Rügen was probably already settled in the stone age. The island was named by its later inhabitants, the Rugiern, an East Germanic tribe. During the time of the migration period, the Rani, a West Slavic people, settled on the island. In 1168 they were subjected to the Danish King Waldemar I, and they were Christianized by the vassal Prince Jaromar I. In 1282, Wizlaw II received the island from the German King Rudolf as a fief. In 1325 Rügen
was given to Pomerania-Wolgast and merged into Pomerania in 1478.
In 1648, the island fell intermittently under Sweden. After the occupation by the French from 1807 to 1813, Rügen went from Sweden to Denmark and in 1815 to Prussia.