Gdynia History


1253 Gdynia is first mentioned under the name Gdina as a fishing village. The bishop’s document which mentions it says that it belonged to Oksywie, the oldest settlement in the area dating from the first half of the 8th century. Today Oksywie is a part of Gdynia.

1362 Gdynia is shown as belonging to the Cistercian Order.

1382 The owner of Gdynia, at this point a man from Rusocin, gives the village to the Carthusian Monks from Kartuzy in Kashubia. The order would retain ownership of the village until the First Partition of Poland in 1772.

1734 The Russian siege sees the village burned to the ground and by the time it is rebuilt towards the end of the 18th century the records show 20 families here.

1904 The village develops as a seaside resort centred around what is today ul. Świętojańska, Pl. Kaszubski, ul Portowa and ul. Starowiejska

1920 The re-emergence of the Polish state on the world map following the Treaty of Versailles changes Gdynia forever. Poland are awarded access to the sea via a narrow strip of land which is to become known as the Polish corridor. Gdynia sits at the top of this corridor and the village is slated for major development.

1922 September 23rd. The Polish Parliament passes a bill about the building of a major port facility at Gdynia. The village expands rapidly as workers from all over Poland are brought in to help with the construction.

1923 April 29th. The first part of the port is opened by the Polish president Stanisław Wojciechowski. August 13th of that year sees the first ship, the French ship Kentucky, enter the port.

1926 February 10th. Gdynia is granted city rights. At this point the city has 12,000 residents.

1930 The first Polish training ship ‘Dar Pomorza’ enters the port as the training college is relocated from Tczew.

1939 By the outbreak of war the city has rapidly grown to the 6th largest in Poland with the 12th largest population of over 120,000 people. September 1st – 19th sees a heroic defence of the city. Nazi Germany incorporates Gdynia to the Reich, expels the local population and renames the city Gotenhafen.

1945 March 28th. Gdynia is liberated by the Poles fighting alongside the Red Army.

1953 Gdynia is connected to Gdańsk via the SKM light railway system.

1970 December 17th. Following protests against falling living standards, the army opens fire on protesting shipyard workers in order to suppress strikes. There are 18 fatalities. Events on this day will have profound effects on workers for many years to come.

1980 December 17th. A memorial to the Fallen Shipyard workers is unveiled following concessions gained at the neighbouring Gdansk shipyards in August. The decision to avoid confrontation with the security services by locking themselves into the yards were directly influenced by events in Gdynia in 1970.

1981 Dar Pomorza returns to port for the final time. It is now a museum ship on the waterfront (see what to see)

Today Gdynia has grown to a population of over 248,000, the 12th biggest in Poland, with reputedly one of the highest incomes per head in the country.

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