Sambians were one of the Prussian tribes. They inhabited the
Sambia Peninsula (Samland) north of the city of
Sambians were located in a coastal territory rich in
amber and engaged in trade early on (see
Amber Road). Therefore, they
established contacts with foreign nations before any other Prussians.
However, as all other Prussians, they were conquered by the Teutonic
Knights, and, exposed to assimilation and Germanization, became
extinct sometime in the 17th century.
Engaged in the amber trade, Sambia was the richest and most densely
populated region of Prussia. It provides a wealth of artifacts from
the Bronze Age, including imported goods from the Roman Empire.
Sambians, unlike other Prussians, did not cremate their dead. They
built earth barrows above graves and surrounded them with stone
circles. The name of the clan was first mentioned in 1073 by Adam
of Bremen, who calls them "most humane people".
Danes continued from the mid-9th century to beginning of
the 13th century. It is known[by whom?] that there was Wiskiauten, a
Viking settlement in Sambia, that flourished for about 300 years.
Swedes maintained more peaceful relations and fostered trade.
The 13th century saw the rise of another enemy, the Teutonic Knights,
a crusading military order from the Holy Roman Empire. Its goal was to
conquer all pagans and convert them to Roman Catholicism. The conquest
of Sambia during the
Prussian Crusade was delayed by the First
Prussian Uprising that broke out in 1242. The uprising technically
ended in 1249 by signing the Treaty of Christburg, but skirmishes
lasted for four more years. Only in 1254–1255 could the Knights
arrange a large campaign against the Sambians. King Ottokar II of
Bohemia participated in the expedition and as a tribute the Knights
named the newly founded
Königsberg Castle in his honor. The
Sambians rose against the Knights during the Great Prussian Uprising
(1260–1274), but were the first ones to surrender. When other clans
tried to resurrect the uprising in 1276 Theodoric, vogt of Sambia
Sambians not to join the insurrection;
Warmians followed the Sambian lead and the uprising was crushed within
a year. The
Bishopric of Samland
Bishopric of Samland became one of four Prussian
dioceses, the other three dioceses being Pomesania, Ermland, and Culm
as arranged by the papal legate William of Modena. At the end of the
Sambians numbered only about 22,000. They gave in to
Germanization later than western tribes that were conquered earlier.
According to Peter von Dusburg, Sambia was subdivided in 15
territorial units. Their German names (from east to west) are: Germau,
Medenau, Rinau, Pobeten, Wargen, Rudau, Laptau, Quedenau, Schaaken,
Waldau, Caimen, Tapiau, Labiau, Laukischken, and Wehlau.
^ Gimbutas, Marija (1963). The Balts. London: Thames and Hudson.
p. 112. LCC 63018018.
^ a b c Simas Sužiedėlis, ed. (1970–1978). "Semba". Encyclopedia
Lituanica. V. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius.
pp. 107–108. LCC 74-114275.
^ Urban, William (2000). The
Prussian Crusade (2nd ed.). Chicago,
Illinois: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center. pp. 344–345.
^ Gimbutas, Marija. The Balts, 173.
Clans of the Old Prussians
Peter von Dusburg: