In 1567 Tarnogród was as a royal town located on Magdeburg Law. The law was granted in virtue of a privilege issued by King Sigismund II Augustus (Zygmunt II August). The person who requested the privilege was Stanisław Tarnowski, governor of Sandomierz and elder of Krzeszów. The town was set up on a wasteland called “Trocheingród” (“Cierńgród) [literally: a thorn town] by the road from Lublin to Przemyśl. Since 1569 the town had a privilege which forbade the Jews to settle (de non tolerandis Judaeis); it was withdrawn soon after (1580), when Jan Zamoyski became the owner of the estate. Tarnogród became, together with the whole Krzeszów District, a part of Zamość Estate (Ordynacja Zamojska) after its creation in 1589. It is estimated that approximately from 700 to 1,500 people lived there, mostly Poles and Ruthenians and only a few Jews. Tarnogród held weekly fair and annual markets. The town was developing rapidly both economically and demographically as late as the middle of the 17th century. The factors which contributed to such rapid growth were the advantageous location on the trade route between Lublin and Jarosław, privileges regarding the markets and fairs and lack of competitive trade centers in the region. Craftsmanship was also developing in the town, there were 143 craftsmen (the majority of them were Jews) in 1591. Among them there were: blade smiths, armor smiths, ironmasters, needle makers and goldsmiths. Farming played another important role in the economic development of the town.

Tarnogród, which was built from scratch, has visible signs of how it was planned during the Renaissance. A market (160x140 meters), which is one of the biggest in Poland, was designed in the northern part of the town. The streets located on the northern and southern part of the market have a checked pattern. There was a wooden town hall (from 1578) in the middle of the market. The building had rooms for sessions of the Council and separate rooms for alcohol trade. The first floor was a place for meat stalls and booths. The town hall also had farm buildings and a prison tower. A parish church was located in the vicinity of the market whereas an Orthodox Church (later transformed to an Eastern Catholic Church and in the 19th century again transformed into an Orthodox church) was situated a little further by the road to Bukowina. A synagogue was situated by the river in the eastern part of the town. Buildings that served as places of trade and craft workshops surrounded the market. The farms were located on the outskirts of the town. Since the beginning of its foundation until the end of the 18th century the town was surrounded by embankments and palisades and had four defensive gates as well.

A slow decline of Tarnogród took place in the second half of the 17th century. The main reasons of this decline were the invasions of the Tatars (1622–1623 and in 1672), the Cossacks of Khmelnytsky (1648) and Swedish-Hungarian army under the leadership of George II Rákóczi (1655–1657). Moreover, there were outbreaks of epidemic in 1600, 1625, 1652, 1703 and 1722 as well as fires in 1650, 1693, 1694. All of these factors contributed to the destruction of the town and a drop in number of the inhabitants. Again, the town was destroyed during the Great Northern War (1700-1721), epidemic outbreaks (1703 and 1720) and a fire in 1761. After a short period of peace, when the town was rebuilt after the wars and fires, it was destroyed again during the Bar Confederation (1768-1772). The town was occupied by the Austrians and eventually found itself in the Austrian partition together with a part of the Zamość Ordinate in 1772. Tarnogród became a part of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1809 and after its fall belonged to the Kingdom of Poland in the Russian partition in 1815. In 1869, after the January Uprising (1863-1864), Tarnogród was transformed into a settlement and deprived at the same time of town privileges, which the town regained in 1987. In the 19th century the town was inhabited by Poles, Ruthenians and Jews. The most common architectural types of buildings found in the town were the characteristic wooden arcades.

The main source of income of the inhabitants was farming. Craft and trade did not have such a significant role at that time. The town had a Catholic elementary school and two church hospitals: one was Roman Catholic and the second one was Eastern Catholic. Two cooperative credit institutions were established in Tarnogród in 1908: Association of Loan and Savings in Tarnogród (Tarnogrodzkie Towarzystwo Pożyczkowo-Oszczędnościowe) and Credit Association in Tarnogród (Tarnogrodzkie Towarzystwo Kredytowe). A shop belonging to a Food Association (Stowarzyszenie Spożywcze) was opened in the town in 1909 and a year later a town hospital was established. The Austrian army occupied the town between the years 1915 and 1918 during the Second World War. The occupation caused many outbreaks of epidemics of contagious diseases, which resulted in a visible drop in the population of the town. After regaining independence (1918) a Common Public School (Publiczna Szkoła Powszechna) was established in Tarnogród in 1920. Moreover, there was an orphanage for boys under the supervision of Sisters of Charity (Zgromadzenie Służebniczek) which existed between 1932 and 1934. In the interwar period the town had also: Fire Brigade (Ochotnicza Straż Pożarna), Riflemen's Association (Związek Strzelecki), Polish and Jewish political parties as well as cultural-educational associations. Polish associations were: Polish Mother School (Polska Macierz Szkolna), Circle of Polish Women (Koło Polek) and Polish Teachers' Union Club (Klub Związku Nauczycielstwa Polskiego, ZNP). There was also D. Fryszman and Javne Library and Ukrainian Michał Kaczkowski Cultural-Educational Association (Towarzystwo Kulturalno-Oświatowe im. Michała Kaczkowskiego).

In 1921 the biggest ethnic and religious group in Tarnogród were Jews who constituted 47% of total population of the town. There were also 40% of Catholics and around 13% of members of the Orthodox Church.

The Germans invaded Tarnogród on 14 September 1939. The Red Army marched into the town on 24 September 1939 but owing to the German-Soviet agreement and signing it by both sides, the town was again occupied by the Germans from 05 October 1939. Victimizations of the civil population started soon after. People were killed and sent to labor camps in Germany. Almost all Jewish inhabitants of Tarnogród were murdered on the spot or transported to the concentration camp in Bełżec in 1942. On 30 June1943 around 1,000 people of Polish origin who were still in the town were displaced due to the plans to occupy the Zamość region. They were sent to the camps in Bełżec, Zwierzyniec, Zamość or to Majdanek (concentration camp in Lublin) and to Germany.

Tarnogród was liberated on 23 July 1944 by the Soviet troops supported by a detachment of the Peasants' Battalions (Bataliony Chłopskie). Part of the displaced inhabitants of Tarnogród returned to the town in 1945 and 1946. After the end of the war, around 600 Ukrainians were displaced to the Soviet Union[1.1].

 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] History of the town after: W. Bondyra, Słownik historyczny miejscowości województwa zamojskiego, Lublin 1992 (according to the electronic version of the publication at: http://www.tnn.pl/rozdzial.php?idt=21&idt_r=731 [as of 08.08.2008]; J. Górak, Miasta i miasteczka Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1990, pp. 85–88; W. Depczyński, 1567–1967 – Monografia historyczno-gospodarcza, Tarnogród 1970, pp. 13–15; T. Zarębska, Tarnogród – przykład szesnastowiecznej urbanistyki polskiej [in:] Zamość i Zamojszczyzna w dziejach i kulturze polskiej, Zamość 1969, p. 209; J. Kus, Tarnogród, http://tarnogrod.polska.pl/miastodawniej/article,Okres_staropolski,id,333653.htm [as of 08.08.2008 r.].