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Last modified: 2014-06-28 by andrew weeks
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Kruszwica has a special place in the history of Poland - the legend
talks of the the cruel ruler, Popiel, being eaten by mice, and replaced
with the simple and just Piast - hence the beginning of what would become
The solemn ceremonies marking Poland's Millenium were inaugurated in June of 1960 in Kruszwica.
Owing to the frequent raids of the Norsemen, the people of this region early organized an effective military force of defense. Under the protection of the military bands and their chiefs, the fields could safely be cultivated and the little, fortified towns (grody), which became places for the transaction of intertribal business and barter, for common worship, and for the storage of goods during a foreign invasion could be successfully defended and the wrongs of the people redressed. The military bands and their leaders soon became the unifying force, and the fortified towns, the centers of a larger political organization, with the freeman (Kmiec or Kmeton) as its base.
The first historical town of this nature was that of Kruszwica, on the Lake of Gopło. It soon gave place to that of Gniezno or Knezno, further west, which by its very name indicates that it was the residence of a Knez, or prince or duke. In time Poznań became the princely town, and the principality began to assert itself and to grow westward to the Oder, southward to the Barycza and eastward to the Pilica Rivers. In the east this territorial expansion met with the armed opposition of another large tribe, the Lenczanians, which was similarly organized under a military ruler and which occupied the plains between the Warta, Bzura and Pilica Rivers. Further east, in the forests of the middle course of the Vistula to the north of Pilica, lived the most savage of the Polish tribes, the Mazurs. This tribe was the latest to come under the sovereignty of the principality and began its political existence on the bank of the Gopło Lake under the leadership of the Piast, whose dynasty ruled the country until 1370. To the north of the Netze River between the Oder and the Baltic, lived the northernmost of the Polish tribes known as Pomorzanie - Pomeranians (in the Polish: people living by the sea); hence the name of the province Pomorze - Pomerania.
Some historical writers attribute the change in the political organization
of the primitive Polanie tribe to the influence of foreign commerce, which
for geographic reasons had early centered around the Gopło. At that period
the lake was a very large body of water with a level at least ten feet
higher than at present. The many small lakes now existing in the region
were in all probability a part of Gopło, and the valleys of the vicinity
constituted the bottom of the lake.
There are many reasons to believe that such was the hydrography of the section in that remote age. In his description of Gopło, written five hundred years ago, Jan Długosz, a Polish historian, speaks of a vast body of water, leading us to believe that the lake then was much larger than it is at the present time. There is reason to believe that five hundred years previous to this historian's time, before the primeval forests were cut, the lake was still larger.
The supposition that Gopło at the time of its highest level was connected by means of small navigable streams with the river's Warta, Oder and the Vistula is quite plausible.
The constructive fancy of the economic historian sees flotillas of Pomeranian
merchants moving to and fro from Szczecin (Stettin) down the Oder and Netze.
Here they met merchants from the east, the southeast and the southwest
of Europe. The Byzantine, Roman and Scandinavian cultures met at Kruszwica,
the largest town on the banks of this vast internal sea of Poland, and
exercised a revolutionary effect upon the modes of thought and the political
institutions of the tribe.
Otherwise the sudden transformation which took place from the tribal and communal organization of the people, which still existed in the second half of the eighth century, to the militaristic structure of society with a strong princely power, as is known to have existed in the ninth century, becomes almost unaccountable. The pressure from the west and north was, no doubt, an important element, but it alone would hardly seem sufficient to explain the change. Economic and cultural reasons had unquestionably exercised a great influence in the rapid molding of a new form of political life which was more adapted to conditions that had arisen since the change from nomadic pursuits to settled agriculture. (wiki)
1123-1124 - creation of the Bishopric of Kuiavia with a monk from Germany,
Swidgier as the first Bishop residing in Kruszwica.
1332-1337 - conquered by the Teutonic Knights
1350-1355 - building of the brick castle on order of King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great)
1422 - King Władysław Jagiełło (Ladislaus Jagiellonian) grants Kruszwica the city rights based on the so-called Magdeburg Law.
1655 - "The Deluge" - Swedish invasion - destruction of the town, burning of the castle.
1772 - take-over by the Prussians in the first partition of Poland.
1919 - liberation in the course of the Greater Poland Uprising.
Main industries are food processing, sugar mill and tourism.
Arms and flag adopted on February 28, 2003.
"Arms: based on the seal from XV Century - on the silver shield a green pear-tree, symbol of well-being.
Flag: a rectangular piece of cloth, 2 m long and 1,25 m wide composed of two equal horizontal bands of white over green with the Arms placed in the middle of the white band.
Allowed is the use of the flag in different dimensions if the proper proportions are retained."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 5 Dec 2008
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