In the years 1975-1998 it lied in Gorzów Province and in the years 1950-1975 in Zielonagóra Province.

Until 1922 the region was under Prussian reign, a province of Poznan, Schwerin county (Warthe), in the years 1922-1939 it lied in Poznan county – Western Prussia, whereas from 1939 it lied in Brandenburg county, administrative district of Frankfurt (Oder), Schwerin county (Warthe).

Skwierzyna was originally a Slavic fisherman settlement which lied on the Warta River. Approximately in 1295 it was granted town rights by Polish King Przemyslaw II. First documented information about the town dates back to 1306 and 1312. After a great fire of the town in 1406, Skwierzyna was granted new town rights and privileges by King Władysław Jagiełło. The same Polish King ordered that a trade route be created from Krakow to Szczecin in 1390-92 and Skwierzyna benefited from this because a customs house was created there.

Its trade route led from Skwierzyna, which lied almost on the border with Brandenburg (the border lied 4.5 kilometers from the town), and owing to this fact a customs house was established there. Two years later Skwierzyna was allowed to keep a store. The town was wealthy due to craft and trade; it was famous for its weavery, brewery, shoe-making, leather, crops and timber trade. The sources of income for the city were also numerous taxes imposed on residents, travelers and those who were trading on the fairs of Skwierzyn. The location of the city, on the Polish-Brandenbursk frontier and trade character of the region resulted in various nations, religions and cultures interweaving there. Although, the town belonged to the Polish State, it was German residents who comprised the majority of the population of the town. German inhabitants arrived in the region as early as in the middle ages. Germans were the largest group within the population of the town and held most of the power within the city council. Other groups included the Jews, and a small number of Poles who were usually very poor. From the beginning of the 17th century it was also the Dutch who settled down in the region.

At the end of the 17th century, there was a series of natural disasters. Fires, floods and in the years 1728-1730 swarms of locusts which kept coming back, destroyed meadows and fields which led to poverty and death.

Skwierzyna had also suffered damages during a vast number of marches of Swedish, Russian and Polish troops who plundered and vandalized the town.

In 1793, after the second partition of Poland, Skwierzyna was annexed by the Prussian State and from 1871 by the German State to which it belonged until 1945. During the Napoleonic period Skwierzyna lied, but only for a short time, in the Duchy of Warsaw (1807-1815), however according to the resolution made at the Congress in Vienna it was returned to Prussia.

After a great fire in 1821 which destroyed over 60 buildings, the architecture of the town changed. More solid houses made of brick were erected; new streets were built and paved. At the beginning of the 20th century Skwierzyna was attached to the Gorzów railway – Międzychód, which resulted in industrial development. The city very quickly became a local center of timber and textile industries. When a power plant was opened in 1910, in nearby Bledzew, electricity was introduced to Skwierzyna. 

According to the Versailles treaty Skwierzyna remained in German hands. It was a border town and due to ill relations between the two countries trade was brought to a halt.  As a consequence, the interwar period was a time of crisis, unemployment and inflation. Sales markets were in crisis along with trade and shipping on the Warta River decreased. Numerous craft stores and shops were closed down. Another threat of unemployment besieged the town. Town authorities wanted to prevent inflation and in order to do so they introduced their own coins of Skwierzyn. To make matters worse, insect plagues were destroying a huge area of local forests.

From 1937, after many years of attempts, Skwierzyn became a garrison town. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War a camp for the Gestapo prisoners was established. It existed until March 1940. During the Second World War the town did not suffer a lot of damages and until January 1945 looked exactly the same as prior to the outbreak of the war. As soon as the Russians entered the city, they planned to destroy everything, which was worth something and was not used by the army. Prior to returning Skwierzyna to Poland, 45% of it was destroyed. After the Second World War, Skwierzyna lied in the Polish State again and German residents were expatriated. In their place Poles from central Poland along with people deported from the East came. [see picture nr 2]

The population of Skwierzyna is estimated at 10,026 inhabitants (according to GUS, 30 June 2007).

 

Print