Present town of Myszyniec emerged when two settlements set up in the Zielona forest, formerly known as Zagajnica, joined together. Kurpie, who were its inhabitants, were engaged in tar production, bee-keeping, extraction of bog iron and hunting. They were never subject to serfdom.

In the 17th century the Jesuits settled in the forest. Their presence was supposed to protect the local population against influences of Protestantism, permeating from Prussia. In 1654 they were granted a privilege to establish a chapel and a mission settlement named Misja Myszyniecka. Due to subsequent privileges the settlement received a school, inn and a brewery.

Markets and fairs were organised here. Despite its forest location the town did not escape wars nor uprisings taking place both in the Commonwealth and during partitions of Poland. In 1708 the residents of Myszyniec defended themselves against the troops of Swedish king Charles XII.

At the beginning of the 18th century a new settlement emerged in vicinity of the mission, founded by Ostrołęka starostes. It was named Martunów or Nowy Myszyniec. Both settlements competed with each other, which led to an armed conflict between the residents of Nowy Myszyniec and the Jesuits. After dissolution of the Jesuits Order in 1773 the mission was changed into a presbytery. In 1789 Nowy Myszyniec had 23 farmers and 23 craftsmen: 8 bakers, 8 potters, 5 shoemakers and 2 tanners. In 1791 it was granted town privileges and both settlements were joined.

After the Partitions of Poland Myszyniec became a part of the Russian Partition. In 1808 Myszyniec had 1,078 inhabitants, in 1820 – 1,215, including 291 Jews. There was a tannery, brewery, 3 flour mills and butchery in the town. It was also a production centre of cloth valued by the merchants and various items made of amber. Amber was common in the region; it was found in rivers or extracted from the ground. Kurpie learnt fast how to locate the ore and how to process it. The tzar's government gradually took away the town's privileges, the residents pauperised, many left for abroad in search of a better life. In 1863 local Kurpie took part in the uprising under Z. Padlewski. Finally, in 1869 Myszyniec lost its town privileges.

During the interwar period Myszyniec was still a village and its residents lived off farming and, to a smaller extent, minor trade and craft. From 1915 Myszyniec had a railway connection in the form of a narrow-gauge railway to Łomża, Ostrołęka and Kolno.

The Second World War brought extermination to the local Jewish community. In 1940 the occupant connected local network of narrow-gauge railway with the Pup (now Spychowo) line. However, in 1973 the entire network was taken apart.

In 1993 Myszyniec regained its town status. For ages it has been seen as the cultural capital of Kurpiowszczyzna. Since 1999 it belongs to Ostrołęcki district in the Mazowieckie Province.


Bibliographic note

  • Myszeniec, [in:] Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, vol. 6: Malczyce–Netreba, eds. F. Sulimierski, B. Chlebowski, W. Walewski, Warszawa 1885, p. 839.
  • Myszyniec, [in:] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, eds. S. Andrzejewski et al., vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, pp. 487–488.