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Poznań (during Partitions of Poland called by its German name Posen; also known as Posnania, civitas Posnaniensis in Latin) is a city in west-central Poland with over 578,000 inhabitants (1999). Located by the Warta River, it is one of the oldest Polish cities and, according to some historians, Poland's capital in the mid-tenth century during the early Piast dynasty. Poznań's impressive cathedral is the earliest church in the country. Today the city is a vibrant center for trade, industry, and education. It is also an important historical center and the capital of Greater Poland or Wielkopolska. However, most of 19th century (1815-1918) the city belonged to Kingdom of Prussia and Germany.

Poznań metropolitan area, consisting of autonomous cities of Poznań, Ostrów, Ostrówek, Środka, Chwaliszewo, Łacina, was integrated into one city in 1793-1800. Rapidly growing city was extended by the joining of the neighbouring villages of Grunwald, Łazarz, Górczyn, Jeżyce, Wilda, Winogrady, Piątkowo and Rataje. Today Poznań is divided into 5 districts (Stare Miasto, Nowe Miasto, Jeżyce, Grunwald, Wilda) and a couple of dozens of neighbourhoods.

Table of contents
1 Name of the city
2 History
3 Economy
4 Geographic location
5 Demographics
6 Culture
7 Universities
8 Further reading
9 See also
10 External links

Name of the city

First mentions of the city name are by Thietmar in his chronicles: episcopus Poznaniensis ("Bishop of Poznań", 970) and ab urbe Poznani ("by" or "from the city Poznań", 1005).

The name probably comes from a personal name Poznan and means the Poznan's town. It is also possible the name comes directly from the verb poznać which means "to know, to recoginize".


Early times

The first settlements in what is now Poznań can be traced to the late period of the Stone Age. Later various cultures developed here in the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

The first stronghold was built in the 8th-9th century AD on the Ostrów Tumski - an island in the forks of Warta and Cybina rivers. Subsequently it was sorrounded by various settlements on the islands and on both banks of Warta river. In 10th century Poznań and Gniezno were the main sites of Polish dukes, and centres of the Polish state. In 968 the first Polish bishoprics and the first Polish cathedral were founded here. First Polish monarchs of the Piast dynasty Mieszko I, Boleslaus I the Brave and Mieszko II Lambert were buried in Poznań cathedral.

Poznań became first seat of bishop Jordan, who after the conversion of Mieszko I to Christianity, was the missionary bishop of Poland (968 - 982). The Diocese of Poznań was created in 999, formally in 1000 at the meeting in Gniezno, under jurisdiction of archibishopric of Gniezno. It used to be for a while suffragan of Magdeburg, probably between 1004-1012, probably because bishop of Poznań, Unger, was imprisoned in Magdeburg and released when he recognized the jurisdiction of Magdeburg, or maybe because Unger was disappointed with not being chosen for new archbishop of Poland (since he was missionary bishop of Poland before 1000, after Jordan's death). After Unger's death, the diocese of Poznań returned to the Gniezno diocese. Archbishops of Magdeburg tried to join bishopric of Poznań to their dioecesis, making few falsificates, and they succeeded in 1133, when Poznań was attached to the archbishop of Magdeburg. However in 1136 Pope again confirmed that Poznań was suffragan of Gniezno.

During the internal fightings and the Czech invasion of Brzetyslaw I in 1038, Poznań and Gniezno were destroyed and lost their capital cities status to Cracow under Casimir I the Restorer (1039-1058). The two cities and bishoprics were rebuilt by the king Boleslaus II the Generous (1058-1079).

Capital of Greater Poland (1138-1295)

Since the feudal fragmentation of Poland began in 1138, Poznań was the capital of Greater Poland division and the main site of local dukes dynasty started by Mieszko III the Old. The city was developing quickly and in 12th century it was surrounded by trade-and-crafts settlements of St. Gotard, St. Martin, St. Adalbert on the left bank of the Warthe river and Srodka of the right bank.

In ca. 1230 the dukes founded in Srodka an autonomous municipality based on Teutonic law, and in 1253 dukes Przemysl I and Boleslaw the Pious founded the city in St.Gotard settlement, in the present place of Old Market Square, based on Magdeburg law. The first mayor of the local government was Thomas of Gubin, and in the following years he has brought many German settlers to the city.

Przemysl II, son of Przemysl I, has built a castle on the so called "Przemysl Mountain" and surrounded the city with a wall. In 1295 Przemysl II was crowned king of Poland. After Przemysl's death in 1296 there were 4 competitors for the Polish throne and the control of Poznań: Ladislaus of Kuyavia, Henry I of Glogow, Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, and Boleslaus of Opole.

