Warsaw (Warszawa), Poland

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Warsaw, on the River Vistula, is the capital of Poland. It has been destroyed and re-built many times in its 700 year history, when it has been ruled by Swede, Prussian, French, German and Russian overlords. The population was decimated during World War II and the city underwent massive reconstruction in the communist and post-communist eras.


There is evidence of human habitation in the area surrounding Warsaw from the tenth century. In the 1370s the Mazovian dukes built a fortress on the site and in 1413 it became the seat of the dukedom. The last duke died in 1526 and the city fell under the jurisdiction of the Polish king, who resided in Kraków.

The Polish parliament moved to Warsaw in 1569 and in 1573 it was designated the seat of royal elections. It achieved city status in 1596 when Kraków was devastated by fire. A period or rapid commercial and cultural expansion ensued although it fell back during the Swedish occupations of 1655–56 and 1702 and the Russian...

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