dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Mar 7 17:17:30 UTC 2003
> Gdansk, in the Pomorze region of Poland, was Polish from 966
> until 1772 when it was seized, stolen, usurped - take your
> pick [I'm a little biased]- by the Prussians. And it
> remained Prussia/Germany until March of 1945.
It's a bit more complicated than that. Gdansk/Danzig was ruled by Slavic
nobles until 1309, when it was ceded to the Knights of the Teutonic Order
and became a member of the Hanseatic League.
In 1454, the city broke with the Teutonic Order and declared that the King
of Poland was its sovereign, although it remained autonomous in rule. In
1557, the King of Poland permitted the Lutheran Church to be established in
the city, although Catholicism remained dominant in the surrounding
In 1772, Prussia annexed much of the territory belonging to the city and
annexed the city itself in 1793; it ceased to be self-governing.
In 1807, Napoleon defeated the Prussians and one of the terms was that
Danzig become a free city; in practice it was ruled by the French. (For
"rule" read "looted" and "depopulated.") In 1814 the Russian army captured
The city was returned to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
Population increased again, mostly immigrants from Prussia, making it a
distinctly German city, albeit one with significant Polish and Jewish
Following WWI, the Treaty of Versailles granted Danzig autonomy and it
remained a free city from 1919-39, when the Germans took it in the opening
hours of WWII. (This is depicted in Grass's "The Tin Drum.") In 1945,
Danzig/Gdansk was ceded to Poland, along with most of eastern Prussia.
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