Kaliningradnds:Kaliningrad Kaliningrad (former names: German Königsberg, Polish Królewiec, Lithuanian Karaliaucius) was the old capital of East Prussia and is today the capital and main city of the Kaliningrad Oblast, a small Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania with access to the Baltic Sea.
Königsberg ("king's mountain") was founded in 1255 by the Teutonic Knights during their conquest of Prussia, which began the Germanisation of the region, previously inhabited by the Prussians, a Baltic people. The city was named for king Ottokar II of Bohemia, who came to the area with the Baltic or Northern Crusaders.
Königsberg was the see of Samland (Sambia), one of the four dioceses into which Prussia had been divided in 1243 by papal legate William of Modena. Saint Adalbert of Prague became the main patron saint of the Königsberg Dom (cathedral).
After their loss of Marienburg (Malbork) to Poland), Königsberg was from 1457 the capital city of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, reduced by the 1466 Second Treaty of Thorn to Ducal Prussia, until 1660 under the overlordship of the Polish crown. With the secularisation of the Order's territories (1525, it became the capital of Ducal Prussia, which in 1618 was remained in personal union with Brandenburg under the latter's Hohenzollern rulers, from 1701 kings of Prussia. As a part of the kingdom of Prussia it was a part of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) of 1815-66 and of the German Empire from 1871.
Königsberg became a centre of learning, one of its noted sons, the leading mathematician and astronomer Johann Müller Regiomontanus (1436-76), naming himself after the Latin form of the city's name. It was also the birthplace (1690) of the famous mathematician Christian Goldbach and the home of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. In 1736, the mathematician Leonhard Euler used the arrangement of bridges and islands at Königsberg as the basis for the Seven Bridges of Königsberg Problem which led to the mathematical branch of topology.
At the end of World War II in 1945, the city was annexed by the Soviet Union and it was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 after the death of Soviet President Mikhail Kalinin. The city had been heavily bombarded by the British Royal Air Force in summer 1944. Some of the German population had fled the advancing Red Army in early 1945, and a few returned after the city was surrendered on April 9, 1945. However, all ethnic German residents who remained at the end of the war - estimated at about 200,000, out of the city's prewar population of 316,000 - were brutally expelled by the Soviets in 1945-49. Many died of hunger during the war's closing stages or the shortages which followed, or during the arduous expulsion process.
During the Cold War Kaliningrad -- with the northern third of the former East Prussia, now the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Soviet Federated Soviet Republic -- was an important naval base and closed to visitors. As a result of independence for Lithuania and Belorussia in the early 1990s, the territory became a Russian exclave, separated from the rest of Russia, ironically just as East Prussia had been separated from the rest of Germany in 1919-39. In the event of EU membership for Poland and Lithuania, the region will be completely surrounded by the EU. In all likelihood, this will require some special arrangements for the territory's inhabitants.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union it has been discussed to give the city its old German name back, just like it happened in St. Petersburg.
Famous people from Königsberg/Kaliningrad