Republic
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

 (after assimilating the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

). The Teutonic Knights had a strong economic base, hired mercenaries from throughout Europe to augment their feudal levies, and became a naval power in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army decisively defeated the Order and broke its military power at the Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald
The Battle of Grunwald or 1st Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410, during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Jogaila and Grand Duke Vytautas , decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights, led...

 (Tannenberg).

In 1515, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Maximilian I
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 made a marriage alliance with Sigismund I
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

 of Poland-Lithuania. Thereafter the Empire did not support the Order against Poland. In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg resigned and converted to Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, becoming Duke of Prussia as a vassal of Poland. Soon after, the Order lost Livonia and its holdings in the Protestant areas of Germany.

The Order kept its considerable holdings in Catholic areas of Germany until 1809, when Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 ordered its dissolution and the Order lost its last secular holdings. The Order continued to exist as a charitable and ceremonial body. It was outlawed by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in 1938, but re-established in 1945. Today it operates primarily with charitable aims in Central Europe.

The Knights wore white surcoat
Surcoat
A surcoat was an outer garment commonly worn in the Middle Ages by both men and women. It can either refer to a coat worn over other garments or the outer garment of a person...

s with a black cross. A cross pattée
Cross pattée
A cross pattée is a type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter. An early English example from the start of the age of heraldry proper A cross pattée (or "cross patty", known also as "cross formée/formy") is a type of cross which has arms narrow at the...

 was sometimes used as their coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

; this image was later used for military decoration and insignia by the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 as the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

 and Pour le Mérite
Pour le Mérite
The Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max , was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I....

. The motto of the Order was:"Helfen, Wehren, Heilen" ("Help, Defend, Heal")

Names


The officially used full name of the Order in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 is Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem or in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum (engl. "Order of the House of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem"). It is commonly known in German as the Deutscher Orden (official short name, engl. "German Order"), historically also as Deutscher Ritterorden ("German Order of Knights"), Deutschherrenorden, Deutschritterorden ("Order of the German Knights") or "Die Herren im weißen Mantel" ("The lords in white capes").

The Teutonic Knights have been known as Zakon Krzyżacki in Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 and as Kryžiuočių Ordinas in Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

, "Vācu Ordenis" in Latvian
Latvian language
Latvian is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language...

, "Saksa Ordu" or, simply, "Ordu" ("The Order") in Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

, as well as various names in other languages.


Administrative structure of the German order about 1450




Generalkapitel


The Generalkapitel (general chapter) was the collection of all the priests, knights and half-brothers (German: "Halbbrüder"). Because of the logistical problems to assemble the members, who were spread over large distances, only deputations of the bailiwick
Bailiwick
A bailiwick is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and may also apply to a territory in which the sheriff's functions were exercised by a privately appointed bailiff under a royal or imperial writ. The word is now more generally used in a metaphorical sense, to indicate a sphere of...

s and commandries
Commandry (feudalism)
Commandry , or commandery , was the smallest division of the European landed estate or manor under the control of a commendator, or commander, of an order of knights...

 gathered to form the General chapter. The General chapter was designed to meet annually, but the conventions usually were limited to the election of a new Grandmaster. The decisions of the Generalkapitel had a binding effect on the Großgebietigers of the order.

Hochmeister


The Hochmeister (Grandmaster) was the highest officer of the order. Until 1525, he was elected by the Generalkapitel. He had the rank of an ecclesiastic imperial state
Imperial State
An Imperial State or Imperial Estate was an entity in the Holy Roman Empire with a vote in the Imperial Diet assemblies. Several territories of the Empire were not represented, while some officials were non-voting members; neither qualified as Imperial States.Rulers of Imperial States were...

 leader and was sovereign prince of Prussia until 1466. Despite this high formal position, practically, he only was a kind of first among equals
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

.

Großgebietiger


The Großgebietiger were high officers with competence on the whole order, appointed by the Hochmeister. There were five offices.
  • The Großkomtur (Magnus Commendator), the deputy of the Grandmaster
  • The Treßler, the treasurer
  • The Spitler (Summus Hospitalarius), responsible for all hospital affairs
  • The Trapier, responsible for dressing and armament
  • The Marschall (Summus Marescalcus), the chief of military affairs

Landmeister


The order was divided in three national chapters, Prussia
Prussia (region)
Prussia is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania...

, Livland and the territory of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. The highest officer of each chapter was the Landmeister (country master). They were elected by the regional chapters. In the beginning, they were only substitutes of the Grandmaster but were able to create a power of their own. Within their territory, the Grandmaster could not decide against their will. In the end of the rule over Prussia, factual, the Grandmaster was only Landmeister of Prussia.
There were three Landmeisters
  • The Landmeister in Livland, the successor of the Herrenmeister (lords master) of the former Livonian Brothers of the Sword
    Livonian Brothers of the Sword
    The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were a military order founded by Bishop Albert of Riga in 1202. Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks"...

  • The Landmeister of Prussia, since 1309 united with the office of the Grandmaster, who was situated in Prussia since then.
  • The Deutschmeister, the Landsmeister of the Holy Empire. When Prussia and Livland were lost, the Deutschmeister also became Grandmaster.

Regional leadership


Because the properties of the order within the rule of the Deutschmeister did not form a cohesive territory but were spread over the whole empire and parts of Europe, there was an additional regional structure, the bailiwick. Kammerbaleien were governed by the Grandmaster himself. Some of these bailiwicks had the rank of imperial states
  • Deutschordensballei Thuringia
    Thuringia
    The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

     (Zwätzen)
  • Deutschordensballei Hesse
    Hesse
    Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

     (Marburg
    Marburg
    Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

    )
  • Deutschordensballei Saxonia
    Saxonia
    Saxonia may refer to:* Saxonia, the Latin name of Saxony* Saxonia , the allegorical representation of Saxony* Saxonia , first locomotive built in Germany in 1838, more than one passenger ship of the Cunard Line...

     (Lucklum)
  • Brandenburg
  • Deutschordensballei Westfalia (Deutschordenskommende Mülheim
    Mülheim
    Mülheim an der Ruhr, also called "City on the River", is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is located in the Ruhr Area between Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen and Ratingen...

    )
  • Deutschordensballei Franconia (Ellingen
    Ellingen
    Ellingen is a town in the Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen district, in Bavaria, Germany....

    )
  • Kammerballei Koblenz
  • Deutschordensballei Schwabia-Alsace
    Alsace
    Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

    -Burgundy (Rufach
    Rouffach
    Rouffach is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.Rouffach lies along the Alsatian wine route ....

