Mazovia and the Vistula Depression

- A short history -


The Vistula is the name of the major north/south river through Poland.


It is called die Weichsel in German and Wisla in Polish.


Plock is one of the oldest town, evolving from a 9th Century settlement.


From the 11th  Century Plock was the capitol of Mazovia and in 1075 was a bishopric.


Early settlement began in the 13th century when the Mazovian dukes built their fortified wooden stronghold of Jazdów along the river near present day Warsaw.


The Mazowsze (Mazovia) area of Poland located on the middle Vistula has always been relatively backward.


Weilkopolska borders the province to the west and Byelorussia to the east.


It is predominately low-lying and rural.


Gravelly soils, morainic deposits and poor drainage have inhibited agriculture leaving wide expanses of heath and scrubland.


The province has no natural resources of note, and its poverty stricken nobles and peasantry traditionally provided large numbers of emigrants and colonists. 


Its chief city Warsaw was raised to distinction for reason of convenience not achievement.


Mazovia did not form an integral part of the Kingdom of Poland until 1529.


By the 17th century, the Vistula was the most frequented waterway in Europe, surpassing even the Thames in England.


With the death of the last Mazovian dukes in the 18th century, the Duchy was incorporated into the lands of the Polish crown.


At that time, the Polish King Sygmunt the Old moved his capital from Kraków and the fledgling city of Warsaw became the capital of the Polish/Lithuanian Empire.


The Swedes invaded and looted the area in 1655.


When Poland was partitioned this area became part of the Prussian Empire in 1795.


In 1806 Napoleon's grand armée established the autonomous Duchy of Warsaw, but in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon, the area was formed as the Congress (of Vienna) Kingdom.


After a period of heavy repression, following a struggle for independence in 1830 named the "November Uprising," the Russian authorities revoked the autonomy that had been given to the Congress Kingdom.


The area was incorporated into Russia in 1864 along with Vistualand and Wielkopolska.


After world war I it was part of the land set aside by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles to be the newly reinstated nation of Poland and it has remained there since that date.