Zgierz is one of the oldest cities in the Łódź Province. It is possible that the name of the city is derived from the forest, which was burnt down in order to create a settlement, or from the place where sacrificial fires were lit[1.1].

The first record concerning Zgierz can be found in a document from 1231. A meeting took place then, during which Władysław Odonic and Konrad Mazowiecki attempted to determine their actions towards the precarious Henryk Brodaty[1.2].

Zgierz obtained municipal privileges just before 1288. Władysław Jagiełło confirmed these in 1420. In 1504 the city was granted the right to organize weekly markets.

Since 1793 Zgierz adhered to the Prussian administration, and since 1815 to the Russian administration.

The streets constituting the area of the early city were: Sieradzka, Gołębia, Parzęczewska and Łęczycka.

The biggest growth of the city took place in the 19th century, when resilient centers of the weaving industry started to appear in the Kingdom of Poland. In March 1821 the members of Mazowieckie Province Industry Board signed a so-called Zgierz Agreement. Among them were Polish and German specialists in the scope of spinning, weaving, dyeing and decoration. This agreement regulated the matters of industrial settlements and provided immigrants with several privileges. Soon it became an example to other cities and governmental settlements regarding the formulation of settlement conditions.

Zgierz had an influx of settlers from, among others, Prussia and Saxony, thus the nationality with the most influence was the German one. Favorable geographic conditions (e.g. Bzura River) facilitated the growth of industry and construction of „foluszes”. In this way, Zgierz soon became the capital of the Polish weaving industry. The cloth produced here was sent to Russia, and even to China.

The growth of the industry was accompanied with the quick development of transport routes. In 1901 a tram line from Zgierz to Łódź started to be operational. In 1903 a railway line, which stretched from Warszawa to Kalisz, was constructed, and in 1925 the first trains on the Łódź-Zgierz-Kutno route were operational. In 1922 a narrow-gauge railway from Zgierz to Ozorków was constructed. It was however closed down in 1927 and in its place a tram line was created.
 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] http://cms.miasto.zgierz.pl/index.php?page=historia&hl=pol oraz http://zsee.eu.org/linki/sn/em/dok/zgierz.html [accessed 09.05.2009].
  • [1.2] R. Rosin, Zgierz. Dzieje miasta do 1988 roku, Łódź-Zgierz 1995, p. 47