ERMELAND, or Ermland (Varmia), a district of Germany, in East Prussia, extending from the Frisches Haff, a bay in the Baltic, inland towards the Polish frontier. It is a well-wooded sandy tract of country, has an area of about 1650 sq. m., a population of 240,000, and is divided into the districts of Braunsberg, Heilsberg, Rössel and Allenstein.

Ermeland was originally one of the eleven districts of old Prussia and was occupied by the Teutonic Knights (Deutscher Orden), being made in 1250 one of the four bishoprics of the country under their sway. The bishop of Ermeland shortly afterwards declared himself independent of the order, and became a prince of the Empire. In 1466 Ermeland, together with West Prussia, was by the peace of Thorn attached to the crown of Poland, and the bishop had a seat in the Polish senate. In 1772 it was again incorporated with Prussia. Among the bishops of the see, which still exists, with its seat in Frauenberg, may be mentioned Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, afterwards Pope Pius II., and Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius (1504-1579), the founder of the Jesuit college in Braunsberg.

See Hipler, Literaturgeschichte des Bisthums Ermeland (Braunsberg, 1873); the Monumenta historiae Warmiensis (Mainz, 1860-1864, and Braunsberg, 1866-1872, 4 vols.); and Buchholz, Abriss einer Geschichte des Ermlands (Braunsberg, 1903.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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