HISTORY OF GDANSK IN A NUTSHELL
Thousand years of history, a mix of the many cultures, the place where important events have begun
More than a thousand years of history. A mix of the culture - Polish, German, but also Jewish, Scottish and Dutch. Years of glory and times of decline. Long periods of peace, but also many horrific wars. Hundreds of years of rivalry between Poland and Germany. That is basically Gdansk's history in a nutshell.
The coast of the sea and the river Vistula estuary. A perfect place for fisheries. It's known that people settled here thousands of years ago. For sure they lived here in during the period of the stone age (2500 - 1700 BC). But fish was not the only treasure of the Baltic coast. That's why in the period of the ancient Romans, it was here that was the beginning of the amber route.
The history of Gdansk is shorter. About 975 AC prince Mieszko I, the first historical ruler of Poland, built a wooden castle with a port on the bank of Motlawa. The first written mention of the city comes from 999 written in Rome "The life of St. Adalbert". The city was named there as Gyddanyzc.
Almost from the beginning up to the modern times, there was a fight for the rule over the city. Polish kings, people from Brandenburgian, Teutonic Knights, Princes of Pomerania, the Germans, and even Napoleon competed for ruling the city.
For the longest time, over than 650 years, Gdansk belonged (and now belongs) to Poland. Twice in its history, Gdansk was a Free City - at the beginning of 19th century (but was dependent on Napoleon's Empire) and during the time between the two world wars in the 20th century.
On September 1st, 1939 the first shots of the 2nd World War was fired in Westerplatte, which is part of the Gdansk coastline. In 1980, after the strike in the Gdansk shipyard the Solidarity - the first free Trade Union’s in communist countries were brought to life.