In the nineteenth century, the Kingdom of Prussia was a German state in North Central Europe that stretched from modern-day Belgium through North Central Germany and Northeastern Europe. Between the fourteenth and early-eighteenth centuries, Prussia expanded from a relatively small state originally known as East Prussia, confined to what is currently far Northeastern Europe, to a state that had expanded both farther east and west, into northern Germany. During the eighteenth century, Prussia emerged as a major European power, claiming territory from both Austria and Poland. Prussia was defeated by France in the Napoleonic Wars, however, and was forced to cede valuable territory in the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit. In 1813, it rose against France again, defeating Napoleon at Leipzig, Germany, and, in 1815, contributed to victory against France at the Battle of Waterloo. Prussia grew stronger during the nineteenth century, unifying Germany through the implementation of a customs union, and, in 1864, acquiring the territory of Schleswig Holstein from Denmark.
Courtlandt Canby, The Encyclopedia of Historic Places (New York: Facts on File, 1984), 2:759-60; Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary 3rd ed., (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997), 959.