    )
  • Deutschordensballei at the Etsch and in the Mountains (south Tyrol) (Bozen)
  • Utrecht
  • Lorraine
    Lotharingia
    Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

     (Trier)
  • Kammerballei Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

  • Deutschordensballei Alden Biesen
  • Sicily
  • Deutschordensballei Apulia
    Apulia
    Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

     (San Leonardo)
  • Lombardy
    Lombardy
    Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

     (also called Lamparten)
  • Kammerballei Bohemia
    Bohemia
    Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

  • Deutschordensballei Romania (Achaia, Greece)
  • Armenien-Zyprus

Komtur


The smallest administrative unit of the order was the Kommende. It was ruled by a Komtur
Komtur
Komtur was a rank within military orders, especially the Teutonic Knights. In the State of the Teutonic Order, the Komtur was the commander of a basic administrative division called Kommende . A Komtur was responsible for the alimentation of the Knights by the yield from the local estates, he...

, who had all administrative rights and controlled the Vogteien (district of a reeve) and Zehnthöfe (tithe collectors) within his rule. In the commandry, all kinds of brothers lived together in a monastic way. Noblemen served as Knight-brothers or Priest-brothers. Other people could serve as Sariantbrothers, who were armed soldiers and as Half-brothers, who were working in economy and healthcare.

Special offices

  • The Kanzler (chancellor) of the Grandmaster and the Deutschmeister. The chancellor took care of the keys and seals and was recording clerk of the chaptre.
  • The Münzmeister (master of the mint) of Thorn. In 1246 the order received the right to produce its own coins the Moneta Dominorum Prussiae – Schillingen.
  • The Pfundmeister (customs master) of Danzig. The Pfund was a local customs duty.
  • The Generalprokurator the representant of the order at the Holy See
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

    .
  • The Großschäffer, a trading representant with special authority.

Foundation



In 1143 Pope Celestine II
Pope Celestine II
Pope Celestine II , born Guido di Castello, was pope from 1143 to 1144.-Early life:Guido di Castello, possibly the son of a local noble, Niccolo di Castello, was born either in Città di Castello, situated in Paterna Santa Felicita upon the Apennines, or at Macerata in the March of Ancona.Guido had...

 ordered the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 to take over management of a German hospital in Jerusalem, which, according to the chronicler Jean d’Ypres, accommodated the countless German pilgrims and crusaders who could neither speak the local language (i.e. old French) nor Latin (patriæ linguam ignorantibus atque Latinam). Although formally an institution of the Hospitallers, the pope commanded that the prior and the brothers of the domus Theutonicorum (house of the Germans) should always be Germans themselves, so a tradition of a German-led religious institution could develop during the 12th century in Palestine.

After the loss of Jerusalem in 1187, some merchants from Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

 and Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

 took up the idea and founded a field hospital for the duration of the siege of Acre in 1190, which became the nucleus of the order; Celestine III recognized it in 1192 by granting the monks Augustinian Rule
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

. Based on the model of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 it was, however, transformed into a military order in 1198 and the head of the order became known as the Grand Master (magister hospitalis). It received papal orders for crusades to take and hold Jerusalem for Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and defend the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

 against the Muslim Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s. During the rule of Grand Master Hermann von Salza
Hermann von Salza
Hermann von Salza was the fourth Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1210 to 1239...

 (1209–1239) the Order changed from being a hospice
Palliative care
Palliative care is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients...

 brotherhood for pilgrims to primarily a military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

.

Originally based in Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, the Knights purchased Montfort (Starkenberg), northeast of Acre, in 1220. This castle, which defended the route between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, was made the seat of the Grand Masters in 1229, although they returned to Acre after losing Montfort to Muslim control in 1271. The Order also had a castle at Amouda
Amouda
The castle of Amouda is a crusader castle in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia . The castle was granted to the Teutonic Knights in 1212 and rebuilt by them in the 13th century to serve as their local headquarter in Armenia. It also earned revenue for the Teutonic Order from the surrounding land...

 in Armenia Minor
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia...

. The Order received donations of land in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 (especially in present-day Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

), Frankish Greece, and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 elevated his close friend Hermann von Salza to the status of Reichsfürst
Fürst
Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

, or "Prince of the Empire", enabling the Grand Master to negotiate with other senior princes as an equal. During Frederick's coronation as King of Jerusalem in 1225, Teutonic Knights served as his escort in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

; von Salza read the emperor's proclamation in both French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

. However, the Teutonic Knights were never as influential in Outremer
Outremer
Outremer, French for "overseas", was a general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

 as the older Templars
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 and Hospitallers
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

.

In 1211, Andrew II
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II the Jerosolimitan was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych...

 of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 accepted their services and granted them the district of Burzenland
Burzenland
The Burzenland is a historic and ethnographic area in southeastern Transylvania, Romania with a mixed population...

 in Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. Andrew had been involved in negotiations for the marriage of his daughter with the son of Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, whose vassals included the family of Hermann von Salza. Led by a brother called Theoderich, the Order defended Hungary against the neighbouring Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 and settled new German colonists among those who were known as the Transylvanian Saxons
Transylvanian Saxons
The Transylvanian Saxons are a people of German ethnicity who settled in Transylvania from the 12th century onwards.The colonization of Transylvania by Germans was begun by King Géza II of Hungary . For decades, the main task of the German settlers was to defend the southeastern border of the...

, living there before. In 1224 the Knights petitioned Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

 to be placed directly under the authority of the Papal See, rather than that of the King of Hungary. Angered and alarmed at their growing power, Andrew responded by expelling them in 1225, although he allowed the new colonists to remain.

Prussia


In 1226, Konrad I
Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia , from the Polish Piast dynasty, was the sixth Duke of Masovia from 1194 until his death and High Duke of Poland from 1229 to 1232.-Life:...

, Duke of Masovia in north-eastern Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, appealed to the Knights to defend his borders and subdue the pagan Baltic Prussians, allowing the Teutonic Knights use of Chełmno Land
Chełmno Land
Chełmno land or Chełmno region is a historical region of Poland, located in central Poland, bounded by the Vistula and Drwęca rivers....

 (Culmerland) as a base for their campaign. This being a time of widespread crusading fervor throughout Western Europe, Hermann von Salza considered Prussia
Prussia (region)
Prussia is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania...

 a good training ground for his knights for the wars against the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s in Outremer
Outremer
Outremer, French for "overseas", was a general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

. With the Golden Bull of Rimini
Golden Bull of Rimini
The Golden Bull of Rimini was a Golden Bull issued by Emperor Frederick II, at his court in Rimini in March 1226 to confirm the Teutonic Knights' possessions in Prussia...

, Emperor Frederick II bestowed on the Order a special imperial privilege for the conquest and possession of Prussia, including Chełmno Land, with nominal papal sovereignty. In 1235 the Teutonic Knights assimilated the smaller Order of Dobrzyń
Order of Dobrzyn
The Order of Dobrzyń or Order of Dobrin , also known as the Brothers of Dobrzyń , was a military order created in the borderland of Masovia and Prussia during the 13th century Prussian Crusade to 'defend against Baltic Prussian raids'.In Latin the knights were known as the Fratres Milites Christi...

