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Chelmno Land

Chelmno Land or Culmland (Polish: Ziemia Chełmińska, German: Kulmerland, Kulmer Land, Culmerland or Culmer Land) is the traditional name for a district around the city of Chełmno, in north-western Poland. The biggest cities are Torun, Grudziadz, Chelmno and Chelmza . Chelmno and Torun lay at the Vistula river. The land lay is located east of Vistula river and north of the Drwęca river, that is the border with Masovia. In various times it was considered to be part of the neighbouring provinces of Mazovia, Cuiavia, Greater Poland, Prussia, Pomerania and today it a part of Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodship.

It is located on the right bank of the Vistula river, from the mouth of the Drwęca (German Drewenz) river to Chelmno. Where the Vistula river takes a sharp turn northward, the Drewenz Drwęca forms the eastern border of the region, while its southern and western border is the Vistula river.


In 10th century Chelmno Land (south of the Osa River) was inhabited by the lekhitic tribes of Kuyavians and Masovians. When this area was subdued by rulers of Polanes (10th century) Chelmno became a local centre of administration (kasztelania). Chelmno Land was Christianised already in 11th century.

After feudal fragmentation (1137) of Poland in line with the last will of duke Boleslaus III of Poland, Chelmno Land became a part of duchy governed by his son Boleslaus IV the Curly and his descendants.

In the Middle Ages Chelmno Land was a subject to constant raids of the pagan Prussians. To protect his land from invasions and under the guise of Christianization to conquer the territories of Prussians duke Conrad I of Masovia called upon the Teutonic Knights for help. They were to keep the Chelmno Land as a fief in exchange for protecting Mazovia from Prussians, though some allege the grant to be a forgery.

The Teutonic Order obtained an Imperial bull of the Emperor Frederick II before entering Prussia (although some historians say this was based on forged documents).

When in 1243 the papal legate William of Modena divided Prussia into four dioceses under the archbishop of Riga, one was created for Chelmno Land.

This land in 1466 after Thirteen Years War between the Prussian cities for or against government by the Teutonic Knights, was with the Second Treaty of Thorn placed under the Polish crown as a part of autonomous Royal Prussia (see Chelmno Voivodship ).

In 1772 as a result of the First Partition of Poland Chelmno Land (with an exemption of Torun) was seized by Prussia. Between 1807 and 1815 Chelmno Land was a part of the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1815 become part of Grand Duchy of Poznan, but in 1817 was moved to West Prussia.

In January of 1920 following the Treaty of Versailles (1919), Chelmno Land was recovered by Poland.

External links:

Chelmno Town and Land on a map of Poland

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45