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Warsaw within Poland of the 21st century

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland, situated on the left bank of the river Vistula considerably above water level. The Prague suburb lies on the right bank of the river. In 1875 its population was only 181,000 (of which 87,000 were Jews).[1]; in 1907 the population had risen to 638,2020[2] almost 50% being largely Yiddish-speaking Jews[3]; in 1925 the population passed the 1,000,000 mark; in 1935 it was 1,178,000[4]. The population in 2022 is 1,702,139.[5]


Warsaw (old town).jpg

The origins of the town remain obscure[6] but is is asserted that the town was founded in the later 13th century and was originally composed of the Stare Miasto, or old town, strongly resembling the old towns of Germany. Warsaw was granted urban status in 1289[7]. The castle of the Dukes of Masovia was the original centre-piece (from around which the suburbs grew). It was subsequently much altered by successive Dukes and Kings: in the 14th century the Dukes of Masovia moved their seat to Warsaw but became extinct in the 16th century when the Duchy was annexed by the Polish Crown which had previously been the feudal overlord.

Soon after, the Kings of Poland, beginning with Sigismund III, made Warsaw their residence and consequently the capital of the kingdom. The Royal apartments, situated in the eastern part of the castle near the Vistula, were, following the Partitions of Poland (1772-1795), occupied by the Governor-General of the Russian Kingdom of Poland (or Congress Poland). The western part of the building contained the halls where the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of Poland once assembled.[8]


From 8 to 28 September 1939, during the German Poland Campaign, Warsaw was surrounded by German military forces and initially refused to surrender. This resulted in some bombing and artillery damage, which could have been prevented altogether by a fast capitulation. From 1939 to 1945, Warsaw fell within the General Government (German: Generalgouvernement, Polish: Generalne Gubernatorstwo), also referred to as the General Governorate for the Occupied Polish Region. During this period Ludwig Fischer, a German Lawyer, was Governor of Warsaw. The castle and surrounding area were virtually destroyed during World War II and the fighting during the insurgency known as the Warsaw Uprising. After 1945 it, and other buildings in the city, were rebuilt using bricks and other materials stolen from German towns and buildings, some of significant historical value, which were, of course, destroyed for this purpose.


See also

External links


  1. Murray, John, Russia, Poland, and Finland, Third revised edition, London, 1875, p.446.
  2. Bacon, F.R.G.S., G.W., The New General Atlas of The World, London, 1907, p.22.
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, vol.29, Chicago, 1990, p.697
  4. Odhams Press Ltd., The New Pictorial Atlas of the World with Gazetteer, London, 1935, p.293
  5. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/poland-population/
  6. Britannica, 1990, p.697.
  7. Portal, Professor Roger, The Slavs, Paris, 1965, English edition:London, 1969, p.73-5.
  8. Murray, 1875, p.446-7.