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Kreis Birnbaum (Polish: Powiat międzychodzki) was a district in Prussia (Kreis) in the west of the Grand Duchy of Posen and the succeeding Province of Posen, as part of Regierungsbezirk Posen between 1815 and 1920. Today the area belongs to the Polish voivodeships of Greater Poland and Lubusz.
The lands around the Greater Polish town of Międzychód had been part of the Poznań Voivodeship since the 14th century, they were annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia during the Second Partition of Poland in 1793. Part of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw from 1807, they again fell to Prussia according to the 1815 Congress of Vienna. The district's borders were finally determined by resolution of 1818. The administrative seat from 1833 was at Sieraków (Zirke), from 1867 in Międzychód (Birnbaum).
With the Province of Posen, Kreis Birnbaum became part of the German Empire in 1871. With effect of 1 October 1887, its westernmost part, including Skwierzyna (Schwerin an der Warthe) and Bledzew (Blesen) was split off as Kreis Schwerin an der Warthe.
In the aftermath of the German defeat in World War I, the Greater Poland uprising broke out in December 1918, which brought most of the Province of Posen under Polish control. According to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to cede most of the province, including Kreis Birnbaum, to Poland. The handover was executed by between 17 January and 4 February 1920.
Before the bifurcation of the district in 1887, it had a German majority population. According to the Prussian census of 1860, it had a population of 45,425, of which 34,608 (76.2%) were Germans and 10,817 (23.8%) were Poles. The district population, after the separation of the predominantly German Kreis Schwerin was almost evenly split among Germans and Poles.
|Population||German||Polish / Bilingual / Other|
In 1833 the office of a Wójt (Vogt, reeve) was established in the districts of the predominantly Polish-settled Grand Duchy of Posen, a voluntary administrator who often was a member of the local nobility. However, in the course of the Prussian Germanisation policies under Governor Eduard Heinrich von Flottwell, they were replaced by Prussian commissioners. In 1905, the municipalities in Kreis Birnbaum were governed within three police districts (Polizeidistrikte):
The administrative seats of Birnbaum and Zirke themselves were not incorporated.
Civil registry officesEdit
In 1905, these civil registry offices (Standesämter) served the following towns in Kreis Birnbaum:
In 1905, these Catholic parish churches served towns in Kreis Birnbaum:
In 1905, Protestant parish churches served towns in Kreis Birnbaum:
- Belzyt, Leszek (1998). Sprachliche Minderheiten im preussischen Staat: 1815 - 1914 ; die preußische Sprachenstatistik in Bearbeitung und Kommentar. Marburg: Herder-Inst. ISBN 978-3-87969-267-5.