In the 12th century, a ducal trade settlement was located at the current site of Mszczonów. The first mention of the settlement in written sources comes from 1245. In 1377, Duke of Masovia Siemowit III granted it city rights under the Chełmno Law. The privilege was confirmed and extended by Duke Siemowit IV[1.1].
In 1380, there was a revision of the area remaining under the jurisdiction of the local parish, which had most probably been established in the 12th century. Upon Masovia's incorporation into the Crown, Mszczonów became a royal town. In 1530, it was owned by the Radziejowski family (who obtained the right of perpetual property of the town in 1554). Mszczonów was a county capital and in 1660, it became the seat of the alderman.
During the Polish-Swedish wars, Mszczonów was almost completely devastated. In 1660, there were only 30 houses there. The town had ca. 200 inhabitants, including 10 shoemakers, several brewers and prasołs[1.2]. In the 18th century, the rule of the town was ceded to the Prażmowski family. In 1775, J. Łuszczewski became the Alderman of Mszczonów[1.3].
Following the Partitions of Poland, Mszczonów was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia (1795–1807), only to be soon incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1815). In 1815, it became a part of Congress Poland and remained under the Russian rule until 1918, when Poland regained independence.
The town was repeatedly devastated by fires. In 1800, a wooden church built in the 14th century was completely burnt down. In 1862, fire consumed almost all of the town's buildings. Out of 203 houses that had existed there in 1860, only 30 remained. Still, industry never ceased to develop and Mszczonów's population was rapidly growing. In 1872, some of the industrial plants operating in the town were: two breweries, a distillery, three tanneries, vinegar factories, tile production plants, and a factory manufacturing matches. Industry thrived thanks to Jewish people settling in the town. In 1897, Mszczonów had 5,124 inhabitants[1.4].
WWI caused significant damage to Mszczonów. The number of inhabitants decreased from 7,000 (as of 1910) to 5,000 in 1921. The interwar period was mostly a time of the town's stagnation.
During WWII, Mszczonów was once again devastated. Out of 442 houses which had existed there in 1939, only 380 still remained in 1945. The population decreased by ca. 2,200 people of Jewish origin, who were murdered in Treblinka in 1942[1.5].
After the war, Mszczonów did not experience rapid growth – to this day, the number of inhabitants is still lower than it was at the beginning of the 20th century. It was not until the 1970s that the town started to gain importance. In 1954, a railway line connecting Skierniewice with Łuków was built on the outskirts of Mszczonów. In 1964, an expanded clay factory was opened there. Food and metal industries also started to grow. In 1977, the Central Rail Line was built 3 km from the town[1.6]. In 1999, the town was incorporated into the Żyrardowski County in the Mazowieckie Province.
J. Kwiatek, T. Lijewski, Leksykon miast polskich, Warsaw 1998, pp. 514–515.
Mszczonów, [in] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, pp. 486–487.
Translated by Natalia Kłopotek
- [1.1] Mszczonów, [in] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, p. 487.
- [1.2] merchants trading in salt and meat – ed.
- [1.3] Mszczonów, [in] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, pp. 486–487.
- [1.4] Mszczonów, [in] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, p. 487.
- [1.5] Mszczonów, [in] Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 2, Wrocław 1967, pp. 486-487.
- [1.6] J. Kwiatek, T. Lijewski, Leksykon miast polskich, Warsaw 1998, pp. 514–515.