Battle of Fehrbellin, 18/28 June 1675

Battle of Fehrbellin, 18/28 June 1675



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Battle of Fehrbellin, 18/28 June 1675

The battle of Fehrbellin saw Frederic William, elector of Brandenburg and duke of Prussia defeat a Swedish army under Karl Gustav Wrangel that had invaded Brandenburg late in 1674 (Scania War). Frederick William had responded to the invasion with something of a scorched earth policy, removing all food from the areas the Swedes were marching through, and ordering his people to avoid all contact with the invaders. This policy worked, and by May 1676 Wrangel reported that his men were complaining about a lack of bread. This forced him to divide his army, which at the start of the invasion had been only 13,000 men strong. In June 1675 he was west of Berlin, with most of his army at Alt-Brandenburg on the Havel River, and a detachment under his half brother Volmar to the north at Havelsberg.

Frederick William spotted the gap, and moved his army to Rathenow, blocking an intact bridge over the Havel. Wrangel ordered Volmar to circle to the east, crossing a bridge at Fehrbellin, but that bridge had been destroyed. While the Swedes were repairing the bridge, the Brandenburgers arrived from the west and took up a strong position on higher ground overlooking the Swedish position. Despite this strong position, the Brandenburgers were unable to inflict a heavy defeat on the Swedes. While the Swedish right wing held off the Brandenburg attack, the rest of the army was able to cross over an improvised bridge, followed by the right, which then covered the retreat. The Swedes lost 600 men in the battle, but the two parts of the army were able to reunite.

Frederick William turned the relativity minor victory at Fehrbellin into a major publicity triumph. It had disastrous results for Sweden, encouraging the Emperor Leopold, the Dutch and the Danes to join in the fighting. However, it was not as decisive as it is sometimes portrayed – the Swedish position in Pomerania did not immediately collapse, and their last foothold in Germany, at Greifswald, 100 miles due north of Berlin, did not fall until November 1678, only to be returned to Sweden in the peace of St. Germain (29 June 1679).


Fehrbellin

Fehrbellin is a municipality in Germany, located 60 km NW of Berlin. It had 9,310 inhabitants as of 2005, but has since declined to 8,606 inhabitants in 2012.


Battle of Fehrbellin, 18/28 June 1675 - History

By Louis Ciotola

For nearly two and a half centuries, Prussia celebrated June 28 as a birthday of sorts. On that date in 1675, the Prussians achieved the start of their proud military tradition. The state was then known as Brandenburg, ruled by an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick William. A minor player on a European continent that was still recovering from the cataclysmic Thirty Years’ War, Brandenburg and its elector were about to change history.

Faced by an invading army from Sweden, one of the foremost powers of the day, the Brandenburgers prepared for battle at the little town of Fehrbellin, northwest of Berlin. They were there to decide the future of their state. Victory promised unprecedented growth, while defeat nearly ensured that Brandenburg would remain a minor entity no greater than many others spread out across Germany. On the other side of the lines, the Swedes too were at a crossroads. Their mighty empire was extended beyond what its meager resources could defend, and they fought to maintain a tenuous supremacy in northern Europe. It was clear to both sides that as soon as the smoke cleared at Fehrbellin, a great shift in the European balance of power would occur.

The Sun King, Frederick William and the Young King Charles XI

Without a doubt, France under the great “Sun King,” Louis XIV, was the dominant power in Europe during the third quarter of the 16th century. Following the close of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, France had emerged as the strongest kingdom on the Continent, making it inevitable that the ambitious Louis would dictate the ebb and flow of European politics for years to come. In ensuing conflicts, states fought either with France or against her. Fighting on the side of Louis XIV provided the luxury of being allied to the most powerful monarch in Europe, yet it also brought the threat of becoming a mere French satellite. In fact, opposing the mighty armies of France courted disaster. However, if victory could somehow be achieved, the prospects of increasing one’s prestige and influence were tremendous. In 1672, when Louis launched a war of conquest against the Dutch Republic, two very different states were forced to make that difficult choice.

The larger of these states, Sweden, already possessed a strong tradition as a French ally. The alliance of Sweden and France had checked the swelling power of the Hapsburgs during the Thirty Years’ War. The resulting Treaty of Westphalia had extended Swedish control over the Baltic, most notably in Germany, where Sweden received a large portion of Pomerania. Sweden’s subsequent military success against its neighbors allowed the Swedish kingdom to expand still further. By 1672, the size of the empire presented the young King Charles XI with a dilemma. Sweden’s acute lack of resources and funds made its recent conquests extremely vulnerable. Only through constant expansion could it manage to protect itself, but with a pacific-minded government in place to watch over the youthful king, conquest was not an option. The Swedes would have to work hard simply to maintain their possessions, especially in Germany, where Pomerania and other territories served as an additional front against would-be aggressors. Given their crippling financial crisis, it was obvious that the Swedes would need outside help if they wished to hold onto all the pieces of their empire.

The other state was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Brandenburg was a poor territory in the northeast corner of the Holy Roman Empire. It had few outside possessions and almost no influence aside from its status as an electorate of the empire. Its current ruler, the elector Frederick William, having come to power during the Thirty Years’ War, had suffered the humiliation of being unable to prevent foreigners from marching through and devastating his lands. He desperately sought to remedy the situation. In his mind, the only solution was to create a formidable military that could compete with the major European powers surrounding him. A few years earlier, in 1667, he had made that point clear to his son, stressing that the only way for a state to become “considerable” was to command a strong army.

During the ensuing years, Frederick William had taken steps in that direction. Following a brief Tartar invasion of his easternmost territory of Prussia, the elector was able to raise the money for a standing peacetime army. This army, extensively drilled and brutally disciplined, was talented enough to catch the eye of many contemporaries in Germany, although it was still far too small to earn the respect of its larger European neighbors. Brandenburg now possessed an officer corps that was tied to the interests of the state rather than functioning merely as a group of mercenaries concerned with their own careers and financial gain.

Something of a novelty in the period, Frederick William always made it a point to consult his officers in times of war. Brandenburg was well on its way to forming an army that eventually would pose a challenge to any opponent. However, it could scarcely reach its goals alone. In 1672, it remained vital for Brandenburg to tie itself into alliances with outside powers that were willing to provide the subsidies necessary for an enlarged military to exist. That year, the opportunity to both acquire such subsidies and test the new army in action fell into Frederick William’s lap.

Leveraging Leopold against Louis XIV

The elector was no friend of France. He saw Louis XIV as a continual looming threat to Germany. When a French army attacked Holland, initiating the Franco-Dutch War, Frederick William was quick to pledge his support to the Dutch Republic. His services, however, came at a price. The wealthy Dutch, needing allies badly, were only too willing to accommodate him, agreeing to pay for half the 20,000-man Brandenburger army. But the prospect of facing the indomitable French war machine alone was daunting. Fortunately for Frederick William, a strong ally in the form of the Austrian Hapsburgs emerged to challenge the French as well. The elector had been working to persuade the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold to join him in combating Louis, and he was delighted when the emperor dispatched an army to the Rhine under Raimondo Montecuccoli, a talented commander and a hero of the Thirty Years’ War.

