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Free City of Danzig

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Napoleonic-era Danzig

The Free City of Danzig (French: Ville Libre de Dantzig) was a semi-independent state established by Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars in years 9 September 180722 January 1813/1815. It consisted of the city of Danzig (Gdansk) with all its rural possessions in the mouth of Vistula river and the Hel peninsula.

After the Congress of Vienna (1815), Danzig was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia and made the capital of a district and the province of West Prussia. The traditional autonomy of the city was significantly reduced.

Interwar Danzig

Missing image
20_gdanskich_guldenow_skan.jpeg
Banknote of 20 Danzig Guldens

The Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Stadt Danzig; Polish: Wolne Miasto Gdańsk) was a separate state established in 10 January 1920, a territory that included the city of Danzig plus the surrounding territory, which was previously (from 1815) a part of Prussia (itself since 1871 a part of the German Empire). The Free City comprised 1,966 km² (754 mi²) including the cities of Danzig, Zoppot (Sopot), Tiegenhof (Nowy Dwór Gdański), and Neuteich (Nowy Staw), as well as 252 villages and 63 hamlets with a total population of 357,000 in 1919. With the Treaty of Versailles it was separated from Germany, created as a separate state under protection of the League of Nations with special rights reserved to Poland. The Free City of Danzig had an ethnic German majority of over 90% and a Polish minority of about 4 to 8%.

The Free City was represented abroad by Poland and was in a customs union with Poland. The railway line that connected the Free City with Poland was administered by Poland. The separated military post within city's harbor Westerplatte, formerly city beach, was also given to Poland. There were also two post-offices, one municipal and a second Polish one.

The Nazi Party was elected in the May 1933 election. However they received only 57 percent of the vote, less than the two thirds required by the League to change the Free City's constitution. The government introduced laws that were anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic.

The Free City's Nazi government voted to be annexed by Nazi Germany on September 2, 1939, the day after the invasion of Poland, and was incorporated into the province of Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreussen. The city was captured by the Soviet and Polish forces on 30 March 1945. At the Potsdam Conference (1945) the territory of the Free City was awarded to Poland and its German inhabitants expelled.

November 1, 1923 Census by language
Nationality Total German German and Polish Polish, Kashub, Masurian Russian, Ukrainian Hebrew, Yiddish Unclassified
Danzig 335,921327,8271,1086,788992277
Non-Danzig 30,80920,6665215,2392,5295801,274
Total 366,730348,4931,62912,0272,6286021,351

See also

et:Danzigi vabalinn es:Ciudad libre de Danzig fr:Ville libre de Dantzig it:Libera Città di Danzica pl:Wolne Miasto Gdańsk sk:Slobodné mesto Gdaňsk

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