History of Kaliningrad | Kaliningrad State Technical University
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History of Kaliningrad

The territory of the modern Kaliningrad Region was populated even in the Stone Age. The oldest settlements at the location of  Königsberg-Kaliningrad refer to the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age (II millennium B.C.). The time of the Great Migration brought Germanic tribes of Goths from Scandinavia to the Sambian Penninsula, who settled here for over a century. In 517 AD there was founded the first joint settlement of Twangste on the bank of the Skara river, which was later renamed Pregel, commemorating the wife of the local leader Videwut.

By the beginning of the IXth century, the world had already got information reliable enough on the Germanic tribe living in a primitive society on the coast of the Baltic Sea and introducing themselves as "Prussians". They were close in culture to the Latvians, Lithuanians, and Slavs. Classes in their society and state system had just started appearing; fishing and slash-and-burn, cattle-breeding and apiculture prospered. They could explore iron out of  marsh ores and process it, though they did not know money and preferred barter trade. The Prussian territory was the place where the trade routes of North, East, and Central Europe crossed. These routes passed the Baltics as well. So it was not accidental, that in the Xth century Danish Vikings, combining trade and robbery, and foraying the neighbouring principalities, invaded the Sambian and founded their colony called Kaup.

In the end of  the XIIth – early XIIIth century Poland was in the war with the aggressive and recalcitrant Prussians. In 1226 Polish Prince Conrad of Mazovia asked the Teutonic Order founded in the end of the XIIth century in Palestine, to help in this war. In 1230 Rome blessed the Order to the crusade to convert pagan Prussians to Christianity. Practising "creeping expansion" since 1233, the Order conquered new territories, built fortresses and cities. In 1255 at the location of Twangste the Order founded the castle of Königsberg, named so after the Bohemian King Ottokar the Second Prshemysl who was the most eminent participant of the crusade against Prussians. Soon near the castle there appeared three towns: Altstadt, Kneiphoff, and Löbenicht. Within the course of time they united into one city – Königsberg, and a small jetty on the Pregel river turned into a convenient commercial port. In the 1540's Altstadt and Kneiphoff joined the Hansebund ("Hanseatic Union") – a large maritime trade organisation of the Baltic and North German cities, a member of which was also Novgorod in Russia.

In the XVI century the Order state was no longer a possession of the Catholic Church. The last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Albert Hohenzollern (of Brandenburg)  adopted Lutheranism and introduced it as the main state religion. On the former Order lands there appeared a temporal state – the Duchy of Prussia. Albert became the first ruler of this state – the Duke of Prussia. For almost two hundred years the duchy was dependent on Poland in the beginning, and then on Brandenburg-Prussia state. In 1701 the latter became the Kingdom of Prussia, and the duchy was named East Prussia. Strengthening of Prussia was very much stipulated by the development of economy, marine trade in particular. In XVIIIth century Königsberg became a centre of science. University of Königsberg, founded in XVIth century by Albert, was famous of many outstanding scientists with I. Kant, F. Bessel, K. Baer, and others, who investigated the land, rather than the sea.
By the middle of the XVIIth century, during the Seven Years War East Prussia and Königsberg were occupied by the Russian Army. The population and the authorities swore allegiance to the Empress Elisabeth. By the decree of 1758 East Prussia received privileges which not a single Russian province could have. Trade was protected by Russian Navy dominating in the Baltic Sea.  Occupation regime was rather easy. The living style in the city resembled that of St.-Petersburg. In four years the city was returned to the Kingdom of Prussia by Peter III without compensation.

A long sequence of wars in which Prussia fought, ended in 1871. The following fifty years of peace provided for the local development of industry, trade, and science. The port of Königsberg, the only ice-free port on the eastern coast – could develop in two directions: shipbuilding navigation and commercial navigation. Prussia preferred the second way, and Russia was one of the main partners of Prussia in this activity.

The history of Königsberg finished in 1945. By the decision of the Potsdam conference, a part of Prussia with its centre in Königsberg was annexed to the USSR. In July 1946 the city and the region were renamed Kaliningrad. Fishery became the most important industry here. A powerful fishery complex of the all-Union importance formed within several decades which, in its turn stipulated the development of the scientific potential. Kaliningrad founded a strong scientific school for maritime researches, and Moscow Technical Institute which moved to Kaliningrad in 1958, appeared to be a good member of it. Later the Institute was renamed Kaliningrad Technical Institute for the Fishery Industry and Economy, KSTU at present. Having moved to the Baltic Sea coast, the institution not only remained significant, but continued development as well. In 1970-80's the Institute turned into the leading centre of science and education training specialists both for the USSR and other countries. It also became one of the intellectual and cultural centres in Kaliningrad and the region.

In 1990's, as well as  all Russian system of education, the Institute suffered hard times. However, it managed to save its scientists, experience, and traditions. In 1994 the Institute was upgraded to the University status, so now it is the Kaliningrad State Technical University. It was not just a change of the title, this is the evidence for the University still keeping its fishery profile, to develop new approaches to the higher professional education called by the requirements of the time. At present, scientific research at KSTU develops in accordance with the modern peculiarities and demands of the Kaliningrad Region. At the same time, the University holds its strong position in the scientific and educational system of the Kaliningrad Region.