, which had been established earlier by Christian
Christian of Oliva
Christian of Oliva , also Christian of Prussia was the first missionary bishop of Prussia.Christian was born about 1180 in the Duchy of Pomerania, possibly in the area of Chociwel...

, the first Bishop of Prussia.

The conquest of Prussia was accomplished with much bloodshed over more than 50 years, during which native Prussians who remained unbaptised were subjugated, killed, or exiled. Fighting between the Knights and the Prussians was ferocious; chronicles of the Order state the Prussians would "roast captured brethren alive in their armour, like chestnuts, before the shrine of a local god".

The native nobility who submitted to the crusaders had many of their privileges affirmed in the Treaty of Christburg
Treaty of Christburg
The Treaty of Christburg was a peace treaty signed on February 2, 1249 between the pagan Prussian clans, represented by a papal legate, and the Teutonic Knights...

. After the Prussian uprisings
Prussian uprisings
The Prussian uprisings were two major and three smaller uprisings by the Prussians, one of the Baltic tribes, against the Teutonic Knights that took place in the 13th century during the Northern Crusades. The crusading military order, supported by the Popes and Christian Europe, sought to conquer...

 of 1260–83, however, much of the Prussian nobility emigrated or were resettled, and many free Prussians lost their rights. The Prussian nobles who remained were more closely allied with the German landowners and gradually assimilated. Peasants in frontier regions, such as Samland, had more privileges than those in more populated lands, such as Pomesania
Pomesania
Pomesanians were one of the Prussian clans. They lived in Pomesania , a historical region in modern northern Poland, located between the Nogat and Vistula Rivers to the west and the Elbląg River to the east. It is located around the modern towns of Elbląg and Malbork...

. The crusading knights often accepted baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 as a form of submission by the natives. Christianity along western lines slowly spread through Prussian culture. Bishops were reluctant to have Prussian religious practices integrated into the new faith, while the ruling knights found it easier to govern the natives when they were semi-pagan and lawless.
After 50 years of warfare and brutal conquest the end result meant that most of the Prussian natives were either killed or deported

The Order ruled Prussia under charters
Golden Bull of Rimini
The Golden Bull of Rimini was a Golden Bull issued by Emperor Frederick II, at his court in Rimini in March 1226 to confirm the Teutonic Knights' possessions in Prussia...

 issued by the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor as a sovereign
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 monastic state
Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
The State of the Teutonic Order, , also Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights or Ordensstaat , was formed in 1224 during the Northern Crusades, the Teutonic Knights' conquest of the pagan West-Baltic Old Prussians in the 13th century....

, comparable to the arrangement of the Knights Hospitallers in Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 and later in Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

.


To make up for losses from the plague
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 and to replace the partially exterminated native population, the Order encouraged the immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 of colonists from the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 (mostly Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

, and Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

) and from Masovia (Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

), the later Masurians. The colonists included nobles, burghers, and peasants, and the surviving Old Prussians were gradually assimilated through Germanization. The settlers founded numerous towns and cities on former Prussian settlements. The Order itself built a number of castles (Ordensburg
Ordensburg
An Ordensburg was a fortress built by crusading German military orders during the Middle Ages. "Ordensburg" was also used during Nazi Germany to refer to training schools for Nazi leaders.- Medieval Ordensburgen :...

en
) from which it could defeat uprisings of Old Prussians
Prussian uprisings
The Prussian uprisings were two major and three smaller uprisings by the Prussians, one of the Baltic tribes, against the Teutonic Knights that took place in the 13th century during the Northern Crusades. The crusading military order, supported by the Popes and Christian Europe, sought to conquer...

, as well as continue its attacks on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, with which the Order was often at war during the 14th and 15th centuries. Major towns founded by the Order included Königsberg
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

, founded in 1255 in honor of King Otakar II of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 on the site of a destroyed Prussian settlement, Allenstein (Olsztyn)
Olsztyn
Olsztyn is a city in northeastern Poland, on the Łyna River. Olsztyn has been the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999. It was previously in the Olsztyn Voivodeship...

, Elbing (Elbląg)
Elblag
Elbląg is a city in northern Poland with 127,892 inhabitants . It is the capital of Elbląg County and has been assigned to the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999. Before then it was the capital of Elbląg Voivodeship and a county seat in Gdańsk Voivodeship...

, and Memel (Klaipėda)
Klaipeda
Klaipėda is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Nemunas River where it flows into the Baltic Sea. It is the third largest city in Lithuania and the capital of Klaipėda County....

.

In 1236 the Knights of Saint Thomas, an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 order, adopted the rules of the Teutonic Order. The Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were a military order founded by Bishop Albert of Riga in 1202. Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks"...

 were absorbed by the Teutonic Knights in 1237; the Livonian branch subsequently became known as the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

. The Teutonic Order's nominal territorial rule extended over Prussia
Prussia (region)
Prussia is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania...

, Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

, Semigalia
Semigalia
Zemgale, also known under Latinized names Semigalia or Semigallia is a historical region of Latvia, sometimes also including a part of Lithuania. It lies in the middle of the southern part of the Republic of Latvia, and borders historical regions of Selonia, Samogitia, Courland and Livland. The...

, and Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. Its next aim was to convert Orthodox
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, but after the knights suffered a disastrous defeat in the Battle on Lake Peipus
Battle of the Ice
The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...

 (1242) at the hands of Prince Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

 of Novgorod
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

, this plan had to be abandoned. A contingent of Teutonic Knights of indeterminate number is traditionally believed to have participated at the Battle of Legnica
Battle of Legnica
The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

 in 1241 against the Mongols
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

. However, recent analysis of the 15th century Annals of Jan Długosz by Labuda suggests that the German crusaders may have been added to the text (listing the Allied Army) after the chronicler Długosz had completed the work. Legnica is the furthest west the Mongol expansion would reach in Europe.

Novgorod


In 1242, the Teutonic Knights invaded the Republic of Novgorod (located in modern-day Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

) but were defeated at Lake Peipus
Lake Peipus
Lake Peipus, ) is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe on the border between Estonia and Russia.The lake is the fifth largest in Europe after Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega in Russia north of St...

 and pushed back by the forces of prince and commanding general at Novgorod Alexander Nevski. This battle is known in Russia as the Battle of the Ice
Battle of the Ice
The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...

, although correct translation from Russian would be ice slaughter, ледовое побоище.

Against Lithuania


The Teutonic Knights began to direct their campaigns against pagan Lithuania (see Lithuanian mythology
Lithuanian mythology
Lithuanian mythology is an example of Baltic mythology, developed by Lithuanians throughout the centuries.-History of scholarship:Surviving information about Baltic paganism in general is very sketchy and incomplete. As with most ancient Indo-European cultures Lithuanian mythology is an example of...

