Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


(gədänsk`), formerly


(dăn`sĭg), city (1993 est. pop. 466,700), capital of Pomorskie prov., N Poland, on a branch of the Vistula and on the Gulf of Gdańsk. One of the chief Polish ports on the Baltic Sea, it is a leading industrial and communications center. It has important mechanical-engineering, machine-building, chemical, and metallurgical industries. Sawmilling, food processing, and light manufacturing are also important. Its once-famous shipyard is no longer state-owned and was nearly closed in 1996; it continues shipbuilding on a smaller scale. There are two port areas; one is at Nowy Port (Neufahrwasser), a northern suburb, and the other, Port Połnocny, was completed in 1975. The port cities of Gdańsk and GdyniaGdynia
, Ger. Gdingen, city (1994 est. pop. 252,100), Pomorskie prov., N Poland, a port on the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Danzig. It is the port of a larger urban area that includes Gdańsk and Sopot.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the nearby resort of SopotSopot
, Ger. Zoppot, city (1993 est. pop. 45,400), Pomorskie prov., N Poland, on the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Danzig. A seaside resort and tourist center, it had a fashionable gambling casino before World War II.
..... Click the link for more information.
 are administered as a single city. Gdańsk has numerous educational and cultural facilities. Historic landmarks include the Gothic Church of St. Mary (1343).

A Slavic settlement, Gdańsk was first mentioned in 997. It soon became the capital of Pomerelia (see PomeraniaPomerania
, region of N central Europe, extending along the Baltic Sea from a line W of Stralsund, Germany, to the Vistula River in Poland. From 1919 to 1939, Pomerania was divided among Germany, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk).
..... Click the link for more information.
). After its settlement by German merchants, it joined (13th cent.) the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and developed as an important Baltic trading port. In 1308 it was conquered by the Teutonic KnightsTeutonic Knights
or Teutonic Order
, German military religious order founded (1190–91) during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade. It was originally known as the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and became an object of struggle between them and Poland. Pomerelia and Gdańsk passed to Poland in 1466. Gdańsk was granted local autonomy under the Polish crown. In 1576, Gdańsk withstood a siege by Stephen BáthoryStephen Báthory
, Pol. Stefan Batory, 1533–86, king of Poland (1575–86), prince of Transylvania (1571–75), son of Stephen Báthory (1477–1534). He was elected to succeed John II as prince of Transylvania.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and thus preserved its established privileges against domination by the Polish crown.

After the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
..... Click the link for more information.
 the city began to decline. In the War of the Polish SuccessionPolish Succession, War of the,
1733–35. On the death (1733) of Augustus II of Poland, Stanislaus I sought to reascend the Polish throne. He was supported by his son-in-law, Louis XV of France.
..... Click the link for more information.
, King Stanislaus I took refuge in Gdańsk until it fell (1734) after a heroic defense. The first partition of Poland in 1772 made Gdańsk a free city; the second partition (1793) gave it to PrussiaPrussia
, Ger. Preussen, former state, the largest and most important of the German states. Berlin was the capital. The chief member of the German Empire (1871–1918) and a state of the Weimar Republic (1919–33), Prussia occupied more than half of all Germany
..... Click the link for more information.

Napoleon I restored its status as a free city (1807). Reverting to Prussia in 1814, it was fortified and, as Danzig, was the provincial capital of West Prussia until 1919, when by the Treaty of Versailles it once more became a free city with its own legislature. In order to give the newly reestablished nation of Poland a seaport, Danzig was included in the Polish customs territory and was placed under a high commissioner appointed by the League of Nations.

As the League's authority waned after 1935, Gdańsk came under Nazi control. Hitler's demand (1939) for the city's return to Germany was the principal immediate excuse for the German invasion of Poland and thus of World War II. Gdańsk was annexed to Germany from Sept. 1, 1939, until its fall to the Soviet army early in 1945. The Allies returned the city to Poland, which restored the name Gdańsk. In 1970 workers' grievances sparked riots in Gdańsk that spread to other cities and led to changes in Poland's national leadership. Further labor unrest in the Gdańsk shipyard led to the formation of the SolidaritySolidarity,
Polish independent trade union federation formed in Sept., 1980. Led by Lech Wałęsa, it grew rapidly in size and political power and soon posed a threat to Poland's Communist government by its sponsorship of labor strikes and other forms of public protest.
..... Click the link for more information.
 union in 1980.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and port in Poland, on the coast of the Gulf of Gdańsk, near the mouth of the Vistula.