Unlike the elector, Leopold was intimidated by French arms and had little interest in rescuing the beleaguered Dutch. The emperor wished only to protect Germany, and in accordance with this wish he ordered Montecuccoli to act conservatively and engage the enemy only if victory could be assured. He even secretly informed Louis that he would keep the Austrian army behind the Rhine. Although he was well aware of Leopold’s stance, Frederick William was confident that he could convince Montecuccoli to take action. Besides, he had little choice but to combine with the Austrians if he wanted any chance to fight—attempting to battle the French alone would be nothing short of suicide.

Frederick William expected the Dutch to hold out for a considerable length of time, but when the republic was almost entirely absorbed by France during the course of one lightning-fast campaign, the need to act decisively became ever more pressing. The elector begged his Austrian ally to advance against Henri Turenne, the great French general leading the enemy forces in Westphalia, but Montecuccoli refused to budge. His frustration mounting, Frederick William attempted to push the Austrians into the war, convincing them that he, being an elector of the Empire, was in overall command. He managed to lead the army into Westphalia, but Turenne was unwilling to do battle and beat a hasty retreat. Shortly afterward, Montecuccoli regained control of his own army and terminated the brief offensive. Sitting idle, the allied army consequently suffered terribly from a lack of provisions.

Contrary to appearances, Montecuccoli was highly upset by his orders. He, like Frederick William, preferred to attack, but the emperor had tied his hands. Finally, the old veteran could take his dishonorable role no longer and left the field. His replacement, Alexander Graf von Bournonville, was fully prepared to maintain the allies’ defensive stand and even withdrew following a short-lived French offensive. Frederick William was livid. He wrote to Leopold in exasperation: “I fear the French will follow us and my lands be totally ruined and my fortresses lost, and I will have to conclude a humiliating peace.” It was no idle threat. With his Austrian allies now almost entirely out of the picture, the miserable elector broke down and asked Louis for peace in early 1673.

Despite nonexistent Austrian support and dwindling Dutch subsidies, it was still a difficult decision to make. Frederick William was overwhelmed with dismay. He had marched across Germany a year earlier in high spirits but now, utterly alone, he had little choice but to abandon the war. Louis, by contrast, was overjoyed to see one of his enemies accepting French supremacy, and he quickly agreed to the elector’s offer of peace. The two sides subsequently forged the Peace of Vossem, in which Louis asked nothing of Brandenburg and even pledged to provide the electorate with subsidies, an obvious attempt to keep it from considering a re-entry into the conflict.

Breaking the Peace of Vossem

Although he had escaped a potentially deadly situation relatively unharmed, Frederick William could not shake off the feeling of disgrace he experienced by having to sign the Peace of Vossem. Within months of the treaty, he was searching for an excuse to break it. Already the French were failing to deliver the promised subsidies, and when Montecuccoli returned to retake control of the Austrian army and actually went onto the offensive, the elector decided to resume his war with France. Louis, in turn, invaded Germany proper and became an even greater menace.

A developing threat to his back door by Sweden did nothing to diminish Frederick William’s enthusiasm for war. Since 1672, Louis had been paying the Swedes to maintain an army of 16,000 men in Pomerania for the sole purpose of intimidating Brandenburg, but Frederick William felt he had little to worry about from them. For the time being, he was correct in this assumption. Fearful of risking its fragile hold on its territories along the north German coast, Sweden had no interest in going to war with Brandenburg. In fact, Swedish envoys had eagerly helped negotiate the terms of the Peace of Vossem. Just to be certain, however, Frederick William forged a nonaggression pact with the Swedes before plunging again into war with France.

“To Teach Kings the Respect They Ought to Have”

Despite the new pact, the elector’s position was still perilous. There was no guarantee that the Austrians and the Dutch would welcome his return. The Austrians were unsure of the elector’s intentions and feared that Brandenburg would again abandon the cause, while the Dutch had little reason to believe that a new offensive was worthy of their funds. In the end, it was a risk the Dutch had to take, and they agreed to once again partially subsidize Brandenburg’s army. On July 1, 1674, Frederick William officially rejoined the coalition against France, marching back toward the Rhine with 16,000 men. The elector entered the war for the second time as enthusiastically as he had the first, proudly declaring that he had arrived “to teach kings the respect they ought to have for electors of the Empire.” As it turned out, the elector was once again overly optimistic. Operating independently for the first couple of months, the Brandenburgers were too weak to strike Turenne. By the time they agreed to reunite with the Austrians in October, Montecuccoli had retired for the second time in as many years, only to be again replaced by the lethargic Bournonville.

As in his previous campaign, Bournonville, despite being numerically superior to Turenne, refused to take the offensive. Even when the chance arose to win a decisive victory at Marlenheim, the Austrian commander dallied. Frederick William, along with his most trusted general, the Austrian Georg von Derfflinger, begged Bournonville to take action, but to no avail. Instead, the emperor’s chosen general claimed that his troops were exhausted, an utterly preposterous assertion given the complete inertia of the army during the preceding weeks. Incensed, the Brandenburgers took it upon themselves to assault Turenne independently, but without the support of their allies, they could achieve nothing.

Much the same transpired in October near Strasbourg, where the Brandenburgers attacked the French but again came up short when the Austrians failed to support the assault. This time it cost the life of Frederick William’s own son, Carl Emil. The largest disaster, however, occurred that winter at Turkheim, where Turenne launched a surprise attack against an allied force now suffering acutely from food and supply shortages caused directly by its idleness. Although the Brandenburgers put up a valiant resistance, Bournonville’s decision to withdraw the following day rather than renew the battle spoiled the stunning achievement of the elector’s men. Compounding matters, the Austrians consistently blamed the campaign’s dismal outcome directly on Frederick William. Settling into winter quarters at the end of 1674, the spirits of the Brandenburgers and their ruler were all but crushed. It would take nothing short of a miracle to revive them.

Sweden Breaks the Nonaggression Treaty

That miracle was about to occur. Two years earlier, Sweden’s chancellor, Magnus de la Gardie, had pushed the empire into an alliance with France. He had argued convincingly that Sweden was in desperate need of cash and that if it failed to declare itself with France and make a grab for funds, then its hated rival, Denmark, would do so in its place. At the same time, the young and impressionable King Charles XI had just reached the age of legitimacy and was assuming power from a regency government. Unwilling to sacrifice anything to the despised Danes, Charles accepted the advice of his chancellor, yet limited the extent of Swedish involvement to the preservation of a strong garrison in Pomerania. No one in Sweden wished to take any unnecessary risks. By the second half of 1674, however, a combination of logistical difficulties and French pressure made an undesired war with Brandenburg increasingly likely.