), especially after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 at Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

 in 1291. The knights moved their headquarters to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, from which they planned the recovery of Outremer
Outremer
Outremer, French for "overseas", was a general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

. Because "Lithuania Propria
Lithuania proper
Lithuania proper refers to a region which existed within Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and spoke Lithuanian language. The primary meaning is identical to the Duchy of Lithuania, a land around which Grand Duchy of Lithuania evolved...

" remained non-Christian until the end of the 14th century, much later than the rest of eastern Europe, many knights from western European countries, such as England and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, journeyed to Prussia to participate in the seasonal campaigns (reyse) against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Some of them campaigned against pagans to obtain remission for their sins, while others fought to gain military experience.

Warfare between the Order and the Lithuanians was especially brutal. Non-Christians were seen as lacking rights possessed by Christians. Because enslavement of non-Christians was seen as acceptable at the time and the subdued native Prussians demanded land or payment, the Knights often used captured pagan Lithuanians for forced labor. The contemporary Austrian
Archduchy of Austria
The Archduchy of Austria , one of the most important states within the Holy Roman Empire, was the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy and the predecessor of the Austrian Empire...

 poet Peter Suchenwirt described treatment he witnessed of pagans by the Knights:
Women and children were taken captive; What a jolly medley could be seen: Many a woman could be seen, Two children tied to her body, One behind and one in front; On a horse without spurs Barefoot had they ridden here; The heathens were made to suffer: Many were captured and in every case, Were their hands tied together They were led off, all tied up — Just like hunting dogs.


It was a total war in every sense of the word. Lasting for more than 200 years, having its front line along the river Nemunas (with as many as 20 forts and castles only
between Seredžius
Seredžius
Seredžius is a town in Lithuania, situated on the right bank of the Neman River near its confluence with Dubysa River. According to the 2001 census, it had population of 749.-Name:...

 and Jurbarkas
Jurbarkas
Jurbarkas is a city in Tauragė County, Lithuania. It is on the right-hand shore of the Neman River at its confluence with the tributaries Mituva and Imsre...

, stretch of about 45 km) and 10–50 km buffer zone, stretching on the both banks, absolutely desolated wasteland. This struggle
was so deeply etched into Lithuanian
Lithuanian
Lithuanian may refer to:* Lithuanian cuisine* Anything related to Lithuania* Anything related to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania* The Lithuanian people* The Lithuanian language...

 culture and mentality that even now it is probably the biggest source of national pride and self-identity.

Against Poland



A dispute over the succession to the Duchy of Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

 embroiled the Order in further conflict in the beginning of the 14th century. The Margraves of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg
The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806. Also known as the March of Brandenburg , it played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe....

 had claims to the duchy which they acted upon after the death of King Wenceslaus
Wenceslaus III of Bohemia
Wenceslaus III Premyslid was the King of Hungary , King of Bohemia and the king of Poland ....

 of Poland in 1306. Duke Władysław I the Elbow-high of Poland claimed the duchy as well basing on inheritance from Przemysław II, but was opposed by some Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

ns nobles. They requested help from Brandenburg, which subsequently occupied all of Pomerelia except for the citadel of Danzig (Gdańsk)
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 in 1308. Because Władysław was unable to come to the defense of Danzig, the Teutonic Knights, then led by Hochmeister Siegfried von Feuchtwangen
Siegfried von Feuchtwangen
Siegfried von Feuchtwangen was the 15th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1303 to 1311.Von Feuchtwangen was born in Feuchtwangen in Middle Franconia, and was a relative of the earlier Grand Master Konrad von Feuchtwangen. He took the office after his predecessor, Gottfried von...

, were hired to expel the Brandenburgers.

The Order, under Prussian Landmeister Heinrich von Plötzke
Heinrich von Plötzke
Heinrich von Plötzke was an officer of the Teutonic Order during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Born in Płock in the independent Duchy of Masovia, , he was a descendant of the hereditary dukes of Plock but never took the formal title due to the conflict of his family with the ruling Piast...

, evicted the Brandenburgers from Danzig in September 1308 but then refused to yield the town to the Poles and massacred the town's inhabitants
Teutonic takeover of Danzig (Gdansk)
The city of Danzig was captured by the State of the Teutonic Order on 13 November 1308, resulting in a massacre of its inhabitants and marking the beginning of tensions between Poland and the Teutonic Order. Originally the knights moved into the fortress as an ally of Poland against the...

. In the Treaty of Soldin, the Teutonic Order purchased Brandenburg's supposed claim to the castles of Danzig, Schwetz (Świecie)
Swiecie
Świecie is a town in northern Poland with 25,968 inhabitants , situated in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship ; it was previously in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship . It is the capital of Świecie County.-History:...

, and Dirschau (Tczew)
Tczew
Tczew is a town on the Vistula River in Eastern Pomerania, Kociewie, northern Poland with 60,279 inhabitants . It is an important railway junction with a classification yard dating to the Prussian Eastern Railway...

 and their hinterlands from the margraves for 10,000 marks on September 13, 1309.


Control of Pomerelia allowed the Order to connect their monastic state with the borders of the Holy Roman Empire. Crusading reinforcements and supplies could travel from the Imperial territory of Hither Pomerania
Hither Pomerania
Western Pomerania, Cispomerania or Hither Pomerania are terms used in English to translate the German Vorpommern the western extremity of the historic region of the duchy, later Province of Pomerania, nowadays divided between the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Poland.Forming part of...

 through Pomerelia to Prussia, while Poland's access to the Baltic Sea was blocked. While Poland had mostly been an ally of the knights against the pagan Prussians and Lithuanians, the capture of Pomerelia turned the kingdom into a determined enemy of the Order.

The capture of Danzig marked a new phase in the history of the Teutonic Knights. The persecution and abolition of the powerful Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 which began in 1307 worried the Teutonic Knights, but control of Pomerelia allowed them to move their headquarters in 1309 from Venice to Marienburg (Malbork)
Malbork
Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region , with 38,478 inhabitants . Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship...

 on the Nogat River, outside of the reach of secular powers. The position of Prussian Landmeister was merged with that of the Grand Master. The Pope began investigating misconduct by the knights, but the Order was defended by able jurists. Along with the campaigns against the Lithuanians, the knights faced a vengeful Poland and legal threats from the Papacy.

The Treaty of Kalisz of 1343 ended open war between the Teutonic Knights and Poland. The Knights relinquished Kuyavia
Kuyavia
Kujawy , is a historical and ethnographic region in the north-central Poland, situated in the basin of the middle Vistula and upper Noteć Rivers, with its capital in Włocławek.-Etymology:The origin of the name Kujawy was seen differently in history...

 and Dobrzyń Land
Dobrzyn Land
Dobrzyń Land is a historic region around the town of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą in Poland, east of the Vistula River and south of the Drwęca, where it borders on the Kulmerland...

 to Poland, but retained Culmerland
Chełmno Land
Chełmno land or Chełmno region is a historical region of Poland, located in central Poland, bounded by the Vistula and Drwęca rivers....

 and Pomerelia with Danzig.