Poznań in the Kingdom of Poland (1295-1793)

Poznań Town Hall
With the unification of
Poland Poznań has become main political, cultural, academic and economic centre. It was the site of royal governor general for Greater Poland, main trade city between east (Ruthenia, Lithuania and west Germany, Bohemia. In 1519 Lubranski Acadamy was founded - second school of higher education in Poland (after Cracow University), and in 1573 another school Jesuits' College (rector: Jakub Wujek).

The 16th century is called "the Golden Age" in the city's history. The population grew to 20.000 and Poznań was one of the biggest cities in Poland. This was ended with the Swedish invasion in 1655 which started a series of wars, epidemics and catastrophes. They led to slow economic decline and significant depopulation (3.000).

Economic boom started again after 1780 during activities of Good Order Council. In years 1719-1753 Poznań absorbed several waves of rural settlers from Bamberg (Bambrzy) invited by the city authorities. They were assimilated into the Polish ethnicity, and later resisted Prussian efforts to re-Germanize them. They were also significant groups of Dutch settlers (Olędrzy). Both groups have added new cultural elements to the city.

Partitions of Poland. Kingdom of Prussia (1793-1918)

With the second partition of Poland 1793 Poznań fell to Kingdom of Prussia and was made the capital of the province of South Prussia. During the Napoleonic Wars in 1806 the city was again occupied by the Polish troops under gen. J.H. Dąbrowski and in years 1806-1915 it was the capital of Poznań province belonging to the Duchy of Warsaw.

After the fall of Napoleon in 1815 according to the Vienna peace congress, Poznań again fell to Prussia, and was made the capital of Grand Duchy of Posen (1815-1846), an autonomous province under Hohenzollerns with the rights of 'free development of Polish nation, culture and language', and outside the German Confederation. At this time Posen was the site of the royal governor duke Antoni Radziwiłł.

Later the duchy was renamed Poznań province (Provinz Posen, 1846-1918) of the Prussian state governed by the royal over-president. With the unification of Germany by the Prussian kings Poznań was part of the German Empire (1871-1918) and was the officially named the imperial residence city. At this time a big imperial castle was built just outside the city centre.

Population of Poznań was half Polish, half German, and the proportion of Germans increasing up to the peak of 1848 to 60%. When industrialisation attracted people from the countryside, the proportion of Germans gradually decreased (see also Ostflucht). Polish population organized themselves around economic, cultural and scientific activities: 1829 Raczynski Library, 1858 Science Friends Society, 1861 Central Economic Society, 1875 Polish Theatre.

Great Poland Uprising (1918-19)

After World War I (1914-1918) lost by all lost by both Germany and Russia the fate of Poznań and Greater Poland was still undecided. With the public speech of Ignacy Paderewski, famous Polish pianist and politician, on 27 December 1918, Polish inhabitants of Poznań started a military uprising against Germany.

The uprising forces consisted of Polish Military Organization of the Prussian Partition, People's Guards, Guards and Security Service and many volunteers. The ruling body was High People's Council and the military commanders: major major S. Taczak and general Jozef Dowbór-Muśnicki.

By the 15 January 1919 the uprising forces managed to take control of most of Poznań province taking part in heavy fightings with regular but demoralized German army, upto German-Allies ceasefire on 16 Ferbuary 1919. The Poznań high command subjugated to Warsaw government in May 1919.

Poznań in the Second Polish Republic (1919-1939)

According to the Versailles peace treaty, signed on 28 VI 1919, most of Posen province was ceded to Poland, and organized into Poznań voivodship. German inhabitants of the region and city were given an option to stay or leave but most of them left to Germany, and those who stayed made some 10% of the city population.

In 1919 Poznań University was opened, in 1921 Poznań Trade Fairs, from 1925 Poznań International Trade Fairs (Miedzynarodowe Targi Poznańskie). In the following years Poznań has become a leading economic, scientific and cultural centre of Second Polish Republic.

Poznań during World War II (1939-1945)

With the outbreak of the World War II Poznań was occupied by the German army and with the all province of Greater Poland annexed directly to the Third Reich, but not into Prussia. The province was reorganized into Reichsgau Posen (Poznań province) and later renamed Reichsgau Wartheland (Warta province).

The German army, police and administration started a programme of 're-germanisation of Poznań' with murders of thousands of Polish leaders. Some 100,000 of Poznań inhabitants (Poles and Jews) were expulsed to Central Poland General Government. Some Poles and all of Jews were later murdered in concentration camps. Another share of the population was sent to core Germany as slave workers sent. Others were scheduled to Germanisation and conscripted to the German army.