Louis was indeed growing impatient with his northern ally, suspecting the Swedes of being content to selfishly drain his coffers without lifting a finger to come to his aid. The French monarch had heard the stories of Brandenburger grit at Turkheim and doubted that the elector would willingly exit the war a second time. Louis consequently pressed the Swedes to invade Brandenburg in order to draw Frederick William away from the Rhine.

Despite being a lover of war, Charles XI was not eager to comply with the French demand. Unfortunately for the young king, reality on the ground called his hand. Given the grave condition of his overextended realm, more French subsidies were imperative. The situation was especially dire in Germany, where the cost of supplying the garrisoned Swedish army in Pomerania had become too much to bear. It soon became apparent that the army, to survive, must advance into Brandenburg and begin taking its necessities by force. After procrastinating for as long as possible, Charles at last issued the order to take the offensive. It was Christmas Day, 1674.

A renowned hero of the Thirty Years’ War, Karl Gustav Wrangel led the 20,000 men of the Swedish army from Pomerania into Brandenburg. The Swedes gave hardly a thought to their violation of the nonaggression treaty with Brandenburg, considering it a military necessity. The timing for the war was ideal. Frederick William had stretched his resources to the limit in order to campaign against France, and Brandenburg was virtually defenseless. Only the elector’s brother-in-law, John George, prince of Anhalt-Dessau, remained to contend with the surprise Swedish invasion. There was nothing he could do aside from humbly requesting that Wrangel turn back. Naturally, neither Wrangel nor his younger brother Waldemar, who at times controlled the army because of the elder’s recurring case of gout, even considered meeting the request. Instead, without any serious opposition, the Swedes fanned out across Brandenburg to pillage the countryside and replenish their army.

The ensuing devastation reached right to the gates of Berlin itself. Slowly, the Swedish army made its way toward the Elbe. Frederick William was encamped with his army deep inside Franconia when news of the Swedish invasion reached him in early January. He had previously assumed that Sweden would refrain from any such move because of the divisions within its government and the strength of the Dutch fleet. He was wrong. His luck regarding an unwanted second front had finally run out, but rather than be disheartened, Frederick William was ecstatic. On hearing what had occurred, the elector exulted, “I can use this to get all of Pomerania.”

The Swedish incursion gave him an excellent excuse to leave behind his worthless allies along the Rhine and win martial glory for himself. That winter, however, the army was ill-prepared to march. Furthermore, certain diplomatic measures were required before it could confidently engage the Swedes—namely, negotiations with the Dutch Republic concerning naval assistance against the Swedish fleet. Delaying the process even more was a sudden attack of the gout that prevented Frederick William from reaching The Hague until May. Luckily for him, the Swedes were in no mood to press their advantage.

The Capture of Rathenow

When the elector finally petitioned the Dutch for aid, they agreed to dispatch their fleet to the Baltic to challenge the Swedes. A request for support to the Austrians, however, proved pointless. As expected, the Holy Roman Emperor was unwilling to sacrifice any of his army in the defense of Brandenburg. Nevertheless, the overall results were satisfactory, and on June 5 the Brandenburgers set off to meet the Swedish threat. Frederick William traveled with the infantry, while the experienced Derfflinger assumed overall command. The army marched in three sections: the left under Prince Friedrich II of Hesse-Homburg, the right led by General Joachim Ernst von Gortzke, and the center directed by Derfflinger.

The march was a stunning success. Despite having to traverse the formidable Thuringian Forest, which was still relatively barren of supplies after the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War, the Brandenburgers moved rapidly, covering nearly 200 miles in 20 days. It was a remarkable display of troop coordination, and the Brandenburger generals conducted the move so secretly that upon reaching their destination, they were as yet entirely undetected by the Swedes. The local peasants along the road, however, were well aware of their ruler’s return, and they celebrated proudly with banners that read: “We are only peasants, and little land we have but we give our blood for our lord cheerfully.”

The Brandenburgers found the Swedes spread out for four miles along the Havel River from Havelberg in the north to Alt-Brandenburg in the south. The elder Wrangel commanded in the north, while Waldemar led the Swedish troops in Alt-Brandenburg. To the Swedish rear lay a conglomeration of large swamps—a certain detriment should a sudden, hurried retreat be necessary. According to Branderburger spies, the Swedes had no idea that the elector’s army had drawn so close. Oblivious to the circumstances, the Swedish army concentrated solely on garrison duties and the brutal business of suppressing the numerous peasant uprisings in the area.

Frederick William was fully determined to use Swedish ignorance to his advantage. He concocted a strategy in which he would quickly capture the little town of Rathenow, located directly between Havelberg and Alt-Brandenburg, and split the Swedish army in two. Knowing that success relied entirely upon the element of surprise, he prepared to move with great speed and accordingly decided to advance with only his cavalry and as many infantry as could be loaded onto available wagons. The strike force amounted to 6,000 cavalry and 1,200 foot. The remainder of the army would follow and catch up when it could.

The Brandenburgers departed for Rathenow on June 25. Trudging through the mud created by a blinding rainstorm, they reached the town’s gates at midnight. By pretending to lead a Swedish column, Derfflinger succeeded in tricking the sentries into opening the gates, after which the Brandenburgers poured through. With great fury the attackers swarmed inside the town, catching the vast majority of the Swedes asleep in their beds. Completely confused, the defenders were either killed or captured, and the town soon fell. The entire operation cost Frederick William a mere 15 men.

The Battle of Fehrbellin

Upon hearing of the unexpected attack, the Wrangel brothers, shocked by the surprise, incorrectly estimated the number of Rathenow’s assailants. Judging the attacking Brandenburgers to be much greater in strength than they actually were, the Wrangels decided against counterattacking Rathenow and opted to withdraw. This was exactly what Frederick William had expected he was already ordering his victorious cavalry forward to cut off the Swedish retreat. Derfflinger opposed the strategy, arguing that his horsemen were too exhausted from the march and the assault on Rathenow, but the elector, backed by Prince Friedrich, overruled him, stressing the need for a decisive campaign.

A loyal soldier, Derfflinger dropped his objection and set out at once. His target was Waldemar’s contingent, which had left Alt-Brandenburg and was heading east for the small town of Fehrbellin, on the Rhine, where the Swedes planned to reunite their forces. Aware that Fehrbellin was the only suitable place to cross the marshes, Derfflinger knew exactly which route the younger Wrangel would take. The Brandenburger cavalry raced forward, hoping to cut off Waldemar at Nauen, but the enemy proved too slippery and had already passed by. It would be up to another group of Brandenburgers, speeding toward Fehrbellin itself, to block the Swedish escape.

Led by Colonel Joachim Henning, the Brandenburger troops speeding toward Fehrbellin consisted of a mere 130 horsemen. Their purpose was to avoid the enemy, beat them to the town, and destroy the town’s lone bridge, thus severing the Swedish retreat. Upon reaching its destination, the raiding party immediately set the bridge afire, but the destruction had barely commenced when the Swedes began arriving early on June 28. Waldemar found the bridge smoldering yet still very much intact. It needed only minor repairs before it could be crossed. Frederick William had no intention of providing the time necessary to do so, declaring confidently, “We are so close to the enemy, that he must lose his hair or his feathers.”

