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Warsaw, Poland » City Info » History

During the late 14th Century, Warsaw or Warszowa was a quaint fishing village, until a newer settlement was formed in the area after the fall of Jazdów. Warsaw became the capital of Mazovia in 1413.
When King Sigismund III Vasa ruled over Warsaw during the 16th century, the city became capital of the Commonwealth and the Polish Crown. In the middle of 17th century, Swedish, Transylvanian and Brandenburgian forces attacked Warsaw.
In the late 18th century, Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. It was not until 1815 that Warsaw became the capital of the Polish Kingdom. Though it was dependent on Imperial Russia, it had considerable autonomy.
The city of Warsaw progressed massively in different sectors. During the 19th Century, universities, bridges, transit and sewer systems were formed. Poland regained its independence in 1918 with Warsaw as its capital. It was 1939-1944 when the wrath of Germany painted the city red. The Nazis blasted every existing structure and annihilated around half a million people when an uprising by insurgents took place. The Jewish Ghetto lasted about a month, before the whole city was torn to bits, including the Royal Castle.
In 1945 the reconstruction of Warsaw started. Communism fell while Poland lived under socialism. Many historical museums, castles, streets and churches were restored, and the Old Town became part of UNESCO's World Heritage list. Poland joined the European Union in 2004, and continues to become the modern and charming city it is today.