The Polish and Jewish population was replaced by the ethnic Germans resettled from Baltic States, Eastern Europe and core Germany. They were granted the property confiscated from the expelled Poles and Jews.

The remainig Poles organized themselves into guerilla groups under the leadership of Home Army (Armia Krajowa). Poznań was liberated after heavy fightings in January-February 1945 but 55% of the city was destroyed.

Poznań in People's Republic of Poland (1945-1989)

to be written yet

The first years after WWII (1945-1948 were the era of enthusiansm for peace and freedom, rebuilding the city from ruins, and relative political freedom. With the rigged elections of 1947 Poland was put under strict control of the communist party and the Sovietisation of the state and economy.

1950 local government is abolished

Worsening political and economic conditions led to the first Polish anti-communist protests in June 1956. Some 120,000 protesters demanded 'bread, truth and freedmom' and 76 of them were killed by the army in the riots on streets of Poznań. This led to the change of Polish government to a milder communist faction.

1957-1975 City of Poznań is excluded from Poznań Voivodship and constituted as a separate administratice unit with voivodship rights.
1975-1998 as a result of local government reorganisation act Poznań is the capital of the small Poznań Voivodship
1981 Solidarity free trade union
1981 monument of Poznań June 1956 uprising is erected with partcipation of Lech Walesa
1983 first visit of the Pope John Paul II

Poznań in Third Polish Republic (after 1989)

to be written yet

1990 first free elections for the local government
1991 reestablishment congress of the Polish Cities Union;
1991 first Polish Economic Exhibition of the Polish CIties
1997 second visit of the pope
John Paul II
1998 international meeting of the so called Weimar triangle: Helmut Kohl, chancellor of Germany, Jacques Chirac, President of France, and Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland.
Capital of Greater Poland Voivodship since 1999.
First NATO base in Poland located in Poznań.


to be written yet

Geographic location

2002: city area 261,3
geographical location: 52o17'34N-52o30'27N, 16o44'08E - 17o04'28E
highest point: Mt. Morasko 154 m asl
lowest point: Warta river valley: 60 m asl


to be written yet

Population of Poznań in Kingdom of Poland

1600: 20.000 inhabitants
ca 1650: 200-300 Scots
after Polish-Swedish war of 1655-57: 14.000 inhabitants
afterwards increase of population
1700-1709 Northern War, city captured by the Swedes, the great plague kills 9000, some 75% of population
1716: city destroyed by Tarnogrod Confedarates (Gniazdowski)
1732: 4.000 inhabitants, as recorded by Jan Rzepecki, city writer
1733: 6.000 inhabitants
1738: great flooding destroyes 60% of the city
1768-72: fightings by the Bar Confederates and , Prussian troops
next economic upheaval,
15.000 inhabitants as recorded by Good Order Council (Komisja Dobrego Porządku)
before 1793: some 20% Germans, some 30% Jews (3000?)
1793: 12-13.000 inhabitants
1793-1800 integration of metro area into one city

Population of Poznań in Kingdom of Prussia

1816-1914 construction of Poznań Fortress, city area inside the fortifications on both sides of Warta river: 947 ha (9,47 km2)

1816: 18.000 inhabitants, 66% Polish
1824: 22.000 inhabitants
1831: 31.000 inhabitants
1848: 42.000 inhabitants
1850: 43.000 inhabitants
1861: 51.000 inhabitants
1870: 54.400 inabitants
1871: 56.000 inhabitants (including garrison)
1890: 66.000 inhabitants
1895: 73.200 inhabitants
1900: 117.000 inhabitants
1905: 136.800 inhabitants
1910: 156.700 inhabitants, 58% Polish

Poznań garrisom strength:
1848: 3.000 soldiers
1885: 4.200 soldiers
1910: 6.200 soldiers
1913: 10.000 soldiers

Population of Poznań in Poland and during WWII

1939: 272.000 inhabitants
1939-1945 during WWII some 100.000 inhabitants resettled to GG

Population High 1990

from 1990 migrations from the city to the surrounding areas of Poznań County
1990: 590.049 inhabitants
1995: 581 772 inhabitants
2000: 572.900 inhabitants

Population statistics 2002

31.03.2002: 571.571 inhabitants (inc. 305.567 women=53%),
2002: population density: 2187 inhabitants/
2002: city area 261,3

Population Forecast 2020

2020 forecast: Poznań City 584.500 (small increase)
2020 forecast: Poznań County 305.500 (significant increase)
2020 forecast: Poznań Metro Area 890.000


to be written yet


Further reading

See also

External links

City Guides

Internet Directories


Science and Education

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