An early medieval borough of Pomerania, first referred to in 1248. It was a property of the dukes of Pomerania, and a castellany centre. In 1309 it was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. The town privileges were granted in the mid-14th century (before 1403). Following the Peace of Toruń, Kościerzyna was again within the borders of Poland (Royal Prussia). In the 15th-18th centuries it was a non-town county. In 1772-1920 it was under the rule of Austria. In the mid- 19th century it was a Polish centre on Kashubia and a centre of Młodokaszubski movement (activity of A. Majkowski). During the interwar period the town was a centre of small-scale industry. At the time of Nazi occupation 1939-45, it had been incorporated into the Third Reich, in 1939 Germans had driven away roughly 13,000 Kashubians from Kościerzyna and surrounding villages (around 1,500 people died, mainly intelligentia). There was a conspiracy centre, among others Polska Armia Powstańcza (Polish insurgent army) and Tajna Organizacja Wojskowa ”Gryf Pomorski”(Secret Military Organization). In 1818-1975 and 1999 capital of the county.

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