Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

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Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

Post by Tanzania » 17 Sep 2017 17:46

With this new theme, another aspect of German colonial history is to be dealt with here in the Forum. Already 333 years
before the German Empire founded its colonies after 1884, there were bases between the years 1637 and 1721, attempts
by German electors and kings to found bases on overseas territories. Colonies in the present sense cannot be talked about,
because of the lack of resources, no control of the hinterland were possible. These foundations in West Africa (In today's time
Mauretania, Gambia and Ghana) were planned from the outset also only as trading posts. But the branches in the Caribbean
(St. Thomas and Tobago) the integration of European settlers was also planned. If spoken of by Courland and Brandenburg-
Prussia, it must be explained that this was an interrelated activity, some of which had a common history and were also linked to personal union and family interrelations, as well as the common German language. There was, however, no connection or
continuity between these German activities in the 17th and 18th century and the colonies which started in the late 19th century.
These and the following details of the different articles cannot claim to be complete but should be understand as brief summary.
Furthermore the focus is more on the comparison of historical planning documents with the building remains from today on site.
This is also perhaps not more than a holiday-preparation as well as professional-stays abroad, to know `what's going on´ there.
The overall theme could be divided into three geographical starting points and coarse time phases in Africa and the Caribbean: I. – THE ELECTORATE OF COURLAND AND SEMIGALLIAThree bases in Gambia / West Africa, one on Isle de May / Cape Verde and a Colony on Tobago / Caribbean (1639 - 1688) Courland´s Navy flag – Black crab (or in this case brown) on a red background (controversial)
01_Kurland Navy Flag.png
Original Sources: .
A base in Mauritania and four positions in Ghana. Colony on St. Thomas and further activities in the Caribbean (1680 - 1701)
Brandenburg´s Navy flag – Red eagle (with crown, sword and sceptre) on a white background
02_Brandenburg Navy Flag.png
Original Source:
As a successor to the Electorate Brandenburg-Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia ended these colonial activities (1701 - 1721)
Prussia´s Navy flag – Black eagle (with crown, sword and sceptre) on a white background
03_Preussen Navy Flag.png
(The eagle looks `rather poor´, but as far as I know the only correct version regarding position of crown, sword and sceptre.) Original Source: ... 1-1815.jpg
The colonies of the three small-national German monarchies, Courland, Brandenburg, and Prussia exists not at the same time, but in sequence. The Duchy of Courland (1561-1795) had almost lost its whole overseas territories and posts when sailors from the Electorate of Brandenburg (1604-1701) appeared the first time in Africa and the Caribbean with the same intention, even if Courland and Brandenburg existed at the same time in an immediate neighbourhood. The Kingdom of Prussia (1701-1918) , on the other hand, was the successor of Brandenburg. These overseas territories thus went on without any further changes to the new kingdom. The elevation from this Electorate to a Kingdom in 1701 can therefore be seen primarily only as a formalist act in which all claims of ownership passed from one state to the other. This is all the more the case since the Elector Friedrich III. of Brandenburg, who was simultaneous in personal union the Duke of Prussia, had crowned himself to King Friedrich I. in Prussia. This royal title was especially related to the Duchy of Prussia (1525-1701), which was not part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (962 -1806), and therefore did not require any official approval from the German Emperor Leopold I. of that time.
Before the Duchy of Prussia belonged to the Electorate of Brandenburg. 1701 Brandenburg was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Originally the Duchy of Prussia had, also like the Duchy of Courland, a fiscal duty against the Kingdom of Poland until 1657/1660.
Two summarizing online sources to these points:
The following map shows the situation of the Duchy of Courland and the Electorate of Brandenburg after the 30-year-war in 1648.
04_Europe after 1648.jpg
Original Source: ... l_1884.jpg
When Courland founded for the first time permanent bases in Africa and the Caribbean in the first half of the 17th century,
the transatlantic-triangle-trade already existed. The duchy appeared here as an insignificant latecomers in this lucrative
business. Spain and Portugal had already begun 100 years earlier, to use African workers on plantations (sugar, cotton,
cocoa, indigo and tobacco) of the Caribbean and coastal regions and the Brazilian coast. It was only later that slave trade
began on a grand scale. At the beginning of the 17th century, however, the Netherlands, England, and France, in contrast
to the two Iberian countries, were seriously competitive in transatlantic trade. Even smaller Nordic countries as Denmark
and Sweden took part in these operations and settlements. This triangle trade started from Europe by supplying firearms, steel and bronze bars, cloths and glass beads to the West African coast. These European goods were exchanged for gold, ivory and slaves from the local rulers. Slave traders were at that time a very honourable profession. African rulers were still doing their own lucrative activity as slave hunters, not allowing Europeans to penetrate deeper into their territories, thus providing constant supplies. These slaves were then transferred over the Atlantic to sugar cane plantations of the 'West Indies' islands. For the journey home to Europe the loader rooms of the sailing ships were filled with sugar, cotton coffee tobacco and rum. If then the sailors arrived after 1
1/2 years with full loader rooms their ports again had started this triangle trade closed. The death rate among European sailors, soldiers and settlers was particularly high in the early years. Often not less then half of the adventurers who started from Europe survived, and it is often concealed that these losses were even higher than those of the living cargo of the abducted Africans. Primary sources proved that the owners of these ships were anxious to deal with the winnings of the slaves better than with the sailors who received the bulk of their wages on their arrival at home.
This map picture the settlements and bases of Courland and Brandenburg-Prussia in the 17th / 18th Century around the Atlantic.
05_Overview map Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia.jpg
Some supplemented on a section of an old World Map from an Historical German School Atlas in 1851. This period of German overseas colonies is also quite new for me and in the future certainly connected with many questions. For this reason, I hope that there will be some experts among the readers who will be able to help. Therefore, I try to `push-start´ this new theme hereby.

