The town of Brzozów was mentioned for the first time in writing on October 2, 1359 when king Casimir III the Great gave Stefan, the son of Wojost from Sobinow, a document granting the right to build a settlement. In 1384 Queen Maria gave Brzozów to the bishop of Przemyśl creating in this way a second complex of bishop's lands in the Sanok Land.

A place of the same name was established near Brzozów two years later. It was placed at the intersection of two important trade trails, one from Hungary to Lwów, the other one from Domaradz to Rzeszów. Also the bishops of Przemyśl contributed to the development of the town, as they made it their residence. Piotr Chrząstkowski, one of the bishops, resided in the town in the years 1435-1452 and had a wooden palace erected . In the 17th century the residence was surrounded by banks and moats.[[ref:|Jerzy F. Adamski (ed.), Brzozów. Zarys Monograficzny, Brzozów 1990, pp. 63-64]]

At that time towns were dependent on the activity of their owners. The owners of Brzozów made a lot to create appropriate conditions for the economic development of the town. In 1508 and 1578 it came third as far as paying taxes in the Sanok Land was concerned. [[ref:|Jerzy F. Adamski, Brzozów i powiat Brzozowski, Brzozów 2002, p. 36]]

Probably in the 15th century there was a school near the parish church. It is known that from 1424 to 1621, twenty-six students from Brzozów studied at the Jagiellonian University. Already in the 16th century Brzozów had a hospital with a church built nearby. The first guild named “Our Lady Guild” was also established at that time.

The settlement stopped to grow after a run of defeats and failures that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries. The plagues of 1603, 1622, 1633 and 1652 caused deaths of many people and in 1681, 1691 and 1693 great fires destroyed the town. The 17th century was a century of wars and raids. In July 1619 the Stanisław Lubomirski’s cavalry arrived in the town. Soldiers robbed local people, took their food, cattle and wine. They also killed some of the them.[[ref:|Jerzy F. Adamski, Brzozów i powiat Brzozowski, Brzozów 2002, pp. 37-38]] In 1624 the land was conquered by the Tartars who plundered and burned Brzozów down. The consequences of this inroad had to be severe, as the owners decided to surround the manor house by a system of ground-water fortresses and the town’s banks were supported by wing dams and moats.

The raid in 1657 of George II Rákóczi, the prince of Transylvania, was also tragic for Brzozów. The town was plundered and burned down. Many books and municipal documents were destroyed during a fire. As a result of these events, in 1676 Brzozów received new charters. According to the tradition, a picture of Our Lady with Little Baby Jesus and John the Baptist was found undamaged in the ruins of the church. In a new church, erected in 1758, there was a side chapel in which the picture of the Holy Mother was placed as a protector of the town.

In the 18th century people of Brzozów tried to rebuild the town. It was unsuccessful until the first partition of Poland, which contributed to the decline of the town. The Austrians introduced their administration and many other changes. The people and the previous government had to subordinate to the Joseph’s reforms and changes they entailed. The most tragic event for the town was closure of the collegiate church, the chapter, the theological seminary, and dissolution of the Congregation of the Mission and the Pauline Fathers Monastery, which was the cause of the economic collapse of Brzozów.

Another great change was the permission of the Austrians for the Jewish settlement when the bishop’s ban lost its legal power. The Jews started to settle very quickly. In 1857 there were 2,903 inhabitants in Brzozów, 306 out of whom were Jewish.http://dir.icm.edu.pl/pl/Slownik_geograficzny/Tom_I/424">Geographical Dictionary In 1859 Brzozów was the seat of an independent county. From then on the town started to develop again. There were many institutions: a 4-grade school (1868), a volunteer fire department (1874), County Loan Society (1888), “Sokół” Gymnastics Association (1893). Also crafts developed. In 1887 there were 313 workshops associated in 15 guilds. At the end of the 19th century a “Harmonia” Association was established, whose tradition was continued by the “Lutnia” choir.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries there was a Galician autonomy which allowed for the social, cultural and political development of the town [[ref:|Jerzy F. Adamski, Brzozów i powiat Brzozowski, Brzozów 2002, p. 44]]. This boom was stopped by the outbreak of World War One. Although the town did not suffer during the war, the economic situation of the inhabitants worsened.

When independence was regained, people were euphoric and joyful. In the years 1926-1928 springs iodine-bromine brine springs, which had healing properties, were discovered here. A wooden bade house was built very quickly. There were also a bath house, a swimming pool, tennis courts, brickyards, three mills, eighty-three workshops, a pharmacy, a post office, a cinema and sixteen taverns. During the interwar period everyone counted on the construction of a railway connection which was planned already before World War One. At that time the town was introduced into the Central Industrial Region, despite the fact that there was no factory, no railway connection and the only way to travel was by cart. It all made Brzozów one of the poorest counties of the Małopolska Region.

On September 1, 1939 the World War Two broke out and reduced the chances for any development. In September Brzozów was not the main battlefield. The Germans captured the town on September 9. According to the Regulation of October 26, 1939, the region was incorporated into the Sanok County, and on the November 15, 1941 into Krosno County. A station of German gendarmerie was established here.

The invaders spread terror and fear among the local people. For breaking bans or orders there was a punishment, such as arrest, imprisonment, forced labor or deportation to concentration camps. People were not passive and formed the Resistance in the first weeks of the war. The National Military Organization (Polish: Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa) and the Union of Armed Struggle (Polish: Związek Walki Zbrojnej) were active in Brzozów from 1940 on. Also 25 posts of the Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa) were created in the county. From 1943 the AK started systematic subversive and sabotage activity. Also peasant activists from the Peasants’ Resistance Movement (Polish: Ruch Oporu Chłopów) and the Peasants’ Guard (Polish: Straż Chłopska) created numerous resistance organizations.[1.1]

On July 24, 1944 the last German units withdrew to Jasło. Two days later the gendarmerie station and occupational offices were closed. The final fights took place in September and October 1944. After the war the town was rebuilt. It developed economically; new factories, houses, schools, a library, etc. were built. Today Brzozów is inhabited by 7 500 people.

 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Jerzy F. Adamski (ed.), Brzozów. Zarys Monograficzny, Brzozów 1990, pp. 130-133.