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The history of Elblag starts in 1237, when the Teutonic Knights built a castle near a river called 'Elblag'. Soon a settlement grew up around the castle, which in 1247 received a constitution under Lubeck law, thus becoming the city of Elbing, as it was originally known. At first the town was populated mostly by German settlers, who brought with them their traditions, cuisine and architectural styles. The newcomers were accommodated fairly quickly and turned the relatively small town into a flourishing trade centre for the region. Moreover, thanks to the effective constitution and the support of the Teutonic Knights, Elbing became also an important port city and, since 1358, a member of that prosperous Baltic-trade monopoly – the Hanseatic League. Despite Elbing became the second most important city of the region in the 15th century, its citizens of Prussians, Germans and Poles were not happy with the oppressive Teutonic rule over the city and the remaining parts of Prussia. Hence in 1440, Elbing decided to join other important Prussian towns in forming the Prussian Confederation to help Poland battle the Teutonic invaders. After a successful revolt, the city of Elbing (now renamed to 'Elblag') and the rest of Royal Prussia became a part of Poland. The following centuries brought both great success and immense devastation. At first Elblag received numerous privileges from local Polish princes and kings, thus becoming the most prosperous town of the region. However, in the 17th century the city suffered great damage due to the Swedish invasion, when it was plundered, forced to pay contribution and its inhabitants were decimated by the sword and by plagues. Later on, after the First Partition of Poland in 1772, the Kingdom of Prussia annexed Elblag and during the following decades the city endured a phase of stagnation. The city broke out of its slumber in the 19th century, when the Elblaski Canal was dug and a railroad connection made with the rest of Europe. These events marked the beginning of Elblag's industrialization, which manifested itself not only in the growing number of factories but also the Schichau-Werke shipyard employing state-of-the-art hydraulic machinery to produce ships and some of the world's first torpedoes. Elblag became a part of the German Empire in 1871, following the unification of Germany. The most tragic period in the history of Elblag happened during World War II. Between 1940 and 1945 the town was occupied by the Nazis, who set up two concentration camps near the city. When in 1944 the Russian Red Army approached the city, nearly all of Elblag's German inhabitants fled west, leaving their homes and personal belongings behind. Considered intrinsically German, the deserted city was first plundered by the Red Army and then set on fire, which consumed nearly 65% of the city and its historical elements. After the war, when Elblag was reunited with Poland, the German inhabitants who had left during the Russian offensive were not allowed return as the city was to undergo an extensive process of polonization. The efforts very largely successful, as proved by the fact that at present nearly 98% of Elblag's inhabitants are Polish. In the 1990's the town began the painstaking process of reconstructing its historic districts, which at present the works are 70% complete.

coat of arms
Population: 126049 #28
Province: Warmian-Masurian
Telephone: +48 55
Museums: 1
Districts: 0
Theatres: 2
Mayor: Grzegorz Nowaczyk
Higher Education: 7