Is this related to Russia?

By Deane Barker

Prussia was originally an independent European kingdom dating back to the 1500s, and then became a state within Germany in the late 1800s. It was very large, occupying most of Northern Germany along the Baltic Sea, extending into what is now modern-day Russia.

Prussia no longer exists. It was folded into Nazi Germany in the 30s, then dissolved entirely after World War II. What used to be Prussia is now Poland, the Baltic States, and Russia.

Oddly – and despite their locations and ultimate disposition – Prussia had no relationship to Russia, the two names just happen to rhyme when pronounced in English. The words originated in different languages and have completely different etymologies.

Why I Looked It Up

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and documentary watching about World War I, and Prussia comes up a lot. I’m also reading some science history books, and it’s there too. Almost any discussion of Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s will involve Prussia, because it was very large and had a strong sense of nationalism and regional influence.

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