This book considers the phenomenon of nation-building before the age of modern nationalism. It focuses on royal (Polish) Prussia - the 'other' Prussia - a province of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1466 to 1772/3, and its major cities Danzig, Thorn and Elbing. As an integral part of the Polish state the Prussian estates took pride in their separate institutions and privileges. Although its urban elites became predominantly Protestant and German-speaking, they formulated a republican identity deliberately hostile to the competing monarchical-dynastic myth in neighbouring ducal Prussia, ruled by the Brandenburg-Hohenzollerns from 1618. After 1700, the Polish crown increasingly antagonized the Prussian burghers by its centralizing policies and its failure to protect the integrity of the Commonwealth's borders. The decline of Poland and the partitions of 1772–93 guaranteed that it was not the tradition of liberty but the Hohenzollern version of Prussian identity that survived into the modern era. Joint winner of the Orbis book prize, The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.
• A contribution to the history of nation-building and the formation of national identity in early modern Europe • Expands greatly our knowledge of the largest state in east-central Europe, and early developments which led to Prussia's predominance in the modern era • Breaks down narrow nationalist views of Polish and Prussian-German history
Preface; Gazetteer; Glossary; List of abbreviations; Maps; 1. Introduction; 2. The origins of royal Prussia; 3. Royal Prussia and urban life in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; 4. History, myth and historical identity; 5. Political identity in the cities of royal Prussia and the meaning of liberty (1650–1720); 6. Loyalty in times of war; 7. Divergence: the construction of rival Prussian identities; 8. Centre versus province: the royal Prussian cities during the Great Northern War; 9. Myths old and new: the royal Prussian enlightenment; 10. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
Orbis Book Prize - Joint winner
'This sensitive and intelligent recuperation of one of history's lost causes offers a poignant variation on the standard narrative of European nationalism.' German History