Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Prussia

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Details of SP 90
Reference: SP 90
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Prussia

Mainly in-letters to the Secretary of State from the British ambassadors, ministers and envoys to Prussia. Most of the despatches are dated at Berlin, but some despatches from Dresden in Saxony and elsewhere in Germany (eg Coblenz, Bonn, and Mainz) are included in the series. Many draft replies by the Secretary of State are also in the series, and a number of petitions and some royal letters. There are many references to army matters.

There are few records between 1749 and 1756, but the three supplementary bundles include some papers for this period.

Date: 1698-1780

The records are arranged in chronological order, except for a supplementary series at the end of the series.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 107 bundles and volumes
Administrative / biographical background:

In 1618 the Duchy of Prussia was inherited by the Hohenzollern Elector of Brandenburg. Although the combined territories of Brandenburg and Prussia were scattered across northern Germany, they soon became of immense importance. The Hohenzollern rulers of Brandenburg had already sought an expansion of their principality, and had encroached on the neighbouring states of Pomerania and Mecklenburg to the north, and Saxony to the south. In 1609 they had spread westward, taking possession of a region on the middle section of the Rhine.

Frederick William (1620-1688), called the Great Elector, and his successors used their military power to extend their possessions, and the Great Elector's son, Frederick I, became the first King of Prussia in 1701. Frederick I's grandson, Frederick II, who reigned from 1740 to 1786, was known as Frederick the Great and may be considered the founder of German military might. His armies took Silesia from Austria, and West Prussia from Poland, thus almost doubling the area of his country.

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