Szczecin

nds:Stettin

Szczecin (German and Swedish name Stettin) is a city in Pomerania, northwestern Poland, capital of West Pomeranian Voivodship (or region) with 419,000 inhabitants. The city is situated south and around the Greater Bay into which the Odra river flows. The Western side is now called Left Bank (Lewobrzeze) and Eastern side Right Bank (Prawobrzeze). Between them is an archipelago with many islands (industrial areas with shipyards and sea-port infrastructure, Szczecin and Swinoujscie are together Poland's most important seaports).

Table of contents
1 Recent History
2 Demographics
3 Economy
4 History
5 External links

Recent History

1946-1998 capital of Szczecin Voivodship, changing borders in the administravive reorganisations in 1950 and 1975. Since 1999 capital of West Pomeranian Voivodship. In 1970 the riots occured, see also Coastal cities events.

Demographics


12th century: 5,000 inhabitants
1720: 6,000 inhabitants
1740: 12,300 inhabitants
1816: 21,500 inhabitants
1843: 37,100 inhabitants
1861: 58,500 inhabitants
1872: 76,000 inhabitants
1890: 116,228 inhabitants
1910: 236,000 inhabitants
1939: 382,000 inhabitants
1945: ?
1950: ?
1960: 269,400 inhabitants
1970: 338,000 inhabitants
1975: 369,700 inhabitants
1980: 388,300 inhabitants
1990: ?
2000: ?
2002: 413,600 inhabitants

Economy

Szczecin used to be important port in the mouth of the Oder river. see also Baltic_Sea#Ports_(2002). Also the biggest shipyard in Poland, recently bankrupt. Fishing industry, a steel mill and the car production Stoewer.

History

In the first half on 9th century at the convenient ford of Odra river a stronghold has been built (in the place of future ducal castle) and a few of crafts and trade settlement in the vicinity.

It was the main centre of a small Western Slavonic tribe living in the fork of Oder river: main branch and Randow river. It is not sure if this tribe belonged at this time to the Pomeranians who lived on the right bank of Oder, or to the Polabians or Veleti who lived on the left bank of Odra, but it is also possible the Szczecin was a transision area between these tribes. It is not sure if Mieszko I of Poland, who has conquered Pomerania in years 967-972, had also taken control of Szczecin and Wolin.

After the decline of Wolin in 12th century Szczecin became one of the most important and powerful city of the Baltic Sea south coasts having some 5,000 inhabitants. It was a city republic ruled by the class of rich nobility who were usually tradesmen, pirates and landowners.

In a winter campaign of 1121/1122 Szczecin was subjugated by Boleslaus II of Poland, who invited bishop Otto of Bamberg to baptize the citizens (1124). In the next years it was subjugated by the Warcislaw I, duke of Pomerania who has organized the second visit of Bishop Otto in 1128.

In second half of 12th century a group of German tradesmem settled in the city around St.Jacob church consecrated in 1187. Duke Barnim I has granted a local government charter to this community in 1237 and a full location charter of Magdeburg law in 1243. The German community was growing, and Slavic community settled around St. Nikolas church (neigbourhoods of Chyżyn, Upper Wik, Lower Wik).

In years 1295-1464 Szczecin was the capital of a splinter Pomeranian Duchy of Szczecin. (Dukes Otto I, Barnim III the Great, Casimir III, Swantibor I, Boguslaw VII, Otto II, Cazimir V, Joachim I the Younger, Otto III)

In the 13th-14th centuries Szczecin become main Pomeranian centre of trade in grains, salt and herrings receiving various trading priviledges from their dukes (emporium rights), having special rights and trading post in Denmark, and belonging to the Hanse trading cities union. In 14th-15th centuries Szczecin was conducting several trade wars with the neigbourung cities of Garz, Gryfino and Stargard for grains export monopoly. The grain supplying area was not only Pomerania but also Brandenburg and Greater Poland - trade routes along the Odra and Warta rivers. The 16th century was the decline of city's trading position because of the competition of the nobility and church institutions in the grains exports, customs war with Frankfurt on Odra, fall of herring markets.

During the Thirty-Years War Szczecin refused to accept imperial armies, and in 1630 was taken over by Sweden. After the extinction of last Pomeranian duke, Boguslaw XIV Szczecin was awarded to Sweden with western part of the duchy in the Peace of Wesfalia (1648). The city cut off from its trading area and besieged in several wars fell in economic decline.

In 1713 Szczecin was occupied by and in 1720 officially awarded to Prussia. In the following years Szczecin was made the capital of the Prussian province of Pomerania and the main port of Prussian state. From 1740 Odra waterway do the Baltic Sea and new port of Swinoujscie were constructed.

Large group of French Hugenots settled in Szczecin bringing new dvelpoments into the city crafts and factories (manufacture). The population started to increase from 6 thousand in 1720 to 21 th in 1816 and 58 thousand in 1861. The 19th century was the age of large territorial expansion of the city, especially after 1873 when the fortress was abolished. In 1821 the crafts corporations were abolished, and in 1821 steam transport on the Odra began, allowing development of trade. The port was developing quickly specialising in exports of agricultural products and coal from Silesia.

In 1843 Szczecin was connected by the first railway line to Berlin, and in 1848 by the second railway to Poznan. New branches of manufacturing good industry were developing, including shipbuilding (Wulkan shipyard) and ironworks using Swedish ores. Population grew to 236 thousand in 1910 and 382 thousand in 1939.

During World War II Szczecin was main centre of weapons industry and there were several slave workers camps in the city. 65% of Szczecin buildings and almost all city centre, seaport, and industry were destroyed during the Allied airraids in 1944 and heavy fightings between the German and Soviet Army (26 April 1945).

After WWII Polish-German border was moved to the west to the Oder-Neisse line. Most of Pomerania, including Szczecin and the Odra mouth fell to Poland. The German inhabitants of Szczecin first escaped from the city, next returned as it was undecided if the city will be in Poland or in Soviet occupation zone in Germany. Many Germans also worked in the Soviet military bases, that were outside Polish jurisdiction, though inside Polish borders. In the 1950s most of the Szczecin Germans left, were expelled from the city, although there was a significant German minority for the next 10 years.

The city was settled with the new inhabitants from every region of Poland, including those who lost their homes in the eastern Polish territories lost to the Soviet Union, especially people from Wilno. The patronage of the settlement process was taken by city of Poznan in Greater Poland.

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