Waldemar knew that the main Brandenburger army was close, but he did not fear an attack. He correctly surmised that the only way Frederick William could possibly reach him before the bridge was repaired was with cavalry alone, and he believed such an attack without infantry support would be far too risky. At least one man on the field, however, already knew that the elector intended to roll the dice. That man was Henning, who, along with his tiny band of soldiers, was already hiding inside Fehrbellin, hoping to delay the Swedes as long as possible.

The wait was brief. Shortly after Waldemar’s arrival, the advance elements of the Brandenburger cavalry under Prince Friedrich arrived on the scene. Frederick William, still en route, ordered the prince to await his arrival, but the prince was impatient and, determining the Swedes to be on their last legs, ordered an immediate attack through the pouring rain. Initially, Friedrich’s cavalry was successful in pushing the defenders back, but the Swedes fought back tenaciously and quickly brought the offensive to a halt.

An Uphill Charge

Frederick William, Derfflinger, and the rest of the Brandenburger cavalry arrived at noon, raising the elector’s total strength to roughly 7,000 horsemen against the equally numerous Swedes. Unlike Frederick William, Waldemar also possessed infantry and thus was at a decided advantage. Inexplicably, the Swedish commander did a curious thing. Rather than exploit his victory with an immediate counterattack, he ordered his troops to stay put. He was dead set on retreating across the bridge, no matter what. Waldemar soon realized his error when the rest of the Brandenburger cavalry reached the field and rapidly occupied the hills opposite the Swedish right. This put Waldemar’s entire army in danger of being outflanked. Waldemar had no choice but to attack—only now he would be forced to make an exposed uphill charge.

Frederick William positioned his 13 light field guns atop the hill in preparation for an enemy counterattack. The Swedes’ own 38 cannons, only seven of which were operational, would be unable to assist in the assault. Furthermore, the Swedish left, hindered by the marshes, would be unable to add any additional weight to the attack. Already the Brandenburger artillery was raining hell down upon the Swedes, goading the younger Wrangel to move. The elector’s men would not be disappointed. On Waldemar’s command, a wave of Swedish infantry, followed by cavalry, stormed up the hill. Despite the cannon fire searing through their ranks, the Swedes charged madly, putting the battle’s outcome in doubt. They reached the hill’s summit and captured the Brandenburger artillery. It appeared that the gambling elector was about to be routed.

But Frederick William had no intention of meekly accepting defeat. Rallying his men, he raced to the front of the line, crying: “Forward! Your prince and captain will conquer with you, or die like a knight!” In his zeal, the elector suddenly found himself surrounded by enemy soldiers. His master of stables, Emanuel Froben, was struck down, supposedly on account of his riding Frederick William’s gray horse (an exchange in mounts having been made to help ensure the elector’s safety). The situation was dire, but to Frederick William’s great fortune, a band of nine dragoons pierced the enemy ranks and extracted him from harm. Meanwhile, the elector’s bravery had inspired his men, and the Brandenburgers began to drive back the Swedes. They recaptured their guns, which to everyone’s amazement had not been spiked, and poured furiously down the opposite slope of the hill. With their cannons blazing, the Brandenburger cavalry smashed into the remnants of the disordered Swedish right and sent it fleeing into Fehrbellin.

The Brandenburger officers, their blood up, urged Frederick William to light the town, but he rebuked them, stating, “I am not come to destroy my country, but to save it.” Instead, the elector ordered his horsemen to storm the Swedish infantry. The ensuing attack failed, and the desperate Swedish soldiers held firm. Frederick William called off further offensives and was content to allow the remaining Swedes to withdraw. Waldemar, satisfied to cross the now-repaired bridge, subsequently did so in good order, leaving behind eight of his cannons. Exhausted by days of hard riding and fighting, the Brandenburgers declined to pursue.

Triumph for Brandenburg

The Brandenburger victory at Fehrbellin came at the cost of only 500 men. Swedish casualties were much higher, and they would lose still more as a result of incessant peasant raids. At the close of the campaign, Waldemar had a paltry 4,000 men remaining at his disposal. Nevertheless, both sides claimed victory. Frederick William celebrated his driving off the Swedes, while Waldemar insisted that his bloody charges had delayed the enemy long enough to save the bulk of his force. Psychologically, however, the triumph belonged to Brandenburg, which earned the distinction of being the first minor German state in modern times to deal such a stunning blow to a major European power.

Upon hearing the news of Fehrbellin, the people of Berlin immediately began referring to their ruler as the “Great Elector,” making it clear that they expected Frederick William to continue accomplishing great things. In the years following the battle, he did just that. During the final months of 1675, the Brandenburger army drove the Swedes into Mecklenburg, where Charles XI’s tormented army withered still further. Initially, a lack of allies forced the Brandenburgers to halt, but 1676 brought a renewal of fortune. Although Emperor Leopold continued to deny him any assistance, Denmark joined the elector in an alliance that would soon take the war into Sweden itself. Shortly afterward, a combined Dutch-Danish fleet intercepted the Swedish navy and wrecked nearly three-quarters of it. Without a strong maritime presence in the Baltic, Sweden’s army in Germany was cut off, giving Frederick William a decided advantage.

The elector utilized his opportunity to the fullest. During the subsequent campaign he successfully conquered Swedish Pomerania, capturing Stettin, Stralsund, and Greifswald in succession. Then, during the winter of 1678-1679, Frederick William equaled the brilliance of the Fehrbellin campaign when he marched his army across the frozen lagoons at Frisches Haff and Kurisches Haff to outflank the Swedes and force them to retreat from Prussia altogether.

Limited Gains

Unfortunately for Brandenburg, its gains would not reflect its military success. Although it had made a profound statement, Brandenburg remained a minor continental player, still subject to the whims of the larger powers. By 1678, the Dutch were trying to push Frederick William into making peace out of fear of the elector’s growing strength. Later that year they abandoned him altogether, forging with France the Treaty of Nymwegen. The Austrians signed for peace soon after. Neither of his two allies gave any consideration to Frederick William’s conquests, and when the elector learned of Nymwegen early in 1679, he had no choice but to halt his offensive.

Incensed by the betrayal, he vowed to fight the French alone, but when Louis dispatched an army toward Brandenburg, Frederick William conceded. On June 29, he reluctantly signed the Treaty of St. Germain, effectively wiping out all of his gains by restoring the conquered territories to Sweden. So angered was he by the Dutch Republic and Austria that he would consent to being an ally of hated France for the next six years.

