Prussia Proper, a great division of the Prussian kingdom, comprising East or Ducal Prussia, and West or Royal Prussia, now officially united into one province; area, 24,114 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 3,137,545. East Prussia is bounded N. E., E., and S. by Russia (Cour-land, Lithuania, and Poland), W. by West Prussia, and N. W. by the Baltic. Its surface is low and almost uniformly level, and there are numerous lakes formed by the rivers, the fall being insufficient to carry their waters to the ocean. The most important Streams are the Memel or Niemen, which empties into a vast estuary or lagoon called the Kurisches Haff, the Pregel, and the Passarge. The greater part of the soil is fertile, and the principal crop is potatoes. Nearly one third of the land is covered with forests. Fruit, flax, hemp, tobacco, grain, live stock, and fowls are largely produced, game is abundant, and amber is found in considerable quantities. East Prussia comprises the administrative districts of Königsberg and Gumbinnen. Most of the inhabitants are Germans. - West Prussia is bounded N. by the Baltic, E. by East Prussia, S. by Russian Poland and Posen, and W. by Brandenburg and Pomerania. The surface, soil, and productions are like those of East Prussia. The principal rivers are the Vistula, whose E. mouth, the Nogat, enters the Frisches Haff, the Drewenz, and the Brahe. There are numerous inland lakes, but they are not so large as those of East Prussia. This division comprises the administrative districts of Dant-zic and Marienwerder. About 67 per cent. of the inhabitants are Germans, and 33 per cent.
Poles. - Prussia proper was conquered and Christianized in the 13th century by the Teutonic knights. In 1466 they were forced by Casimir IV. to cede West Prussia to Poland, while keeping East Prussia as a fief of that kingdom. The latter division, when converted into a. duchy by the last grand master of the order, Albert of Brandenburg (1511), was designated as Ducal Prussia, and was united with Brandenburg by the elector John Sigismund (1618). Western or Royal Prussia was severed from Poland, in the first partition of that kingdom (1772), by Frederick the Great, with the exception of the cities of Dantzic and Thorn, which Frederick William II. received in the second partition (1793).