Gdańsk and the cities of Gdynia and Sopot, which are connected by a highway, form a conurbation—the so-called Trojmiasto (Tri-city). Gdansk is the administrative center of Gdańsk Województwo and has a population of 370,000 (1969). The freight turnover of the Gdańsk port reaches 9 million tons a year. Gdansk is mainly a port for mass freights: coal, sulfur, and lumber materials are exported, and metallic ores and phosphates are imported. The main branches of industry, which in 1970 employed about 80,000 workers, are machine building, especially shipbuilding (the V. I. Lenin Gdańsk Shipyard accounts for about half of the country’s total capacity), and electrical engineering. Other important industries include chemicals (fertilizers, lacquers, and paints), food-processing, and clothing. Gdańsk is an important cultural center. It has a university, as well as polytechnical, pedagogical, medical, and naval institutes, and scientific institutions and societies. The city has opera and drama theaters. Gdańsk is located between the sea and the steep wooded slope of a moraine elevation, the Kaszub lakeland. The center of the city, with its reconstructed medieval quarter, is 6 km from the sea, and the harbor is at the confluence of the Motlawa and the Dead Vistula.


Among the city’s architectural monuments are the remains of brick fortifications with towers from the 14th and 15th centuries. Gothic structures include the main town hall (1378-1492; rebuilt in the 16th century), the Church of the Virgin Mary (1343-1502), the Church of St. Catherine (from the early 13th century to the 15th), the Church of the Holy Trinity (1420-1514), and other churches, as well as the Artus Hall (14th century; rebuilt in 1476-81; the facade rebuilt in the Renaissance style in 1616-17). Renaissance and mannerist buildings include the Palace of the Polish Kings (1563-68), the arsenal (1602-05), the Golden House (1609-17), and the house of the abbots of the Pelplin Monastery (1612). There are also a number of baroque churches, including the Church of the Savior (1695-97) and the Jesuit church, as well as baroque residences.

The reconstruction of important architectural monuments destroyed in World War II began in 1946. The unified urban complex of Gdańsk-Sopot-Gdynia is being built up, and many tower-like buildings of from ten to 30 stories are under construction in Wrzeszcz, Oliwa, and other sections.

Archaeological excavations have established that a Slavic settlement existed on the site of Gdańsk as early as the middle of the first millennium. Gdańsk is mentioned in written sources for the first time in 997. From the tenth century to the 13th Gdańsk was the center of the East Pomeranian Duchy, together with which it was seized by the Teutonic Order in 1308. In 1454, after an uprising of the people of the city, it was freed from the rule of the Order and reunited with Poland by the Peace of Toruń (1466). From the 15th century to the 17th Gdańsk was the major center of Polish foreign trade. In 1656 it was besieged by Swedish troops. In 1793 it was captured by Prussia and remained under German rule until 1918, receiving the name of Danzig. By the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 it was made the Free City of Danzig under the administration of the League of Nations. On Sept. 1, 1939, fascist Germany, having attacked Poland, captured the city. On Mar. 30, 1945, it was liberated by the Soviet Army.


Gdańsk: Przesztość i terazniejszość. Edited by S. Kutrzeba. L’vov-Warsaw-Kraków, 1928.
Pelczar, M. Polski Gdańsk. Gdańsk, 1947.
Jażdżewski, K. Gdańsk wcześnośredniowieczny w świetle wykopalisk. Gdańsk, 1952.
Stankiewicz, J., and B. Szermer. Gdańsk: Rozwój urbanistycznyi architektoniczny .… Warsaw, 1959.
Stankiewicz, J., and B. Szermer. Gdańsk (album). Warsaw, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the chief port of Poland, on the Baltic: a member of the Hanseatic league; under Prussian rule (1793--1807 and 1814--1919); a free city under the League of Nations from 1919 until annexed by Germany in 1939; returned to Poland in 1945. Pop.: 851 000 (2005 est.)
2. Bay of. a wide inlet of the Baltic Sea on the N coast of Poland
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
To get more of a feel of the significance of Gdansk's past, visit the memorial site at Westerplatte, a small state of its own located just off Gdansk's harbour.
But the clubs' fortunes have been wide apart this term with Chorzow climbing into third place - just six points adrift of leaders Slask Wroclaw - and Gdansk becoming embroiled in a relegation battle.
The ratings benefit from Gdansk's healthy and improving operating performance, strong strategic and financial management and sound debt ratios.
Gdansk will be Finnair's third destination in the country in addition to Krakow and Warsaw.
The service to Gdansk will be the airline's third Polish destination after Krakow and Warsaw and it will be flown with a Finncomm Airlines' ATR fleet.
Coun Carter will also meet the city's civic leaders and representatives from Gdansk's other partner cities, Bremen in Germany and Turku in Finland.
ZKM Gdansk, fully-owned by the city of Gdansk, is classified as a dependent entity of the Polish city due to their close links.
3 November 2010 - Fitch set on Tuesday a final long-term local currency rating of BBB and a final national long-term rating of A+(pol) to the PLN13.46m (USD4.8m/EUR3.4m) revenue bond due 30 December 2024 of Polish tram operator ZKM Gdansk.
20 October 2010 - Fitch assigned on Wednesday an expected long-term local currency rating of BBB and an expected national long-term A+(pol) rating to the PLN13.46m (USD4.7m/EUR3.4m) revenue bond issue, due 30 December 2024, of Polish tram operator ZKM Gdansk.