Place:Częstochowa, Ślaskie, Poland

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NameCzęstochowa
Alt namesChenstokhovsource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 341
Czenstochausource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 218
Cz̜estochowasource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Schenstochausource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 218
Tschenstocausource: Rand McNally Atlas (1989) I-800
Tschenstochausource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeCity
Coordinates50.8°N 19.117°E
Located inŚlaskie, Poland     (1200 - )
Also located inKatowice, Poland    
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Częstochowa is a city in southern Poland on the Warta River with 240,027 inhabitants as of June 2009. It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship (administrative division) since 1999, and was previously the capital of the Częstochowa Voivodeship (1975–1998). However, Częstochowa is historically part of Lesser Poland, not of Silesia, and before 1795 (see: Partitions of Poland), it belonged to the Kraków Voivodeship. Częstochowa is located in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. It is 13th most populous city in Poland. It is the largest economic, cultural and administrative hub in the northern part of the Silesian Voivodeship.

The city is known for the famous Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra, which is the home of the Black Madonna painting (Polish: Jasnogórski Cudowny obraz Najświętszej Maryi Panny Niepokalanie Poczętej), a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world come to Częstochowa to see it. The city also was home to the Frankism in the late 18th and 19th Century. There is also a Lusatian culture excavation site and museum in the city, and ruins of a medieval castle in Olsztyn, approximately from the city centre (see also Trail of the Eagles' Nests).

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

According to archaeological findings, the first Slavic settlement in the location of Częstochowa was established in the late 11th century. It was first mentioned in historical documents from 1220, when Bishop of Kraków Iwo Odrowąż made a list of properties of the Mstów monastery. Two villages, Częstochowa and Częstochówka were mentioned in the document. Both of them belonged to the basic territorial unit of Slavic tribes (opole), with its capital at Mstów. Częstochówka was located on a hill on which the Jasna Góra Monastery was later built. In the late 13th century Częstochowa became the seat of a Roman Catholic parish church, which was subjected to the Lelów deanery. The village was located in northwestern corner of Kraków Land, Lesser Poland, near the Royal Castle at Olsztyn. Częstochowa lay along a busy merchant road from Lesser Poland to Greater Poland. The village was ruled by a starosta, who stayed at the Olsztyn Castle. It is not known when Częstochowa was granted town charter, as no documents have been preserved. It happened some time between 1356 - 1377. In 1502, King Alexander Jagiellon granted a new charter, based on Magdeburg rights to Częstochowa. In 1382 the Paulist monastery of Jasna Góra was founded by Vladislaus II of Opole - the Polish Piast prince of Upper Silesia. Two years later the monastery received its famous Black Madonna icon of the Virgin Mary and in subsequent years became a centre of pilgrimage, contributing to the growth of the adjacent town.[1]


Częstochowa prospered in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, due to efforts of Sigismund I the Old, the future king of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At that time, Sigismund ruled the Duchy of Głogów, and frequently visited Częstochowa on his way to the Duchies of Silesia (1498, 1502, 1502, 1503, 1505, 1505, 1506). In 1504, Częstochowa was granted the right to collect tolls on the Warta river bridge. In 1508, Częstochowa was allowed to organize one fair a year; in 1564, the number of fairs was increased to three annually, and in 1639 to six. In the year 1631, Częstochowa had 399 houses, but at the same time, several residents died in a plague, after which 78 houses were abandoned.[1]

In the first half of the 17th century, kings of the House of Vasa turned the Jasna Góra Monastery into a modern Dutch-style fortress, which was one of the pockets of Polish resistance against the Swedish armies during Swedish invasion of Poland in 1655 (for more information, see Siege of Jasna Góra). The town of Częstochowa itself was almost completely destroyed by Swedish soldiers. It has been estimated that the town lost 50% of population, and 60% of houses. Nevertheless, the destruction was less severe than at other towns in the area (Przyrów, Olsztyn and Mstów). It took several years for Częstochowa to recover from extensive losses. As late as in the 1680s there still were ruined houses in the town. At the same time, the Jasna Góra Monastery prospered. On February 27, 1670, the wedding of king Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki with princess Eleanor of Austria took place here. Furthermore, in 1682 the celebration of 300 anniversary of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa brought thousands of pilgrims from both Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Silesia. The Jewish community in Częstochowa came into existence by about 1700.[1]

