A Very Brief History of Lubuskie, Neumark & the Lubusz Lands


Historically, the name of the Lubuskie province hearkens back to its origins as the ‘Lubusz Land’ - a cultural region on both sides of the Oder River that came under Polish rule in the Middle Ages. In 1250, however, the Lubusz lands were sold to the Ascanian margraves of Brandenburg and remained with them as the area became a core territory of the Holy Roman Empire, then the Prussian Empire, then the German Empire. In fact, the area known today as Lubuskie was primarily known as ‘Neumark’ until 1945, and was a strategic military position along the German-Polish border, as demonstrated by the area’s many castles and more modern defenses like Küstrin/Kostrzyn Fortress and the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region.

Placed, as it is, along the road between Warsaw and Berlin, Lubuskie saw a great amount of armed conflict during World War II, and is home to many interesting historical sites relating to these times, particularly Kostrzyn Fortress, the POW Camps Museum in Żagań and the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region. After the war, the Oder and Lusatian Neisse Rivers became the new German-Polish border, thus splitting the historical Lubusz lands in half between the two countries. The eastern part of these lands became a part of Poland’s ‘Recovered Territories’; Germans were expelled and the area was repopulated with Poles from the former Polish lands in the east absorbed by Ukraine at war’s end.

In 1998, Polish administrative reforms were introduced that would restore counties and reduce the number of voivodeships/provinces in Poland from the 49 which had existed since 1975 down to a mere 12 large ones. As part of these reforms there was no plan for a Lubuskie Province, and its towns were to be split between the three provinces it borders today: West Pomerania (Pomorze Zachodnie), Lower Silesia (Dolny Śląsk) and Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie). This led to major protests, not just in Lubuskie, but the neighbouring voivodeships and eventually the reform was rewritten to include a total of 16 voivodeships, including Lubuskie. Hooray for reform!

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