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Our history

Our history

The history of Wielkopolska is as complicated and turbulent as history of Poland as whole. Right in the middle between Warsaw and Berlin Wielkopolska has always been bridge between West and East, sharing events and trends from both sides. To better understand our region take a look on some of the key events from its past. No need for the details, just some milestones and a pinch of fun facts for you 🙂

From antiquity to middle ages

  • 147 BC Greek geographer Ptolemy mentions Calissia, probably modern-day city of Kalisz
  • 6-7th century, Slavic tribes move to Central Europe
  • 966 Duke Mieszko I adoptes Christianity – symbolic date of the beginning of Polish statehood. Wielkopolska is the centre of political power with ducal palace built in Poznań
  • 1000 King Bolesław the Brave meets Emperor Otto III in Gniezno. Wielkopolska in the heart of European politics
  • 1025 Bolesław the Brave coronation in Gniezno cathedral
  • 1253 Poznań founded on the German Law
  • 1295 Przemysł II, duke of Wielkopolska crowned King of Poland after 150 years of feudal fragmentation
  • 1331 Wars with Teutonic Order lay many towns in ruin
  • 1383 During the siege of Pyzdry firearms are used in Poland for the first time… with little effectiveness
  • 1409 King Władysław Jagiełło visits sanctuary in Poznań before the Battle of Grunwald and claims it as the basis of his victory over the Teutonic Order thereafter
  • 1444 Ostrówek (today part of Poznań) becomes Poland’s smallest town with only 100 inhabitants
  • 1498 Gaspar da Gama, born in Poznań, accompanies his foster father Vasco da Gama on the first European voyage to India
Medieval Warriors (historical reenactment)

From 16th to 18th century

  • 1511 An alleged witch burnt on a stick in Poznań (first such occurrence in Poland)
  • 1519 Bishop Jan Lubrański funds the first academy in Wielkopolska
  • 1550 Construction of a new city hall in Poznań begins
  • 1628 Jan Amos Comenius philosopher and pedagogue takes refuge from Austria and settles down in Leszno
  • 1655-60 Swedish invasion lays waste to much of Wielkopolska
  • 1700-21 Great Northern War. Foreign armies pilage the country
  • 1719 The first settlers form Bamberg (Germany) come to Poznań. Their heritage is still an important part of local folklore.
  • 1793 After the Partitions of Poland Wielkopolska becomes part of the Kingdom of Prussia
The basilica in Gostyń (18 th century)

19th century and Industrial Revolution

  • 1806 French Emperor Napoleon comes to Wielkopolska
  • 1815 After the Congress of Vienna Wielkopolska divided between Prussia and Russia. The two parts develop in different style from now on
  • 1817 First factory in Kalisz – the dawn of industrial revolution
  • 1827 Frederic Chopin in Wielkopolska
  • 1828 The construction of Poznań Fortress begins
  • 1830 The November Uprising in Russia-occupied part of Wielkopolska. Famous Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz comes to aid the combatants but is stopped by… intensive party life
  • 1843 During Russian Tsar’s visits in Poznań a supposed assasination plot is discovered
  • 1848 First railway in Wielkopolska launched. Unfortunately the first passengers bring also cholera epidemic
  • 1863 The January Uprising against Russian rule in eastern Wielkopolska
  • 1872 Robert Koch, later Nobel Prize winner settles in Wolsztyn
  • 1875 Zoological Garden opened in Poznań. It’s beginnings are animals given on birthday to one of the patrons of a popular restaurant
Środa Narrow Gauge Railway

20 th century and modern times

  • 1910 The Imperial Castle in Poznań, the last royal residence in Europe, opened
  • 1918 Wielkopolska Uprising – the largest successful uprising in Polish history. After WWI the region is again part of independent Poland
  • 1923 Nobel Prize winner Wisława Szymborska born in Kórnik
  • 1929 PEWUKA – the “mother” of Poznań International Fair is held
  • 1933 Ancient wooden fortress and settlement in Biskupin discovered
  • 1939-45 WWII in Poland. One of the first concentration camps created in Poznań. Deportation and execution of Jews. During Soviet offensive Poznań suffers heavy destruction.
  • 1956 Poznań Revolt against communist rule
  • 1957 Wielkopolska National Park created
  • 1979 Pope John Paul II visits Wielkpolska for the first time
  • 1999 Administrative reform – once again most of historical Wielkopolska is united under common local government
  • 2004 Poland joins the European Union. 75% of people in Wielkopolska vote for
  • 2010 “The Poznań” – a form of sporting celebration during football matches becomes famous and finds it place in the Cambridge Dictionary
  • 2012 Euro 2012 in Poland, group matches played in Poznań
Modern day Poznań city centre