History of Gdańsk

Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot – cities located in a narrow strip of the coast by the Bay of Gdańsk – they constitute a harmoniously integrated urban organism, the so-called. Tri-City. It grew along the trade route known as the Royal Route (Via Regia), which, centuries ago, led to Gdańsk. Gdynia's importance has grown rapidly over the years 20. XI w., when it was decided to build a port and the urban development plans for this small town were approved. When, after the end of World War II, Gdańsk and Sopot were again within the borders of the Polish state, began, lasting until today, the development of this triple urban organism.


Although the first settlements were established in this area around 5 thousand. years ago, the beginnings of Gdańsk are associated with the conquest of Pomerania by Mieszko I in the years 967-972. Archaeological research proves, that the castle complex had already formed at that time, which developed into one of the richest and most prosperous cities on the Baltic Sea. Gdańsk's relations with Poland in the Piast period were quite complex. Weakened by the wars with neighbors and the fragmentation of the state, except for a short period of Bolesław Krzywousty's rule, it failed to consolidate its achievements in Pomerania, where an independent dynasty of local princes seized power. During the reign of prince Świętopełek, the dynamically developing Gdańsk was clearly referred to as a "city" (civitas), as indicated by the document from 1235 r. The last of Gdańsk dukes, Mściwój II, offered his country to Przemysł II in his will, the latter, in turn, from Łokietkowi.



The Slavs of Eastern Pomerania dealt mainly with agriculture and breeding. They grew bread grains, proso, rye and wheat. Pigs were bred back in the Iron Age, cows, sheep and horses. Fishing also played an important role in obtaining food. Moreover, they practiced gathering (mushrooms, raspberries, hazelnuts, sorrel, Borsch, rdest). Crafts flourished in the early Middle Ages – pottery, metalworking, amber and boatbuilding.


Swarożyc was worshiped the most – god of the sun, sky and fire. Next to him, Dajbog, the god of solar heat, was worshiped, hot summer, Welesa – keeper of herds and various demons. Magic played a great role in the life of the Slavs: amulets from the fangs of wild animals were worn, spells and divinations were used (do XX w. the custom of divination from a pig's spleen has been preserved in the Elbląg region).

Ancestor worship

Slavs performed burials and burials as part of funeral rites – the former dominated. Burnt ashes were placed in pit and urn graves. Skeleton graves became popular in the 10th and 11th centuries. under the influence of the new religion. Considering the wealth of their equipment with valuable items, it is believed, that they belonged to the family elders. Jewelery was given to all the deceased, with decorative tools, weapons less often. Animal bones were also found in burnt graves, which may indicate blood sacrifices.


There are several hypotheses about the origin of the face umbrellas. Most researchers are in favor of this, that the vessel symbolizes the deceased. Male urns are usually taller, covered with a conical lid similar to a cap, they have images of weapons etched into them. Women's urns were decorated with earrings and bracelets.

More privileges and local government institutions (1326 i 1343 r.) the city gained under the rule of the Teutonic Order, which, occupying Gdańsk Pomerania in the 1308-1309, He canceled Władysław Łokietek's attempts to permanently join this district to Poland. The efforts of Casimir the Great to regain the estuary of the Vistula River, which were continued, also failed. A strict fiscal policy and contributions, which the order imposed on Gdańsk after the defeat at Grunwald (w 1410 r. the mayor of Gdańsk, Konrad Leczkow, paid tribute to Jagiello), caused, that the city joined the Prussian Union – anti-Teutonic confederation, demanding to join Poland (1454 r.). Under the Second Peace, Toruń-former Polish flags (1466 r.), ending victorious, thirteen years war with the order, Royal Prussia (Gdańsk Pomerania) were incorporated into the Crown. At the same time, the so-called. Casimirian privilege (1454-1477) strengthened the prestige of Gdańsk, its political and economic position )m.in. thanks to the right to mint your own coin with the image of the king, the law to regulate shipping in the port of Gdansk and control foreign trade in the city) already established in the previous period by belonging to the Hanseatic League; The city's prosperity and the maintenance of its privileges were guaranteed by a close relationship with the Republic of Poland) Although in 1577 r. Gdańsk residents opposed the election of Stefan Batory, supporting another candidate, and later they even waged a bloody war with the king, but more than once, especially during many years of wars with Sweden, they bore witness to their faithfulness. By also speaking against the interference of neighboring countries in the internal affairs of the state, defended Stanisław Leszczyński's rights to the crown against the Saxon and Russian armies. So the city's connections with the Crown are clearly visible.

W 1793 r. Gdańsk was under Prussian rule. The resistance of some residents made it difficult to take the city by General von Raumer's army. During the Napoleonic Wars, Gdańsk, as a Free City, he briefly enjoyed relative independence (1807-1814).

The Congress of Vienna sealed the fate of Gdańsk for the next century (1815-1919) – from the former sea capital of the Republic of Poland, it became one of the many provincial Prussian towns. Later expansion of the port, shipbuilding and other industries (the result of Prussia's trade deals with Russia) contributed to the increase in population. The Germanization campaign accompanying this process resulted in the consolidation of the Polish population, which at the beginning of the 19th century. accounted for approx 30% all residents.

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