Although stiffed at the peace negotiations, Brandenburg had made tremendous gains, establishing an army and a military tradition far greater than any of their German counterparts. After Fehrbellin, the Great Elector earned the leverage necessary to enlarge his peacetime army against the wishes of the noble estates. This made it much easier for Brandenburg, and later Prussia, to mobilize its military upon the outbreak of hostilities, giving it the ability to immediately compete with its neighbors. The seeds were thus sown for the dramatic growth of the army in generations to come. At the same time, the battle served to underscore Sweden’s gradual decline. Although it would again prove itself a force to be reckoned with under its next king, Charles XII, the Swedish empire, stretched thin and exposed as little more than a client state of France, was doomed to inevitable collapse. The daring horsemen of Frederick William had seen to that at Fehrbellin.


Battle of Fehrbellin, 18/28 June 1675 - History


A.) Prehistory of the War

This war to a large extent was the result of French diplomacy, attempting to divert attention from the war France fought against the Dutch Republic and the Holy Roman Empire since 1672. Sweden agreed, in return for French subsidies, to attack Brandenburg Poland, in the secret Treaty of Jaworow, agreed to attack the Brandenburgian Duchy in Prussia as soon as the ongoing Polish-Ottoman War was ended. She never had to act on that promise.

On Dec. 15th 1674, a Swedish army c. 12,000 men strong, coming from Swedish Pomerania, invaded Brandenburg, but suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Fehrbellin on June 28th 1675. Denmark and the Dutch Republic declared war on Sweden the Brandenburgers occupied Usedom and Wollin (1676), Stettin, Rügen, Greifswald, Stralsund (1678). The Danes, with support of the Dutch fleet, reoccupied Visborg on Gotland (May 1676), which they had lost to Sweden in 1645. The Danes also invaded Scania (June 1676), controlled the province by August. The Battle of Lund Dec. 4th 1676 was undecided. The Snapphanes (Scanians resenting Swedish rule Scania had been Danish until 1658) fought a guerilla war against Sweden. In 1679 a Brandenburg army appeared off the walls of Riga in Livonia. In 1678 the Emperor signed peace with France and withdrew his support of Brandenburg. On June 29th the PEACE OF ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE ended the war almost all conquests were returned, Brandenburg gaining only minor territory on the east bank of the Oder River.

The war and the peace were victories of French diplomacy. In the peace negotiations, Brandenburg and Denmark were deprived of the fruits of their efforts Sweden was lucky not to lose more territory. During the war, Brandenburg had stood loyally on the side of the Emperor Frederick William, the Great Elector, felt betrayed by the latter and now signed a treaty with France which guaranteed him an annual subsidy.
The King of Sweden blamed the poor showing on the Swedish side on the Swedish constitution in 1680 he introduced Absolutism in his country.


Events in History on June 28

Election of Interest

1519 King Carlos I elected Holy Roman Catholic Emperor Charles V

    Duke of Bourbon occupies Province Spanish troops conquer Buren Earl Mauritius conquers Geertruidenberg Peace of Alès: Rights of French huguenots limited French colony of Guadeloupe established in the Caribbean Battle of Beresteczko between Poles and Ukrainians starts. Battle at Fehrbellin: Brandenburg army beats Sweden

Event of Interest

1762 Russian Tsarina Catherine II seizes power, declaring herself sovereign ruler of Russia

United States Declaration of Independence

1776 Final draft of Declaration of Independence submitted to Continental Congress

    Charleston, South Carolina repulses British sea attack Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey (General Washington beats Clinton) Mary Ludwig Hayes "Molly Pitcher" aids American patriots British troops land at Ensenada, Argentina Tomato is proven to be non-poisonous by Colonel Robert Gibbon eating a tomato on steps of courthouse in Salem, New Jersey Gerrit Moll measures noise of guns Three missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society obtain permission from Chief Moshoeshoe (Moshesh) to found a mission station in Basutoland (now Lesotho)

Coronation of Queen Victoria

1838 Coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey, London

    The Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris premieres the ballet Giselle The Sigma Chi Fraternity was founded at Miami University 1st dog show held, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England Leipzig Observatory discovers short-period (6.2 yrs) Comet d'Arrest Day 4 of 7 Day Battle of Savage's Station [Garnett's Farm] in Virginia The Army of the Potomac is disbanded Amsterdam typographer strike

Event of Interest

1880 Australian bushranger Ned Kelly captured at Glenrowan

    Labor Day established as a holiday for US federal employees The Natal Legislature plans to introduce the Indian Franchise Bill, South Africa El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua form Central American Union

Event of Interest

1895 French painter Paul Gauguin leaves France for Tahiti for the second time

    Marquis C de Bonchamps' expedition reaches Gore Ethiopia US Congress authorizes Louisiana Purchase Expo $1 gold coin US buys concession to build Panama canal from French for $40 million Germany, Italy, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire renew their Triple Alliance for six more years International Anti-Military Cooperation (IAMV) forms in Amsterdam SS Norge runs aground and sinks off Rockall, North Atlantic, more than 635 die, largest maritime loss of life until Titanic 1st French air show, Concours d'Avation opens Joseph Caillaux forms government in France Potato entrepreneurs begins in Amsterdam 1st flight between Hawaiian Islands Treaty of Versailles, ending WWI and establishing the League of Nations, is signed in France The Irish Civil War starts when Irish Free State forces attack anti-treaty republicans in Dublin

Event of Interest

1923 Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry of the Netherlands state visit to London

    Tornado strikes Sandusky and Lorain, Ohio, killing 93 Mercedes Benz forms when the world's oldest automobile manufacturers DMG and Benz & Cie merge Alfred E Smith (NY-Governor) nominated for US President at Democratic Convention Friedrich Schmiedl attempts rocket mail in Austria (unsuccessful) 1st night game in Detroit at newly built Hamtramck Stadium as Negro League Detroit Stars take on KC Monarchs

Event of Interest

1934 Hitler flies to Essen (for Night of Long Knives)

Event of Interest

1935 FDR orders a federal gold vault to be built at Fort Knox, Kentucky

    Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang is formed in northern China Pan Am opens southern route transatlantic air service (Dixie Clipper) "Quiz Kids?" premieres on radio Romania cedes Bessarabia to Soviet Union German and Romanian soldiers kill 11,000 Jews in Kishinev German troops occupy Galicia, Poland Col-gen Von Hoth' 6th Pantser enters Voronezj Polish Provisional government of National Unity set up by Soviets Enrico de Nicola becomes 1st President of Italy British begin airlift “Operation Plainfare” to West Berlin North Korean forces capture Seoul, South Korea in opening phase of the Korean War 111°F (44°C) at Camden, South Carolina (state record)

Event of Interest

Event of Interest

1964 Organization for Afro-American Unity formed in New York by Malcolm X

Event of Interest

1965 1st US ground combat forces in Vietnam authorized by President Lyndon B. Johnson

    Dutch Princess Beatrice and Claus von Amsberg announce their engagement Israel annexes East Jerusalem Daniel Ellsberg indicted for leaking Pentagon Papers Police carry out an early morning raid on gay bar Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NY about 400 to 1,000 patrons riot against police, it lasts 3 days. Beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement Around 500 Catholic workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard are forced to leave their work by Protestant employees as serious rioting continues in Belfast Lawsuit in Detroit challenges Little League's "no girls" rule New Zealand ship HMNZS Otago sails for Mururoa nuclear test zone after France’s refusal to accept an International Court of Justice injunction against its atmospheric nuclear testing Northern Ireland Assembly elections take place Fall of earth and rocks kill 200 (Quebrada Blanca Canyon, Colombia)

