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Dealing with the Past and Planning for the Future: Contested Memories, Conflicted Loyalties, and the Partition and Donation of the Duchy of Pomerania

Dealing with the Past and Planning for the Future: Contested Memories, Conflicted Loyalties, and the Partition and Donation of the Duchy of PomeraniaTomb of Mściwój in Gdansk

Session: Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages

By Paul Milliman, University of Arizona

This paper deals with the Pomeranian Prince, Mściwój II, Poland and the duchy of Pomerania.

Mściwój needed someone to inherit his duchy – as he had no male heirs, he named Przemysł, Duke of Poznań his successor in 1282 during the secret Treaty of Kępno (even though he had promised the land to others). Mściwój died in 1294. The Treaty of Kępno has been viewed by some Polish historians and the restoration of the Kingdom of Poland. Pomerania was seen as a historical part of Poland; both shared a similar language and both suffered at the hands of German aggression so the transition seemed natural. Mściwój called Przemysł his “son” and Przemysł considered Mściwój his “uncle”. Given these ties, their shared history and issues with the Germans, the Pomeranians preferred to give the land to the Poles.

On an interesting note…the union of the Duchies of Pomerania and Great Poland would not have been likely one century before as Pomerania was viewed as it’s enemy. Mściwój turned west to Pomerania and the Margraves and only later did he look south to Poland. Mściwój was not friendly to Poland until the 1270’s. Mściwój met with the Teutonic Knights in July 1283 and granted them property along the Wisła river in exchange for Western lands, but did not settle the lands until 1285. Mściwój turned to Poland to combat German aggression.

In the 13th century, ties were based on past relationships, not ethnicity but this changed in the 14th century due to a stronger sense of Kingship and recovery. Language was often used as an ethnic marker but was also used to denote territory. The Pomeranians spoke Polish, and shared in Polish customs, thus some considered them Poles.

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