History of Meck. and Germany is Confusing

Dear Members,
I am confused by most of the Internet histories of Mecklenburg. One point is
that Germany did not exist as a unified nation until 1871. However, most
histories use the term "Germany" and "Germans" for times long before 1871 as
if it did exist somewhere.

My ancestors prior to 1871 gave their homeland as Mecklenburg, not Germany.
Some histories state that Meck. and other duchies were independent states of
no nation. Still those same histories use the term German as though many
people somewhere were "Germans" before the unified nation was created.

Prior to 1871, one map shows that Meck. was about the only duchy that was not
controlled by Prussia. However, it is reported that 1850 residents of Meck.
fled to avoid being drafted into the Prussian military to make war. Very

On what date is to correct to say that residents of Meck. were also for the
first time "Germans?"

Is that date different from the date they began officially to live in

Larry in Sacramento, llcampbell65@home.com