The History of Ermland
Ermland was part of East Prussia. Within Ermland were the areas of Braunsberg, Heilsberg (with government in Königsberg) as well as Rössel and Allenstein (with government in Allenstein). The original name went back to the Old Prussian Gau (tribal district) which nearly covered the whole southeastern coast of the Frischen Lagoon. But, in the middle of the land it reached to the Alle as a triangle with a blunt corner. In the south it was limited by Pogesanien and in the east by Natangen and Barten.

We have to distinguish between the Diocese Warmien as established by the legate Wilhelm v. Modena of the church division of the Teutonic Knights governed lands that were ordered by Pope Innocenz IV. On the 29th of July 1243. This diocese also included the mentioned neighbor Gaue as well as the northern part of Galindien. It also reached to the bank of the Pregel. Consequently the southern suburbs of Königsberg were included too. The sleeve formed a creation which is known today as Ermland, is the territory. It is the third part of the diocese in which the relation is divided into 2:1 between the bishop and the cathedral chapter. In the area of the chapter there were the towns Frauenburg and Allenstein. First Braunsberg has been residence of the bishop. The next was Wormditt and the last castle Heilsberg. That's why the bishopric is often named Heilsberg as well as Warmia and Ermland.

In the 19th century the residence was moved to Frauenburg. Since 1245 the whole area where the Teutonic Knights were involved in, was also under the control of Catholic Church and vested in the Archbishopric at Riga, Latvia (Livonia). The exemption that means the direct subordination of the diocese of Ermland to the pope was reached when in 1566 the archbishopric stopped existing. The formula coined by pope Pius II. In 1458 the religious foundation should be Sedi Apostolicae immediate subiectum (directly put into the apostolic chair) practically just referred to the territory. But from the beginning a special position has taken this largest and most important from the Prussian bishoprics. Meanwhile the other three Cathedral Chapters were incorporated by the Order of the Ermlandical, that remained secular. But the High Master of the Teutonic Knights had the nominative right for a few cathedral positions and so he was the patron of the religious foundation. Only the order (Teutonic Knights/Deutscher Orden) and not the single bishops had a position like a country ruler because of the Golden Bull of Rimini in 1226 in Prussia. In addition it was authoritative in the foreign politics by itself. In its best time the order also had its influence in the Ermland, especially with the vote of a bishop. But we can't call it independence of Ermland before 1464. Just since 1800 the designation "ruler bishopric" should be created. Already in the middle of the 13th century the settlement of German settlers began. Both lagoon towns of Ermland were founded from Lübeck and kept the effective right of Lübeck, which is just effective in Elbing and Memel. The settlers of the northern part of Ermland came from Niedersachsen with German language. They also had their own building style for their houses until the 20th century. The Silesian farmers kept their own language as well.

From 1336 to 1342 the south of Ermland was settled with the order of the order with the Bishop Heinrich v. Lutter who was a Teutonic Knight. The German settlers in the south of Ermland were descendants of the first settlers.

The Prussian element survived extensively. The free Prussian people of Ermland have kept their rights in opposite to the territory master. Only the cathedral chapter has adjoined the insurgent Prussian union for a short time in 1454. Bishop Franz Kuhschmalz remained true to the order and so he rather chose the exile. For the new bishop Paul v. Logendorf voted in 1461 it was very important to get back his towns and castles from the hands of the mercenary leaders of both parties. Consequently he concluded a neutral contract with the hard-pressed High Master. That was a sign for his real independence from the order. But, the second Thorner Peace Treaty limited this independence recognized in 1464 by the king of Poland in 1466 because of a legal transfer of the supremacy rights from the High Master to the king. In 1467 Logendorf died. When the king then tried to violate the free bishop vote of the cathedral chapter an open war began in 1478. In this war bishop Nikolaus v. Tüngen and the High Master Martin Truchseß v. Wetzhausen were in union with King Mathias Corvinus v. Hungary in opposition to Poland.

The Contract of Petrikau *) concluded in 1479 caused the same dependence for the bishopric and the territory as well as the remaining state ruled by the Teutonic Knights. Every new bishop was obliged to take a personal oath to the King of Poland. But this oath did not mean a lifetime obligation. Bishop Lukas Watzenrode chose to be on opposite sides from the Deutscher Orden because of the bishopric limits. But, he aimed at the reunion of Prussia. Highly educated German humanists were the next successors to power in Prussia, especially Johannes Dantiscus who had been a scholar and a diplomat and the cardinal Stanislaus Hosius who is well known because of his reformatory and union efforts. Later, primarily Polish people were appointed. The bishops lead the presidency in the autonomous West Prussian parliament until 1569. The population stayed German. In 1772 Prussia got back this area. Until after the First World War Ermland remained the Catholic Bishopric for East Prussia. In 1945 bishop M. Kaller was driven out with the largest part of his clergy. Today the highest administration of the Polish part is in the hands of a Polish General Curate and Voting Bishop with their residence in Allenstein.  

Source: Handbook of historian place east and west Prussia Kröner publishing house, 1966-1981, page 51-53
*) Petrikau is not an other way for writing Pettelkau. Petrikau is a village in Poland.

Translated by Jenny Pettelkau