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Albert of Prussia

1490-1568. Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. He is noted for his success in bringing the Prussian state under the influence of the Reformation. Initially his aims were largely political-he endeavored to secure Prussia's independence from Poland. He was defeated and in 1521 consented to a truce for four years. Anticipating a renewal of the war, he sought allies and visited Nuremberg in 1522. There he came under the influence of the Reformer Andreas Osiander,* who won him over to the Reformed faith. On the advice of Luther he dissolved the Teutonic Order and determined to make Prussia a hereditary duchy for himself. The spread of Lutheran teachings in Prussia furthered this aim, and in 1525 he became duke of Prussia, though still under the suzerainty of the Polish king. He did much to make Prussia a Protestant state, encouraged education, founded the University of Königsberg in 1544 (he appointed Osiander professor in 1549). Theological differences between Osiander and Melanchthon* led to political disputes, but a strict form of Lutheranism was adopted and declared binding on all teachers and preachers in Albert's dominions.

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