Height of power



In 1337 Emperor Louis IV
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 allegedly granted the Order the imperial privilege to conquer all Lithuania and Russia. During the reign of Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode
Winrich von Kniprode
Winrich von Kniprode was the 22nd Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. He was the longest serving Grand Master, holding the position for 31 years ....

 (1351–1382), the Order reached the peak of its international prestige and hosted numerous European crusaders and nobility.

King Albert
Albert of Sweden
Albert was King of Sweden from 1364 to 1389 and Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1384 to 1412.-Background:...

 of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 ceded Gotland
Gotland
Gotland is a county, province, municipality and diocese of Sweden; it is Sweden's largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. At 3,140 square kilometers in area, the region makes up less than one percent of Sweden's total land area...

 to the Order as a pledge (similar to a fiefdom
Fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

), with the understanding that they would eliminate the pirating Victual Brothers
Victual Brothers
The Victual Brothers were a companionship of privateers who later turned to piracy. They were hired in 1392 by the Dukes of Mecklenburg to fight against Denmark, because the Danish Queen Margaret I had imprisoned Albrecht of Mecklenburg and his son in order to subdue the kingdom of Sweden...

 from this strategic island base in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. An invasion force under Grand Master Konrad von Jungingen
Konrad von Jungingen
Konrad von Jungingen was the 25th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1393 to 1407...

 conquered the island in 1398 and drove the Victual Brothers out of Gotland and the Baltic Sea.

In 1386 Grand Duke Jogaila
Jogaila
Jogaila, later 'He is known under a number of names: ; ; . See also: Jogaila : names and titles. was Grand Duke of Lithuania , king consort of Kingdom of Poland , and sole King of Poland . He ruled in Lithuania from 1377, at first with his uncle Kęstutis...

 of Lithuania was baptised
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 into Christianity and married Queen Jadwiga of Poland
Jadwiga of Poland
Jadwiga was monarch of Poland from 1384 to her death. Her official title was 'king' rather than 'queen', reflecting that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, the daughter of King Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of...

, taking the name Władysław II Jagiełło and becoming King of Poland. This created a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 between the two countries and a potentially formidable opponent for the Teutonic Knights. The Order initially managed to play Jagiello and his cousin Vytautas
Vytautas the Great
Vytautas ; styled "the Great" from the 15th century onwards; c. 1350 October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 against each other, but this strategy failed when Vytautas began to suspect that the Order was planning to annex parts of his territory.

The baptism of Jagiello began the official conversion of Lithuania to Christianity. Although the crusading rationale for the Order's state ended when Prussia and Lithuania had become officially Christian, the Order's feuds and wars with Lithuania and Poland continued. The Lizard Union was created in 1397 by Prussian nobles in Culmerland to oppose the Order's policy.

In 1407 the Teutonic Order reached its greatest territorial extent and included the lands of Prussia
Prussia (region)
Prussia is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania...

, Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

, Samogitia
Samogitia
Samogitia is one of the five ethnographic regions of Lithuania. It is located in northwestern Lithuania. Its largest city is Šiauliai/Šiaulē. The region has a long and distinct cultural history, reflected in the existence of the Samogitian dialect...

, Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

, Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Gotland
Gotland
Gotland is a county, province, municipality and diocese of Sweden; it is Sweden's largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. At 3,140 square kilometers in area, the region makes up less than one percent of Sweden's total land area...

, Dagö
Hiiumaa
Hiiumaa is the second largest island belonging to Estonia. It is located in the Baltic Sea, north of the island of Saaremaa, a part of the West Estonian archipelago. Its largest town is Kärdla.-Name:...

, Ösel
Saaremaa
Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 2,673 km². The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea, south of Hiiumaa island, and belongs to the West Estonian Archipelago...

, and the Neumark
Neumark
Neumark comprised a region of the Prussian province of Brandenburg, Germany.Neumark may also refer to:* Neumark, Thuringia* Neumark, Saxony* Neumark * Nowe Miasto Lubawskie or Neumark, a town in Poland, situated at river Drwęca...

, pawned by Brandenburg in 1402.

Decline



In 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald
The Battle of Grunwald or 1st Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410, during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Jogaila and Grand Duke Vytautas , decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights, led...

 — known in Lithuanian as the Battle of Žalgiris — a combined Polish-Lithuanian army, led by Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas, decisively defeated the Order in the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War
Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War
The Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War or Great War occurred between 1409 and 1411, pitting allied Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania against the Teutonic Knights. Inspired by the local Samogitian uprising, the war began by Teutonic invasion of Poland in August 1409...

. Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen
Ulrich von Jungingen
Ulrich von Jungingen was the 26th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1407 to 1410. His policy of confrontation with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland sparked the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War and led to disaster for the Order in the Battle of Grunwald.- Life...

 and most of the Order's higher dignitaries fell on the battlefield (50 out of 60). The Polish-Lithuanian army then besieged the capital of the Order, Marienburg
Malbork Castle
The Marienburg Castle in Malbork is by area the largest castle in the world. It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg...

, but was unable to take it owing to the resistance of Heinrich von Plauen. When the First Peace of Thorn was signed in 1411, the Order managed to retain essentially all of its territories, although the Knights' reputation as invincible warriors was irreparably damaged.

While Poland and Lithuania were growing in power, that of the Teutonic Knights dwindled through infighting. They were forced to impose high taxes to pay a substantial indemnity but did not give the cities sufficient requested representation in the administration of their state. The authoritarian and reforming Grand Master Heinrich von Plauen was forced from power and replaced by Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg
Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg
Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg was the 28th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1414 to 1422.- Biography :...

, but the new Grand Master was unable to revive the Order's fortunes. After the Gollub War
Gollub War
The Gollub War was a two-month war of the Teutonic Knights against the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1422. It ended by signing the Treaty of Melno, which resolved territorial disputes, dragging since 1398, between the Knights and Lithuania over Samogitia.-Background:The...

 the Knights lost some small border regions and renounced all claims to Samogitia
Samogitia
Samogitia is one of the five ethnographic regions of Lithuania. It is located in northwestern Lithuania. Its largest city is Šiauliai/Šiaulē. The region has a long and distinct cultural history, reflected in the existence of the Samogitian dialect...

 in the 1422 Treaty of Melno
Treaty of Melno
The Treaty of Melno or Treaty of Lake Melno was a peace treaty ending the Gollub War. It was signed on September 27, 1422, between the Teutonic Knights and an alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at Lake Melno , east of Graudenz...

. Austrian
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

 and Bavarian knights feuded with those from the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

, who likewise bickered with Low German
Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...

