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The Roman Catholic is the established religion, and is professed by the great majority of the population; next to it is the Greek Church. Calvinism and Lutheranism are professed by considerable numbers of people. All creeds are tolerated.
ANCIENT NAME. The present empire comprehends the ancient states of Vindelicia and Noricum, with portions of Illyricum, Pannonia, Sarmatia, Germania, Rhætia, and Italia.
BOUNDARIES. N. by the Baltic.-E. by Russia.-S. by Austria and Saxony.-W. by Mecklenburg and Hanover.
An extensive district on the Rhine also forms part of this kingdom, and is called Rhine Prussia. The island of Rugen, separated from the main-land by a strait one mile broad, belongs to Prussia.
EXTENT. It extends from 490 to 56° N. lat., and from 11° (including Rhine Prussia 6") to 23° E. long., and contains in all about 108,000 square miles.
PLAINS, LAKES, AND RIVERS. The eastern part of Prussia is an almost uninterrupted plain, the western is diversified with some hills; but no part can be called mountainous except Silesia, in which is an extension of the Carpathian chain, called the Sudetic mountains. Near the Baltic the country is so flat that the rivers, before entering the sea, spread out into almost stagnant lakes; the largest of these are the Curische Haff, Frische Haff, and Gross (Great) Haff. Dykes are in some parts necessary to protect the land from the encroachments of the sea. The principal rivers of Prussia are the Oder, the Vistula, the Pregel, and the Niemen.
The Oder rises in the mountains of Moravia, passes Breslau, Glogau, and Frankfort on the Oder; at Kustrin it receives the Wartha from Poland, and below Stettin it expands into the Gross Haff.
The Vistula or Weichsel rises on the borders of Galicia; it crosses Poland, watering Warsaw, and enters Prussia near to Thorn. On approaching the sea it divides into three branches, the largest of which joins the Gulf of Dantzic, the others enter the Frische Haff.
The Pregel, at Konigsberg, also joins the Frische Haff, the accumulated waters of which gain an exit to the sea at Pillau.
The Niemen or Memel river rises in Russian Poland, passes Grodno, Kowno, and Tilsit, and after forming the Curische Haff, enters the sea at Memel.
The waters of the Spree, on which Berlin stands, run into the Havel, which river joins the Elbe.
CANALS. A canal unites Magdeburg with Berlin, another joins the Spree to the Oder, and another connects the Vistula with the Netz (a feeder of the Warta). Thus, while Prussia is traversed across its breadth by its principal rivers, it is cut longitudinally by their branches or by canals.
CLIMATE. The climate is for the most part moist and cold, and the forests and marshes, in many places, render it unhealthy. Silesia is the most pleasant and healthy province. Rhine Prussia enjoys a fertile soil and a genial climate.
PRODUCE, COMMERCE, ETC. Prussia is not on the whole a fertile country, yet hemp and flax are raised in abundance. Large quantities of corn are exported, chiefly from Dantzic; but it is brought down the Vistula from Poland. Timber, the produce of the banks of the Niemen, is largely exported from Memel. Amber, a substance almost peculiar to Prussia, is chiefly found near Pillau ; it is sometimes thrown on shore during a storm, but it is generally obtained in lumps from pits. Linen is the principal manufacture.
PROVINCES. The provinces of Prussia may be divided into three divisions.-Ist, Those which belong to the German confederation, viz., Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, and Prussian Saxony.--2ndly, Those in the east, which do not form part of Germany, viz., Prussia Proper and Posen, -3rdly, Westphalia and Rhine Prussia.
TOWNS. Berlin, r. Spree, the capital, is one of the best built cities in Europe;
its cast-iron and porcelain goods are noted. Pop. 291,000. Breslau, r. Oder, the capital of Silesia; its manufactures are con
siderable: linen is the staple. Pop. 90,000. Konigsberg, an important commercial city on the Pregel; Pillau is the
port of Konigsberg, a bar upon the entrance of the Frische Haff
preventing the approach of large vessels to the city. Cologne, r. Rhine; the Colonia Agrippina of the Romans. Its vast but
unfinished cathedral contains the shrines of the three kings or magi. Dantzic, next to St. Petersburg, is the most important commercial city
in the north of Europe: the export of wheat is greater than from any
other port in the world. Magdeburg, r. Elbe, a strongly fortified city of Prussian Saxony;
woollen and silk manufactures. Aix-la-Chapelle, is just within the western boundary of Prussia; cele
brated for its warm baths: the favourite residence of Charlemagne :
the congress of European sovereigns held here in 1818. Potsdam, near Berlin; the occasional residence of the court. Stettin, on the Oder, 60 miles from the sea : enjoys from its situation
the commerce of Brandenburg and Silesia, as well as of Pomerania,
of which it is the capital. Coblentz, is advantageously situated for trade, being connected with
France by the Moselle, and with Germany, Switzerland, and Hol
land by the Rhine; it is very strongly fortified. Eisleben, in Prussian Saxony, the birth-place of Martin Luther. Wittenburg, Prussian Saxony, intimately connected with the names of
Luther and Melancthon and the history of the Reformation. The other inland towns of some note are, Elberfield and Dusseldorf, in Rhine Prussia ; Erfurt and Halle, in Prussian Saxony, and
Thorn, in West Prussia, the birth-place of Copernicus. The other sea-ports are Colberg, Memel, and Stralsund.