During the Great Northern War, Częstochowa was captured by Swedish army on August 11, 1702. In February 1703 Swedes besieged the monastery, but failed to seize it. In April 1705 the Swedes returned, and appeared at the monastery again in September 1709. Unable to capture the fortified stronghold, they looted villages in the area, set Częstochowa on fire and left towards Wieluń. At that time, a village of Częstochówk also existed next to Częstochowa. The village belonged to the monastery and quickly developed. In 1717 it was granted town charter, and its name was changed into Nowa Częstochowa (New Częstochowa). The town was completely destroyed during the Bar Confederation. On February 8, 1769, the monastery was seized by rebels of the Bar Confederation, commanded by Kazimierz Pułaski. Soon the stronghold was besieged by Russians under German-born General Johann von Drewitz. The Russians gave up on January 15, 1771.[1]


In 1789, the population of Częstochowa (also called Stara Częstochowa, Old Częstochowa) was app. 1,600, which was less than in the 15th century. After the Sejm passed the Constitution of May 3, 1791, local Sejmiks were obliged to legitimize it. On February 14–15, 1792, a sejmik of the szlachta of northern part of Kraków Voivodeship (counties of Lelów and Książ Wielki) took place in Częstochowa. Traditionally, local sejmiks were organized in Żarnowiec; the fact that it was moved to Częstochowa confirms growing importance of the town. In 1760, Jacob Frank, the leader of a Jewish sect mixing Kabbalah, Catholicism and Islam, was imprisoned for heresy in the monastery by the church. His followers established near him, later establishing a cult of his daughter Eve Frank. In August 1772, Frank was released by the Russian general Bibikov, who had taken occupation of the city, promising the Russians that he would convince Jews to convert to Orthodox Christianity.[1]

Kingdom of Prussia and Russian Empire

After the Partitions of Poland, Częstochowa was seized by the Kingdom of Prussia (1793). Both Częstochowas (Old and New) belonged to the province of South Prussia, Department of Kalisz (Kalisch), in which Old Częstochowa was the capital of a county (see Districts of Prussia). During the Napoleonic Wars, in 1807 Częstochowa became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, and in 1815, Russian-controlled Congress Poland, in which it remained until World War One. In 1807–1830, Old Częstochowa was the capital of a county. In 1809, the monastery was unsuccessfully besieged by Austrians (see Polish–Austrian War). On April 2, 1813, Jasna Góra was seized by the Russians (see War of the Sixth Coalition), after a two-week siege.[1]

In 1821, the government of Congress Poland carried out a census, according to which the population of New Częstochowa was 1,036, while the population of Old Częstochowa was 2,758. Furthermore, almost four hundred people lived in several settlements in the area (Zawodzie, Stradom, Kucelin). The idea of a merger of both towns was first brought up in 1815. In 1819, military architect Jan Bernhard planned and started the construction of Aleja Najświętszej Panny Marii—the Holy Virgin Mary Avenue, which is currently the main arterial road of the modern city, and which connected Old Częstochowa with New Częstochowa. Finally, both towns were officially merged on August 19, 1826. The new city quickly emerged as the fourth largest urban centers of Congress Poland; larger were only the cities of Warsaw, Lublin, and Kalisz. On September 8, 1862, a patriotic rally took place in the city, in front of St. Sigismund church. As a reprisal, Russian military authorities destroyed app. 65% of Częstochowa's Old Town, and martial law was introduced. During the January Uprising, several skirmishes took place in the area of Częstochowa, with the last one taking place on July 4, 1864 near Chorzenice.


In 1846 the Warsaw-Vienna Railway line was opened, linking the city with the rest of Europe. After 1870 iron ore started to be developed in the area, which gave a boost to the local industry. Among the most notable investments of the epoch was the Huta Częstochowa steel mill built by Bernard Hantke, as well as several weaveries and paper factories. Up to the Second World War, like many other cities in Europe, Częstochowa had a significant Jewish population: according to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 45,130, Jews constituted 12,000 (so around 26% percent).

Częstochowa entered the 20th century as one of leading industrial centers of Russian Poland (together with Warsaw, Łódź, and Zagłębie Dąbrowskie). The city was conveniently located on the Warta and other smaller rivers (Kucelinka, Stradomka, Konopka). Real estate and land prices were low, compared to Łódź, and the existence of the monastery brought numerous pilgrims, who also were customers of local businesses. In 1904, Częstochowa had 678 smaller workshops, which employed 2,000 workers. In 1902, rail connection to the Prussian border crossing at Herby Stare was opened, and in 1911, the line to Kielce was completed. The Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland (1905–1907) began in Częstochowa as early as May 1904, when first patriotic rallies took place. On December 25, 1904, a man named Wincenty Makowski tried to blow up a monument of Tsar Alexander II, which stood in front of the monastery. In February 1905, general strike action was declared in the city, with workers demanding pay rises. In June 1905 street clashes took place in Częstochowa, in which 20 people were killed by Russian forces. Further protests took place in 1909 and 1912.[1]