-speaking Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

, from whose ranks the Grand Master was usually chosen. The western Prussian lands of the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 River Valley and the Brandenburg Neumark were ravaged by the Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

s during the Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...

. Some Teutonic Knights were sent to battle the invaders, but were defeated by the Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n infantry. The Knights also sustained a defeat in the Polish-Teutonic War (1431-1435).

In 1454 the Prussian Confederation
Prussian Confederation
The Prussian Confederation was an organization formed in 1440 by a group of 53 gentry and clergy and 19 cities in Prussia to oppose the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. It was based on the basis of an earlier similar organization, the Lizard Union...

, consisting of the gentry
Gentry
Gentry denotes "well-born and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past....

 and burghers of western Prussia, rose up against the Order, beginning the Thirteen Years' War. Much of Prussia was devastated in the war, during the course of which the Order returned Neumark to Brandenburg in 1455. In the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), the defeated Order recognized the Polish crown's rights over western Prussia (subsequently Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia was a Region of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth . Polish Prussia included Pomerelia, Chełmno Land , Malbork Voivodeship , Gdańsk , Toruń , and Elbląg . It is distinguished from Ducal Prussia...

) while retaining eastern Prussia under nominal Polish overlordship. Because Marienburg Castle was handed over to mercenaries in lieu of their pay, the Order moved its base to Königsberg
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

 in Sambia
Sambia
Sambia or Samland is a peninsula in the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea. The Curonian Lagoon and the Vistula Lagoon demarcate the peninsula. Prior to 1945 it formed an important part of East Prussia.-Names:Sambia is named after the Sambians, an extinct...

.

The Order was completely ousted from Prussia when Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg
Albert I, Duke of Prussia
Albert of Prussia was the 37th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and, after converting to Lutheranism, the first duke of the Duchy of Prussia, which was the first state to adopt the Lutheran faith and Protestantism as the official state religion...

, after the Polish–Teutonic War (1519–1521)
Polish–Teutonic War (1519–1521)
Polish–Teutonic War of 1519–1521 was the war between the Kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Knights, fought from 1519 to 1521. The war ended with the armistice in 1521. Four years later, with the Treaty of Kraków, part of the Catholic Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights became secularized as...

, converted to Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 in 1525, secularized the Order's remaining Prussian territories, and assumed from King Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland , of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548...

 of Poland, his uncle, the hereditary rights to the Duchy of Prussia as a vassal of the Polish Crown in the Prussian Homage
Prussian Homage
The Prussian Homage or Tribute was the formal investment of Albert of Prussia as duke of the Polish fief of Ducal Prussia.In the aftermath of the armistice ending the Polish-Teutonic War Albert, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and a member of the House of Hohenzollern, visited Martin Luther...

. The Protestant Duchy of Prussia was thus a fief of Catholic Poland.

Although it had lost control of all of its Prussian lands, the Teutonic Order retained its territories within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

, although the Livonian branch retained considerable autonomy. Many of the Imperial possessions were ruined in the German Peasants' War
German Peasants' War
The German Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt was a widespread popular revolt in the German-speaking areas of Central Europe, 1524–1526. At its height in the spring and summer of 1525, the conflict involved an estimated 300,000 peasants: contemporary estimates put the dead at 100,000...

 from 1524 to 1525 and subsequently confiscated by Protestant territorial princes. The Livonian territory was then partitioned by neighboring powers during the Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

; in 1561 the Livonian Master Gotthard Kettler
Gotthard Kettler
Gotthard von Kettler was the last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia....

 secularized the southern Livonian possessions of the Order to create the Duchy of Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

, also a vassal of Poland.

After the loss of Prussia in 1525, the Teutonic Knights concentrated on their possessions in the Holy Roman Empire. Since they held no contiguous territory, they developed a three-tiered administrative system: holdings were combined into commanderies
Commandry (feudalism)
Commandry , or commandery , was the smallest division of the European landed estate or manor under the control of a commendator, or commander, of an order of knights...

 which were administered by a commander
Komtur
Komtur was a rank within military orders, especially the Teutonic Knights. In the State of the Teutonic Order, the Komtur was the commander of a basic administrative division called Kommende . A Komtur was responsible for the alimentation of the Knights by the yield from the local estates, he...

 (Komtur). Several commanderies were combined to form a bailiwick
Bailiwick
A bailiwick is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and may also apply to a territory in which the sheriff's functions were exercised by a privately appointed bailiff under a royal or imperial writ. The word is now more generally used in a metaphorical sense, to indicate a sphere of...

 headed by a Landkomtur. All of the Teutonic Knights' possessions were subordinate to the Grand Master whose seat was in Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim is a town in the Main-Tauber district in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.-History:Mergentheim is mentioned in chronicles as early as 1058, as the residence of the family of the counts of Hohenlohe, who early in the 13th century assigned the greater part of their estates in...

.

Altogether there were twelve German bailiwicks:
  • Thuringia,
  • Alden Biesen (in present-day Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    ),
  • Hesse,
  • Saxony,
  • Westphalia,
  • Franconia,
  • Koblenz,
  • Alsace-Burgundy,
  • An der Etsch und im Gebirge (in Tyrol
    County of Tyrol
    The County of Tyrol, Princely County from 1504, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1814 a province of the Austrian Empire and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

    ),
  • Utrecht,
  • Lorraine,
  • and Austria.


Outside of German areas were the bailiwicks of
  • Sicily,
  • Apulia,
  • Lombardy,
  • Bohemia,
  • "Romania" (in Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    ),
  • and Armenia-Cyprus.


The Order gradually lost control of these holdings until, by 1810, only the bailiwicks in Tyrol and Austria remained.

Following the abdication of Albert of Brandenburg, Walter von Cronberg
Walter von Cronberg
Walter von Cronberg was the 38th Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, serving from 1527 to 1543.- Biography :Von Cronberg hailed from a rather poor family of knights from Kronberg Castle near Frankfurt. He joined the Teutonic Order in 1497 and held the post of a tax collector in the Komturei of...

 became Deutschmeister in 1527, became Administrator of Prussia and Grand Master in 1530. Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 combined the two positions in 1531, creating the title Hoch- und Deutschmeister, which also had the rank of Prince of the Empire
Fürst
Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

. A new Grand Magistery was established in Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim is a town in the Main-Tauber district in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.-History:Mergentheim is mentioned in chronicles as early as 1058, as the residence of the family of the counts of Hohenlohe, who early in the 13th century assigned the greater part of their estates in...

 in Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

, which was attacked during the German Peasants' War. The Order also helped Charles V against the Schmalkaldic League
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

. After the Peace of Augsburg
Peace of Augsburg
The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, on September 25, 1555, at the imperial city of Augsburg, now in present-day Bavaria, Germany.It officially ended the religious...

 in 1555, membership in the Order was open to Protestants, although the majority of brothers remained Catholic. The Teutonic Knights now were tri-denominational, and there were Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed bailiwicks.

