THE VAGARIES OF HISTORY, NATIONAL BOUNDARIES AND NAMES: AN 1854 “AUS RUSSLAND” MOURNING COVER FROM LIBAU, RUSSIA TO SCHIEDAM, NETHERLANDS
17 APRIL 1854 LIBAU, RUSSIA TO SCHIEDAM, NETHERLANDS
The two World Wars of the twentieth century and the Russian Revolution (1917-1991),
changed the geographical face of Europe, especially in its Eastern and Central areas.
This mourning cover was mailed from Libau, then a part of the Russian Empire,
to Schiedam, a city near Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The letter travelled most of the way via the efficient Prussian railway network,
after being sent by ship from the port of Libau, on the Baltic coast to its sister
port of Memel, where it entered the Prussian railway network.
Note that the cover is postmarked with a cancellation at each stage of its journey
westward, per the route: : Libau to Memel (17-30 April); Memel to Königsberg; (30
April-2 May) Königsberg to Marienwerder (2 May); Marienwerder to Danzig (2 May);
Danzig to Bromberg (2 May); Bromberg to Berlin (2-3 May); Berlin to Minden (3 May);
Minden to Deutz (3 May); Deutz to Schiedam (3-4 May).
Libau, then in the Russian Empire, is now Liepaja in Latvia, while Memel, a
part of East Prussia in 1854, is now Klaipeda in Lithuania. Königsberg, the one-time
capital of East Prussia, is now Kaliningrad in Russia. Marienwerder, a part of West
Prussia in 1854, is now Kwidzyn in Poland. The city of Danzig is now Gdansk, while
Bromberg is known as Bydgoszsz . Both cities are in Poland.
The other city names, from Berlin westward, have not changed.