Gdansk

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Gdansk is a city in Poland, on the coast of Baltic Sea. Its German name is Danzig, the Latin name is Gedanum.

Settlements have existed on the site of present-day Gdansk since at least as early as the 5th century. One known set of inhabitants was the Goths, a Germanic people who lived in Europe primarily between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea until they migrated southwards and westwards during the Völkerwanderung, or migrations of the 4th through 6th centuries. Most of the peoples who moved across Europe during this period were Germanic, but the term can also be used to include Slavic and other peoples who moved through and re-settled in new (to them) parts of Europe.

Medieval Danzig

In 997 AD, a group of soldiers sent by Boleslaw I Chrobry, duke of the newly created Poland, accompanied by St Adalbert of Prague, ventured north to the Baltic Sea coast near Danzig. One of the goals of this mission was to convert the heathen; another was most likely to bring the area under the control of the Duchy of Poland.

The city of Danzig was founded in 1240 when the Hanseatic League was granted the right to build a city by the Emperor. The wider area was at the time under the control of the dukes of Pomerelia. When their line died out, the territories around Danzig passed into the hands of the Margraves of Brandenburg.

In 1308, the emperor gave Danzig to the Teutonic Knights to govern, along with their other territories in Prussia, Livonia, Kurland and Estonia. This created a continous stretch of land under one government, able to withstand the various onslaughts of Mongols, Tatars, and Turks. The forces of Ghengis Khan came all the way to Liegnitz in Silesia and to Brandenburg, the area of the modern city of Berlin, where they were finally repelled by Gotthardt von Brandis.

In 1440, Danzig joined the other Hanseatic League cities of Elbing and Thorn to form the Prussian Confederation. The Prussion Confederation (Preussische Bund) had to appear before the emperor Frederick III Habsburg in behalf of their case against the Teutonic Knights.

More info needed here.

Famous people born in Danzig

Danzig in the modern period, to 1945

After the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I the League of Nations was formed. Danzig underwent a change in status. It was declared a Free City and parts of the territory were handed over to Poland. The burgers of Danzig had petitioned the League of Nations to have their city officially named: "Freie Hansestadt Danzig". It was not authorized.

This "island" status essentially created a situation where former German citizens were united with Germany in language and tradition, but separated from their national tie to Germany.

Poland imediately began to build military installations. Danzigers objected to Poland's military use of now severed German lands for ammunition depots etc during Poland's war against Soviet Union in 1922. These offensive measures along what became known as the Polish Corridor, included Danzig harbor and Danzig surroundings , Westerplatte, and Gdynia (German Gdingen). They served as a mobilization sites for the Polish military.

For nearly 20 years Freestate Danzig burgers filed repeated protests with the League of Nations. They were continously dismissed.

Westerplatte became the so-called starting point of WW II.

Post-1945 period

With the take-over by the Soviet Union under Stalin Danzig was given to Poland to be administered until a peace treaty.

Poland renamed the city of Danzig to Gdansk

Info needed here.

Most recently, Gdansk is best known as the home of the Solidarity movement and the home of Lech Walesa


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