POPULATION. It contains upwards of fourteen millions of inhabitants.
GOVERNMENT, RELIGION, AND LITERATURE. The Prussian monarchy is little more than a century old, the nucleus of it was the dukedom of Brandenburg, which Frederick the Great, Elector in 1656, compelled the king of Poland to declare an independent state, and it was afterwards, in 1701, acknowledged as a kingdom.
The government is an absolute monarchy, the will of the sovereign not being controlled by any representation of the wishes of his subjects. All the young men are compelled to serve for a certain period in the army. The present king is Frederick William III.
The prevailing and established religion is the Protestant, under the two denominations of Lutheran and Calvinistic; but Roman Catholics are numerous, and all sects are tolerated.
Prussia has produced many men of science, and possesses four universities, Berlin, Halle, Konigsberg, and Breslau ; that of Berlin is much distinguished.
This is a well-educated country; by law a school is established in every village, and parents are subject to a penalty if they do not send their children to school.
ANCIENT NAME. Prussia is contained within the limits of the ancient Germania, with the exception of East Prussia, which encroaches upon Sarmatia.
SECONDARY GERMAN STATES.
SAXONY. Saxony is intersected by the Elbe, and its tributary, the Mulda ; it lies between Bohemia and Prussia.
Its climate is good, and the soil generally fertile ; the land is better cultivated than in most parts of Germany. Its minerals are valuable; the wool of Saxony, and of the neighbouring provinces, is much esteemed.
Most of the wool imported into Britain was, till recently, brought from Spain ;-the Merino breed of sheep has been introduced into Saxony, and German wool is now imported into England, superior in quality, and much greater in quantity than the Spanish ever was. Towns.—Dresden is the capital of Saxony; it is a beautiful city, en
joying a good trade : the china called Dresden is not made here but at Meissen, 14 miles distant.
Leipsic, on the river Pleisse, a tributary of the Saale: its university is
celebrated. It has the largest book-trade of any town on the continent: its fairs, held three times a year, are frequented by merchants
from all parts of the world: the French defeated here in 1813. Freiburg, r. Mulde; noted for its silver mines and its mining academy.
The government of Saxony is a limited monarchy.
The Prussian province of Saxony formerly formed part of this kingdom, but was severed from it by the Great Powers of Europe, in consequence of the king taking the side of Napoleon.
The Saxons are very industrious, and are perhaps the most enterprising people in Germany. It is their great ambition to become a commercial people.
The prevailing religion is Lutheran; but the royal family are Roman Catholics.
The language of Saxony is considered to be the purest of the dialects of Germany.
BAVARIA. Bavaria consists of two portions; the larger lies in the basins of the Danube and the Main, between Bohemia and Wirtemburg, the smaller to the westward of the Rhine.
It comprises a territory of about 40,000 square miles, and has a population of about five millions.
It is mountainous in the north and south ; several extensive plains occupy the centre; its climate is diversified, and its soil possesses various degrees of fertility, yet the finest districts are rudely cultivated, or suffered to lie altogether untilled. Towns.--Munich, the capital, r. Iser. Celebrated for its magnificent
new palace, sculpture, and picture gallery. Pop. 107,000. Augsburg, at the confluence of the Lech and Wertach. To the Diet, assembled here in 1530, was presented the celebrated confession of
Protestant faith drawn up by Luther and Melancthon. Nuremburg ; gunpowder said to have been invented and watches first made here: it is still distinguished for the manufacture of curious
clock-work, toys, &c. The famous painter Albert Durer born here. Ratisbon ; the German Diet used to assemble here: the celebrated
astronomer Kepler buried here. Blenheim, the place of Marlborough's victory in 1704, is on the Da
nube, below Ulm.