History of the Grand Dukedom
of Pomerania and Livonia
The Grand Dukedom of Pomerania and Livonia is based upon the ancient territories of a duchy in Pomerania on the southern borders of the Baltic Sea. It existed from the 12th century till mid 17th century and was ruled by dukes of the House of Pomerania (Griffins).
In the 12th century, Poland, the Holy Roman Empire's Duchy of Saxony and Denmark conquered Pomerania, ending the tribal era. In three military campaigns of 1116, 1119, and 1121, most of Pomerania was conquered by the Polish duke Boleslaus III Wrymouth who made the Pomeranian duke Wartislaw I his vassal.
Nevertheless the Polish influence in Pomerania proper vanished over the next decade. The western areas, stretching from Kolberg (KoÅ‚obrzeg) to Stettin (Szczecin) were ruled by Wartislaw I and his descendants until 1637. Wartislaw managed to conquer vast territories west of the Oder river, an area inhabited by Liutizian tribes weakened by past warfare, and included these territories into his Duchy of Pomerania. This duchy was in the 12th and 13th centuries centered around the strongholds of Stettin and Demmin and co-ruled from there by Wartislaws successors. The eastern Stolp (SÅ‚upsk) and Schlawe (SÅ‚awno) areas (Duchy of Schlawe-Stolp) were ruled by Wartislaw's brother Ratibor I and his descendants, the Ratiboriden sideline of the Griffins, until the Danish occupation of Schlawe and extinction of the line in 1227.
In 1124 and 1128, Otto of Bamberg missioned in the duchy. The nobility accepted Christianity in Usedom. After the 1147 Wendish crusade and the 1164 Battle of Verchen, the duchy joined Henry the Lion's Duchy of Saxony. At that time, the duchy was also referred to as Slavia (yet this was a term applied to several Wendish areas such as Mecklenburg and the Principality of Rügen).
Starting in the 12th century, Pomerania was settled with Germans during the 13th century (West and North) and the 14th century (South and East). These settlements were part of a process later termed Ostsiedlung. Except for the Pomerelian Kashubians and the Slovincians, the Wends were assimilated into the German society. Most towns and villages are dating back to this period.
During the reign of Otto I, Margrave of Brandenburg (1170-1184), son of Albert I, Brandenburg claimed sovereignty over Pomerania. Yet, in 1181 the Griffin dukes took their duchy as a fief from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who invested Duke Bogislaw I with the Duchy of Slavia. This was not accepted by the Margraviate of Brandenburg and triggered several military conflicts. From the 13th century, the duchy was set under pressure by its southern neighbour.
The duchy remained in the Empire, although Denmark managed to take control of the southern Baltic coast and until the 1227 Battle of Bornhöved Pomerania remained under sovereignty of Denmark. However 1198/99 Brandenburg again tried to gain sovereignty over Pomerania. Their virtual rights were recognized by King (later emperor) Frederick II in 1214. After the Battle of Bornhöved in 1227, Denmark lost all its territories on the southern Baltic shore, including Pomerania. In 1231, Frederick II again invested the Ascanian Brandenburg margraves with the duchy of Pomerania.
At this time, the Duchy of Pomerania was co-ruled by Duke Wartislaw III of Demmin and his cousin Duke Barnim I (the Good) of Stettin. After the Danes retreated, Brandenburg took the chance and invaded Pomerania-Demmin. Wartislaw had to accept Brandenburg's overlordship in the 1236 Treaty of Kremmen, furthermore he had to hand over most of his duchy to Brandenburg immediately, that were Circipania, the Burg Stargard Land and the adjacent western and southern areas (all soon to become a part of Mecklenburg). In the 1250 Treaty of Landin Pomerania and Brandenburg, Barnim I managed to reassert the rule of his Griffin house over Pomerania, but lost the Uckermark to Brandenburg. Wartislaw III and Barnim I both accelerated the Ostsiedlung by inviting German settlers on a large scale and granting German town law to multiple towns.
When in 1264, Duke Wartislaw III died, Barnim I the Good became the sole ruler of the duchy. In 1266 he married Mechthild, the daughter of Otto III, Margrave of Brandenburg. Barnim died in 1278 at Altdamm (near Stettin). The duchy then was dispensed to the sons of Barnim I, Otto I and Bogislaw IV. New lines of Pommern-Wolgast and Pommern-Stettin were started. Harbors, waterways etc. were to be held in common.
Now, the Royal House of Pomerania and Livonia is headed by Prince Ludwig of Pomerania and Livonia.