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The city of Poznan already existed before Christianity came to Poland. In 968 however, it became the first Polish episcopal see and a nucleus of the Polish state. The town flourished as a European trade center during the 15th and 16th centuries That growth increased when the Teutonic Knights departed Poland, and again when the Hanseatic League declined. But like the rest of the nation, Poznan then suffered terribly with the Swedish invasions in the mid-17th century, and then lost its Polish name completely when incorporated into Prussia under the Partitions.

It remained in Poland until the second partition (1793), when it passed to Prussia. Poznan was included in the grand duchy of Warsaw in 1807, again passed to Prussia in 1815. Despite Prussian efforts to germanize the city (the German name was : Posen), the population continued to consider itself Polish and acted on that belief near the end of WWI. In 1918, Poznan rose up and forced out theGerman rulers, voting with their arms to reinstate Poznan as a Polish city.

In World War II it was annexed to Germany, and thousands of Poles were expelled. The city is a Roman Catholic see (created 1821) and has a university (founded 1919). Since 1922 it has been the site of an annual international spring fair. . The fair became so successful (partially due to Poznan's fortunate location on the road which begins in Paris and ends in Moscow, hitting all the major capitals in between). In 1956 a workers' strike at a metallurgical plant in Poznan spread to other cities and led to changes in the high-ranking leadership of the Polish Communist party.


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