Event of Interest

    Bridge section along I-95 in Greenwich, Connecticut collapses, killing 3 NASA launches Galaxy-A Former member of South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), Jeannette Schoon, and her six-year-old daughter, Katryn, are killed by a letter bomb at Lubango, in northern Angola Discovery ferried back to Kennedy Space Center via Bergstrom AFB, Tx Irish population condemns divorce Kenneth and Nellie Pike challenge Ala Dem runoff win by AG C Graddick West European leaders, meeting in the Netherlands, delay indefinitely imposing economic sanctions against South Africa South Africa signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 2 earthquakes, including 3rd strongest in US (7.4) rock California

Event of Interest

2009 Professor Stephen Hawking hosts a 'party for time travellers' at the University of Cambridge, not sending out the invites until after the party

Election of Interest

2011 Christine Lagarde becomes the 1st women to be elected head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    A series of car bombs in Iraq kills 14 and injures 50 people David Sweat shot and captured near Canadian border. 2nd prisoner to escape maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility June 6 Greek Credit Crisis: Greek government says banks closed for a week and ATM withdrawals restricted after European Central Bank refused to supply emergency funds Suicide bombings and gun attacks at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport kill 42 and wound more than 200 Wilshire Grand Center becomes the tallest building in Los Angeles and in the US west of the Mississippi at 1,100 ft

Event of Interest

2017 China’s president, Xi Jinping begins 3 day trip to Hong Kong to mark 20 years since the territory handed back to China


Birthdays in History

    Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, French writer (Mémoires), born in Paris (d. 1755) Franz Xaver Josef von Unertl, Bavarian politician (d. 1750) Guillaume Delisle, French cartographer (d. 1726) Benedict XIV [Prospero L Lambertini], Italian Pope (1740-58) Humphry Ditton, English mathematician, born in Salisbury, England (d. 1715) Francesco Scipione, marchese di Maffei, Italian archaeologist (d. 1755) Mary Walcott, American accuser at the Salem witch trials, born in Salem, Massachusetts (d. 1720) Claude Alexandre de Bonneval, French soldier (d. 1747) William Somervile, English poet (d. 1742) Paul Dudley, Attorney-General of Massachusetts, born in Roxbury, Massachusetts (d. 1751) Samuel Clarke, English philosopher and theologian, born in Norwich, England (d. 1729) Emperor Higashiyama of Japan (d. 1710) Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, English soldier and politician, born in Parchim, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany (d. 1749)

Frederick William and Fehrbellin in 1675

In December 1640, when Frederick William acceded to the throne, Brandenburg was still under foreign occupation. A two-year truce was agreed with the Swedes in July 1641, but the looting, burning and general misbehaviour continued. In a letter of spring 1641, the Elector’s viceroy, Margrave Ernest, who carried the responsibility for administering the ruined Mark, offered a grim synopsis:

The country is in such a miserable and impoverished condition that mere words can scarcely convey the sympathy one feels with the innocent inhabitants. In general, We think that the cart has been driven so deep into the muck, as they say, that it cannot be extricated without the special help of the Almighty.

The strain of overseeing the anarchy unfolding in Brandenburg ultimately proved too much for the margrave, who succumbed to panic attacks, sleeplessness and paranoid delusions. By the autumn of 1642, he had taken to pacing about in his palace muttering to himself, shrieking and throwing himself to the floor. His death on 26 September was ascribed to ‘melancholy’.

Only in March 1643 did Frederick William return from the relative safety of Königsberg to the ruined city of Berlin, a city he scarcely recognized. Here he found a population depleted and malnourished, and buildings destroyed by fire or in a parlous state of repair. The predicament that had bedevilled his father’s reign remained unsolved: Brandenburg had no military force with which to establish its independence. The small army created by Schwarzenberg was already falling apart and there was no money to pay for a replacement. Johann Friedrich von Leuchtmar, a privy councillor and the Elector’s former tutor, summarized Brandenburg’s predicament in a report of 1644: Poland, he predicted, would seize Prussia as soon as it was strong enough Pomerania was under Swedish occupation and likely to remain so Kleve in the west was under the control of the Dutch Republic. Brandenburg stood ‘on the edge of the abyss’.

In order to restore the independence of his territory and press home his claims, the Elector needed a flexible, disciplined fighting force. The creation of such an instrument became one of the consuming preoccupations of his reign. The Brandenburg campaign army grew dramatically, if somewhat unsteadily, from 3,000 men in 1641–2, to 8,000 in 1643–6, to 25,000 during the Northern War of 1655–60, to 38,000 during the Dutch wars of the 1670s. During the final decade of the Elector’s reign, its size fluctuated between 20,000 and 30,000. Improvements in tactical training and armaments modelled on French, Dutch, Swedish and imperial best practice placed the Brandenburg army close to the cutting edge of European military innovation. Pikes and pikemen were phased out and the cumbersome matchlock guns carried by the infantry were replaced by lighter, faster-firing flintlocks. Artillery calibres were standardized to allow for the more flexible and efficient use of field guns, in the style pioneered by the Swedes. The foundation of a cadet school for officer recruits introduced an element of standardized professional formation. Better conditions of employment – including provision for maimed or retired officers – improved the stability of the command structure. These changes in turn improved the cohesion and morale of the non-commissioned ranks, who distinguished themselves in the 1680s by their excellent discipline and low rates of desertion.

The improvised forces assembled for specific campaigns during the early years of the reign gradually evolved into what one could call a standing army. In April 1655, a General War Commissioner (General-kriegskommissar) was appointed to oversee the handling of financial and other resources for the army, on the model of the military administration recently introduced in France under Le Tellier and Louvois. This innovation was initially conceived as a temporary wartime measure and only later established as a permanent feature of the territorial administration. After 1679, under the direction of the Pomeranian nobleman Joachim von Grumbkow, the General War Commissariat extended its reach throughout the Hohenzollern territories, gradually usurping the function of the Estate officials who had traditionally overseen military taxation and discipline at a local level. The General War Commissariat and the Office for the Domains were still relatively small institutions in 1688 when the Elector died, but under his successors they would play a crucial role in toughening the sinews of central authority in the Brandenburg-Prussian state. This synergy between war-making and the development of state-like central organs was something new it became possible only when the war-making apparatus was separated from its traditional provincial-aristocratic foundations.

