Stralsund (region)

The Region of Stralsund (German: Regierungsbezirk Stralsund, i.e. "government region of Stralsund") belonged to the Prussian Province of Pomerania and existed from 1818 to 1932.


The Regierungsbezirk of Stralsund was formed in 1818 as one of three Pomeranian government districts. It covered Swedish Pomerania (New Hither Pomerania [aka New Western Pomerania] and Rügen) which had fallen to Prussia in 1815. The special legal position of this territory was the reason for the creation of what was then the smallest government region in the whole of Prussia. Unlike the rest of the Province of Pomerania, neither General Prussian State Law nor the laws and ordinances of the so-called Stein-Hardenberg reforms (such as the Local Government Act of 1808), as they were called at the time, applied here. An alignment of the legal position was only gradually achieved in the second half of the 19th century, and was largely completed on the introduction of the Civil Code (BGB) in January 1900. But in some areas, special legal forms continued to exist, a situation that was unlike anywhere else in Prussia and Germany and which even went back to the time of Swedish rule, for example, the so-called Tertialrecht. As a result, the Wismar Tribunal of Appeal, which moved from Wismar via Stralsund to Greifswald in 1802/03, still operated under this name when seated in Greifswald and continued as the final arbiter of proper jurisdiction for the region until 1848.

The first regional government was inaugurated on the 5 January 1818 by the upper president of the Province of Pomerania, Johann August Sack, in his office. This followed several years of discussion about the status of the region. That produced three options:

  1. Form a separate province of New Hither Pomerania and Rügen
  2. Form a separate government region within the Province of Pomerania
  3. Immediately integrate it into the existing Region of Stettin

An appeal by the districts and towns to the king against the formation of the government region was dismissed. However, the Prussian system of taxation was only introduced in New Hither Pomerania following a royal cabinet order of 19 November 1821.[1]

Because of its small size the Region of Stralsund was one of those Prussian government regions which was up for re-negotiation from the outset. Only a few years after its formation there were further discussions about its future. In the end it was its aforementioned special legal status that prevented its dissolution time and again. Not until 1 October 1932 was it merged in the Stettin Region.

Administrative divisions in the mid-19th century

The Stralsund government region is divided into four counties, three of which take their name from the towns in which the district councils are located. The fourth, however, takes its name after the island of Rügen, of which it is composed alone. New Hither Pomerania has three districts: Franzburg, Greifswald, Grimmen. Rügen forms the district of Rügen.

In ecclesiastical terms the government region is divided into eleven superintendencies, of which three cover the Franzburg district, two the Grimmen district, three the Greifswald district and three the island of Rügen.

All parishes are Protestant.[2] Only in Stralsund is there a Catholic church, to which all Catholics in the government region belong.[3]

Population growth in the 19th century

Districts in 1900

In 1900 the Region of Stralsund comprised one urban (Stadtkreis) and four rural districts (Kreise). It covered an area of 4,010.88 km², on which there were 873 towns and villages and in which 216,340 inhabitants lived.

Districts in 1925

In 1925 the population of the Region of Stralsund was 246,941.

In 1925 the seat of the council for the Franzburg district was moved to Barth. From 1 February 1928 the district was officially renamed "Franzburg-Barth". In 1939 all rural districts in Germany were uniformly termed as Landkreis (i.e. rural district), whereas before in Prussia the term Kreis prevailed. However, this played no role for the Stralsund Region which was already absorbed in 1932.

Regional presidents (Regierungspräsidenten)


In 1946, Stralsund became the seat of the virtually unchanged district of Franzburg-Barth which was renamed on this occasion as rural district of Stralsund. In 1952 on the occasion of redistricting East Germany into new administrative units the eastern part of the Franzburg-Barth became the new and smaller District of Stralsund within the likewise new Region (Bezirk) of Rostock of the GDR. The western part went to the newly formed district of Ribnitz-Damgarten. The old district of Grimmen lost its southern part around Loitz in 1952, which went to the district of Demmin in the new Region of Neubrandenburg, as did the southern part of the old district of Greifswald which went to the new district of Anklam and thus also to the Neubrandenburg Region. In 1952 the eastern part of the old district of Greifswald around Wolgast formed the new district of Wolgast along with that part of the island of Usedom that remained within East Germany post-1945. The district of Rügen was divided in 1952 into the district of Bergen on Rügen and Putbus, but they were merged again already in 1955. While Stralsund city maintained its independence as urban district through these changes, Greifswald was meanwhile integrated into the district of Greifswald until the 1970s.

In 1994, the districts of Grimmen, Ribnitz-Damgarten and Stralsund, now in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (aka Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania), were merged into the new district of Northern Hither Pomerania, whilst the districts of Anklam, Greifswald and Wolgast joined Eastern Hither Pomerania. Rügen remained unchanged, Greifswald and Stralsund also retained their independence.

As part of the planned local government reform, from 2011 the districts of Rügen and Northern Hither Pomerania, and the town of Stralsund formed a reshaped district of Northern Hither Pomerania, and the districts of Uecker-Randow, together with the town of Greifswald and parts of the district of Demmin, became Hither Pomerania-Greifswald.


  1. Martin Wehrmann: Geschichte von Pommern. Bd. 2, Weltbild Verlag 1992, Reprint der Ausgaben von 1919 und 1921, ISBN 3-89350-112-6, p. 286
  2. The parishes referred to were then part of the old-Prussian Ecclesiastical Province of Pomerania. However, later other religious groups established congregations too.
  3. Provincial Calendar for New Hither Pomerania and the Principality of Rügen in the year 1851, p. 240
  4. Handbuch für Neu-Vorpommern und das Fürstenthum Rügen auf das Jahr 1888, p. 166


Statistical reference books (State handbooks)

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