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|Great Prussian Uprising
Age of Kings
| Duchy of Prussia || Teutonic Order
|Commanders and leaders|
| Herkus I Monte |
The Great Prussian Uprising was a climatic war between the Teutonic Knights and the partly Christianized native Prussians. Oppressed for years, the Prussians had had enough of German rule and rose up for the second time. Aided by the newly consolidated Kingdom of Lithuania as well as diplomatic and military support from the Duchy of Pomerania and the Kingdom of Poland respectively, the Prussians under their new Duke Herkus I were able to force the Teutonic Knights out of their lands.
The Teutonic Knights arrived in Prussia with the express purpose of conquering the Prussians and their Baltic neighbors and converting them to Christianity. With the support of the Holy Roman Empire and various crusading nobles the Knights were victorious and set about building their own state upon Prussian lands.
The Prussians had revolted once before and, thanks to support from the Duchy of Pomerania, had almost defeated the Knights, limiting their territory to only five castles. Despite this, the Knights defeated the Pomeranians several times, forcing them out of the war. As a result, the Prussians were forced to come to the table and the two sides negotiated a truce.
What set the stage for the Great Prussian Uprising was the Battle of Durbe, in which the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order were beaten by Samogitians from Lithuania. As news of the defeat spread, the various tribes rose up against the Knights and the region soon boiled down into war.
Course of the War
Early on, the Prussians were rapidly successful, forcing the Knights out of several castles and destroying them. As the war dragged on, however, the Knights received slow but steady reinforcements from Germany and the native Prussians were unable to siege the powerful castles of the Order, preferring to starve them out. The Prussians also did not recognize the value of castles at first, and destroyed most that they captured rather than fortify them against the Order. The same weaknesses that plagued the first revolt were still apparent in the second one.
A Duke Reigns
In order to coordinate all the disorganized tribes of Prussia as well as provide a leader to rally around, Herkus Monte of the Natangians stepped forward to claim that role. Raised in German schools and baptised, Herkus Monte had a firm understanding of how the Knights worked and how the Prussians could take advantage of their weaknesses. While the other tribes were suspicious of Monte because of his German upbringing and Christian faith, they did not have much choice, as Teutonic reinforcements were on the horizon and Monte's knowledge and ability to win were apparent.
Herkus Monte was made Duke of Prussia by the various clan leaders, and in return he made vows upon victory that he would protect the native Prussian faith as well as heed the wishes of the various clan leaders. Upon his coronation, Herkus I of Prussia set about the crown jewel of the uprising, one that would result in a Prussian victory: the siege of Konigsberg.
Konigsberg was a major city for the Teutonic Order and was an important port as well as the supply line for crusaders overseas. Taking it would be a crucial victory for the new duchy as well as a terrible loss for the Order.
The Prussians gathered an army to take the city and were poised to take it. Joining the Prussians were the Lithuanians under Mindaugas and the Sudovians under Skalmantas. As the Prussians or their allies lacked the technology needed to storm the city, a slow and brutal siege was set into place. Reinforcement armies regularly marched upon the attackers in order to break the siege, but it was never successful. During the battle Monte was severely injured, yet he survived, much to the relief of his army.
Finally, the garrison of Konigsberg could take no more, and surrendered. Instead of destroying the city's fortifications like the other castles that fell to the Prussians, Monte declared that Konigsberg's castle was to remain intact, and the city became the capital of the new duchy, under the Prussian name Twangste.
End of the War
With the uprisings in Livonia defeated, the Livonian Order turned its attention south in order to aid its beleaguered colleagues. Furthermore, tragedy struck when Mindaugas was assassinated and Lithuania fell into a dynastic struggle that forced them out of the war effort.
With new enemies and fewer allies, the Prussians were forced to go on the defensive. For the next few years, the war swinged back and forth, with neither force gaining the advantage. Eventually, the tide swung back into the Prussian's favor as more Baltic tribes joined the Prussians and sympathy in Europe was growing for the Prussians, as they were now lead by a Christian Duke. This eventually led the Teutonic Knights to withdraw from the region, and the war ended in the Treaty of Twangste.
Prussia emerged as the strongest nation of the Baltic peoples, with its independence assured and its military strengthened. Despite this, Herkus I Monte and his successors faced considerable internal problems, most notably religion. Christianity continued to grow in the region despite the victory of the Pagans, and bloodshed continued to erupt between the two sides. Eventually, Christianity won out and begin infiltrating into Lithuania as well.
Politically, Prussia made alliances with Pomerania and Poland, further strengthening its independence. With sympathy to Lithuania for their aid in the war, Prussia eventually began expanding farther east, taking advantage of the dynastic struggles tearing Lithuania apart.
As a military order, the Knights never fully recovered. Some moved north into Livonia and continued to fight for the cause while others returned to Germany and fulfilled more non-violent roles in spreading God's will.