The acquisition of such a formidable military instrument was important, because the decades that followed the end of the Thirty Years War were a period of intense conflict in northern Europe. Two foreign titans overshadowed Brandenburg foreign policy during the Elector’s reign. The first was King Charles X of Sweden, a restless, obsessive figure with expansionist dreams who seemed bent on trumping the record of his illustrious predecessor Gustavus Adolphus. It was Charles X’s invasion of Poland that started the Northern War of 1655–60. His plan was to subdue the Danes and the Poles, occupy Ducal Prussia and then march south at the head of a vast army to sack Rome in the manner of the ancient Goths. Instead, the Swedes became bogged down in a bitter five-year struggle for control of the Baltic littoral.

After the death of Charles X in 1660 and the ebbing of Swedish power, it was Louis XIV of France who dominated Brandenburg’s political horizons. Having assumed sole regency after the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, Louis expanded his combined wartime armed forces from 70,000 to 320,000 men (by 1693) and launched a sequence of assaults to secure hegemony in western Europe there were campaigns against the Spanish Netherlands in 1667–8, the United Provinces in 1672–8 and the Palatinate in 1688.

In this dangerous environment, the Elector’s growing army proved an indispensable asset. In the summer of 1656, Frederick William’s 8,500 troops joined forces with Charles X to defeat a massive Polish-Tartar army in the battle of Warsaw (28–30 July). In 1658, he changed sides and campaigned as an ally of Poland and Austria against the Swedes. It was a sign of Frederick William’s growing weight in regional politics that he was appointed commander of the Brandenburg-Polish-imperial allied army raised to fight the Swedes in 1658–9. A chain of successful military assaults followed, first in Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland and later in Pomerania.

The most dramatic military exploit of the reign was Frederick William’s single-handed victory over the Swedes at Fehrbellin in 1675. In the winter of 1674–5, the Elector was campaigning with an Austrian army in the Rhineland as part of the coalition that had formed to contain Louis XIV during the Dutch wars. In the hope of securing French subsidies, the Swedes, allies of the French, invaded Brandenburg with an army of 14,000 men under the command of General Karl Gustav Wrangel. It was a scenario that awakened memories of the Thirty Years War: the Swedes unleashed the usual ravages on the hapless population of the Uckermark, to the north-east of Berlin. Frederick William reacted to news of the invasion with undisguised rage. ‘I can be brought to no other resolution,’ the Elector told Otto von Schwerin on 10 February, ‘than to avenge myself on the Swedes.’ In a series of furious despatches, the Elector, who was bedridden with gout, urged his subjects, ‘both noble and non-noble’, to ‘cut down all Swedes, wherever they can lay their hands upon them and to break their necks [… ] and to give no quarter’.

Frederick William joined his army in Franconia at the end of May. Covering over one hundred kilometres per week, his forces reached Magdeburg on 22 June, just over ninety kilometres from the Swedish headquarters in the city of Havelberg. From here, the Brandenburg command could establish through local informants that the Swedes were strung out behind the river Havel, with concentrations in the fortified cities of Havelberg, Rathenow and Brandenburg. Since the Swedes had failed to register the arrival of the Brandenburg army, the Elector and his commander Georg Derfflinger had the advantage of surprise, and they resolved to attack the Swedish strongpoint at Rathenow with only 7,000 cavalry a further 1,000 musketeers were loaded on to carts so that they could keep pace with the advance. Heavy rain and muddy conditions impeded their progress but also concealed them from the unsuspecting Swedish regiment at Rathenow. In the early morning of 25 June, the Brandenburgers attacked and destroyed the Swedish force with only minimal casualties on their own side.

The collapse of the Swedish line at Rathenow set the scene for the Battle of Fehrbellin, the most celebrated military engagement of the Elector’s reign. In order to restore cohesion to their position, the Swedish regiment in Brandenburg City pulled back deep into the countryside with the intention of sweeping to the north-west to join up with the main force at Havelberg. This proved more difficult than they had expected, because the heavy spring and summer rains had transformed the marshes of the area into a treacherous waterland broken only by islands of sodden grass or sand and criss-crossed by narrow causeways. Guided by locals, advance parties of the Electoral army blocked the main exits from the area, and forced the Swedes to fall back on the little town of Fehrbellin on the river Rhin. Here their commander, General Wrangel, deployed his 11,000 men in defensive fashion, setting the 7,000 Swedish infantry in the centre and his cavalry on the wings.

Against 11,000 Swedes the Elector could muster only around 6,000 men (a substantial part of his army, including most of his infantry, had not yet arrived in the area). The Swedes disposed of about three times as many field guns as the Brandenburgers. But this numerical disadvantage was offset by a tactical opportunity. Wrangel had neglected to occupy a low sandhill that overlooked his right flank. The Elector lost no time in positioning his thirteen field guns there and opening fire on the Swedish lines. Seeing his error, Wrangel ordered the cavalry on his right wing, supported by infantry, to take the hill. For the next few hours the battle was dominated by the ebb and surge of cavalry charge and counter-charge as the Swedes attempted to seize the enemy guns and were thrown back by the Brandenburg horse. A metaphorical fog of war shrouds all such encounters it was thickened on this occasion by a literal summer mist of the kind that often gathers in the marshes of the Havelland. Both sides found it difficult to coordinate their forces, but it was the Swedish cavalry that gave way first, fleeing from the field and leaving their infantry – the Dalwig Guards – exposed to the sabres of the Brandenburg horse. Of 1,200 Guards, twenty managed to escape and about seventy were taken prisoner the rest were killed. On the following day, the town of Fehrbellin itself was seized from a small Swedish occupation force. There was now a great fleeing of Swedes across the Mark Brandenburg. Considerable numbers of them, more perhaps than fell on the field of battle, were hacked to death in opportunist attacks by peasants as they made their way northwards. A contemporary report noted that peasants in the area around the town of Wittstock, not far from the border with Pomerania, had slain 300 Swedes, including a number of officers: ‘although several of the latter offered 2000 thalers for their lives, they were decapitated by the vengeful peasants.’21 Memories of the ‘Swedish terror’ still vivid in the older generation played a role here. By 2 July, every last Swede who had not been captured or killed had left the territory of the Electorate.

Victories of the kind achieved at Warsaw and Fehrbellin were of enormous symbolic importance to the Elector and his entourage. In an era that glorified successful warlords, the victories of Brandenburg’s army magnified the prestige and reputation of its founder. At Warsaw, Frederick William had stood in the thick of the fighting, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire. He wrote an account of the event and had it published in The Hague. His notes on the battle formed the basis for the relevant passages in Samuel Pufendorf’s history of the reign – a comprehensive and sophisticated work that marked a new departure in Brandenburg historiography. All this bore witness to a heightened historical self-consciousness, a sense that Brandenburg had begun to make – and to narrate – its own history. In his ‘royal memoirs’, a text intended for the eyes of his successor, Louis XIV observed that kings owe an account of their actions ‘to all ages’. The Great Elector never unfolded a cult of historicized self-memorialization to rival that of his French contemporary, but he too began consciously to perceive himself and his achievements through the eyes of an imagined posterity.