The Grand Masters, often members of the great German families (and, after 1761, members of the House of Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

-Lorraine), continued to preside over the Order's considerable holdings in Germany. Teutonic Knights from Germany, Austria, and Bohemia were used as battlefield commanders leading mercenaries for the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 during the Ottoman wars in Europe
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

. The military history of the Teutonic Knights ended in 1809, when Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 ordered their dissolution and the Order lost its remaining secular holdings to Napoleon's vassals and allies.

Grand Masters' tomb uncovered


Polish archeologists report that DNA testing has confirmed the skeletal remains found in a Kwidzyn
Kwidzyn
Kwidzyn is a town in northern Poland on the Liwa river, with 40,008 inhabitants . It has been a part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously in the Elbląg Voivodeship . It is the capital of Kwidzyn County.-History:...

 (German: Marienwerder) cathedral are the 600-year-old remains of three of the Teutonic Knights' more famous Grand Masters. Archeologist Bogumil Wisniewski, says that researchers are 95% sure the remains are those of Grand Masters Werner von Orseln, the knights' leader from 1324 to 1330; Ludolf Koenig, who ruled from 1342 to 1345, and Heinrich von Plauen, who reigned from 1410 to 1413. The skeletons, found in wooden coffins, were draped in silk robes, painted with gold, as was the custom of only those in high positions, during the Middle Ages. Several other indicators supported the find, including murals showing the three knights and historic documents indicating two of them were buried beneath the church. After the scientific studies are complete the remains will be put on public display in the ancient church, under a special glass shield.

Modern Teutonic Order



The Roman Catholic order continued to exist in Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, out of Napoleon's reach. Beginning in 1804 and until 1923 (in which year Archduke Eugen of Austria
Archduke Eugen of Austria
Archduke Eugen Ferdinand Pius Bernhard Felix Maria of Austria-Teschen was an Archduke of Austria and a Prince of Hungary and Bohemia...

 resigned the grandmastership), it was headed by members of the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 dynasty.

In 1929, that branch of the Teutonic knights was converted to a purely spiritual Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

 and renamed the Deutscher Orden ("German Order"). After Austria's annexation
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in 1938, the Teutonic Order was suppressed throughout the Großdeutsches Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

until defeat of that regime, although the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 used imagery of the medieval Teutonic knights for propagandistic
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 purposes. The Roman Catholic order survived in Italy, however, and was reconstituted in Germany and Austria in 1945.

By the end of the twentieth century, this part of the Order had developed into a charitable organization
Charitable organization
A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization . It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A...

 and incorporated numerous clinic
Clinic
A clinic is a health care facility that is primarily devoted to the care of outpatients...

s, as well as sponsoring excavation and tourism projects in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. In 2000, the German chapter of the Teutonic Order declared bankruptcy and its upper management was dismissed; an investigation by a special committee of the Bavarian parliament
Landtag of Bavaria
The Landtag of Bavaria is the unicameral legislature of the state of Bavaria in Germany. Between 1946 and 1999 there was an upper house, the Senate of Bavaria. The parliament meets in the Maximilianeum....

 in 2002 and 2003 to determine the cause was inconclusive.

The Roman Catholic branch now consists of approximately 1,000 members, including 100 Roman Catholic priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

s, 200 nun
Nun
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

s, and 700 associates. While the priests are organized into six provinces (Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, and Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

) and predominantly provide spiritual guidance, the nuns primarily care for the ill and the aged. Associates are active in Austria, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Italy. Many of the priests care for German-speaking communities outside of Germany and Austria, especially in Italy and Slovenia; in this sense the Teutonic Order has returned to its twelfth-century: the spiritual and physical care of Germans in foreign lands. The current General Abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

 of the Order, who also holds the title of Grand Master, is Bruno Platter
Bruno Platter
Bruno Platter is the 65th and present Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.-Early life:Platter was born in Ritten in South Tyrol, Italy. He made first profession in the Teutonic Order on 12 September 1964 and final profession on 15 September 1969...

.
The current seat of the Grand Master is the Deutschordenskirche
Deutschordenskirche (Vienna)
The Church of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary , also known as Church of the Teutonic Order , is the mother church of the Teutonic Order, a German-based Roman Catholic religious order formed at the end of the 12th century...

 (Church of the German Order) in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. Near the Stephansdom
Stephansdom
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP...

 in the Austrian capital is the Treasury of the Teutonic Order which is open to the public, and the order's Central Archive. Since 1996 there has also been a museum dedicated to the Teutonic Knights at their former castle in Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim is a town in the Main-Tauber district in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.-History:Mergentheim is mentioned in chronicles as early as 1058, as the residence of the family of the counts of Hohenlohe, who early in the 13th century assigned the greater part of their estates in...

 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, which was the seat of the Grand Master from 1525–1809.

A portion of the Order retains more of the character of the knights during the height of its power and prestige. The Balije van Utrecht ("Bailiwick of Utrecht") of the Ridderlijke Duitsche Orde ("Chivalric German [i.e., 'Teutonic'] Order") became Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 at the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, and it remains much an aristocratic society, though now admitting noble women as well as noble men. The relationship of the Bailiwick of Utrecht to the Roman Catholic Deutscher Orden resembles that of the Protestant Bailiwick of Brandenburg to the Roman Catholic Order of Malta: each is an authentic part of its original order, though differing from and smaller than the Roman Catholic branch.

Influence on German, Polish and Lithuanian nationalism


German nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 often invoked the imagery of the Teutonic Knights, especially in the context of territorial conquest from eastern neighbours of Germany and conflict with nations of Slavic origins, whom German nationalists considered less developed and of inferior culture. The German historian Heinrich von Treitschke
Heinrich von Treitschke
Heinrich Gotthard von Treitschke was a nationalist German historian and political writer during the time of the German Empire.-Early life and teaching career:...

 used imagery of the Teutonic Knights to promote pro-German and anti-Polish rhetoric. Many middle-class German nationalists
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 adopted this imagery and its symbols. During the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, associations and organisations of this nature contributed to laying the groundwork for the formation of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

Before and during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Nazi propaganda
Nazi propaganda
Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

 and ideology
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 made frequent use of the Teutonic Knights' imagery, as the Nazis sought to depict the Knights' actions as a forerunner of the Nazi conquests for Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

. Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 tried to idealize the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 as a 20th-century re-incarnation of the medieval Order. Yet, despite these references to the Teutonic Order's history in Nazi propaganda, the Order itself was abolished in 1938 and its members were persecuted by the German authorities. This occurred mostly due to Hitler's and Himmler's belief, that throughout history Roman Catholic military-religious orders had been tools of the Holy See and as such constituted a threat to the Nazi regime.

