The first written record of Zlín dates from 1332. The town grew rapidly after Tomáš Bata founded a shoe factory there in 1894, which came to supply the Austro-Hungarian armies in World War I. Bata designed the town as he saw fit until his death in 1932. His son Thomas was forced to leave by the Nazis in 1938 and again after the war when the company was nationalized (he left for Canada where he founded another model community, named Batawa). Zlín was merged in 1948 with several surrounding communities to form Gottwaldov, named after the first communist president of Czechoslovakia, Klement Gottwald. In 1990 the whole city was renamed Zlín.