At Warsaw in 1656 the Brandenburgers had shown their mettle as coalition partners at Fehrbellin nineteen years later the Elector’s army, though outnumbered and forced to advance at lightning speed, prevailed without aid over an enemy with an intimidating European reputation. Here too the Elector, now a stout man of fifty-five, stayed at the centre of the action. He joined his riders in assaults on the Swedish lines until he was encircled by enemy troops and had to be cut free by nine of his own dragoons. It was after the victory at Fehrbellin that the soubriquet ‘the Great Elector’first appeared in print. There was nothing particularly remarkable in that, since broadsheets extolling the greatness of rulers were commonplace in seventeenth-century Europe. But unlike so many other early-modern ‘greats’ (including the abortive ‘Louis the Great’, propagated by the sycophantic pamphleteers of the sun-king ‘Leopold the Great’ of Austria and ‘Maximilian the Great’, usage of which is now confined to die-hard Bavarian monarchist circles) this one survived, making Elector Frederick William the only non-royal early-modern European sovereign who is still widely accorded this epithet.

With Fehrbellin, moreover, a bond was forged between history and legend. The battle became a fixture in memory. The dramatist Heinrich von Kleist chose it as the setting for his play Der Prinz von Homburg, a fanciful variation on the historical record, in which an impulsive military commander faces a death sentence for having led a victorious charge against the Swedes despite orders to hold back, but is pardoned by the Elector once he has accepted his culpability. To the Brandenburgers and Prussians of posterity, Frederick William’s predecessors would remain shadowy, antique figures imprisoned within a remote past. By contrast, the ‘Great Elector’ would be elevated to the status of a three-dimensional founding father, a transcendent personality who both symbolized and bestowed meaning upon the history of a state.


Data for 1675

The Prime Meridian passing through it, the Royal Greenwich Observatory gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time, the precursor to UTC

In the year 1675, Native American Christian John Sassamon from the Massachusett tribe is killed (Jan 29), the killers convicted (Jun 8), and this helps spark the conflict known as King Philip’s (Metacomet) War, breaking out as the Wampanoags attack Swansea in Massachusetts (Jun 24), Brandenburg defeats the Swedes in the Battle of Fehrbellin (Jun 28), construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London begins (Aug 10), the Narragansetts sign a treaty with the English in Boston (Sep 18), United colonial forces attack the Narragansetts at the Great Swamp Massacre in New England (Dec 19), the American Indian Wars go on – and all these fine people were born:

1675-xxxx Erik Cajanus* teacher/ editor/bishop – Sotkamo, Sweden-Finland (1737/c.62)

1675-0114 Marie Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard* the governess of Maria Theresa of Austria – Vienna, Austria (1754/79)
1675-0127 Erik Benzelius the younger* priest/librarian/Archbishop of Uppsala – Uppsala, Sweden (1743/68)

1675-0214 Johann Cyriak Hackhofer* painter – Wilten, Tirol, Austria (1731/56)
1675-0228 Guillaume Delisle* cartographer – Paris, France (1726/50)

1675-0328 Johann Wilhelm* Duke of Saxe-Jena – Jena, Holy Roman Empire (1690/15)

1675-0403 Guillermo Mesquida* painter – Palma de Mallorca, Spain (1747/72)

1675-0509 Anders Örbom* soldier/POW in Siberia – Örebro, Sweden (1740/65)

1675-0817 Johann Adolph Wedel* physician – Jena, Holy Roman Empire (1747/71)

1675-0902 William Somerville* poet – Staffordshire, England (1742/66)
1675-0903 Paul Dudley* jurist/ Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts Bay – Roxbury, Massachusetts (1751/75)

1675-1011 Samuel Clarke* philosopher/clergyman – Norwich, England (1729/53)
1675-1021 Higashiyama* 東山天皇 the 113th emperor of Japan – Japan (1710/34)

1675-1115 Caspar König* German organ builder – Ingolstadt, Holy Roman Empire (1765/89)
1675-1129 Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli* Italian sculptor/architect – Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1744/68)

1675-1228 Heinrich Klausing* German mathematician/astronomer/ polymath – Herford, Holy Roman Empire (1745/69)


Fehrbellin - Encyclopedia

FEHRBELLIN, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Prussia, on the Rhine, 40 m. N.W. from Berlin on the railway to NeuRuppin. Pop. (1905) 1602. It has a Protestant and a Roman Catholic church and some small industries, among them that of wooden shoes. Fehrbellin is memorable in history as the scene of the famous victory gained, on the 18th of June 1675, by the great elector, Frederick William of Prussia, over the Swedes under Field-Marshal Wrangel. A monument was erected in 1879 on the field of battle, near the village of Hakenberg, to commemorate this great feat of arms.

See A. von Witzleben and P. Hassel, Zum 200 jdhrigen Gedenktag von Fehrbellin (Berlin, 1875) G. Sello, "Fehrbellin," in Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Geschichtswissenschaften, vii. M. Johns, "Der Grosse Kurfurst bei Fehrbellin, &c.," in Hohenzollern Jahrbuch, 'Feijoo Y Montenegro, Benito Jeronimo' (1676-1764), Spanish monk and scholar was born at Santa Maria de Melias, near Orense, on the 8th of October 1676. At the age of twelve he entered the Benedictine order, devoted himself to study, and waged war against the superstition and ignorance of his countrymen in the Teatro critico (1726-1739) and the Cartas eruditas (1742-1760). These exposures of a retrograde system called forth embittered protests from narrow-minded patriots like Salvador Jose Maner, and others but the opposition was futile, and Feij60's services to the cause of knowledge were universally recognized long before his death, which took place at Oviedo on the 26th of September 1764. He was not a great genius, nor a writer of transcendent merit his name is connected with no important discovery, and his style is undistinguished. But he uprooted many popular errors, awakened an interest in scientific methods, and is justly regarded as the initiator of educational reform in Spain.

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Attractions

  • Small memorial (built in 1800 on the initiative of Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow , "Erbherr auf Reckahn " but soon expired), which stands on the country road (parcel Auf dem Lehmberge ) where the Swedish battle line was broken.

After collecting the necessary funds, the Fehrbellin and Surrounding Warrior Association initiated the renewal of the vase pedestal. The monument was consecrated on August 23, 1857. The monument was renewed in 2002.


Famous Deaths In 1675

Famous People Died In This Year In History

Feb 09 Gerard Dou, Dutch painter, buried died on this day in history.

Mar 18 In the year 1675 death of arthur Chichester, 1st Earl of Donegall, Irish soldier (b. 1606)

Apr 12 Richard Bennett, British Colonial Governor of Virginia (b. 1609) died on this day in history.

May 18 Jacques Marquette jesuit/missionaries (Chicago), dies at 37 on this day in history.

May 27 Gaspard Dughet, French painter (b. 1613) died on this day in history.

Jun 12 In the year 1675 charles Emanuel II, Duke of Savoy (1638-75), dies at 40

Jul 25 In the year 1675 nicolas Saboly, composer, dies at 61

Jul 27 On this day in history henri de La Tour d'Auvergne Vicomte de Turenne, gen (France), dies


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