The converse was true for Polish nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 (see: Sienkiewicz "The Knights of the Cross"), which used the Teutonic Knights as symbolic shorthand for Germans in general, conflating the two into an easily recognizable image of the hostile. Similar associations were used by Soviet propagandists, such as the Teutonic knight villains in the 1938 Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

 film Aleksandr Nevskii
Alexander Nevsky (film)
Alexander Nevsky is a 1938 historical drama film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, in association with Dmitri Vasilyev and a script co-written with Pyotr Pavlenko, who were assigned to ensure Eisenstein did not stray into "formalism" and to facilitate shooting on a reasonable timetable...

. Lithuanian nationalists, particularly in the 19th century, used the history of their wars with the Teutonic Order to idealise the heroism of the medieval Lithuanians, a very strong argument in support of preserving the Lithuanian language, history and culture.

Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany posed for a photo in 1902 in the garb of a monk from the Teutonic Order, climbing the stairs in the reconstructed Marienburg Castle
Malbork Castle
The Marienburg Castle in Malbork is by area the largest castle in the world. It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg...

 as a symbol of Imperial German policy.

Timeline of events


see also Polish-Teutonic War
  • 1241 The Battle of Legnica
    Battle of Legnica
    The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

  • 1242 The Battle of the Ice
    Battle of the Ice
    The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...

    , 20 Knights killed, 6 captured
  • 1242–1249 First Prussian Uprising
  • 1249 Treaty of Christburg
    Treaty of Christburg
    The Treaty of Christburg was a peace treaty signed on February 2, 1249 between the pagan Prussian clans, represented by a papal legate, and the Teutonic Knights...

     with the pagan Prussians signed on February 9
  • 1249 Battle of Krücken
    Battle of Krücken
    The Battle of Krücken was a medieval battle fought in 1249 during the Prussian Crusades between the Teutonic Knights and Prussians, one of the Baltic tribes. In terms of knights killed, it was the fourth largest defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century.Marshal Heinrich Botel gathered men...

    , 54 Knights slaughtered
  • 1260–1274 Great Prussian Uprising
  • 1260 Battle of Durbe
    Battle of Durbe
    -External links:**...

    , 150 Knights killed
  • 1262 Siege of Königsberg
    Siege of Königsberg
    Siege of Königsberg was a siege laid upon the city of Königsberg , one of the main strongholds of the Teutonic Knights, by the Prussians during the Great Prussian Uprising in 1262....

  • 1263 Battle of Löbau
    Battle of Löbau
    Battle of Löbau or Lubov was a medieval battle fought between the Teutonic Order and Prussians in 1263 during the Great Prussian Uprising. Pagan Prussians rose against their conquerors, who tried to convert them to Christianity, after Lithuanians and Samogitians soundly defeated the joint forces of...

    , 40 Knights killed
  • 1264 Siege of Bartenstein
    Siege of Bartenstein
    Siege of Bartenstein was a medieval siege laid upon the castle of Bartenstein by the Prussians during the Great Prussian Uprising. Bartenstein and Rößel were the two major Teutonic strongholds in Barta, one of the Prussian lands...

  • 1271 Battle of Pagastin
    Battle of Pagastin
    Battle of Pagastin was a medieval battle fought between the Teutonic Knights and Prussians in 1271 during the Great Prussian Uprising . Pagan Prussians rose against their conquerors, who tried to convert them to Christianity, after Lithuanians and Samogitians soundly defeated the joint forces of...

    , 12 Knights killed
  • 1279 Battle of Aizkraukle
    Battle of Aizkraukle
    The Battle of Aizkraukle or Ascheraden was a battle fought on March 5, 1279 between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led by Traidenis, and the Livonian Order near Aizkraukle in present-day Latvia. The Order suffered a great defeat: 71 knights, the Grand Master Ernst von Rassburg, and the leader of...

    , 71 Knights killed
  • 1308–1309 Teutonic takeover of Danzig and Treaty of Soldin
  • 1326-1332 Polish-Teutonic War (1326–1332) for Kuyavia
    Kuyavia
    Kujawy , is a historical and ethnographic region in the north-central Poland, situated in the basin of the middle Vistula and upper Noteć Rivers, with its capital in Włocławek.-Etymology:The origin of the name Kujawy was seen differently in history...

    , with involvement of Lithuania and Hungary
  • 1331 Battle of Płowce, 73 Knights killed, 56 captured
  • 1343 Treaty of Kalisz, exchange of Kuyavia for Kulm and other territories
  • 1409–1411 Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War
    Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War
    The Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War or Great War occurred between 1409 and 1411, pitting allied Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania against the Teutonic Knights. Inspired by the local Samogitian uprising, the war began by Teutonic invasion of Poland in August 1409...

    , the teutonic knights are defeated by Polish king Władysław II Jagiełło and Lithuanian Grand duke Vytautas the Great at the Battle of Tannenberg (1410)
  • 1414 Hunger War, 86 Knights killed
  • 1422 Gollub War
    Gollub War
    The Gollub War was a two-month war of the Teutonic Knights against the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1422. It ended by signing the Treaty of Melno, which resolved territorial disputes, dragging since 1398, between the Knights and Lithuania over Samogitia.-Background:The...

     ending with the Treaty of Melno
    Treaty of Melno
    The Treaty of Melno or Treaty of Lake Melno was a peace treaty ending the Gollub War. It was signed on September 27, 1422, between the Teutonic Knights and an alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at Lake Melno , east of Graudenz...

  • 1431–1435 Polish-Teutonic War
  • 1454–1466 Thirteen Years' War
  • 1466 Second Peace of Thorn (1466)
  • 1467–1479 War of the Priests
    War of the Priests
    The War of the Priests was a drawn-out dispute with Poland over the independence of the Royal Prussian Prince-Bishopric of Ermland . The Second Treaty of Thorn that had been sealed in 1466 at Toruń affected also the Bishopric of Warmia, which claimed to have received Prince-Bishopric status a...

  • 1519–1521 Polish-Teutonic War (1519–1521)
  • 1525 Order loses Prussia due to the Prussian Homage
    Prussian Homage
    The Prussian Homage or Tribute was the formal investment of Albert of Prussia as duke of the Polish fief of Ducal Prussia.In the aftermath of the armistice ending the Polish-Teutonic War Albert, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and a member of the House of Hohenzollern, visited Martin Luther...


See also

  • Knights Templar
    Knights Templar
    The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

  • Knights Hospitaller
    Knights Hospitaller
    The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

  • Malbork
    Malbork
    Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region , with 38,478 inhabitants . Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship...

  • Teutonic Knights in popular culture
    Teutonic Knights in popular culture
    This article is about depictions of the Teutonic Knights in popular culture.*The Order and its relations with Poland, Masovia, and Lithuania are the main subject of Nobel Prize-winning Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz's historical novel The Teutonic Knights, which describes the era of the Battle of...


External links