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History of Ostfriesland

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A written history of the area in which discovery of family history is made.

East Frisia played an important role in the Reformation period. Menno Simons, founder of the Mennonite church, found refuge there.

In 1654 the counts of East Frisia, seated at Aurich, were elevated to the rank of princes. Their power, however, remained limited because of a number of factors. Externally East Frisia became a satellite of the Netherlands, Dutch garrisons being stationed in different cities permanently. Important cities like Emden were autonomously administrated by their citizens, the Prince not having much influence on them. A Frisian Parliament, the Ostfreesk Landschaft, was an assembly of different social groups of East Frisia, jealously protecting the traditional rights and freedoms of the Frisians against the Prince. East Frisian independence ended in 1744, when the region was taken over by Prussia after the last Cirksena prince had died without issue. There was no resistance to this takeover, since it had been arranged by contract beforehand. Prussia respected the traditional autonomy of the Frisians, governed by the Frisian chancellor Sebastian Homfeld. (wikipedia)