Cheers Holger
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“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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Re: Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

Post by ManfredV » 22 Sep 2017 19:46

Courland wasn´t a part of Germany or Holy Roman Empire.

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Re: Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

Post by stevebecker » 23 Sep 2017 01:27

I am also confused as this part of the country (Courland) was attack by the Tet knights for years?
My expireces with Courland was my GF who was trapped there with the 5th Pz Div and escaped 1945 in which a large ship was sunk in his convoy.


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Re: Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

Post by danebrog » 23 Sep 2017 09:58

Die Kurbrandenburger im ‘atlantischen System’, 1650-1720
http://lateinamerika.phil-fak.uni-koeln ... weindl.pdf
Das Koloniale Experiment
Der Sklavenhandel Brandenburg-Preußens im transatlantischen Raum 1680-1718

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Re: Courland & Brandenburg-Prussia in oversee

Post by Tanzania » 23 Sep 2017 10:54

Manfred wrote:
Courland wasn´t a part of Germany or Holy Roman Empire.
Steve wrote:
I am also confused as this part of the country (Courland) was attack by the Tet knights for years?
Gents, thanks for your comments. You are both right!
But history was, and is always very complex, relative and situations and borders have been changed many, many times.
During the 17. Century, the Duchy of Courland and the Duchy of Prussia were German Duchies, with (but not exclusively)
a German History, German rulers and German language, but both are at the same time under Polish supremacy (temporarily).
During this time phase, Courland and Prussia were not a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
Courland was during its long history occupied by: German knights, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Russia, in between
independent, again by the German Empire, again by Russia and currently independent as part of the Republic of Latvia.
History of the Holy Roman Empire German Nation:
Map of the Holy Roman Empire German Nation 1648: ... ighter.png
A map, which picture Courland and the area in the 13. Century: ... n_1260.png
Also a good map with the comparison during the centuries: ... 15121.html
Oliver wrote:
Die Kurbrandenburger im ‘atlantischen System’, 1650-1720: http://lateinamerika.phil-fak.uni-koeln ... weindl.pdf
Der Sklavenhandel Brandenburg-Preußens im transatlantischen Raum 1680-1718:
Thanks for your interesting references.
The content of these sources leads to another reason to include Kurland, and shows the connections between Kurland and
Brandenburg-Prussia in their colonial ambitions. Without this preparation of Kurland, this theme would not be complete.
I found also references for the introduction:
»Curland unter den Herzögen«, Band I & II, von Karl Wilhelm Cruse, Mitau 1833.
(PDF. 373 pages / 129 MB)
: ... 00005.html
»The History of the Duchy of Courland (1561-1795)«, Alexander Berkis, Towson 1969.
(PDF. 343 pages / 27,8 MB)
»Die Geschichte des Herzogtums Kurland (1561-1795)« , III. Band, Dr. August Seraphim, F. Kluge, Reval 1904.
(PDF. 404 pages / 8,13 MB)
: ... ragoog.pdf
»Jacob, Duke of Courland and Semigallia (1610-1681): International relations«, (Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
(PDF. 24 pages / 44 MB)
»Afrika und die deutschen Kolonialprojekte der 2. Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts«, Band 68, Heft 1, Heinz Duchhardt 1986.
(Online access, 16 pages)
: ... .1.119.xml

Cheers Holger
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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