Some historical sources associate Szprotawa with the settlement of Ilua described by the German chronicler Thietmar – the place where in 1000, Bolesław the Brave met with German Emperor Otto III, who was on a pilgrimage to the grave of Saint Adalbert of Prague in Gniezno.

The settlement was granted city rights ca. 1260 by Konrad I, the Duke of Głogów. Due to its favourable location on the intersection of trade routes and the fact that it had a customs house, the settlement developed quite quickly. As early as in 1407, it had the right to mint its own coin. Szprotawa soon became one of the richest cities in the region. In 1314, the Order of St Mary Magdalene was established in Szprotawa. Annals mention numerous conflicts between burghers and nuns. Sometimes interventions of church authorities were necessary to mitigate the conflict.

At the turn of the 16th century, Silesia was under the Austrian rule. During the period of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) Szprotawa underwent almost complete devastation due to the war operations and the exploitation of local resources by the imperial army stationed in the city. In the subsequent years, the town suffered from an epidemic and a flood. A fire which broke out in 1627 brought even more destruction to Szprotawa. The town was struggling to reconstruct its infrastructure when it once again started to be harrowed by conflicts – the wars of the 17th century, including the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). During the Napoleonic wars, the town was occupied by the French (1807–1813).

In the 19th century, Szprotawa came under the Prussian rule and started to develop. In 1846, the town gained a rail connection with Berlin and Wrocław and in 1911 – with Zielona Góra. The beginning of the 20th century saw the establishment of the municipal gasworks. The development of Szprotawa was curbed by the big crisis of the 1920s.

During WWII, the majority of the local production, with prisoners often used as free labour, was concentrated on meeting the needs of the army. On 14 February 1945, Russians entered the town. After the war, Szprotawa was incorporated into Poland and its German population was displaced[1.1]. Since 1999, the town has been part of the Żagański County in Lubuskie Province.


  • Matuszkiewicz F., Geschichte der Stadt Sprottau, Sprottau 1908.
  • Matuszkiewicz F., Historia Szprotawy, Szprotawa 2010.
  • Sagan und Sprottau in der schlesischen Geschichte: „Les vues de Sagan”, Würzburg 1992.
  • Szprotawa 1000–2000: w kręgu europejskich idei zjednoczeniowych, Szprotawa 2000.
  • [1.1] The text was written with the help of materials of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage.