Posen a Polish province, that portion of ancient Poland which fell to Prussia in the partition of the kingdom, has an area of 11,260 square miles, and a population (close of 1871) of 1,583,684. The territory is divided into two departments, that of Posen and Bromberg, and its principal cities are, besides the respective capitals named after the departments, Gnesen, Lissa, and Inowraclow. The principal river is the Wartha, which is navigable, but the commerce of the province is very light. For education little has been done as yet. The Prussian government is determined to force Germans culture. There are six gymnasia, several normal and training schools, a seminary for the training of priests, and about two hundred burgher or national schools. Nearly half the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church, which is under the spiritual jurisdiction of the archbishop of Gnesen and Posen, while 74,000 of the remainder are Jews. The inhabitants may still be said to be Poles, more than 800,000 persons employing Polish as their mother tongue.
Posen formed an integral part of Poland till 1772, when. at the first partition of the Polish territory, the districts north of the Netze were given to Prussia. At the second and third partitions, which were made twenty years later, the remainder was incorporated in the Prussian kingdom under the name of South Prussia. In 1807 Posen was included in the duchy of Warsaw; but by the act of the Congress of Vienna it was separated in 1815 from Poland and reassigned to Prussia under the title of the Grand Duchy of Posen. In 1848 the Poles, who had never amalgamated with their new German compatriots, took advantage of the general political excitement of that period to organize an open rebellion, which gave the Prussian government considerable trouble, and was not put down till much blood had been spilled on both sides. On the cessation of disturbances, the German citizens of the province demanded the incorporation of Posen with those Prussian states which were members of the German Confederation, and the Berlin Chambers gave their approval of the proposed measure in 1850; but on the subsidence of revolutionary sentiment in Germany the subject was dropped, and Posen returned to its former condition of an extra German province of the Prussian monarchy. For the ecclesiastical history, SEE POLAND; see also SEE PRUSSIA.