In the place of today's city originally
there was a frontier stronghold, build around X-XI c., defending the borderline of Masovia,
first from pagan Prussians, later from Teutonic Order. Existing mentions about it
are dated 1238, describing settlement called Budegac. It was conquered by
the order in XIII century.
In 1339 castellan of Bydgoszcz - Maciej, testifies
in trial Polish vs. Teutonic Order. After the end of
the war, by virtue of Kalisz Peace the city returns to Poland. In 1346 the king
of Poland, Casimir the Great (pol. Kazimierz Wielki), grants Bydgoszcz city's rights. In 1347
the construction of the castles was started. It was fortress made of brick with two towers, one of which
was a gate. It was located at the bank of Brda River, at the intersection
of today Grodzka and Przy Zamczysku streets. In 1398 the Teutonic Order
conquers Bydgoszcz, but the king of Poland, Ladislaus Jagiello, immediately
comes with relief. After this attempt the walls surrounding the city were strengthened.
The city growed dynamically. In XV century
it evolved by few suburbs, windmills and silos were built. Trade,
mainly with corn, and education evolved as well. Even the water supply system
was built. For some time there was a mint in the city. In
1600 the city had 5 thousand inhabitants.
In XVII century the city suffers greatly as a result of a war known as Swedish
Deluge: in 1655 it was occupied by the Swedes, in 1656 the castle was blown up.
The ruins were never rebuilt.
In 1772, as a result of first partition of Poland, Bydgoszcz became a
part of Prussia. As the city evolved, Germans conducted a strong germanization of
citizens. In 1773-1774 it regained its economic importance through
construction of Bydgoszcz Canal and became an inland port connecting rivers
Brda and Vistula with Notec and Warta. The XIXth century meant ultimate leveling
of the remains of the castle and of the moats, and the terrain was used to build silos.
to Polish rule on February 19th, 1807, as a result of creation of the grand duchy of
Warsaw. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna the city belonged to Prussia again.
January 19, 1920, Bydgoszcz returned to Poland.
But soon after that, on September 5th, 1939, the German army entered to the city.
Retreating Polish units of the army and self-defense were also fighting with pro-German
sabotage and guerilla units. After the city was taken over by Germans, the times of
terror came: public
executions of thousands of people, mainly of Polish intellectualists, a lot of people were
taken away to the Reich for forced labor. It is estimated, that during the war 36 thousand of citizens of Bydgoszcz died.
The city was liberated on January 26th, 1945. For its resistance against invasion of nazi
Germany in 1939, on its 600th anniversary in 1946, the city was decorated
with the Grunwald Cross of 3rd class.
See also: Old postcards