Deutsche Wappen (Gemeindewappen/Kreiswappen)
German Civic Heraldry
Former Kingdom in present North Germany and North Poland.
Click here for a large (530 kB) image of these arms.
The above arms are the grand arms of Prussia at the end of the 19th century. The arms show the major 52 territories that belonged to Prussia at that time. The original Prussian arms are shown as the escutcheon. The banners show the eagle of Brandenburg (red) and the eagle of Preussen proper (black). The 52 territories are listed at the end of this document.
The arms of Prussia in 1701.
Prussia was an area in present Poland, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire but owned and ruled by the Teutonic Order. In 1525 the territory was declared an independent Duchy, as the (catholic) Order ceased to exist. In 1618 it was incorporated in the principality of Brandenburg.
The Kingdom of Prussia was founded in 1701 when Prince Friedrich III of Brandenburg declared himself King Friedrich I of Prussia. Prussia became an important and powerful state within the German Empire and existed officially until 1945.
The eagle was first used as the symbol of Prussia by Prince Johann of Bandenburg (1571-1598). The eagle is probably the old German eagle, in the colours of the Teutonic Order (a black cross on a white field). On the first arms the letter(s) on the breast of the eagle were the initial(s) of the Polish King (f.e.V for King Vladislav from 1632-1648), who had Prussia officially in loan from the German Emperor. In 1701 the letters were changed into FR (Friedrich Rex), the letters did not change afterwards.
The arms of Prussia in 1876, with only the 11 provinces.
The arms of Prussia in 1817
The basic arms never changed, but the supporters, crowns and additional fields were added during the centuries. All these were additional symbols, the original arms have always been used as the small arms, mainly for daily use. In 1876 only arms of the 11 provinces were added into the arms, but in the 1800s often many additional territories were added.
The 52 territories in the upper large arms :
The territories are listed according to the image, not according to the official heraldic listings or rank in the title of the Kings of Preussen.
Upper escutcheon : Markgrafschaft Brandenburg
Middle escutcheon : Kingdom of Preussen proper
Lower escutcheon : combines Burggrafschaft Nürnberg (upper half) and County Hohenzollern (lower half)
The other fields are listed starting with the upper (heraldic) right field, showing a horse, and ending at the lower left field with the eagle :
divided : Principality Paderborn and County Pyrmont
Principality and County Henneberg
divided : County Mark and County Ravensberg
divided : County Tecklenburg and County Lingen
Lordship Frankfurt am Main
Literature : Ströhl, H.G. Deutsche Wappenrolle, 1897; Schurdel, H.D. Flaggen und Wappen Deutschland. Battenberg, Augsburg 1995.