World War One

In early August 1914, Częstochowa was abandoned by the Imperial Russian Army, and first units of the German Army entered the city on August 3. Four days later drunken German soldiers shot at each other; unknown number died. Residents of the city were accused of killing Germans, and as a punishment, a number of civilians were executed. During German occupation (1914 - 1918), Częstochowa was cut off from its traditional Russian markets, which resulted in widespread poverty and unemployment. Furthermore, German authorities closed down several plants, urging unemployed workers to migrate to Upper Silesia, where they replaced men drafted into the army. Altogether, some 20,000 left for Upper Silesia and other provinces of the German Empire. On February 2, 1915, Częstochowa was visited by Charles I of Austria. Four days later Emperor Wilhelm II came to the city, and on May 17, 1915, Częstochowa hosted King of Saxony Frederick Augustus III. Unlike the city of Częstochowa, the Jasna Góra Monastery was since April 26, 1915 under control of Austria-Hungary, after personal intervention of Emperor Franz Joseph I, who was a pious Roman Catholic. The monastery was manned by soldiers under Austrian Army Captain Josef Klettinger and remained under Austrian control until November 4, 1918. In October 1917, the City Council of Częstochowa demanded permission to destroy the monument to Tsar Alexander II, to which General Governor of Warsaw Hans Hartwig von Beseler agreed. Polish authorities established control over the entire city on November 11, 1918.

Second Polish Republic

On November 12, 1918, three companies of the freshly created Polish Army marched along the Holy Virgin Mary Avenue. In 1919 - 1921, Częstochowa was one of centers of support of Silesian Poles fighting in the Silesian Uprisings. On December 4, 1920, Symon Petliura together with app. 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers. Their arrival spurred widespread protests, as the city, in which food situation was desperate, was obliged to house and feed the Ukrainians.

In the Second Polish Republic, Częstochowa belonged to Kielce Voivodeship, where since 1928 it constituted City County of Częstochowa. In the 1920s, local industry still suffered from World War One losses, and cutting off from Russian markets. Unemployment remained high, and thousands of workers left for France in search of jobs. The Great Depression was particularly difficult, with strikes and street clashes with the police. In 1925, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Częstochowa was created. The city grew in size, when between 1928 and 1934, several local settlements and villages were annexed. In 1939, the population of Częstochowa was 138,000, which made it the 8th largest city of Poland. In 1938, Polish government announced plans to liquidate Kielce Voivodeship, and create Sandomierz Voivodeship, based on Central Industrial Area. According to these plans, Częstochowa was to be transferred either to Łódź Voivodeship, or Silesian Voivodeship, together with Zagłębie Dąbrowskie.

World War Two

In the Polish Defensive War of 1939, Częstochowa was defended by the 7th Infantry Division, part of northern wing of Kraków Army. After the Battle of Mokra and other battles, Polish forces withdrew, and the Wehrmacht entered the city on Sunday, September 3, 1939. Częstochowa was renamed into Tschenstochau, and incorporated into the General Government. Monday, September 4, 1939, became known as Bloody Monday, when 227 people (205 ethnic Poles and 22 Jews) were killed by the Germans (some estimates of victims put the number at more than 1,000; 990 ethnic Poles and 110 Jews), see also Częstochowa massacre. German occupiers from the very beginning initiated a plan of cultural and physical extermination of the Polish nation. Częstochowa was a city county (Stadkreis Tschenstochau), part of Radom District of the General Government. The city was located near the border with Upper Silesia Province, and in its area operated units of the Home Army and National Armed Forces (NSZ). On April 20, 1943, a NZS unit attacked local office of the Bank Emisyjny w Polsce. After the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising, Częstochowa briefly was the capital of the Polish Underground State. In the autumn 1944, Germans fortified the city, preparing for a lengthy defence. On January 16, 1945, however, the Wehrmacht retreated after one day of fighting.

On April 9, 1941, a ghetto for Jews was created. During World War II approximately 45,000 of Częstochowa's Jews, almost the entire Jewish community living here, were killed by the Germans. Life in Nazi-occupied Częstochowa is depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, the son of a Jewish Częstochowa resident. Before the Holocaust, Częstochowa was considered a great Jewish center in Poland. By the end of WWII, the town was essentially Judenrein.

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